Abstract Angular distributions for 3He elastic scattering by 7Li, 12C, 19F, 23Na and 35Cl have been measured at 11 MeV and analysed in terms of the optical model. Good fits have been obtained in all cases. A systematic study of ambiguities has been carried out. No conclusions concerning the necessity for a spin-orbit term in the optical-model potential could be drawn from the experimental results. The influence of uncertainties in the absolute cross sections on the optical parameters has been studied.