Seismic response of a lightly reinforced stiff shear-wall structure subjected to ground motions grouped as near- or far-field according to their distance to causative faults is investigated. A model structure that had earlier been studied both experimentally and analytically in the context of a co-ordinated research project is re-examined. The structure is a five-storey lightly reinforced shear-wall model subjected analytically to 55 ground motion records from firm soil sites. Several response parameters are obtained by linear and non-linear analyses. Additional analyses are performed to ascertain the validity and range of applicability of current approximate displacement-based analysis procedures. The procedures considered in this study are found to be inadequate in representing the anticipated response of the structure employed here regardless of the type of excitation, so modifications are suggested for improved results. Copyright (C) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.