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Single shot parameter assessment by retrieval from signal encoding (SS-PARSE) is a recently introduced method to obtain quantitative parameter maps from a single-shot (typically 65 ms) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal. Because it explicitly models local magnetization decay and phase evolution occurring during the signal 1) it can provide quantitative estimates of local transverse magnetization magnitude and phase, frequency, and relaxation rate and 2) it is free of geometric distortion or blurring due to field nonuniformities within the tissues. These properties promise to be advantageous in functional brain MRI (fMRI) and other dynamic imaging applications. In this paper, the basic phenomena underlying the performance of SS-PARSE in practice are discussed. Basic sources of bias errors in the parameter estimates are discussed, and performance of the method is characterized in terms of parameter estimates from simulation, experimental phantoms, and in vivo studies. Characteristics of the sum-of-square-error cost function and the iterative search algorithm are discussed, and their relative roles in determining estimation accuracy are described. Practical guidelines for use of the method are presented and discussed. In vivo parameter maps are also presented.