Annex A5: Research And Development
1. Why research and development?
At both local and national levels research is an essential foundation for decision making. Within health care, research seeks to identify 'best care' by a systematic and structured approach which produces objective data on the quality of care and/or the efficiency of health care delivery. Information gained through research may be used to develop the service through improvements in the structure, process and outcome of health care.
Possible areas for research in the provision of counselling and advice might include:
- an assessment of patients' counselling and advice needs with respect to the use of a particular delivery device.
- an evaluation of the benefits and resource implications of documenting counselling and advice.
2. Sources of information, advice and support
There are many sources of help and support for research which may be intellectual, methodological or financial. They are invaluable to novice and expert researcher alike.
Information on research methods can be gained from background reading and distance learning courses but it is also beneficial to attend a course to meet other researchers as there is much to be gained from the resultant exchange of ideas. Various pharmacy meetings may provide this opportunity such as the British Pharmaceutical Conference, other courses and symposia organised nationally by RPSGB, The College of Pharmacy Practice or The United Kingdom Clinical Pharmacy Association, and those organised locally by Pharmacy Practice Units/Groups or SCPPE. More formal training is available through certain postgraduate diploma and degree courses. Direct approaches for advice on, or assistance with research may also be made to Schools of Pharmacy or to various other local or national centres of expertise. Information on Pharmacy Practice Groups is available from the Chief Pharmacist, SODoH or from National Specialists.
The RPSGB offers research awards for practice research. The Chief Scientist Office, SODoH will support Health Services Research projects and also offer annual training research fellowships which provide total funding for a research project, including training, salary and materials. Funding for service lead development in health care is also available from the National Health Service in Scotland Management Executive. Dedicated funds for Pharmacy Practice Research are available annually through the Chief Pharmacist, SODoH; these tend to be for smaller amounts which would support materials and locum expenses, thus freeing the practitioner's time for research. The College of Pharmacy Practice publish an annual Practice Research Diary which gives details of research awards.