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date: 17 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Systematic social observation (SSO) is the application of rigorous, replicable, and generalizable approaches from survey methodology to field observation (ethnography). SSO provides researchers with independent, robust, and quantifiable data about the forms of social interactions most commonly obtained through qualitative inquiry. This chapter begins with a general overview of the SSO approach. Section 14.3 describes the application of SSO approaches to environmental settings. Section 14.4 discusses the ecometric approach first proposed by Raudenbush and Sampson (1999), demonstrating how the science of SSO and the science of ecological analysis were intimately related. Finally, section 14.5 discusses current developments in SSO for environmental analysis. It focuses on three areas: interviewer observational data routinely collected as part of larger social surveys; participant-generated observations using space–time budgets; and Google Street View as a repository for environmental audit data. Developments in crowdsourced SSO data like Mapilliary are also briefly discussed.

Keywords: systematic social observation, survey, environmental criminology, social interaction, observational data

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