The study investigated nurses' knowledge base for research conduct, attitudes towards research and perceived barriers to research utilization. Data for this descriptive survey were collected through a 41-item-structured questionnaire. The sample consisted of 500 nurses purposively selected from three tertiary hospitals in the Southern part of Nigeria. Results show that 73.4% of the respondents received instruction on research methodology, 48.6% attended research workshop previously, 68.0% have conducted research, and 27.6% have collaborated with others. Educational level has a significant effect on knowledge base (P < 0.05). Significant difference (P < 0.05) was found between the hospitals with respect to conducting research and collaboration. Fifty per cent of the respondents held positive attitudes towards research conduct and utilization, and 40.8% reported utilizing findings frequently. Inability to understand research reports and statistics were identified as barriers. Nursing services managers and educators should promote better research education focusing on practitioners' knowledge/experience and attitudes towards research.