In a couple of either books or articles that I have read as part of my research there have been some minor errors (when taken in context of the whole work) when they relate to the area I am researching. My general research area is History.

For example one is, Area A operated as a B. Wherein fact it should have said Area A operated as a C.

The reasoning I was thinking of referring to them is to highlight while there is good literature on the topic I'm researching, sometimes errors can occur in more general histories which (hopefully) my thesis can address.

Is it appropriate to refer to such errors in that context?

2 Answers 2


If such errors in published literature are relevant to the question of your thesis, then yes, it is not only appropriate, but even necessary that you address them.

Otherwise, if the question of your thesis is not affected by these errors, and they are not major problems, I don't think they are important enough to mention in the literature review.

  • 2
    On the other hand, it could show the grader that you have a broader understanding and critical assesment.
    – Davidmh
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 19:47

I think as a rule of thumb: you have to consider what those errors mean.

If they are minor errors (maybe a wrong year for the death of a person or some spelling errors) then let it be. If there are errors that point to something else (especially in your field: History), you have to point to the cause. Are they really errors or is it a movement / conspiracy / something else that causes those errors? It often happens that new political regimes in a country rewrite the history (sometimes by deleting things, sometimes by adding errors or rumors so that the interpretation of various historical events is not clear enough - so that those events will be simply not important enough to be considered for future history books, and so and so forth...).

Or perhaps the historians who wrote those books you want to point to were simply not good enough at doing their job and just copy pasted things here and there, thus helping the wrong information to spread.

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