This study was concerned with Finnish nurses' attitudes to nursing research and with the associations of different background factors with these attitudes. The data were collected with a purpose-designed, structured questionnaire. The study was carried out in one central hospital, one central university hospital and 10 community health centres in Finland. A total of 400 nurses took part. The response rate was 67%. The data were analysed using SPSS statistical software. Attitudes to nursing research were generally quite positive, although over half of the nurses felt their own relationship to nursing science was quite distant. There were also shortfalls with respect to the information value and utilisation of research results. Only one-third took the view that doing research is an important part of the nurse's job. Age, the frequency of reading the professional literature, participation in training courses, training received in research and development, and the type of workplace were associated with attitudes. The results underline the importance of paying closer attention to the choice of research objects in the field of nursing science. Greater effort should also be invested in supporting and developing the application of research results. It is recommended that more courses on research methodology and other relevant training be made available to practical nurses.