BACKGROUND: This article discusses the study design and methods used to contextualize and assess the social capital of seniors living in congregate housing residences in Calgary, Alberta. The project is being funded as a pilot project under the Institute of Aging, Canadian Institutes for Health Research. DESIGN/METHODS: Working with seniors living in 5 congregate housing residencies in Calgary, the project uses a mixed method approach to develop grounded measures of the social capital of seniors. The project integrates both qualitative and quantitative methods in a 3-phase research design: 1) qualitative, 2) quantitative, and 3) qualitative. Phase 1 uses gender-specific focus groups; phase 2 involves the administration of individual surveys that include a social network module; and phase 3 uses anamolous-case interviews. Not only does the study design allow us to develop grounded measures of social capital but it also permits us to test how well the three methods work separately, and how well they fit together to achieve project goals. This article describes the selection of the study population, the multiple methods used in the research and a brief discussion of our conceptualization and measurement of social capital.