In CRM 4.0 developers sometimes needed to extract data from the parent form of a record opened from one of the associated views attached to the record. A contact record opened from an Account would be a perfect example.
The variations I located may resemble these:
Rhett Clinton and I ( along with input from others ), spent a great deal of time trying to figure this out but it was Rhett who finally made the breakthrough.
Here is how it is done within CRM 2011: