Evaluating Analytical Data
Aproblem dictates the requirements we place on our measurements and results. Regulatory agencies, for example, place stringent requirements on the reliability of measurements and results reported to them. This is the rationale for creating a protocol for regulatory problems. Screening the products of an organic synthesis, on the other hand, places fewer demands on the reliability of measurements, allowing chemists to customize their procedures.
When designing and evaluating an analytical method, we usually make three separate considerations of experimental error. First, before beginning an analysis, errors associated with each measurement are evaluated to ensure that their cumulative effect will not limit the utility of the analysis. Errors known or believed to affect the result can then be minimized. Second, during the analysis the measurement process is monitored, ensuring that it remains under control. Finally, at the end of the analysis the quality of the measurements and the result are evaluated and compared with the original design criteria.