The objective of this paper is to review the difficulties associated with measuring self-help groups for what they are, and the methodology used. This report identifies issues inherent to research on self-help groups for the elderly. Elderly group participants sharing a common problem and meeting to discuss it without the benefit of professional support will, without doubt, become a more and more prevalent resource for use in the future. Consequently, it is imperative to ascertain which questions the researchers should be asking. Three research objectives are described: descriptive studies, process examination and the assessment of outcomes considered relevant to self-help groups. The discussion addresses three types of objects under study: the group participants, the group itself and the interorganizational ties established by the group, particularly in dealing with health service agencies.