Research is ‘a step into the unknown’: an exploration of pharmacists’ perceptions of factors impacting on research participation in the NHS.

Richard Lowrie, Graeme Morrison, Rosalind Lees, Christopher H Grant, Chris Johnson, Fiona MacLean, Yvonne Semple, Alison Thomson, Heather Harrison, Alexander B Mullen, Norman Lannigan, Sara Macdonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e009180
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2015


  • NHS
  • pharmacist-led research in the workplace
  • health service research
  • HSR
  • pharmacy service expansion
  • research participation

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