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The paper describes the collection, some methodological difficulties and interpretation of some data from a study carried out in the Research Unit 1969–75, with students from three intakes (1969, 1970 and 1971) to six types of experimental and the traditional scheme of nurse training. (Differences between the experimental and traditional course students are described.) It is suggested that the experimental and traditional course students from the study are different in terms of attitudes. It is also proposed that nurse training can be seen as survival of the fittest and that differences in courses result in different obstacles to be overcome. It is emphasized that the traditional courses investigated in the study are not representative of such courses in general. This paper complements an earlier paper on ‘Evaluation research: the need for multiple criteria’ (House 1977).