Thursday, September 16, 2010

Self-Evaluation - A Desirable Philosophy for the Analytical Chemist

A good analyst continually tempers his or her confidence with doubt. Such doubt leads stimulates a search for new and different methods of confirmation for reassurance. Frequent self-appraisals should embrace every step – from collecting samples to the reporting of results.

The analyst’s first critical scrutiny should be directed at the entire sample collection process in order to guarantee a representative sample for the purpose of the analysis and to avoid any possible losses or contamination during the act of collection. Attention should also be given to the type of container and to the manner of transport and storage.

A periodic assessment should be made of the available analytical methods, with an eye to applicability for the purpose and the situation. In addition, each method selected must be evaluated by the analyst for sensitivity, precision and accuracy, because only inn this way can he determine whether he has interpreted the directions properly. Self-evaluation on these points can give the analyst confidence in the value and significance of his reported results.

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