Most surgical oncologists receive exposure to clinical studies in their fellowships; however they receive little if any practical knowledge as to how to become a clinical researcher. This article will provide a broad introduction to setting up a community based surgical oncology research program with emphasis on the practical issues necessary to be successful. Topics to be discussed include choosing appropriate studies, setting up the team, IRB issues, financial concerns, helpful hints for enrolling patients, and much more. Getting a program going can seem daunting but ultimately will be very rewarding for both the surgeon and their patients. J. Surg. Oncol. 2011; 104:447–451. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.