Abstract This paper introduces the controversy surrounding active voluntary euthanasia and describes the legal position on euthanasia and assisted suicide in the UK. Findings from studies of the nurses' attitudes to euthanasia from the national and international literature are reviewed. There are acknowledged difficulties in carrying out research into attitudes to euthanasia and hence the review of findings from the published studies is followed by a methodological review. This methodological review examines the research design and data collection methods used in the published studies, problems with understanding definitions of euthanasia and the measurement of attitudes. The paper concludes with a discussion of how research in this area may influence nursing practice.