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Beyond the numbers: Utilising existing textual data for qualitative research in pharmacy and health services research

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Laura Lindsey, Dr Adam RathboneORCiD

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Abstract

Introduction Qualitative research is a well-established branch of scientific enquiry that draws insights from experiences.1, 2Within social and administrative pharmacy research, interview and focus group methods are a mainstay of collecting data. However, other disciplines such as sociology, psychology and anthropology, use existing data that is routinely to provide a substance for qualitative inquiry. Drawing on our experiences of using interdisciplinary research methods, this paper presents three case studies where textual data was qualitatively analysed and critically examines the strengths and weaknesses of these method in relation to pharmacy practice. Methods Three case studies were selected that access different types of existing, routinely collected data from pharmacy practice. This included 1) a study utilizing boardroom meeting minutes, 2) a study using incident reports and 3) a study using WhatsApp messages as data. Each case study is described and critically examined. The strengths and weaknesses of this approach are based on our own reflections of completing the studies. Results Relationships between people, products and organizations can be examined in documents, records and text that is routinely collected. Existing data can also provide insights into culture, working patterns, education and errors. Practical advantages of using existing data include faster data collection and access to first-hand, accounts of experiences of human relationship with pharmaceutical products and practice. Drawbacks of using existing data are that some data may be missing, participants may no longer be accessible for participant checking and the context of language may have changed. Conclusion This paper critically examined the use of methods rarely used in pharmacy practice research which draw on existing, routinely collected data. Adopting a wider range of data collection methods may will provide new understanding and insights into social and clinical pharmacy practice. troduction:Qualitativeresearchisawell-establishedbranchofscientificenquirythatdrawsinsightsfromexperiences.1,2Withinsocialandadministrativepharmacyresearch,interviewandfocusgroupmethodsareamainstayofcollectingdata.However,otherdisciplinessuchassociology,psychologyandanthropology,useexistingdatathatisroutinelytoprovideasubstanceforqualitativeinquiry.Drawingonourexperiencesofusinginterdisciplinaryresearchmethods,thispaperpresentsthreecasestudieswheretextualdatawasqualitativelyanalysedandcriticallyexaminesthestrengthsandweaknessesofthesemethodinrelationtopharmacypractice.Methods:Threecasestudieswereselectedthataccessdifferenttypesofexisting,routinelycollecteddatafrompharmacypractice.Thisincluded1)astudyutilisingboardroommeetingminutes,2)astudyusingincidentreportsand3)astudyusingWhatsAppmessagesasdata.Eachcasestudyisdescribedandcriti-callyexamined.Thestrengthsandweaknessesofthisapproacharebasedonourownreflectionsofcom-pletingthestudies.Results:Relationshipsbetweenpeople,productsandorganisationscanbeexaminedindocuments,recordsandtextthatisroutinelycollected.Existingdatacanalsoprovideinsightsintoculture,workingpatterns,educationanderrors.Practicaladvantagesofusingexistingdataincludefasterdatacollectionandaccesstofirst-hand,accountsofexperiencesofhumanrelationshipwithpharmaceuticalproductsandpractice.Drawbacksofusingexistingdataarethatsomedatamaybemissing,participantsmaynolongerbeaccessi-bleforparticipantcheckingandthecontextoflanguagemayhavechanged.Conclusion:Thispapercriticallyexaminedtheuseofmethodsrarelyusedinpharmacypracticeresearchwhichdrawonexisting,routinelycollecteddata.Adoptingawiderrangeofdatacollectionmethodsmaywillprovidenewunderstandingandinsightsintosocialandclinicalpharmacypractice.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Lindsey L, Rathbone AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy

Year: 2021

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 20/04/2021

Acceptance date: 09/04/2021

Date deposited: 28/04/2021

ISSN (print): 1551-7411

ISSN (electronic): 1934-8150

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.

URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sapharm.2021.04.010

DOI: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2021.04.010


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