Experiments in which the microstructural development can be observed at the same time as the crystallography is described fully opens up new, powerful ways to advance our understanding of microstructural processes such as grain growth, primary and secondary recrystallization and phase transformations. In addition, comparison of results of experiments in different materials can be used to develop general laws for the investigated processes. In this study, we briefly review and compare the results from various ongoing studies undertaken in a variety of materials with emphasis on highlighting (a) the scientific potential of such experiments and (b)similarities and differences in their microstructural evolution. Materials studied include metals e.g. Ti, Ni, Al, Mg, Ti-SULC steel and geological materials such as rocksalt (NaCl), hematite and magnetite. Here, we present experimental results and their interpretation in terms of subgrain to grain-scale processes.