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New Guide on performance and uncertainty in qualitative analysis


The Eurachem/CITAC joint qualitative analysis working group is pleased to announce the release of a new guide on "Assessment of performance and uncertainty in qualitative chemical analysis".

Qualitative analysis is analysis that returns a classification rather than a numerical value. Typical qualitative analyses determine the identity of a chemical substance, the type of plastic of a microparticle, the source of an oil spill, or the presence of accelerant in fire debris.

The information used in these determinations can be qualitative, such as the response to a spot test, or can include quantitative information such as line frequences and intensities in IR or NMR spectorscopy, or mass/charge ratios in mass spectrometry. This new Eurachem/CITAC guide aims to provide some tools to help improve the quality of qualitative analysis and of their interpretation.

To help assess performance of qualitative procedures, the guide provides common measures of performance for qualitative analysis and gives experimental and other strategies for estimating performance. It includes brief recommendations for ensuring that any measurements undertaken in the course of a qualitative analysis are reliable.

Although the guide does not make recommendations on whether or not laboratories should routinely report information on the confidence associated with qualitative analysis results, the guide does describe some key metrics that can be used to convey the confidence (or uncertainty) in qualitative conclusions.

» Download the guide