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Chemistry LibreTexts

14: Developing a Standard Method

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  • In Chapter 1 we made a distinction between analytical chemistry and chemical analysis. Among the goals of analytical chemistry are improving established methods of analysis, extending existing methods of analysis to new types of samples, and developing new analytical methods. Once we develop a new method, its routine application is best described as chemical analysis. We recognize the status of these methods by calling them standard methods. Numerous examples of standard methods are presented and discussed in Chapters 8–13. What we have not yet considered is what constitutes a standard method. In this chapter we discuss how we develop a standard method, including optimizing the experimental procedure, verifying that the method produces acceptable precision and accuracy in the hands of a single analyst, and validating the method for general use.

    • 14.1: Optimizing the Experimental Procedure
      Developing a standard method requires optimizing multiple aspects. Using the terminology of statisticians, we call the solution’s absorbance the system’s response. Hydrogen peroxide and sulfuric acid are factors whose concentrations, or factor levels, determine the system’s response. To optimize the method we need to find the best combination of factor levels. Usually we seek a maximum response, but sometimes, such as minimizing an analysis’s percent error, we are looking for a minimum response.
    • 14.2: Verifying the Method
      After developing and optimizing a method, the next step is to determine how well it works in the hands of a single analyst. Three steps make up this process: determining single-operator characteristics, completing a blind analysis of standards, and determining the method’s ruggedness. If another standard method is available, then we can analyze the same sample using both methods and compare the results. If the result for any single test is unacceptable, then the method is not a suitable.
    • 14.3: Validating the Method as a Standard Method
      For an analytical method to be useful, an analyst must be able to achieve results of acceptable accuracy and precision. Verifying a method, as described in the previous section, establishes this goal for a single analyst. Another requirement for a useful analytical method is that an analyst should obtain the same result from day to day, and different labs should obtain the same result when analyzing the same sample. The process by which we approve method for general use is known as validation.
    • 14.4: Using Excel and R for an Analysis of Variance
      Although the calculations for an analysis of variance are relatively straightforward, they can be tedious for large data sets. Both Excel and R include functions for completing an analysis of variance. In addition, R provides a function for identifying the source(s) of significant differences within the data set.
    • 14.E: Developing a Standard Method (Exercises)
      These are homework exercises to accompany "Chapter 14: Developing a Standard Method" from Harvey's "Analytical Chemistry 2.0" Textmap.
    • 14.S: Developing a Standard Method (Summary)
      This is a summary to accompany "Chapter 14: Developing a Standard Method" from Harvey's "Analytical Chemistry 2.0" Textmap.