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Is it ok to use this book in a research paper?

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?
Scholarly books will have lists of sources that the author(s) has cited at the end of the book or of each chapter.
Sometimes these lists are called works cited lists, references lists, or bibliographies. 

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.


If you are not sure if a book is ok to include in your paper, ask your Subject Librarian or your professor.