The U.S. Geological Survey uses continuous water-quality monitors to assess variations in the quality of the Nation's surface water. A common system configuration for data collection is the four-parameter water-quality monitoring system, which collects temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and pH data, although systems can be configured to measure other properties such as turbidity or chlorophyll. The sensors that are used to measure these water properties require careful field observation, cleaning, and calibration procedures, as well as thorough procedures for the computation and publication of final records. Data from sensors can be used in conjunction with collected samples and chemical analyses to estimate chemical loads. This report provides guidelines for site-selection considerations, sensor test methods, field procedures, error correction, data computation, and review and publication processes. These procedures have evolved over the past three decades, and the process continues to evolve with newer technologies.