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Library DIY

Navigating UWG library resources and research

Is this book scholarly?

How to determine if a book is scholarly:

  • Authority: Who is the author? Do they have credentials that give them authority on the subject? Are they recognized by other scholars in the field?
     
  • Publisher: Does the publisher specialize in this academic field? Is the publisher a University Press (e.g., Oxford University Press, Indiana University Press)? Check the publisher's website. Do they indicate their editorial policy? 
     
  • Bias: Does the author or publisher have a notable political, religious, or business affiliation? If so, consider how this affiliation might affect the scholarship and/or content of the book.
     
  • References: Scholarly books have references or a bibliography. Most books written for general audiences will not. Consider the quality of the sources: look for inclusion of journal articles, primary sources, and other scholarly books by experts in the field.
     
  • Content: Consider accuracy, bias, audience appropriateness, graphics/charts/illustrations. Look for books that have clear structure and organization, such as a preface, introduction, table of contents, conclusion, and index. 

Still not sure? Look for book reviews of the book and see what reviewers say about its content.