A generic method has been developed for the analysis of polar compounds and oligomers in secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formed during atmospheric simulation chamber experiments. The technique has been successfully applied to SOA formed in a variety of systems, ranging from ozonolysis of biogenic volatile organic compounds to aromatic photooxidation. An example application of the method is described for the SOA produced from the reaction of ozone with cis-3-hexenyl acetate, an important biogenic precursor. A range of solvents were tested as extraction media, and water was found to yield the highest recovery. Extracts were analyzed using reversed-phase liquid chromatography coupled to ion trap mass spectrometry. In order to determine correct molecular weight assignments and increase sensitivity for less polar species, a series of low-concentration mobile-phase additives were used (NaCl, LiBr, NH4OH). Lithium bromide produced better fragmentation patterns, with more structural information than in the other cases with no reduction in sensitivity. The main reaction products identified in the particle-phase were 3-acetoxypropanal, 3-acetoxypropanoic acid, and 3-acetoxypropane peroxoic acid and a series of dimers and trimers up to 500 Da. Structural identification of oligomers indicates the presence of linear polyesters possibly formed via esterfication reactions or decomposition of peroxyhemiacetals.