STROBE: A structured approach to observation of the decision-making environment

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Information Analysts must be able to gather information and interpret it reliably to promote good organizational decision making. The Information Analyst has three ways of obtaining this information: (1) interviewing, (2) investigation of hard data, and (3) observation. Until recently, observation has only been accomplished subconsciously. This paper describes how STRuctured OBservation of the Environment (STROBE) was used to aid in determining the information requirements of a regional blood service organization. STROBE was developed from a methodology used in film criticism. It is conceptualized by drawing a parallel between the concrete and abstract elements in a film, and similar elements found in an organization. It is then applied to the blood service organization and examples are provided for both concrete and abstract elements. These examples demonstrate that structured observation provides information unobtainable through interviewing and investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInformation and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1984
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management


  • Management information systems
  • information analyst
  • information gathering
  • interviewing
  • investigation
  • mise-en-scene analysis
  • observation
  • structured observation


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