High resolution electron microscope (HREM) studies provide the ability to study desorption and sputtering from the perspective of the analysis of the resultant materials, their structure, composition and atomic registry (orientation with respect to the original,material and the irradiation). This is a neglected facet of surface irradiation effects research, yet it is the most important from the technological point of view. In the current study, surface electron irradiation processes in oxides were studied in-situ in a Hitachi H-9000 HREM operated at incident electron energies of 100–300 keV. It was found that a wide range of processes occur in the HREM which are dependent on the energy and flux of the incident electrons and on the material properties. Both ballistic and electronic irradiation damage was observed and the material responses included surface sputtering, amorphisation, chemical disordering, desorption of O and metal surface layer creation, surface roughening and bulk defect creation.