A major reason for establishment of parks and reserves is to provide secure areas for long-term studies on the biophysical components of The Biosphere. Research, therefore, should be seen as a legitimate and essential, indeed routine, activity in most protected areas, and particularly in the biologically rich reserves in the tropical countries. But, as with any other use, research needs to be planned and the execution of its results effectively managed. Protected-area management authorities must accordingly have a clear policy of what research they will actively encourage and how to ensure that the results are applicable by management. This paper reviews the range of research topics for which tropical protected areas provide opportunities, and suggests some guidelines on how the protected-areas management authority can most effectively direct and utilize the results of research programmes.