Geomorphological explanations are incomplete unless they involve some understanding of the way in which the materials that cover the face of the Earth behave and have behaved. The following discussions are intended as guideposts to those starting out on research paths by presenting some of the main techniques that characterise materials and are useful in geomorphological investigations. Clearly, the authors cannot be allembracing; full textbooks have been written about individual methods used, so a summary of the method, its principles, instruments and interpretation is given with a selection of references, which lead the way to the more advanced work that the potential user must necessarily move towards.