1
Are mistakes in literature reviews really more "insidious"?

"The default assumption should be that methodological weaknesses are due to ignorance rather than bad faith" (lines 138-139). Why does this assumption not extend to the discussion of literature reviews in the next paragraph? Why would selective or inaccurate reporting of the literature be more likely to be "insidious" than methodological flaws? Wouldn't these errors exist on the same spectrum as methodological ones- with most resulting from the nature of the system (e.g., perverse publishing incentives, sheer amount of content being produced) rather than outright malicious intent. And might the ignorance that results in most methodological weaknesses be the very thing that leads to misinterpretation of the literature?

waiting for moderation
1 Answer
1
Accepted answer

Thanks. That's very helpful in pointing up the need for greater clarity on my part. It is indeed the case that people who write biased literature reviews often do so without awareness of just how biased they are. As with the other aspects of fallibility, you can't judge someone just because a particular error is observed - you have to look at the whole pattern of behaviour, and in particular whether this is a habitual tendency, with avoidance of inconvenient facts appearing deliberate rather than accidental. I will modify the wording to clarify that in the final version of the paper.

waiting for moderation