Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 73–80 | Cite as

Ascertaining consumer perspectives of medication information sources using a modified repertory grid technique

  • Jennifer Tio
  • Adam LaCaze
  • W. Neil CottrellEmail author
Original Paper



To establish the range of medicine information sources used by consumers and their perception of the reliability of these, using the repertory grid technique.


Consumers visiting three community pharmacies in Brisbane, Australia, were interviewed using the repertory grid technique. During the interview, consumers were asked to name up to three medicine information sources that they used for a supermarket medicine, an over-the-counter medicine and a prescription medicine. They were then presented with their named information sources in groups of three and asked to discriminate between these in terms of their perceived reliability of the information source. The descriptors used by the consumer to discriminate between the information sources are known as constructs and these were recorded. The consumer was then asked to rate each of their information sources against each generated construct.

Main outcome measure

The range of information sources generated was determined along with the perceived reliability of these from the calculated median score of each information source when rated on each generated construct.


A total of 110 consumers were interviewed and identified 648 information sources that they would use. The most frequent information sources cited by the 110 consumers were their doctor (83%), written information (90%) and the pharmacist (78%). There were a total of 299 constructs generated by 88 of the consumers and these were themed into 16 discrete categories. The most common generated constructs themes were “good knowledge” (15%), “training” (14%) and “trustworthiness” (13%). The consumer perception of their information sources were that the doctor and pharmacist have good knowledge (median score 1) and are trained (median score 1) and were perceived to be trustworthy (median score 3 and 2, respectively).


The repertory grid technique was successful in identifying the information sources consumers accessed to find out about their medicines and in identifying the perception of these sources in terms of their reliability. The repertory grid technique offers a novel method for future research into consumer preferences for different treatment options.


Consumer Consumer decision Medicine information Pharmacist Physician Repertory grid Quality use of medicines 



We are grateful to the owners of the three community pharmacists who allowed the interviewer access to their customers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PharmacyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Royal Victorian Eye and Ear HospitalEast MelbourneAustralia

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