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Measurement uncertainty arising from sampling (2007)

NOTE: This version of "Measurement uncertainty arising from sampling" has been superseded by the Second Edition, published in 2019. The second edition can be found here.

Full title

Measurement uncertainty arising from sampling: A guide to methods and approaches (2007)


This Guide aims to describe various methods that can be used to estimate the uncertainties arising from the processes of sampling and the physical preparation of samples. It is intended primarily for specialists such as sampling planners and for analytical chemists who need to estimate the uncertainty associated with their measurement results.

The Guide deals with the case where the measurand is defined in term of the value of the analyte concentration in a sampling target, rather than in just the sample delivered to the laboratory. In this case, the sampling process affects the result and its uncertainty, and sampling is necessarily considered as part of the measurement process. This Guide takes a holistic view of the measurement process to include sampling and sample preparation as well as the analytical process.

The Guide begins by explaining the importance of the total uncertainty in a measurement for making reliable interpretation of measurements, and judging their fitness for purpose. It covers the whole measurement process, defining each of the component steps, and describing the effects and errors that cause uncertainty in the final result, with particular attention to sampling issues.

Two main approaches to the estimation of uncertainty from sampling are described. The empirical approach uses repeated sampling and analysis, under various conditions, to quantify the effects caused by factors such as the heterogeneity of the analyte in the sampling target and variations in the application of one or more sampling protocols, to quantify uncertainty (and usually some of its component parts). The modelling approach uses a predefined model that identifies each of the component parts of the uncertainty, making estimates of each component, and sums them in order to make an overall estimate.

For either approach, the Guide follows the principles of the ISO Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement, interpreted for analytical measurement in the Eurachem guide "Quantifying Uncertainty in Analytical Measurement" which is available here.


Download the document (new window) (pdf, 692 kB).

Hard copy available via print-on-demand.

Note: This service is provided through a commercial company, Proceeds support the Eurachem Secretariat.

Note: In parallell with this Eurachem Guide on sampling uncertainty Nordtest developed a shorter handbook on sampling, which is available from the Nordtest website.



A Russian translation is available. Requests for this translation may be sent to Dr. Mykhailo Rozhnov, Ukrainian Centre for Standardisation, Metrology and Certification (Ukrmetrteststandart), using the appropriate contact form on this website.


The Guide has recently (Jan 2016) been translated to Farsi by Dr Mohammad Rahmani (Iran) and is available for download in Farsi here.

Other translations

Translation into other languages is permitted for members of Eurachem. Other offers of translation should be directed to the Eurachem Secretariat for permission.

Related publications

A short description of the Guide is available as an RSC AMC Technical Brief, available via the RSC AMC web page.