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I Do Not Know Whether This Book Is Scholarly

When determining whether a book is scholarly consider:

  • Publisher: Check the publisher's website. Is the publisher a University Press (e.g. Oxford University Press, Indiana University Press)? Does the publisher specialize in this academic field? Do they indicate their editorial policy?
     
  • Bias: Does the publisher have a religious or political affiliation? Consider how this affiliation might affect the scholarship and/or content of the book.
     
  • 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?
     
  • Cited Sources: Scholarly books have cited 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.

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