The nursing home population requires methods sensitive to the unique abilities and limitations of this subject group. Because researchers need to anticipate deficits in hearing, vision, writing, energy, and memory, as well as the inevitable intrusion of pain and discomfort, many traditional research strategies are not viable in this setting. Yet care must still be taken to be as objective as pos sible and to avoid compromising results. To overcome communica tion barriers, Keith (1986) advocates the use of anthropological methods that allow for maximum discovery over time, adopting nonintrusive techniques sensitive to an older individual's needs. To engage with subjects on their own terms, a flexible research plan that includes an extended period of fieldwork is guided by a proto col that specifies objectives, but does not overly predetermine pro cedures. Following standard participant observation fieldwork the primary data are derived from in-depth interviews recorded on audiotape for later transcription and analysis.