KEY FINDINGS: Research philosophy has been introduced to offer an alternative way to think about problem-driven research that is normally conducted. To clarify the research philosophy, four research paradigms, i.e. positivism (or empiricism), postpositivism (or realism), interpretivism (or constructivism) and pragmatism, are investigated according to philosophical realms, i.e. ontology, epistemology, axiology and logic of inquiry. With the application of research philosophy, some examples of quantitative and qualitative research were elaborated along with the conventional research approach. Understanding research philosophy is crucial for pharmacy researchers and pharmacists, as it underpins the choice of methodology and data collection.
CONCLUSIONS: The review provides the overview of research philosophy and its application in pharmacy practice research. Further discussion on this vital issue is warranted to help generate quality evidence for pharmacy practice.