Portfolio Activity! This counts toward your final grade!

What are my objectives while studying this topic?

By studying this topic you’ll learn how analytical techniques are used in the real world. You will look at two very different companies that use analysis and compare and contrast the way that they work.

Why is this important?

So, who uses all these analytical techniques that you have been studying?


There are many companies that use Analytical Science – some companies make chemicals and have to analyse their quality. Other companies, such as hospitals labs, analyse samples obtained from other sources. It is important that you know how the techniques you have studied are actually important to society and how the scientists that work in the companies have to follow rules and regulations in the same way that you do.

Can I get an introduction to this topic?

Yes, why not have a look at the following clip:

So, let’s get to it: how are analytical techniques used in the workplace?

In this section, you will research two different companies that use analytical science. There are literally hundreds of companies that use analytical techniques. As mentioned previously, they may make their own products that have to be tested for purity - this is known as Quality Control. Other companies will analyse samples that customers send them - for example, there are Microbiology laboratories that will test samples of food for small food manufactures to ensure that the food they sell is safe.

The list is almost endless. What you can be sure of is that there are rules and regulations that dominate the way in which these companies operate. These are dictated by law, by local authorities or by the companies themselves. You will have to explain what type of work they do, the jobs that their staff carry out and the types of legal constraints that the company has to adhere to. The quality of your writing is important here, so it would be useful if you could research two very different companies, for example, a large and small company or one that works for profit and one that does not.

What will I be expected to be able to do after studying this topic?

You will be expected to show an understanding of the following:

  • How science is used in these companies

  • The nature of the work done eg, research, production

  • The roles, responsibilities and skills of scientifically qualified (trained) staff

  • The commercial, legal and health and safety constraints on the organisation

  • Specific health and safety regulations used in the workplace

  • The use of risk assessments, both in and outside the laboratory

  • The hazards involved in the operations and details of how they are controlled

  • The site regulations imposed by the managers, local authority and any other external agencies

  • How particular health and safety laws apply to the organization

  • Practical techniques and procedures used in the organisation

  • Practical use of standard procedures

  • Practical techniques used for monitoring

  • The implications and importance of scientists working as a team

What are the key words to learn and use?

  • Health and Safety

  • Risk assessment

  • Site regulations

  • Practical techniques

  • Monitoring

  • Quality control

How long will this topic take to study?

On average you’ll be looking at about ten hours of study time.

What are the main activities on this topic?


Before you start, you need to do some research into Health and Safety and how it affects the workplace. You know that in school, there are several things that you need to do in order to be safe, but did you know that there are laws that tell you what is safe and what isn’t?

You would do well to look at the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) website, which gives loads of information on Health and Safety at Work. You will find it confusing at first, but just a quick look around the site will show you just how much legislation there is concerning Health and Safety in the Workplace. You could start by looking at what sort of legislation affects a school, for example.

When you have got yourself into a workplace frame of mind, it’s time to start looking for your companies. Depending on where you live, there will either be a lot of companies, or very few. If you have no idea where to start, your local general hospital is likely to have a Pathology Laboratory where they do analysis and testing and they are usually very happy to help Science students.

You could also look in the Yellow Pages for Analytical Chemists or in the local library, which will have a directory of local small businesses in your area. Don’t forget, it doesn’t have to be a ‘whole’ company or organisation - it could be the laboratory in a manufacturing or processing company that has to look at what it makes on a regular basis. Perhaps your family would be a good place to start.

When you have found your companies - look again at what you are expected to understand. Then break it down into small sections - for example:

  • Type of company

  • People that work there

  • Science used

  • Health and Safety rules and regulations - this is likely to be a big section - once you know what your company does, you can start looking up what is likely to affect them on the HSE website

  • Risk assessments - both in and outside the lab

The list isn’t endless - just follow what it says on the previous page - you may prefer to draw a mind map. Just make sure that you cover everything that needs to be covered.
Write notes on everything you find out - it may be useful to write the notes for each company alongside one another so that it’s easy to compare them when you’re writing everything up.

Finally - make sure you make a note of everywhere that you get information - this is very important when you’re writing your bibliography.

Portfolio Activity

Write up your findings on the two companies ready for submission. Don’t forget that you need to compare and contrast the two companies and that you need to include how you think it is important that scientist work as a team. You could refer here to the difficulties you encountered whilst working in a group situation.

A large part of your assessment requires you to use other people’s work, such as talking to employees or finding out and using information on the internet. When you use information like this you need to reference it properly in your reports. The following link takes you to a suitable method for referencing:

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