Research on the quality, outcomes and cost of pharmaceutical care is essential in order for pharmacy practice to continue to evolve in response to changes to healthcare needs, policy and economic constraints. Research is required in order to understand the unique characteristics of pharmacy based services: what is effective, what is not, under what circumstances and for which patient groups. Research is also the enabler through which pharmacists can meet both their personal and professional aspirations.
What is research?
Research is the process of retrieving generalisable new knowledge by addressing clearly defined questions using systematic and rigorous methods.
Both qualitative and quantitative research use scientifically robust methods to collect and analyse data in order to further understand different phenomena and / or the relationships between them. In contrast, both audit and service evaluation aim to measure standards of care, typically in a localised setting. Audit aims to measure current practice against agreed standards; service evaluation looks to see whether a service delivers its objectives.
For information on the key differences between research, audit and service evaluation aims and activities, click here.