Using an action research process in pharmacy practice research—A cooperative project between university and internship pharmacies

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Action research (AR) is a common research-based methodology useful for development and organizational changes in health care when participant involvement is key. However, AR is not widely used for research in the development of pharmaceutical care services in pharmacy practice.


To disseminate the experience from using AR methodology to develop cognitive services in pharmacies by describing how the AR process was conducted in a specific study, and to describe the outcome for participants.


The study was conducted over a 3-year period and run by a steering group of researchers, pharmacy students, and preceptors. The study design was based on AR methodology. The following data production methods were used to describe and evaluate the AR model: documentary analysis, qualitative interviews, and questionnaires.


Experiences from using AR methodology and the outcome for participants are described. A set of principles was followed while the study, called the Pharmacy-University study, was being conducted. These principles are considered useful for designing future AR studies. Outcome for participating pharmacies was registered for staff-oriented and patient-oriented activities. Outcome for students was practice as project leaders and enhancement of clinical pharmacy-based skills. Outcome for researchers and the steering group conducting the study was in-depth knowledge of the status of pharmacies in giving advice to patient groups, and effective learning methods for students.


Developing and implementing cognitive pharmaceutical services (CPS) involves wide-reaching changes that require the willingness of pharmacy and staff as well as external partners. The use of AR methodology creates a platform that supports raising the awareness and the possible inclusion of these partners. During this study, a set of tools was developed for use in implementing CPS as part of AR.

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