When working with book materials (whole books, edited works, book chapters, etc.), be sure to ask yourself:
- Who is the author? Can you locate the author's credentials?
- Was the book published recently? Has it been revised or updated? Does that make a difference?
- Who is the publisher? For example, is it a university press or academic publisher (i.e. Oxford University Press)?
- Is the information presented objectively? Are there any potential biases?
- Does this information add to or support your research?
To help answer the above questions, below are places to look:
- Check the book jacket or back of the book for biographical information about the author(s).
- Check the back of the title page for publication date and publisher information.
- Look at the first few pages for an introductory message or preface to learn more about the work's purpose or any biases that may be present.
- Look near the back of the book for a list of references -- e.g. a works cited, bibliography, or endnotes -- to determine where the author(s) got the information. There may also be footnotes at the bottom of the pages throughout the book.