Why do errors happen?

There are lots of reasons why you might find errors in your studies. Sometimes, these mistakes are just typos. For example, in the table comparing Roxithomycin and Clarithromycin, the ranges for age and weight were identical. So this mistake might have just been a copy and paste error.

Also, when multiple authors are writing different sections of the same paper, they may miss places where their text doesn’t align. Other times, authors update older versions of their research without remembering to change all of the text.

Perhaps the study doesn’t actually have errors- it’s possible the authors just failed to clearly report their methods. In very rare cases, systematic reviewers have even uncovered potential fraud when they’ve found errors or unusual data.

Convinced that data extraction matters? Later in this course, we’ll discuss what to do when you find these kinds of errors in your research. For now, let’s start with the kind of information you’ll want to extract.