Abstract: Developing thermoelectric materials with superior performance means tailoring interrelated thermoelectric physical parameters – electrical conductivities, Seebeck coefficients, and thermal conductivities – for a crystalline system. High electrical conductivity, low thermal conductivity, and a high Seebeck coefficient are desirable for thermoelectric materials. Therefore, knowledge of the relation between electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity is essential to improve thermoelectric properties. In general, research in recent years has focused on developing thermoelectric structures and materials of high efficiency. The importance of this parameter is universally recognized; it is an established, ubiquitous, routinely used tool for material, device, equipment and process characterization both in the thermoelectric industry and in research. In this paper, basic knowledge of thermoelectric materials and an overview of parameters that affect the figure of merit ZT are provided. The prospects for the optimization of thermoelectric materials and their applications are also discussed.