This investigation dealt with the experimental determination of a select chemical specie - the hydroxyl radical - present in the non-flamed end gases ahead of the flame front in a spark-ignited engine operating under conditions of both normal and knocking combustion. Concentration measurements of the hydroxyl radical present in the end gases were obtained with the technique of resonance absorption spectroscopy utilizing a broadband-output, frequency-tunable, flashlamp-pumped, organic-dye laser. The dye laser and a photographic spectrometer were placed on opposite sides of a single cylinder research engine and the combustion chamber of the engine was fitted with quartz windows that allowed the dye-laser light pulse to pass through the end gas region and into the spectrometer. The dye laser was pulsed once at a present crankangle during the combustion cycle recording the 2∑+-2∏ electronic transition absorption spectrum on film. The absorption technique allowed hydroxyl radical concentration measurements within the range of 6.0x10-10 to 1.5x10-8 moles/cc which was sufficient to measure the hydroxyl radical in the non-inflamed end gases several degrees ahead of the advancing flame front.