Objectives The present study focuses on Systematic Social Observation (SSO) as a method to investigate physical and social disorder at different units of analysis. The study contributes to the aggregation bias debate and to the ‘social science of ecological assessment’ in two ways: ﬁrst, by presenting a new model that directly controls for observer bias in ecological constructs and second, by attempting to identify systematic sources of bias in SSO that affect the valid and reliable measurement of physical and social disorder at both street segments and neighborhoods. Methods Data on physical disorder (e.g., litter, cigarette butts) and social disorder (e.g., loitering adults) from 1422 street segments in 253 different neighborhoods in a conurbation of the greater The Hague area (the Netherlands) are analyzed using cross-classiﬁed mul- tilevel models. Results Neighborhood differences in disorder are overestimated when scholars fail to recognize the cross-classiﬁed data structure of an SSO study that is due to allocation of street segments to observers and neighborhoods. Not correcting for observer bias and Disclaimer This research was funded out of independent resources and has no actual or potential conﬂict of interest including any ﬁnancial personal or other relationships with other people of organizations. Electronic supplementary
Journal of Quantitative Criminology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 20, 2016
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