The need for research that is applicable to the most common health problems is well recognized. Some of this research will be in the area of primary care, and family doctors must contribute to the research for it to be effective in improving care. Using a sample of key informants from 10 different countries, this paper explores the extent to which family doctors are involved in research in the various regions of the globe. We find great variability in the level of research being conducted by family doctors at academic institutions and in the development of the community research structures, such as practice based research networks. Despite the problems, family doctors are involved in research in every region assessed, and there is room for optimism that this role will be substantially expanded.