The Use of the Literature Review The first issue that needs to be examined in order to draw conclusions about the study is how the researchers used the literature review as the basis for their investigation. Upon reading the article, the first thing that stands out is that the literature review is very small. The researchers seemed to have devoted very little effort to providing a thorough literature review on the existing knowledge about errors in medication prescribing. The researchers do not use the literature review as a means of demonstrating the factors that have been shown in other studies to result in medication errors, or the interventions that have been shown to be effective in preventing errors in prescribing mediations. Instead, the researchers used the literature review to show that researchers have found certain factors to be associated with errors in medication prescription and lead to adverse effects in hospitalized patients. For example, the researchers noted that adverse drug events account for about one-fifth of all adverse events in hospitalized patients. The researchers also explained the basic factors that have been found to result in medication errors, such as a lack of up-to-date patient information, misreading medications with similar names, and poor information collection from patients, and even not understanding or misunderstanding abbreviations on medication orders (Lesar, Briceland & Stein, 1997). In this way, the researchers used the literature review to establish that a problem exists with regards to prescription errors in hospitals. However, the researchers did not use the literature review to provide a thorough examination of previous studies on the subject to demonstrate where gaps in the literature exist, or where findings have been ambiguous to require further investigation.
Ethical Considerations in Data Collection The next issue of importance in examining the research process used to undertake the investigation contained in the article is the ethical considerations that were used in the data collection process. Interestingly, the researchers did not discuss ethical considerations related to the process of data collection. Instead, the researchers simply described the data that were used for the study, as well as requirements that were placed on whether individual incidents of medication errors were included in the study. The lack of an explanation about ethical considerations might make it seem as though no ethical considerations occurred in undertaking the investigation (Lesar, Briceland & Stein, 1997). However, one reason for the lack of discussion about ethical considerations is that prescription error data from hospital records for the period of July 1, 1994 to June 30, 1995 was used. This means that the researchers were using secondary data collected by the hospital. The researchers did not have direct contact with patients. Furthermore, it might be assumed that the medication error data from the hospital did not contain patient information or other sensitive information. At the same time, the hospital likely did not provide any sensitive patient information in the medication error data given to the researchers even if such