This article discusses two dimensions related to the insider-outsider dilemma in conducting anthropological research in the health setting. One dimenstion concerns advantages of the insider's special knowledge in selecting and conducting successful research in a health institution. The other dimension deals with the ambiguity and confusion of roles attributed by staff to the investigator who may be seen as practitioner as well as social scientist. The patient may also see the researcher as performing dual, and possibly conflicting, roles. The advantage gained in the first dimension may be negated, to some extent, by the disadvantages associated with the second.