Is it appropriate to ask questions about apparent errors in textbook answer keys?

I understand that these are sometimes quite narrow, but as often as not it may be the case that there is no error, and that the perception of one is an opportunity to expose some deeper concept.

Of course, an attempt should clearly be made to locate any corrections to the apparent error that might be available before asking.

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Nothing wrong with: "Here's problem X from book Y. Here's what I did: [...] However, the answer key says Z. I checked for errata and did not find any on the web. Did I make a mistake in my solution?" –  Arturo Magidin Sep 17 '11 at 21:20
    
I think this is an excellent kind of question. –  Stefan Smith May 5 '13 at 16:32
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1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

I personally don't see why not.

If a student is asking such a question, it means they must have tried to solve it for themselves and are currently stuck. They don't see where their error is (and often times rightfully so) and they begin to doubt the textbook. Usually I would encourage students in such a situation, and try to answer their questions. (as opposed to the homework questions where no work has been attempted.)

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Thanks. I've got one that's got me puzzled and concerned that I'm missing something important. –  raxacoricofallapatorius Sep 17 '11 at 22:44
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