After reviewing a number of research methods in nursing a case was made for the use of sensors, such as electrodes, thermisters, thermometers, designed to note or sense change in physical indicators or measurable signs and symptoms. These sensors, it is argued, afford clinical nursing research appropriate measurement and recording tools for any type of study. It is conceded that physical indicators used in research must be subjected to some form of consensual validation and calibration and advice is provided. The author concludes that even the experimental studies are largely descriptive but contends that the instruments of today forecast a miniscule view of tomorrow's possibilities for improving the quality of patient care and adding to the ‘science of practice’.