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Evaluating Sources

Additional Considerations When Evaluating a Book

Author: Look for background information about the author, such as educational experience, institutional affiliations, previously published research, or whether (s)he has been cited in other research [not sure how to do this? Go to the Find Citing References page].  Remember that information found online may be self-reported by the author.  Try searching in Biography in Context for credible biographical information.

Bibliography: Look for an extensive bibliography or list of references in the book.  Scholarly, well-researched books will always include a list of supporting or consulted sources.

Publisher: Consider who published the book.  Some publishers tend to publish only scholarly material while others focus on popular content:

  • University Presses are affiliated with a university and are considered to be highly reputable.
  • Professional Trade Organizations and Research Centers or Institutions publish material written by experts in the field.
  • Government publications are generally considered to be unbiased and authoritative.

Book Reviews

Another good way to evaluate a book is to read reviews of it.

Reviews of scholarly books can be found in OneSearch and in our subject specific databases.  In OneSearch, do a keyword search for the book title in quotes.  Then, on the left, you can limit your results to reviews.

You can also search for book reviews in the library's subject specific databases.  To identify related journal article databases, go to the Databases A-Z page and select a subject from the appropriate drop down menu.