The particular substances to be analysed (indicators, or analytes for laboratory purposes) are the focus of the monitoring program at Step 3 of the Water Quality Management Framework. They may have been identified in generic terms during the study design, but now the individual compounds need to be decided on, and possible methods of determination need to be considered before planning the laboratory program.
The analytes will determine many of the decisions involved in laboratory analyses: for example, how to obtain good quality data (method and equipment), how to protect the health and safety of workers, and how much this stage of the monitoring program will cost.
The selection of an analytical method for waters, sediments or biota will largely depend on the information and management needs of those undertaking the investigation, and on the analytes themselves. However, limitations such as the financial resources available, laboratory resources, speed of analyses required, matrix type and contamination potential, are also important factors.