Being Efficient: What Are Acceptable Timeframes for Completing Basic Laboratory Practical Procedures?

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Current laboratory-based practical classes are arranged so that all students can complete the required activities on time. With this system there is no incentive for students to optimize the time they spend in the laboratory or have awareness of whether they are conducting the activities in a timely manner. However, the acceptable timeframes for specific basic laboratory procedures within industry are not known. This survey-based study aimed to gain a perception of the employed analytical chemists on the importance of time in conducting practical procedures. The participants were also asked to indicate what duration of time would be acceptable to complete specific basic laboratory practical procedures within industry based on their experience. This was compared to the time that final year chemistry students took to complete basic laboratory practical procedures. Our findings highlighted that time is an important factor in the workplace and should be considered a key competency when preparing analytical chemists. Participants in higher education assumed more time was given in industry to conduct laboratory procedures than those who were working in industry. Students took considerably longer to complete the activities than were perceived to be timely within industry. Speed in conducting practical skills was considered especially important in the pharmaceutical industry. Overall, our findings highlight that working in a timely manner should be considered within an analytical chemistry curriculum and embedded within assessments. Students who aspire to work within industry should have awareness of the importance of generating acceptable data while working in a timely manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3873-3880
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2023


  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemical Education Research
  • Laboratory Instruction
  • Misconceptions/Discrepant Events
  • Professional Development
  • Second-Year Undergraduate
  • Upper-Division Undergraduate


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