Background: To date hydrocephalus researchers acknowledge the need for rigorous but utilitarian fluid mechanics understanding and methodologies in studying normal and hydrocephalic intracranial dynamics. Pressure volume models and electric circuit analogs introduced pressure into volume conservation; but control volume analysis enforces independent conditions on pressure and volume. Previously, utilization of clinical measurements has been limited to understanding of the relative amplitude and timing of flow, volume and pressure waveforms; qualitative approaches without a clear framework for meaningful quantitative comparison. Methods: Control volume analysis is presented to introduce the reader to the theoretical background of this foundational fluid mechanics technique for application to general control volumes. This approach is able to directly incorporate the diverse measurements obtained by clinicians to better elucidate intracranial dynamics and progression to disorder. Results: Several examples of meaningful intracranial control volumes and the particular measurement sets needed for the analysis are discussed. Conclusion: Control volume analysis provides a framework to guide the type and location of measurements and also a way to interpret the resulting data within a fundamental fluid physics analysis.