Mercer University's Institutional Review Board approved this study. All manuscripts published in pharmacy practice-related journals from January 2004 through December 2008 were reviewed to identify student authors. Pharmacy journals considered for inclusion were those indexed in Medline and focused on pharmacy practice, that contained original research, reports, clinical reviews, case studies or case reports, and meta analyses. Also, to be included, a journal had to have published at least 10 student-authored papers from January 2004 and December 2008. The number of student-authored publications was determined by a review of a year of publications in each journal. If fewer than 2 papers by students were identified, no further effort was made to identify student authors in other journal years. Journals that met the inclusion criteria included: the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, Annals of Pharmacotherapy, Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, Pharmacotherapy, and the Consultant Pharmacist. Several other journals that were examined but not included either did not clearly identify authors as students, or there were too few articles by students. The number of student authors and number of publications authored were determined from the journals; one of the authors had to be named as a current student or as a student at the time the paper was developed, or have no degree listed (an indication that the author might be a student), with subsequent follow-up revealing that the author was a student.
Corresponding authors were contacted using the address listed on the manuscript to verify student authorship and obtain an e-mail address for the student author. If a corresponding author's address was not listed on the publication, a search was conducted to locate contact information. Missing e-mail addresses were obtained from professional organization membership records, school/college Web sites, or the editorial staff of the journal in which the author had published. If the student's contact information was unknown by the corresponding author, the Web site of the state board of pharmacy from the student's pharmacy school or the last known state of residence was searched for contact information. State boards of pharmacy Web sites were searched by cross referencing maiden names with married names or searching for first names only to locate female authors who had married and changed their names. Contact information was also obtained using Facebook5
sites. White Pages7
and Zabba Search8
were used to locate postal addresses or phone numbers. In some instances, letters were sent to student authors asking them to contact the study authors by US mail or e-mail.
A 17-item online questionnaire was developed using SurveyMonkey.9
Prior to surveying the student authors, the questionnaire was reviewed by 5 pharmacy practice faculty members who made minor modifications. The questionnaire was then pilot tested by 15 pharmacy students who had authored a publication between 2004 and 2008. Minor refinements were made to clarify certain questions. Student authors from the pilot project were not included in the study.
The questionnaire was divided into 3 sections. In the first section, demographic information was collected including age, sex, professional degree(s) obtained, year of pharmacy school graduation, and any postgraduate training or graduate program experiences. Other background information collected included the respondents' description of the type of manuscript published, description of the primary author (faculty, non-faculty, or the student), and journal name. In addition, respondents were asked whether they had completed an academic APPE or teaching certificate program; whether the manuscript authored was associated with a didactic requirement, an APPE, or other type of project; and whether they had any plans for obtaining an additional advanced degree.
In the second section, respondents were asked to rate whether they considered various aspects of the scholarly process valuable (using a 5-point Likert scale with responses ranging from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree) along with a single item that addressed whether they had been encouraged by a mentor to conduct the research for publication. Three open-ended questions asked why they wanted to publish a manuscript, and what they liked most and least about scholarly writing. Responses to these open-ended questions were grouped into general categories for reporting purposes.
The third section collected information on the respondent's interest in a career in academic pharmacy before and after involvement in the scholarly activity, and a self-rating of their achievements, ranging from not being an achiever to being an extremely high achiever. Also, information was collected on the respondent's current job/position.
E-mails were sent to the student authors asking them to complete the online survey instrument. They were allowed 2 weeks to complete and submit the questionnaire. Two reminder e-mails were sent at 2- and 3-week intervals after the initial e-mail. Nonresponders were contacted again after 4 weeks with a more personalized message that included the name of the journal they had published in and the name of the primary author. Two weeks later, any remaining nonresponders received a phone call asking them to complete the questionnaire.
Descriptive statistics were used to describe most of the data collected. A 2-tailed t test was calculated to compare respondents' interest in a career in academic pharmacy before and after participating in the scholarly activity. In addition, the following groups were compared to determine their interest in an academic career before after participating in the scholarly activity: (1) those who had completed a teaching certificate program or an academic APPE, and (2) those who had completed a residency. Alpha was set at 0.05 for significance.