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Recent Developments in Analytical Chemistry: A Critical Review of an Instrumental Method

Description of Recent Modifications

You are to write a short critical review of recent developments in your assigned analytical method. You will be allocated one technique or modification to a technique studied in this course.This assignment is modelled on the Highlights Section in the former Anal. Comm. Highlights, which were mini-reviews or summaries of research in a well-defined, specific topic area covering the most recent developments.

For your topic you should review analytical developments focussing on publications in the last two decades 2000 – 2021, though some earlier key references may be included.

-Articles should cover the most interesting/significant developments in the area.

-The articles should be highly critical and selective in referencing published work.

-A small amount of speculation (one or two paragraphs) of possible future developments will be appropriate in the Conclusions section.

-About 40% of your article should review the requirements and applicable sample type for the analytical method, the challenges faced by existing methods and the potential benefits of the emerging method.

For the remainder of the report you should concentrate on recent developments and areas of interest. This should include a survey of the applications and types of samples in recent publications – has it been applied to a range of systems in different applications areas, or just one particular test system? While the first part of your report might be based mainly on technique development papers, this part will also need to draw on papers focussed more on applications. You will need to critically discuss recent developments in the method. This will involve looking in detail at some papers but your comments should be a critical and reasoned review rather than extensive repetition of experimental details from the papers for which no credit will be given.

These papers must cover a range of recent developments and applications areas. You can’t cite everything written so must justify the choice and place the papers in context.Don’t forget to include a conclusion to draw your article together.The following is a typical outline although the actual emphasis will vary with the method assigned. It’s up to you how you break this down but remember marks are given for clear structure as well as critical analysis.

Outline the analytical problem that recent developments of the method seek to address. Describe the areas in which the method is claimed to be applicable. Include a brief summary of the relevant theoretical background and quantitate potential and achieved improvements were possible.Description of the basics of the recent modifications – how do they work? How are these new variants of the method different from the conventional experiment and how do they improve upon existing techniques. Experimental requirements for hardware and sample.

Experimental Requirements

Critical review of recent developments. For each development / paper discuss the key achievements reported, how this improves the state of the art, the methods used and types of samples investigated with identification of particular problems or limits of applicability. Critically discuss the method by comparing with other methods of analysis and/or the existing best obtainable results with established techniques. In addition to improvements consider are there any new drawbacks or limitations of the method compared to previously established techniques. Does the emerging method offer a real improvement or is it limited to test systems? What is important here is your input rather than repeating too many individual results from your chosen papers.


What developments you expect to see or you think might be needed in the future. Does the method offer a true advance of likely widespread application or will it remain limited to specialists? This should follow on from the above section.


Any quotations must be clearly indicated as such by use of quotation marks in addition to providing the reference, and any multiline quotations must additionally be indented to clearly indicate that the words are not your own. Note however that extensive quotation is not expected and would generally be considered poor style. You are expected to describe the topic under review in your own words.

Note that an important aspect of this exercise is your decision on what is important and should be included. We know from experience that this report will be considerably more difficult than say a 20 - 30 page report. You are advised to allocate sufficient time to do this exercise as 75% of the module marks are allocated on the final report.

The work presented must be your own work, do not over quote material found in the literature. You will inevitably be able to find other reviews of important analytical techniques but you should write your own critical review of the literature and you will be penalised if your text, structure or choice of references is found to closely follow an existing review.

You must complete the online academic misconduct training module before attempting this assignment. Failure to follow the academic misconduct guidelines will lead to serious penalties so it is in your best interest to ensure that you fully understand the rules. Please seek assistance from the academic skills tutors at an early stage if you are struggling to structure or reference your report. They cannot write it for you but can look at small segments and provide guidance on changes necessary.

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