DESIGN: We introduced the shared learning experience in clinical pharmacy and pharmacotherapeutic practice experiences involving 87 third-year and 51 fourth-year students. Both student groups undertook the practice experiences together, with third-year students working in smaller groups mentored by fourth-year students.
ASSESSMENT: A majority of the students (> 75%) believed that they learned to work as a team during their practice experiences and that the shared learning approach provided an opportunity to practice their communication skills. Similarly, most respondents (> 70%) agreed that the new approach would help them become effective members of the healthcare team and would facilitate their professional relationships in future practice. Almost two-thirds of the students believed that the shared learning enhanced their ability to understand clinical problems. However, about 31% of the pharmacy students felt that they could have learned clinical problem-solving skills equally well working only with peers from their own student group.
CONCLUSIONS: The pharmacy students in the current study generally believed that the shared-learning approach enhanced their ability to understand clinical problems and improved their communication and teamwork skills. Both groups of students were positive that they had acquired some skills through the shared-learning approach.
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.