An ethnographic approach (Fetterman DM. Ethnography Step by Step. Applied Social Research Methods Series, Vol. 17. London, New Delhi, SAGA Publication, 1990) with thematic interviews, participatory observations, the 'activity log' (Yerxa EJ, Baum S. Engagement in daily occupations and life satisfaction among people with spinal cord injuries. Occup Ther J Res 1986;(6)4;318-326), and the 'satisfaction with performance scaled questionnaire' (Yerxa EJ, Burnett-Beaulieu SE, Stocking S, Azen SP. Development of the satisfaction with performance scaled questionnaire (SPSQ). Am J Occup Ther 1988;42:215-221) were used to investigate, in their homes, the performance of occupation/activity in 15 stroke victims dependent in activities of daily living. The data were categorised according to Spradley (Participants Observation. USA, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980). The study describes the activities performed by the individuals themselves, activities done for them, patterns of activity over time and the individuals' satisfaction with, and feelings about, each activity.