Due to the influence of anthropogenic activities and environmental conditions, organic contaminants can migrate into water, soil and atmospheric ecological environment, which endanger food security and human health, and hinder the sustainable development of society. As a kind of crucial technique for degrading organic pollutants, advanced oxidation technologies can decompose or transform organic contaminants by producing reactive oxygen species (ROS) with different oxidation activities and reaction characteristics, such as hydroxyl radical, sulfate radical, superoxide radical, singlet oxygen, high-valent metal species as well as surface active intermediates. The qualitative and semi-quantitative analysis of the type, contribution and reaction pathway of ROS is crucial to explore mechanism of contaminant degradation. Based on previous literatures, this study summarized the main characteristics of ROS (redox potentials and reaction mechanisms) and reviewed the qualitative and semi-quantitative analysis methods of ROS, including electron paramagnetic resonance, quenching, chemical probe, electrochemical method, in situ
Raman, Mossbauer spectroscopy, synchrotron radiation and quantitative structure-activity relationship analysis method. Their advantages, shortcoming and application scenarios were discussed. For providing a basis for more scientific and reasonable exploration of organic degradation mechanism and the exploitation of technology application exploitation, the possible development trend of qualitative and semi-quantitative analysis methods for ROS in the future was also proposed.