Objectives. To identify the factors that encourage or deter family medicine physicians and residents in Israel from participating in research. Method. In October 1995, a questionnaire containing items on demographic variables, research attitudes, and academic and research activities in primary care settings was mailed to a random sample of 200 family medicine physicians and residents (out of approximately 600) employed by the General Sick Fund, the largest health maintenance organization in Israel. The questionnaire also contained items regarding difficulties in participating in research and asked for opinions about several general statements about research in family practice. Results. In all, 190 physicians responded, for a response rate of 95%. Based on their responses, the respondents were divided into four groups by amount of research involvement. Univariate analysis using the chi-square test was used for the comparison of variables among the four groups. The respondents reporting greater knowledge of and involvement in research were, by and large, men (p = .01) who were qualified specialists with academic status (p < .00001). They also taught students (p = .0005) and residents (p < .0005), participated in more conferences (p < .0005), and while in residency training had had a mentor who encouraged involvement in research (p = .0001). Conclusion. Research is essential to family medicine with regard to both primary care practice and academic activities; its development, however, has been inhibited. Given the results of this preliminary study, family medicine residency programs would be well advised to assign a research mentor to every resident; also, time and resources should be devoted to research in postgraduate training programs. Perhaps more important, women physicians in Israel should be encouraged to participate more actively in research, and support for them in their special needs should be made available.