Questions to ask about a book:
- Is the author an expert in the field?
- What work or educational experiences does the author have?
- With which institution, organization or company is the author affiliated?
- Has the author written other publications?
- Is the publisher well known?
- Does the publisher stand to benefit from the research or argument presented in the book?
- Does the title indicate that the book is too specific or not specific enough? Is there a subtitle with more information?
- What audience is the book directed towards?
- Does the book address a topic from a certain timeframe and/or geographic area?
- What sources did the author use?
- Is the information current and up-to-date? Does it need to be?
Published books go through an editorial process, however not all are peer-reviewed. Some publishers are well-known for providing well researched books, which are highly recommended by researchers, scholars, & librarians. The lists provided here are not an exhaustive list.
University Presses – Affiliated with universities & highly recommended by researchers, scholars, & librarians
- Identified by 'university' & 'press' in its name
- Some citation styles only use abbreviations for university & press
- Examples – Cambridge UP, MIT Press, U of GA P
Commercial Presses – Profit is a part of their business model, but they do strive to print well researched books
- Examples – Harper Collins Publishers, Knopf, Simon & Schuster, etc.
Professional or Trade Associations, Institution, or Research Center Publications
- Written by experts in the field or experts in a given area
- Examples – American Library Assoc., Modern Language Assoc. of America, & American Philosophical Society
Government Publications – published with taxpayer money, accepted as impartial or unbiased
- Examples – websites beginning with .gov, Government Printing Office (GPO)
Vanity Publishers – self publishers, author pays for publication
- Check with professor before using
- Examples – Aventine Press, Self Publishing Inc., Hillcrest Media, iUniverse