Article Text

Research is ‘a step into the unknown’: an exploration of pharmacists’ perceptions of factors impacting on research participation in the NHS
  1. Richard Lowrie1,
  2. Graeme Morrison1,
  3. Rosalind Lees1,
  4. Christopher H Grant2,
  5. Chris Johnson1,
  6. Fiona MacLean1,
  7. Yvonne Semple1,
  8. Alison Thomson1,
  9. Heather Harrison1,
  10. Alexander B Mullen3,
  11. Norman Lannigan1,
  12. Sara Macdonald4
  1. 1NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Pharmacy and Prescribing Support Unit, Glasgow, Scotland
  2. 2College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4Institute of Health and Wellbeing, General Practice and Primary Care, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Richard Lowrie; Richard.lowrie{at}


Objective This study explored National Health Service (NHS) pharmacists’ perceptions and experiences of pharmacist-led research in the workplace.

Design Semistructured, face-to-face discussions continued until distinct clusters of opinion characteristics formed. Verbatim transcripts of audio-recordings were subjected to framework analysis.

Setting Interviews were carried out with 54 pharmacists with diverse backgrounds and roles from general practices and secondary care in the UK's largest health authority.

Results The purpose and potential of health services research (HSR) was understood and acknowledged to be worthwhile by participants, but a combination of individual and system-related themes tended to make participation difficult, except when this was part of formal postgraduate education leading to a qualification. Lack of prioritisation was routinely cited as the greatest barrier, with motivation, confidence and competence as additional impediments. System-related themes included lack of practical support and pharmacy professional issues. A minority of highly motivated individuals managed to embed research participation into routine activity.

Conclusions Most pharmacists realised the desirability and necessity of research to underpin pharmacy service expansion, but a combination of individual and professional level changes is needed to increase activity. Our findings provide a starting point for better understanding the mindset of hospital-based and general practice-based pharmacists towards research, as well as their perceived barriers and supports.

  • EDUCATION & TRAINING (see Medical Education & Training)

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