The LCGC Blog: A Decision Tree for Gas Chromatography Method Development

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor is Group Technical Director of Crawford Scientific Group and CHROMacademy. His background is in pharmaceutical R&D and polymer chemistry, but he has spent the past 20 years in training and consulting, working with Crawford Scientific Group clients to ensure they attain the very best analytical science possible. He has trained and consulted with thousands of analytical chemists globally and is passionate about professional development in separation science, developing CHROMacademy as a means to provide high-quality online education to analytical chemists. His current research interests include HPLC column selectivity codification, advanced automated sample preparation, and LC–MS and GC–MS for materials characterization, especially in the field of extractables and leachables analysis.

To answer the question "Is there a good flow diagram I can use for GC method development?" please see below for our first attempt at something suitable, in the form of stepwise decision trees and flow diagrams.

I was posed an interesting question by one of our CHROMacademy ( GC Method Development course students recently. 

"Is there a good flow diagram I can use for GC Method Development?"

While the course contains some rudimentary flow charts, I had to admit that I hadn’t ever seen anything that would fit the bill of a comprehensive decision tree. Some further internet searches confirmed that this was the case.

Therefore, please see below for our first attempt at something more suitable, in the form of stepwise decision trees and flow diagrams. I’d love to hear from anyone who can contribute additions, amendments, or corrections as I think this will be very useful for the less experienced GC method developer.


In producing these schemes, it has become increasingly obvious that to produce a comprehensive guide in this form would be highly complex. What we offer at this stage is some initial guidance to heighten awareness of general strategy and major considerations for the method development pathway.

Please let me know if you would like to provide further contributions, or if you know of specific flow diagrams for, for example, headspace method development and parameter optimisation, and I will provide a link to them from the relevant sections.

Tony Taylor is the technical director of Crawford Scientific and ChromAcademy. He comes from a pharmaceutical background and has many years research and development experience in small molecule analysis and bioanalysis using LC, GC, and hyphenated MS techniques. Taylor is actively involved in method development within the analytical services laboratory at Crawford Scientific and continues to research in LC-MS and GC-MS methods for structural characterization. As the technical director of the CHROMacademy, Taylor has spent the past 12 years as a trainer and developing online education materials in analytical chemistry techniques.