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It is important to remember when looking for books, that all books are appropriate for use in a university-level research paper.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if a book is 'scholarly' enough to be included in your paper. To help, review this list of things to ask yourself as you decide whether or not to cite a book in your paper.
Remember that not all academic or scholarly level books will have all of these things, but they should at least have some:
|Authority||Who is the author?
Do they have experience or education in the subject they are writing about?
Most scholarly books will provide biographies of the authors that outline their credentials.
|Publisher||Is the book published by a university, scholarly society, or a company that publishes other academic level books?
If yes, it is more likely to be a scholarly book (but not guaranteed, make sure to review the rest of the list to help make your decision).
|Audience||Who is the book written for?
Scholarly books will be written with other researchers and academics in mind, so the level of writing may be more difficult than a fiction or popular non-fiction book.
Have the authors cited sources to support their arguments?
|Index||Is there an index at the back of the book?
Most scholarly books will have an index at the end of the book that provides a list of the different subjects covered in the book.
Tip: looking for terms related to your topic in an index can be a helpful way to figure out if the book is useful to you or not.
|Editors vs. Authors||
Many scholarly books will have different authors for each chapter and a single editor who was responsible for bringing all the chapters and authors together.