This paper describes issues associated with integrating the study of Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) into ongoing scientific and technical research and describes an approach adopted by the authors for their own work with the center for nanophase materials sciences (CNMS) at the Oak Ridge national laboratory (ORNL). Four key questions are considered: (a) What is ELSI and how should it identify and address topics of interest for the CNMS? (b) What advantages accrue to incorporating ELSI into the CNMS? (c) How should the integration of ELSI into the CNMS take place? (d) How should one judge the effectiveness of the activity?