Getting started in research

SHPA supports members throughout their research career, including conducting and publishing research for the first time. This page — aimed at Early Career Pharmacists, Technicians, Residents, and pharmacy students beginning their research career — will help get your research started by outlining available research support resources and explaining two publishing opportunities.

Research Toolkit

If you are an Early Career Pharmacist, Resident, or pharmacy student interested in research and publishing, the best place to start is the Research Toolkit. The Research Toolkit is a series of articles coordinated by the SHPA Research Leadership Committee. Benefiting from the collective insights and experience of SHPA’s most research-passionate members, the series is designed to help emerging researchers develop their research and writing skills, providing a solid basis for both conducting and publishing your research.

With more articles in development, the series currently contains:

  • Writing your first paper: a practical guide for clinicians by Shania Liu, Deanna Mill, Amy Page, and Kenneth Lee.This article is a fantastically detailed guide to help you through the process of writing your first research paper. From developing a title, explaining your method, showcasing your results, and writing a compelling abstract, this article is the best place to start your publishing journey.
  • Writing a systematic review: Part 1 by Shania Liu, Deanna Mill, Amy Page, and Kenneth Lee. Literature reviews are important but often misunderstood academic exercises. This article guides readers through the different forms of literature reviews before focusing specifically on the systematic review. Providing helpful tips and resources, this guide is essential reading for those interested in writing their own systematic review.
  • Better measurement for better results: A practice guide to strengthening your survey-based research by Jennie Walker, Hafiz Khusyairi, Phillip J. Batterham, and Amy Page. Surveys, commonly used in medical research, are an effective tool to deliver accurate and reproducible results. This article, with example questions and additional resources, will help you find an existing, validated scale suitable for your research and then assist you interpreting your results.
  • Redcap is when data capture leads to good: An overview and tips for best practice by Shane Fernandez and Amy Page. REDCap is a powerful, web-based solution for collecting and managing your research data. Designed for researchers, by researchers, REDCap’s interface is fairly accessible but making sure you get the most of out of this important tool can lift your research to the next level.
  • An introduction to linear regression by Tina Nguyen. Linear regression is a statistical method to determine if there is a relationship between variables. This accessible guide takes readers through the underlying assumptions of linear regression, leading to a deeper understanding of both simple and multiple linear regressions using applications R and Stata.
  • Writing a systematic review: Part 2 by Deborah Hawthorne, Amanda Quek, Kenneth Lee, Shania Liu, and Amy T. Page. Having decided that a systematic review is the right approach for you (see Writing a systematic review: Part 1), this article helps you identify relevant studies, appraise them, and then summarise the results using a reproducible search strategy. There are five essential steps in writing a systematic review; plan, search, analyse, synthesise, write, and publish. This article will delve into the initial two stages of plan and search (and document).
  • A beginner's guide to qualitative analysis in pharmacy practice research by Eyob Alemayehu Gebreyohannes, Kenneth Lee, and Amy T. Page. Unlike quantitative analysis (aka ‘statistics’), which focuses on numerical data, qualitative analysis involves systematically organising, interpreting, and making sense of participant perspectives, and ideas expressed primarily as text. This guide demonstrates how to approach qualitative data analysis in pharmacy practice research, offering practical tips and considerations to enhance the quality and rigor of your study.

Publishing in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research 

The Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research (JPPR) is SHPA's flagship, peer reviewed journal and is provided free to all SHPA members. Established in 1966, JPPR was the first to publish on deprescribing and is a great place to consider publishing your research. 

JPPR supports the research of Early Career Pharmacists, Residents, and pharmacy students. Early Career Pharmacists, Residents, and pharmacy students are welcome to submit to any article type at JPPR, however Emerging Insights articles have been developed with early career researchers in mind. Emerging Insights are shorter, peer reviewed articles that provide an opportunity to share your research with a wider, academic audience. Specific submission requirements can be found in the JPPR Author Guidelines.

To begin, familiarise yourself with recent issues of JPPR. This will give you an indication of the standard and type of content JPPR may be interested in publishing and whether your research would be a good fit. 

To support SHPA members submitting to JPPR, we have developed a First Time Author Guide and a ScholarOne Quick Start Guide

Research Reflection articles in Pharmacy GRIT

Research Reflection is a new short article type (~500 words), published in Pharmacy GRIT.

Research Reflection articles are not peer reviewed and provide an opportunity to share your research experiences with the broader SHPA community. Research Reflection articles are not suitable for reporting findings, but rather are intended as a more personal account. You are encouraged to reflect both on the research process itself and your experiences as a researcher. 

To get started writing your Research Reflection manuscript, consider the following:

  • What were the strengths of your research?
  • What challenges did you encounter?
  • What would you change next time? Why?
  • Did you try a method/analysis for the first time?
  • What did you gain as a researcher from this experience?
  • Are you better prepared to undertake future research? How?

You can address any of these questions directly in your Research Reflection manuscript. However, you do not have to address any of these specific questions. They are provided as writing prompts to get you started. Please use them only if you find them helpful.

View more information about Research Reflection articles, including submission requirements here.

As Pharmacy GRIT is a publication by members, and for members, you must be a SHPA member to publish in Pharmacy GRIT.