In this paper we study the remainder of interpolatory quadrature formulae. For this purpose we develop a simple but quite general comparison technique for linear functionals. Applied to quadrature formulae it allows to eliminate one of the nodes and to estimate the remainder of the old formula in terms of the new one. By repeated application we may compare with quadrature formulae having only a few nodes left or even no nodes at all. With the help of this method we obtain asymptotically best possible error bounds for the Clenshaw-Curtis quadrature and other Pólya type formulae.
Our comparison technique can also be applied to the problem of definiteness, i.e. the question whether the remainderR[f] of a formula of orderm can be represented asc·f(m)(ξ). By successive elimination of nodes we obtain a sequence of sufficient criteria for definiteness including all the criteria known to us as special cases.
Finally we ask for good and worst quadrature formulae within certain classes. We shall see that amongst all quadrature formulae with positive coefficients and fixed orderm the Gauss type formulae are worst. Interpreted in terms of Peano kernels our theorem yields results on monosplines which may be of interest in themselves.