This article contributes to the debate about phenomenology as a research approach in nursing by providing a systematic review of what nurse researchers hold as phenomenology in published empirical studies. Based on the assumption that presentations of phenomenological approaches in peer-reviewed journals have consequences for the quality of future research, the aim was to analyze articles presenting phenomenological studies and, in light of the findings, raise a discussion about addressing scientific criteria. The analysis revealed considerable variations, ranging from brief to detailed descriptions of the stated phenomenological approach, and from inconsistencies to methodological clarity and rigor. Variations, apparent inconsistencies, and omissions made it unclear what makes a phenomenological study phenomenological. There is a need for clarifying how the principles of the phenomenological philosophy are implemented in a particular study before publishing. This should include an articulation of methodological keywords of the investigated phenomenon, and how an open attitude was adopted.
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