Inadequate knowledge about research processes within cancer health services has the potential to limit the development of evidence-based care. A survey was emailed to 201 health professionals working in cancer services in a major city to identify perceived levels of research knowledge and barriers to conducting research. Eighty-five people (42%) responded. Barriers to conducting research included timeconstraints (84 %), workload (72 %), limited research funding (74 %) and limited knowledge (34 %). Gaps in research knowledge included performing quantitative analyses (79 %), gaining funds (71 %), using qualitative and quantitative research methods (62 and 67 %) and formulating a research proposal (54 %). More nurses reported having gaps in research knowledge than other professions. Two thirds (66 %) of participants reported an interest in further education. There is a need for research training for practising health professionals and a focus on research as the basis for providing evidence-based care in undergraduate courses. Research, translation of research into practice and evidence-based care need to be incorporated into health professional roles throughout their careers. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014.