Academic medicine hinges on high-quality results from research. Surgeon scientists spend their career acquiring grants, writing papers, and educating a next generation of scientists. The real question is how well are we at playing this game? Does our research change surgical practice or affect patient care or government policy? Ideally, published research does and will continue to shape the way care is delivered. Key questions remain, however; what is the return on research investment in orthopaedics? How can surgeons decide which "evidence" matters, and does practice-change only refer to Level I evidence (randomized trials)? This review considers all these questions.