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AbstractThe work of Michel Foucault, the French philosopher who was interested in power relationships, has resonated with many nurses who seek a radically analytical view of nursing practice. The purpose of this article is to explore 'ethics' through a Foucauldian lens, in a conceptual and methodological sense. The intention is to provide a useful framework that will help researchers critically to explore aspects of nursing practice that relate to the construction of the self, morality and identity, be that nurse or patient related. The fundamentals of the research method of genealogy and the methods of ethics are reviewed. Using an example taken from the sexual health practice area, advice is given on how to structure data collection, incorporate interview data, avoid discourse determinism and measure resistance.