Globally, universities are continuously seeking to understand the voice of student nurses and nurse academics/faculty to improve the theory-practice connection. The Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET) was used in this collaborative research undertaken between the School of Nursing in the University of Hertfordshire, UK and University of South Carolina Aiken. ZMET was developed by Dr Gerald Zaltman (Zaltman, 1997) and is a patented market research tool that combines qualitative and quantitative methodology.
It is grounded in various domains, including verbal and non-verbal communication, visual sociology, visual anthropology, semiotics and mental imagery (Christensen and Olson, 2002; Zaltman and Coulter, 1995). The eleven-step in-depth interview technique elicits both conscious and unconscious thoughts by exploring metaphoric expressions that lead to the discovery of both rational and non-rational factors influencing thoughts, emotions, intrinsic values and behaviour of an individual.