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.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of a service containing self-management support delivered by community pharmacists to patients with asthma.
METHODS: A systematic search was performed in the following databases from inception to January 2017: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library's Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) Plus, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and PsycInfo. Original studies were selected if they met the following criteria: (a) provided by community pharmacists; (b) the intervention service included the essential components of asthma self-management; (c) included a usual care group; and (d) measured control/severity of asthma symptoms, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), or medication adherence.
RESULTS: Of the 639 articles screened, 12 studies involving 2,121 asthma patients were included. Six studies were randomized trials, and the other 6 were nonrandomized trials. Patients with asthma who received a self-management support service by community pharmacists had better symptom control/lower severity compared with those receiving usual care (standardized mean difference [SMD] = 0.46; 95% CI = 0.09-0.82) with high heterogeneity (I2=82.6%; P = 0.000). The overall improvement in HRQOL and medication adherence among patients in the asthma self-management support group was greater than for those in the usual care group with SMD of 0.23 (95% CI = 0.12-0.34) and 0.44 (95% CI = 0.27-0.61), respectively. Evidence of heterogeneity was not observed in these 2 outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: Self-management support service provided by community pharmacists can help improve symptom control, quality of life, and medication adherence in patients with asthma.
DISCLOSURES: This study received financial support from Naresuan University's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Fund. Two authors, Saini and Krass, have studies that were included in this review. However, they were not involved in the processes that could bias outcomes of the present study, that is, quality assessment and meta-analysis. The remaining authors have declared no conflicts of interest.