Rethinking measurement of neighborhood in the context of health research Academic Article uri icon

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  • Systematic social observations have been gaining increasing recognition in neighborhood and health research as a way of measuring neighborhood attributes hypothesized to affect residents' well-being. Despite the growing popularity of this methodology, there has not been a critical discussion of potential shortcomings of this approach. This paper reviews some of the challenges and limitations in the systematic social observations methodology. We especially differentiate between limitations related to the methodology itself and challenges the approach presents for researchers in the field. We conclude by offering directions for future research utilizing this technique.


  • Schaefer-McDaniel, Nicole
  • Dunn, James
  • Minian, Nadia
  • Katz, Danielle

publication date

  • August 2010