Using artifacts and qualitative methodology to explore pharmacy students' learning practices



Edwards R & I'Anson J (2020) Using artifacts and qualitative methodology to explore pharmacy students' learning practices. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 84 (1), pp. 47-59, Art. No.: 7082.;

Objective: To investigate how pharmacy students negotiate the pedagogical demands of a revised pharmacy curriculum and to understand students’ learning practices and to explore the impact of assessment and feedback regimes in one School of Pharmacy. Methods: Using qualitative methodology and artefacts to explore pharmacy students’ learning in order to understand their learning practices in negotiating a field of inquiry as well as identifying difficulties encountered along the way. Data collection took the form of individual semi-structured interviews with undergraduate pharmacy students. Participants were asked to select three artefacts (a photograph, an object, a song, a picture or something else) that represented what learning as a pharmacy student meant to them and bring that along to an interview. Data were analyzed thematically using mind-mapping and subsequently, Law’s25,26 concepts of practices and collateral realities and Ingold’s12,12 concept of dwelling were used to make sense of the analysis. Results: Findings were grouped into five distinct themes: study practices or strategies adopted, rituals associated with learning and studying, pharmacy knowledge, motivation for learning and ways of learning. In the following section, each of these identified thematics is summarized, with illustrations from the data given. The affective dimensions of learning was a strong emergent theme throughout the data. Conclusions: The use of artefacts in the research process afforded in-depth insight into the specific study practices adopted by a group of pharmacy students. Findings from this study suggest that qualitative methods can be useful in surfacing students’ practice as regards strategies deployed, and difficulties faced in their negotiation of new pharmacy curricula.

learning; pharmacy; qualitative methods; artefacts; practices

American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education: Volume 84, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online25/02/2019
Date accepted by journal18/10/2018
Publisher URL

People (1)


Dr John I'Anson

Dr John I'Anson

Senior Lecturer, Education