I am reviewing the MsC. dissertation of a friend of mine before it is submitted to the evaluation board. I started looking for formatting errors, badly written parts, malformed citations, typos, orphaned references, factual errors, logical gaps, and other stuff like that. One of the authors that she most cite is, of course, her advisor.
However, when I checked all that stuff, I found that the works of her advisor are very sloppy, containing a lot of errors, typos, incomplete sentences, misnumbered pages, misnumbered sections, inconsistent spacing and margins, mixing text with two different fonts in the same paragraph for no reason, misplaced images obscuring parts of the text and even sentences that were left painted with red or yellow to be reviewed before publication, but that were published anyway without further review.
The worse is that her advisor works contains a lot of malformed citations. Those includes things like: typos in cited authors' names; opening quotation marks without closing them (so I can't tell for sure where the quote ends); closing quotation marks that didn't open anywhere; quoted parts that differ significantly from the quoted work when I double check; citations from works that do not show up in the references section; cited text parts that don't appear anywhere in the cited work (maybe misquoted something from paper A as being from paper B); papers in the reference section that aren't cited anywhere in the text; quoting things in the middle of the text without telling who or what is being quoted; telling that someone is being cited without actually providing a citation, etc. It is so sloppy, that it certainly even contains a lot of unintended plagiarism not due to malice, but due to the severe lack of competence and discipline on properly quoting stuff and on editing, formatting and reviewing documents.
Luckily, this is not my work and I don't have any relation with her advisor. Also, my job is reviewing her paper, not her advisor's papers. But, if I were in her place, what should I do if I am obliged to cite a lot of very low-quality work? Trying to argue or denounce or whatever with the advisor is probably just a way to ensure being dropped from the program, specially near the scheduled date for the deadline when the text is in its final development steps. Also, it is likely that this might cause some trouble inside the evaluation board that if composed by competent people would likely perceive all of those (since I did, surely could them). Further, even after the degree is received, the fact that the Master's dissertation is based in so much low-quality works is likely to cause problems further down the road. What should I do?