Homogeneity of the existing (Virginia Tobacco Leaves CTA-VTL-2 (ICHTJ), Apatite Concentrate CTA-AC-1 (ICHTJ), Fine Fly Ash CTA-FFA-1 (ICHTJ) and candidate certified reference materials (CRMs) (IAEA-338 Lichen, IAEA-413 Algae, Spruce Shoots RMF II (Germany)) was studied by neutron activation analysis (NAA). Several samples of small mass (ca. 1 or 10 mg) taken from various containers were analyzed by instrumental NAA and the results for several elements were compared by Fisher's test and t-test with analogous series of results for samples taken from one container. In the second approach, sampling variance was estimated for some elements from overall variance and the components of analytical variance. The results were interpreted with the aid of Ingamells' sampling constant. Particle size distribution of the reference materials was also measured by several techniques. In addition quantitative determinations for some elements were performed and results compared with the certified values. The results of the present study were discussed with reference to suitability of CRMs to microanalytical techniques. It was pointed out that the term "microanalysis" itself is not always unequivocally understood and used.