Document Title

An Exploration of Pharmacy Education Researchers' Perceptions of and Experiences Conducting Qualitative Research: Challenges and Benefits


Leadership and Higher Education


Objective: To investigate pharmacy education researchers’ experiences conducting qualitative research and their perceptions of qualitative research in pharmacy education.

Methods: One-time, in-depth interviews were conducted with 19 participants across 12 schools/ colleges of pharmacy. Faculty represented the most significant demographic in the sample, followed by graduate students, postdoctoral fellows/scholars, and residents. Interview transcripts were coded, and emergent themes were identified using a modified form of the Sort and Sift, Think and Shift method.

Results: This study revealed that pharmacy education researchers have varying levels of training in conducting qualitative research or none at all. On average, participants had either led or contributed to three qualitative projects (range 1-20 projects). Three emergent themes were identified: 1) pharmacy educators' qualitative training experiences, 2) barriers and challenges to considering and conducting qualitative research in pharmacy education, and 3) benefits of employing qualitative research in pharmacy education.

Conclusion: The application of rigorous qualitative approaches by pharmacy education researchers clearly holds great potential in addressing complex and evolving healthcare problems. However, like other health fields, findings from this study suggest that increased opportunities for training and exposure to qualitative approaches are needed to enhance preparation and appreciation for this vital research tool.

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Publication Title

American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


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Publisher's version