An exploratory study into research utilization is described Firstly an agreed definition of research utilization was arrived at through consultation with a range of nurses in both academia and clinical practice Potential factors that may influence research utilization were identified through a review of current research on research utilization and through a period of fieldwork carried out on two hospital wards in Scotland The findings indicate that research utilization appears to be a complicated issue and cannot be decontextualized or fractionated in order to lead to an understanding but must address multiple factors simultaneously This paper refers to research that may be utilized in clinical nursing practice rather than in education or nursing management The impact of research in clinical practice on education and nursing management is not discounted but the focus of this study is on the influence that research may have on the actual delivery of patient care and in this sense, education and management developments are encompassed