Concept Mapping and Pattern Matching in Pharmacy Practice Research

  • Shane L. ScahillEmail author


This chapter aims to introduce techniques to the pharmacy practice research community that have been applied to the wider health services research sector. The health-care environment is busy, complex and ever-changing, and clear and structured thinking about the future is a challenging task. This is an international problem for the health-care sector, and pharmacy has not escaped this challenge. Pharmacists don’t have an adequate voice and have been found not to think enough about the future. “Concept mapping” is a generic term that describes any process which helps to represent ideas as pictures or maps. There are many types of concept-mapping techniques, and variants have been used mostly to aid individual creativity in problem solving. Usually this occurs through synthesis of maps by a single person who is endeavouring to conceptualise complex issues within health and find solutions to them. Trochim’s Concept-Mapping technique is underpinned by the need for group creativity; it uses mixed methods, is participatory and predominantly interpretative. This means that it is a meld of robust statistical process and subjective interpretation, based on the researcher(s) understanding of study context. The focus of this chapter is to introduce concept mapping and pattern matching and to outline the application of these techniques within the context of community pharmacy practice. A future research agenda is posed.


Concept mapping Pattern matching Pharmaceutical health services research Structured conceptualisation Structured thinking in pharmacy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Management, Massey Business SchoolMassey UniversityAucklandNew Zealand

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