I am writing literature review at the moment

I read many papers trying to understand the topic i am writing about and put what I have understood in my literature review.

sure i reference every thing i write and proper citation

sometimes I feel that what I have wrote is wrong and that is not what the original writer meant and i have misunderstood the topic.

what is going to happen if I finished the research and these mistakes were found?

what shall I do to avoid that.

I am thinking of giving my research to someone to review it, but my supervisor is not an expert in this area, so he won't be able to help.

who can I ask for help?

  • If you don't understand the topic, how can you define the research question?
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 17, 2019 at 9:32
  • @SolarMike I am reading and learning. i haven't got to the research question yet. i am reading what has been done so far.
    – asmgx
    Aug 17, 2019 at 11:06
  • Even if your supervisor is not an expert and experienced, he can help you with your doubts, I am assuming that you haven’t selected your supervisor who is experienced in biological science and you work in pure mechanical; although they are cross-disciplinary.
    – user199
    Aug 17, 2019 at 22:43
  • @user199 it is not he does not know at all about it. he is electrical engineer, while my research about AI. he knows about AI but not to the level that he can find detailed mistakes if existed
    – asmgx
    Aug 18, 2019 at 7:03
  • Most of us want to get our hands dirty with AI. Walk slowly and steadily. Read more on these emerging learning solutions. Note that everyone is struggling with own research.
    – user199
    Aug 18, 2019 at 7:57

1 Answer 1


If you are writing a thesis, it is highly unlikely that someone will find an inaccurate statement, let alone act on it. People have more important things to do than reading student theses and correcting mistakes in them. Even if you grossly misrepresent someone's research in your thesis, and if he learns about it, there is practically nothing he can do about it. Even examiners read theses quite superficially. Essentially, writing a thesis is a training for you and is perceived by others as such.

If you, however, are writing a research article and will publish it in a journal, any inaccurate statement about someone's else research may well lead to him publishing a comment in the same journal. You have to be very careful when you write an article. Make only those statements that you are sure about.

If you want to refer to someone's else article, but do not understand it, you can try to make a generic statement without specifying any concrete details, e.g., "Goldman et al. recently published a paper about X." If you do not understand a paper, but know that it is about X, it is okay to make a statement that the paper is about X. After all, it is a valid statement.

Never write anything you do not understand.

  • 1
    I like this answer except for the first paragraph. It seems to imply that because a thesis is probably not going to be read widely, it doesn't matter if a student writes nonesense, as long as their supervisor doesn't catch it. Yet, the last sentence of your answer contradicts that idea. Your answer would be helped if you would edit it to not give that impression.
    – Tripartio
    Sep 27, 2019 at 14:36

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