Ethics and Data Integrity for Non-Technical Staff

This online course introduces the concepts of ethics and integrity, defines the difference between the two and illustrates how these traits apply to non-technical staff in a public health laboratory. Examples of general workplace ethics are used throughout the course, from arriving on time to using the Internet for non-work activities. The term, “data integrity” is introduced and its relationship to fraud is explained. Examples of data integrity pertaining to various non-technical areas are given, including Information Technology and Public Relations. The responsibilities of management and staff in maintaining data integrity and preventing fraud are presented in an interactive format. The importance of documentation, and its use as protection against the appearance of fraud, is stressed in this course. A brief overview of chain-of-custody protocols is also provided.


Course Level

This is a basic, entry level course.

No prior knowledge of the subject is necessary to participate in this course.


Intended Audience

This course is directed to staff in public health and other laboratories whose responsibilities lie outside of the (testing) laboratory area. This includes those in positions such as security, records, data entry, client services, supply services, Information Technlogy, QA, etc. Basic workplace ethics and personal integrity are important traits that warrant a comprehensive explanation and the occasional reminder. Data integrity, if not fully understood and maintained, can lead to the appearance of fraud or even to fraud itself, putting careers at risk.


Learning Objectives

After completing this course, the participant will be able to:


Define the terms commonly associated with ethics, data integrity and chain of custody.

Recognize staff's responsibility to conduct themselves ethically in all facets of their workday.

Describe role of staff in maintaining data integrity and chain of custody.

Recognize the dangers and consequences of fraud and how to prevent it.

State the responsibilities of management and staff in preventing fraud.

List the steps and documentation necessary to maintain chain of custody.

Discuss the importance of documentation in preventing fraud or the appearance of fraud.



APHL would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following person in development of this course:


Marcia Valbracht

Quality Assurance Engineer

BS, Education


Certified Facilitator, emphasis on the adult learner

State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa

Coralville, Iowa



“Laboratory Ethics and Data Integrity “Train the Trainer” Presentation”, Oregon Technical Advisory Committee (OTAC): Wells, Dennis D., Environmental Science Corporation; Lytle, Charles D., City of Portland, OR. Oct. 2008



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