An approach is described, employing a data acquisition system that provides information regarding the statistical cycle variation in a range of performance parameters of a spark ignition engine fuelled with methane. The approach can provide a simultaneous record of the rate of work production as well as the time taken for a flame kernel to be developed following spark ignition and the subsequent time needed to complete the combustion process. Such information can be provided either continuously or randomly over a large number of cycles. Thus, cyclic variation in performance parameters is linked to important combustion parameters without recourse to high speed photography nor to the use of transparent heads or pistons. Some typical results involving a single cylinder variable compression ratio CFR engine are then presented.