Writing a research proposal: A workshop course developed for Pharm D students

Marion K Slack, Terri Warholak, John E Murphy


Background: Students typically need substantial assistance in writing research proposals since few have relevant experience.

Aims: To describe a course for assisting students to write a research proposal.

Method: Workshops consisted of a short lecture on writing a specific proposal component, a proposal outline, and an interactive class format using worksheets. Advising individual student groups was shared between the course instructor and project adviser. Rating scales were used for summative evaluation.

Results: Proposals written during the course were rated higher (p<0.05) than were proposals written without the course. The mean knowledge rating was substantially higher on the post-test (4.3 on a scale of 0 to 5) than on the retrospective pretest (1.4; p<0.001).

Conclusion: A course developed to enable students to write a proposal for a research study in which mentoring was shared between the project adviser and the course instructor, a focus on the writing aspects of proposal development, and a workshop class format, was associated with higher ratings of quality as well as higher ratings of knowledge learned. 


Workshops, Writing, Research Proposal, Student Research

Full Text:



ACPE (Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education) (2014). Accreditation standards and key elements for the professional programme in pharmacy leading to the doctor of pharmacy degree: Draft (online). Available at: https:// Accessed 16th December, 2014.

Boucher, B.A. (2004). Design and conduct of clinical research: An elective course. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 68(2), Article 42.

Davis, N.M. (2000). A medication error prevention educational retreat. Hospital

Pharmacy, 35, 466-467.

Gagne R.M. & Briggs, L.J. (1979). Principles of Instructional Design. New York, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Howard, G.S. (1980). Response-shift bias: A problem in evaluating interventions with pre/post self-reports. Evaluation Review, 4, 93-106.

Jamerson, B. & Herring, C. (2007). Pharmacy-based clinical research: Principles and practices. America’s Pharmacist, November, 37-50.

Langley, C.A., Jesson, J.K., Wilson, K.A., Clarke, L. & Hatfield, K. (2007). What purpose does the MPharm research project serve? Pharmacy Education, 7(3), 199-205.

Lee, M.W., Clay, P.G., Kennedy, W.K., Kennedy, M.L., Sifontis, N.M., Simonson, D., Sowinski, K.M., Taylor, W.J., Teply, R.M., Vardeny, O. & Welty, T.E. (2010). The essential research curriculum for doctor of pharmacy degree programs. Pharmacotherapy, 30(9), 966.

Kim, S.E., Whittington, J.I., Nguyen, L.M., Ambrose, P.J. & Corelli, R.L. (2010). Pharmacy students’ perceptions of a required senior research project. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74(10), Article 190.

Martin, J.R., Kramer, S. & Slack, M.K. (2010). Demonstrating the Literature Search Process through Innovative Role Play Instruction for Pharmacy Students. [abstract] American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74(10), 190.

Morris, C.T., Hatton, R.C. & Kimberlin, C.L. (2011). Factors associated with the publication of scholarly articles by pharmacists. American Journal of Health- System Pharmacy, 68, 1640-1645.

Murphy, J.E., Slack, M.K., Boesen, K.P. & Kirking, D.M. (2007). Research-related coursework and research experiences in Doctor of Pharmacy programs. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 71(6), Article 113.

Nicholson, T., Belcastro, P.A. & Gold, R.S. (1985). Restrospective pretest-posttest analysis versus traditional pretest-posttest analysis. Psychological Reports, 57, 525-526.

Ogunyemi, D., Bazargan, M., Norris, K., Jones-Quaidoo, S., Wolf, K., Edelstein, R., Baker, R.S. & Calmes, D. (2005). The development of a mandatory medical thesis in an urban medical school. Teaching and Learning in Medicine: An International Journal, 17(4), 363-369.

Overholser, B.R., Foster, D.R., Henry, J.R., Plake, K.S. & Sowinski, K.M. (2010). The influence of an elective introductory clinical research course on pharmacy student interest in pursuing research-based careers. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74(9), Article 165.

Rosenberg, L.E. (1999). Physician-scientists- Endangered and essential. Science, 283, 331.

Rossenwasser, D. & Stephen, J. (1997). Writing Analytically. Fort Worth, Texas: Harcourt College Publishers.

Sackett, D.L., Rosenberg, W.M.C., Gray, J.A, Haynes, R.B., Richardson, W.S. (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. British Medical Journal, 312, 71-72.

Sauer, K.A. & Draugalis, J.R. (2000). Mock proposals and other group assignments: Bridging didactic research evaluation skills to research application. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 64, 307-312.

Schulz, K.F., Altman, D.G. & Moher, D. (2010). The CONSORT Group: CONSORT 2010 Statement: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials. Annals of Internal Medicine, 152, Epub 24 March.

Slack, M.K., Coyle, R.A. & Draugalis, J.R. (2001). An evaluation of instruments used to assess the impact of interdisciplinary training on health professional students. National Academies of Practice Forum, 3, 59-67.

Vaidean, G.D., Vansal, S.S., Moore, R.J. & Feldman, S. (2013). Student scientific inquiry in the core curriculum. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 77(8), Article 176.

Wiggins, G.P. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding By Design. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. EBSCO Publishing: eBook Collection.

Zier, K. & Stagnaro-Green, A. (2001). A multifaceted program to encourage medical students’ research. Academic Medicine. 76(7), 743-747.


  • There are currently no refbacks.
article/comments.tpl article/footer.tpl