International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 739–745 | Cite as

Action research methodology in clinical pharmacy: how to involve and change

  • Lotte Stig NørgaardEmail author
  • Ellen Westh Sørensen


Introduction The focus in clinical pharmacy practice is and has for the last 30–35 years been on changing the role of pharmacy staff into service orientation and patient counselling. One way of doing this is by involving staff in change process and as a researcher to take part in the change process by establishing partnerships with staff. On the background of the authors’ widespread action research (AR)-based experiences, recommendations and comments for how to conduct an AR-study is described, and one of their AR-based studies illustrate the methodology and the research methods used. Methodology AR is defined as an approach to research which is based on a problem-solving relationship between researchers and clients, which aims at both solving a problem and at collaboratively generating new knowledge. Research questions relevant in AR-studies are: what was the working process in this change oriented study? What learning and/or changes took place? What challenges/pitfalls had to be overcome? What were the influence/consequences for the involved parts? When to use If you want to implement new services and want to involve staff and others in the process, an AR methodology is very suitable. The basic advantages of doing AR-based studies are grounded in their participatory and democratic basis and their starting point in problems experienced in practice. Limitations Some of the limitations in AR-studies are that neither of the participants in a project steering group are the only ones to decide. Furthermore, the collective process makes the decision-making procedures relatively complex.


Action research methodology Change oriented research Involvement of participants Pharmacy practice research Practice change 



These studies would not have been possible without the work and support from members of the steering and project groups, the participating interns and their supervisors in 1998–2001, financial support from various foundations (the Pharmacy Foundation, the Hørslev Foundation and the Ministry of Health) and support from the University of Copenhagen.



Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section for Social and Clinical Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesCopenhagen UniversityCopenhagenDenmark

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