Four major development topics highlight present inductively coupled plasma (i.c.p.) activities: (a) i.c.p. spectrum characterization, diagnostics and interpretations; (b) i.c.p. discharge and analyte properties within the discharge; (c) sample introduction, and (d) extended use of the i.c.p. discharge as in atomic fluorescence and mass spectrometry. The background, status and prospects of i.c.p. spectroscopy with particular emphasis on these development areas are examined.