Purpose: The objective of this study was to analyze the evolution and nature of ethics research within the Korean nursing community. Method: For this retrospective quantitative study, articles related to biomedical issues published by nurses or nursing students in peer-reviewed Korean journals and master theses and doctoral dissertations written in Korea from 1968 to 2008 were collected via the databases at The Korean Nurses Association, The Korean Education and Research Information Service, The Korean Studies Information Service System, and The Korean Medical Database. Results: In total, 110 were articles published and 75 master theses and doctoral dissertations presented. Of these, 148 (80%) studies used an empirical design. The period 2001-2005 presented a higher number of studies (n=71, 38.4%). Eighteen peer-reviewed journals in the field of nursing published ethical studies. The main topics of research were professional ethics for nurses (25.4%, n=47), do-not-resuscitate orders (n=21), and ethical dilemmas (n=19). Most empirical studies employed quantitative designs (79.7%, n=118). Conclusion: The findings of this study highlight important issues for the development of nursing ethics research, including the diversity of research topics, subjects, and design, the selection and convergence of research topics, researcher training, and international multidisciplinary collaboration.