skip navigation

Justinfo Subscribe to Stay Informed

Add your conference to our Justice Events calendar


NCJRS Abstract


Subscribe to Stay Informed
Want to be in the know? JUSTINFO is a biweekly e-newsletter containing information about new publications, events, training, funding opportunities, and Web-based resources available from the NCJRS Federal sponsors. Sign up to get JUSTINFO in your inbox.

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection.
To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database.

How to Obtain Documents
NCJ Number: NCJ 172859   Add to Shopping cart   Find in a Library
Title: Systematic Observation of Public Police: Applying Field Research Methods to Policy Issues
  Document URL: Text PDF 
  Dataset URL: DATASET 1
Author(s): S D Mastrofski ; R B Parks ; A J Reiss J, ; R E Worden ; C DeJong ; J B Snipes ; W Terrill
Date Published: 1998
Page Count: 55
  Series: NIJ Research Report
  Annotation: This report describes systematic social observation (SSO), a field research method, and its use in studying police.
Abstract: In SSO, researchers record events as they see them and do not rely upon others to describe or interpret events. Researchers follow well-specified procedures that can be duplicated. SSO offers many advantages for gathering and analyzing information on police at work. It can be designed to suit very specific information needs and does not rely upon the recordkeeping accuracy, candor, or recall of those being observed. It offers a scope and depth of data seldom available through official records and survey questionnaires. However, it is costly, time-consuming, and dependent upon the cooperation of the police. It requires special effort to address the reactivity of research subjects to observers and the reliability of observers in recording events. Training, supervision, and quality control in the field are the best ways to manage these problems, but they take planning, time, and money. Given these constraints, SSO seems less feasible as a mechanism for routinely monitoring police practice and better suited to special studies. Tables, notes
Main Term(s): Police
Index Term(s): Police services coordination ; Studies ; Data collection ; Productivity ; Police management ; Services effectiveness ; Police performance evaluation ; Police research ; Instrument validation
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Grant Number: 95-IJ-CX-0071
Sale Source: US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
810 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531
United States of America
Country: United States of America
Language: English
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

* A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's web site is provided.