In situ observation is of great value in the study of radiation damage utilizing electron or ion irradiation. We summarize the facilities and give examples of work found around the world. In situ observations of irradiation behavior have fallen into two broad classes. One class consists of long-term irradiation, with observations of microstructural evolution as a function of the radiation dose in which the advantage of in situ observation has been the maintenance of specimen position, orientation, and temperature. A second class has involved the recording of individual damage events in situations in which subsequent evolution would render the correct interpretation of ex situ observations impossible. In this review, examples of the first class of observation include ion-beam amorphization, damage accumulation, plastic flow, implant precipitation, precipitate evolution under irradiation, and damage recovery by thermal annealing. Examples of the second class of observation include single isolated ion impacts that produce defects in the form of dislocation loops, amorphous zones, or surface craters, and single ion impact-sputtering events. Experiments in both classes of observations attempt to reveal the kinetics underlying damage production, accumulation, and evolution.