For the geoscientist, interest in sediment dynamics relates to the understanding of modern processes, together with their extrapolation to the interpretation of ancient deposits within the stratigraphic record. Over the years, various measurement techniques and scientific approaches have been applied to the determination of sediment transport pathways and the derivation of erosion, transport and deposition rates. Recently, a number of new techniques and approaches have been developed, associated with different temporal and spatial scales, and it is appropriate and timely to review a representative selection, by reference to recently undertaken coastal and shelf investigations. The various contributions in the volume cover, for example: optical and acoustic backscatter measurements; particle tracking; the use of multibeam imagery; grain-size trend analysis; and analytic, numerical and conceptual modelling. Although no single method provides a complete solution to the problem posed, this overview will assist sedimentologists and sediment dynamicists in their selection of the most appropriate approaches, towards the establishment of 'high confidence' in the interpretation of sediment transport rates and directions.