Applying heuristic inquiry to nurse migration from the UK to Australia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Nurse Researcher


RCN Publishing Company Ltd.

Place of Publication

United Kingdom


School of Nursing and Midwifery




Vafeas, C., & Hendricks, J. (2017). Applying heuristic inquiry to nurse migration from the UK to Australia. Nurse Researcher, 24(3), 13-18.


Background Heuristic inquiry is a research approach that improves understanding of the essence of an experience. This qualitative method relies on researchers' ability to discover and interpret their own experience while exploring those of others. Aim To present a discussion of heuristic inquiry's methodology and its application to the experience of nurse migration. Discussion The researcher's commitment to the research is central to heuristic inquiry. It is immersive, reflective, reiterative and a personally-affecting method of gathering knowledge. Researchers are acknowledged as the only people who can validate the findings of the research by exploring their own experiences while also examining those of others with the same experiences to truly understand the phenomena being researched. This paper presents the ways in which the heuristic process guides this discovery in relation to traditional research steps. Conclusion Heuristic inquiry is an appropriate method for exploring nurses' experiences of migration because nurse researchers can tell their own stories and it brings understanding of themselves and the phenomenon as experienced by others. Implications for practice Although not a popular method in nursing research, heuristic inquiry offers a depth of exploration and understanding that may not be revealed by other methods.



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