A method of computing correlation coefficients for object detection that takes advantage of using azimuthally averaged reference projections is described and compared with two alternative methods-computing a cross-correlation function or a local correlation coefficient versus the azimuthally averaged reference projections. Two examples of an application from structural biology involving the detection of projection views of biological macromolecules in electron micrographs are discussed. It is found that a novel approach to computing a local correlation coefficient versus azimuthally averaged reference projections, using a rotational correlation coefficient, outperforms using a cross-correlation function and a local correlation coefficient in object detection from simulated images with a range of levels of simulated additive noise. The three approaches perform similarly in detecting macromolecular views in electron microscope images of a globular macromolecular complex (the ribosome). The rotational correlation coefficient outperforms the other methods in detection of keyhole limpet hemocyanin macromolecular views in electron micrographs.