Functionalized organic layers prepared by plasma processes have complex surface chemistries. The problem of elucidating such chemistries is an extensively studied subject. One of the preponderant methods used to acquire information on specific functional groups is chemical derivatization XPS. In this communication, we focus on rather popular chemical derivatization XPS approaches, for instance, the quantification of amines with 4-trifluoromethyl benzaldehyde and of hydroxyl groups with trifluoroacetic anhydride. Although these procedures have been used for a long period by various laboratories, the use of varying protocols is obvious. Comparison of results is therefore difficult. We discuss steps toward a valid experimental procedure, in particular, the calculation of concentrations, the preparation of test samples, the pitfalls, and the shortcomings. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.