Difficulty in eating and refusal to eat are common problems for severely demented persons. Feeding can be one of the most frustrating and complex daily tasks performed by caregivers of demented elders in institutional settings. This paper describes the development of a new method for measuring caregiver-elder feeding activities and interactions--the Feeding Traceline Technique (FTLT). The FTLT, which involves both the transcription of videotape recorded data and the coding of data for computer input, is designed to account for all mealtime behaviors of both feeders and elders, to account for the cyclic and repetitive nature of eating and to permit quantification of complex interactions between feeders and institutionalized residents. Data describing the reliability and validity of the method are presented. Issues discussed relate to the units of analysis, the time and energy expenditure of the method in comparison to the yield of information, and the effect of videotaping on measurement.