The unfolded protein response (UPR) is an adaptive survival mechanism through which cells can weather the stress of misfolded protein accumulation induced by a wide variety of pathophysiologic and pharmacologic insults. The ER chaperone GRP78 is a central modulator of the UPR both through its protein-binding capacity and its direct regulation of the UPR signaling molecules IRE1α, PERK, and ATF6. Recent reports have revealed the presence of GRP78 on the surface of cancer cells. Biological roles for cell-surface GRP78 include competing NH(2)-domain and COOH-domain agonist receptor activities that induce opposite effects on proliferation and apoptosis. Modulation of the UPR impacts both of these processes directly and indirectly. Here, we outline methods that we use to investigate UPR modulation via direct ligation of cell-surface GRP78. Specifically, we review methods of cell culture, cell-signaling analysis with emphasis on UPR components, and ultimately, the impact that these have on cell proliferation, survival, and apoptosis.