This paper describes some aspects of a study which looked at clients' perceptions of health visiting, and how, if at all, these related to their perceptions of health needs The researcher explored the alterations of these perceptions over time, and also examined how they related to professional perceptions The background to this study is described The methods used are outlined The study was earned out in two phases The first phase used semistructured interviews and diaries to explore 41 parents' perceptions at one point in time In phase two, a series of three semistructured interviews were completed over a 10-month period with 19 primiparous parents, commencing antenatally, and with 10 of their health visitors Analysis was by the grounded theory method The eight concept areas which emerged from the data are listed The paper goes on to discuss the use of case studies in developing a substantive theory Finally, some of the implications which this study has for health visiting practice are outlined