In order to understand the movement of colloidal materials in natural waters, we first need to have a means of quantifying their physical characteristics. This paper reviews three techniques which utilize light-scattering phenomena to measure the translational diffusion coefficient, the rotational diffusion coefficient, and the electrophoretic mobility of colloids suspended in water. Primary emphasis is to provide sufficient theoretical detail so that hydrologists can evaluate the utility of photon correlation spectrometry, electrophoretic light scattering, and electric birefringence analysis. ?? 1987.