Answered By: Lisa Weigard
Last Updated: Jul 03, 2018     Views: 56

To determine whether or not a book is scholarly, check the following:

  • Author: Is the author an acknowledged expert in the field? Often the book cover will provide some information about the author, or there may be a section about the author at the beginning or at the end of the book.
  • Publisher: This one is a little harder! Most books published by university presses (examples: Temple University Press; Cambridge University Press) are considered to be scholarly. For others, it might be harder to tell, and you might need to do an internet search to find out more information about the publisher.
  • Bibliography (References/Works Cited): Does the book cite its sources, and does it include a bibliography at the end, with a list of those sources?
  • Intended Audience: Does the book seem to be geared towards other experts in the field, or for students studying in those field? Is the language more sophisticated than that which would be used if the book was geared towards a more general public?

Below you will find a link to a more detailed checklist for evaluating books for an academic assignment.

If you are wondering if a specific book is scholarly or not, and you need a second opinion, don't forget to Ask a Librarian.


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