The terms standard operating procedure
, is used in a variety of different contexts, such as healthcare, education, industry or the military. The military uses the term Standing Operating Procedure
- rather than Standard
- because an SOP refers to an organization's unique procedures, which are not standard to another unit. Standard
would imply that the operating procedure is the only correct one.
In clinical research, the International Conference on Harmonisation
(ICH) defines SOPs as "detailed, written instructions to achieve uniformity of the performance of a specific function".
An SOP is a written document or instruction detailing all steps and activities of a process or procedure.