This case demonstrates how a passion for understanding the meanings that others attribute to their experiences and how they understand their own worlds can lead both to the development of a methodology and to a lifetime of engagement with a topic area as it evolves over time, in this instance, doctoral student learning and experience of the doctoral process. Thus, it introduces the topic by describing how it emerged and was pursued over a career using a range of creative, incisive and effective research techniques, each of which is illustrated in the text. The case also shows how a range of such techniques can be combined to provide triangulated perspectives on a complex topic while also allowing for the selection of techniques best suited to the needs, abilities and predispositions of different types of research participants. This case will provide readers with tools to help them understand their own experiences, those of their peers and their research participants. Those who have used the techniques have recognised their potency for in-depth revelations, so they should be used with commitment to ethical principles. The illustrations might also provide stimulus for the development of new variants on the techniques to suit particular circumstances.