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The concrete insertion of nurses into the context of an inquiry contributes to empirical evaluation research of health promotion programs. As interveners and concrete actors in social movements, nurses are in a privileged position to give realism to a local understanding of the political and cultural context of evaluative research. Drawing on the practice of empirical evaluation research, this paper seeks to generate new methodological approaches in a way that broadens nursing inquiries in community health nursing. It explores new ways of thinking about epistemology and knowledge production in nursing practice. For 5 months an evaluative research project adopting a participatory-action research approach was conducted with local community actors in an AIDS prevention project in Amazonas (Brazil) in a prostitution setting. An auto-ethnographic journal was used as a reflective approach for the critical analysis of nursing research activities. This paper calls for a closer relationship between scientific research settings and the sociopolitical and the sociocultural aspects of nursing practice. It increases an incorporation of popular, social and professional experiential learning and skill acquisition in embedded knowledge production.