An initial attempt to develop a method of strain analysis based on shape modifications to continuous frequency distributions of structural data during deformation is described. The method uses the dimensionless coefficients of skewness ( β1 = skewness 2/variance 3) and kurtosis ( β2 = kurtosis/variance 2) and although the justification for adopting these parameters is complex, the actual calculation of β1 and β2 is relatively simple. Different frequency distributions can be accurately distinguished by plotting graphs of β1 against β2. Since the effect of strain on a frequency distribution is to modify its shape, theoretically determined shape modifications can be followed on β1 vs β2 graphs for increasing strain and hence the graphs are automatically contoured in terms of strain. The strains involved in natural deformations can then be estimated by plotting on the graphs the β1, β2 values for observed continuous frequency distributions. Various examples of the application of this technique are discussed using data from the literature.