The ability to study radiation damage in situ will directly enable the rapid innovation and qualification of materials for nuclear applications by allowing direct observation of the effects of radiation damage accumulation. This is a challenging task, as the measurement technique must be noncontact, nondestructive, rapid, and still allow for online irradiation without interference. Applicable methods of mechanical spectroscopy are surveyed, noting their potential usefulness for characterizing radiation-induced microstructural changes in situ. The transient grating (TG) spectroscopy technique appears most suited for these studies, due to its noncontact, nondestructive nature, its ability to rapidly probe materials to the depth of ion irradiation, and the large number of deconvolvable components extractable from its signal. Work is proposed to separate the individual mechanisms of irradiation damage using in situ and ex situ TG spectroscopy, through a suite of single-effect and integrated experiments.