This paper presents a tested and useful method of research in clinical nursing at the doctoral and post-doctoral levels of research skill. Field theory-based, salient variables in patients' experience are inductively arrived at from empirical data. The unitizing of data provides true numbers for measurements of relationships and change in the dependent variable. Descriptive analysis and data-based theory benefit from increased reliability.

The authors argue that clinical field research permits a wide choice in designs and observational tools to fit the exigencies of the patient situation under investigation. The method is particularly useful td nurses in direct nursing care situations.