If my conclusions in this book are to carry real weight in the therapeutic community then they must be seen to evolve from a rigorous study that can withstand academic scrutiny. This chapter therefore is primarily aimed at those who wish to reassure themselves in this way. It outlines the methodology and theoretical framework used to direct the analysis of the literature and selected case studies. It sets the scene for the cycles of analysis that follow and which systematically build up a picture of what makes short term therapy short. I hope that the reader who prefers to get straight to the discoveries will feel free to move swiftly to the next chapter, but for those who want to know how I came to these particular cycles of analysis I continue here.