We envisage a fundamental study of the physical mechanisms (dislocation slip versus deformation twinning) involved in plastic deformation of hexagonal close-packed (HCP) metals like titanium and magnesium. A novel combination of X-ray imaging and diffraction techniques, termed X-ray diffraction contrast tomography (DCT), will be used to investigate details of the deformation process in the bulk of polycrystalline specimen. DCT provides access to the position, 3D shape, (average) orientation and elastic strain tensor of grains in polycrystalline sample volumes containing up to 1000 grains and more.Ultimately, an extension of the X-ray DCT technique is associated with a section topography methodology on the same instrument. This combination enables the measurement of local orientation and elastic strain tensors inside selected bulk grains. A very preliminary study of this approach is carried out on a magnesium alloy, underlying the current limitations and possible improvements of such approach.In this thesis, the data acquisition and analysis procedures required for this type of combined characterisation approach have been developed. The work is supported by the use of neutron diffraction, for an in-situ loading experiments, and two-dimensional electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), for the initial microstructure of the materials and cross-validation of the results obtained with the X-ray DCT technique.