Undergraduate pharmacy students’ perceptions of research in general and attitudes towards pharmacy practice research
Dr Vicky Kritikos, Faculty of Pharmacy, Building A15, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
To investigate pharmacy students’ perceptions of research in general and attitudes towards pharmacy practice research (PPR) at each stage of the undergraduate programme and determine any relationship between perceptions and attitudes, and to validate a measure of attitudes towards PPR in an Australian cohort of pharmacy students.
A 23-item survey was administered to all students enrolled in each year of the 4-year pharmacy undergraduate programme, University of Sydney, Australia. Perceptions of research in general were measured with four items on a five-point semantic-differential scale and attitudes towards PPR with19 items on a five-point Likert scale.
In total 853 students responded to the survey (83% response rate). While students perceived research to be necessary, they found it difficult and were divided in their interests in pursuing research. Attitudes towards PPR were assessed within five identified domains: ‘role of PPR in the curriculum’, ‘engaging in PPR activities’, ‘confidence to do PPR’, ‘faculty involvement of students in PPR’ and ‘role of PPR in the profession’. Most participants agreed that PPR played an important part in the profession and curriculum but almost half of the cohort lacked confidence to undertake PPR, with very few holding positive attitudes towards all five domains. The PPR instrument was found to be valid and reliable. There were significant differences in perceptions and attitudes at various stages of the degree.
Future research should investigate changes in perceptions and attitudes in a single cohort over the 4-year degree, explore factors influencing attitudes and identify strategies for stimulating research interest.