The performance of radio frequency-powered glow discharge mass spectrometry (rf-GDMS) has been evaluated for the direct analysis of nonconducting samples, The parameters under study are the discharge power, the discharge pressure, the sample versus exit orifice distance, and the effect of cryogenic cooling. Optimum conditions are used to evaluate some analytical figures bf merit for the analysis of compacted oxide-based materials. A precision of better than 5% is obtained on all measured species in the discharge, and a semiquantitative analysis delivers results within a factor of 2 from the certified concentrations. Relative sensitivity factors are reported and compared for various matrices. The analytical data demonstrate the potential capabilities of rf-GDMS for direct analysis of various kinds of nonconducting materials.