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To examine clinical nurses' research capacity and investigate related factors (i.e. the different phases of the research process).Research capacity includes research-related activities, being informed and applying research.A descriptive-correlational design was used and data were collected by means of a structured questionnaire (59-items). A total of 364 registered nurses from a University Hospital participated. The response rate was 61%. A majority reported that their research capacity was acceptable or weak (77.7%), while 7.6% who were involved in research rated it good or excellent; 19.6% evaluated their level of research competence as fairly good and 4.1% wanted to increase their research involvement.The result demonstrated high statistical correlation, indicating that nurses are aware of the areas involved in research-related activities. Areas of perceived low competence were associated with reliability, sensitivity and specificity, control of confounding variables, sources of funding and computerised statistical packages. Areas of capacity reported were access to literature, data collection, such as interviews and field notes, as well as research ethics.Enhanced research supervision is central for improving registered nurses' research capacity.The findings from this survey should be useful for professional development.