Last updated: July 25, 2018

What Does Control Mean?

Control, within the context of drug testing, refers to a group or sample with known characteristics. The performance of a control is usually compared to that of a variable. A control may be used to measure performance by remaining unaltered while a separate group or sample is subjected to manipulation. Additionally, in lab testing a control sample may be used to validate the testing process or procedure.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Control

In drug testing, and other laboratory testing, a control is a sample of known content and quantity. These samples are used to test the laboratory processes and equipment for errors. The results of testing for a control sample are expected to match previous test results for the same type of sample. If the results do not match as expected, this indicates a flaw in the testing process that can then be identified and eliminated. When used in this manner, a control may also be called a quality control sample.

In population testing, such as for a new medication or procedure, a control group will have characteristics similar to that of the test subjects. The control group will not be exposed to the medication or procedure while test subjects are. Then, the outcome for test subjects can be compared to that of the control group.


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