Comparative Analysis

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Definition - What does Comparative Analysis mean?

Comparative analysis, within the context of drug testing, is a method of evaluation which compares and contrasts two or more alternatives. In comparative analysis, a study is conducted by identifying the similarities and differences between objects, results, policies, or other subject matter. Comparing and classifying information is considered a fundamental principle of scientific inquiry.

In workplace drug and alcohol testing, comparing known values against those of a test sample are essential not only for affirming the validity of the test procedures but also determining the concentration of any drugs or alcohol detected in a test sample.

SureHire explains Comparative Analysis

When researchers employ comparative analysis, they follow a controlled set of procedures and predefine the variables used to analyze each alternative. When an object is measured, it is being compared to predefined units of measure.

When a lab result is quantified, it is being compared to an expected value. Comparative analysis allows researchers to compare the results of a test sample against a known control sample. For instance, when an air blank is used to check the functionality of an evidential breath testing (EBT) device, an air sample that is presumed to be free of alcohol is introduced to the machine. The results of this air blank test are compared to the expected result of zero concentration. If the air blank test does not match the expected result, then a malfunction or contamination has occurred, and any tests performed by the machine would be invalid. When an immunoassay drug test is performed, the results of the test sample are compared to a calibrator or known value sample. By evaluating the difference between the two results, technicians can determine the concentration of drugs in the subject sample.

Comparative analysis has many other applications across a broad range of industries including not only science but investing and even education. Comparative analysis can be used to evaluate best practices, conduct A/B testing, or choose among similar alternatives. The level of detail, analysis and control will vary depending on the circumstances in which the methodology is used.

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