Skip to Main Content

Religion in the World: REL 0863 / ASST 0863

A library course guide for this General Education course

How do I know if it's a Scholarly Book?

Scholary books ...

  • Are frequently published by university presses, such as Oxford University Press, Harvard University Press,  and Temple University Press. [Note: University presses also publish books that are not considered scholarly so you cannot assume that a university press book is scholarly. Scholarly books are often published by non-university presses as well.] 
  • Are frequently written by college and university professors
  • Frequently contain an Acknowledgement at the beginning of the book thanking other scholars for their assistance
  • Contain "in-text" citations referring to a bibliography (or Worked Cited or References page) at end of the book, or footnotes at the bottom of pages. (Do the works cited in the book come from scholarly sources?)
  • Use formal, often techical, language
  • Are frequently reviewed in academic journals. (Search Library Search using author last name and title to find book reviews.)

What if I'm not sure whether it's a Scholarly Book?

Look for book reviews using Library Search. If you find a book review in a scholarly journal, then it is probably a scholarly book. Read the review to verify this.

Search for books by the same author in Library Search. Has the author published other books that appear to be scholarly? Though not conclusive, this is a good sign.

Search for articles by this author to further examine his/her publishing history. Does this author publish in scholarly journals?

Go to the publisher's web site to see if it publishes other books that appear to be scholarly. How does the web site describe the author's book? Does it give you any clues about its academic / scholarly credibility? What kind of audience is the book targeting? 

Perform a search in Google Scholar for the author's book. If it shows up in the results, look for the "Cited by" link to see if other publications have cited this work. Click on the link to browse the citing publications.

Evaluating Credibility

Questions you might ask

  • Who is the author? Can you locate the author's credentials? 
  • Has the author written other books or articles on the same or similar topics?
  • How current is this book? Is currency important for your topic? 
  • Who is the publisher? (Is it a University press or academic publisher, i.e. Temple University Press?)

Places you might look

  • Look for an introductory message or preface to learn more about the work's purpose or any biases that may be present 
  • Look within, sometimes at the back, for a list of references, works cited, a bibliography or footnotes to determine where the author got their information
  • Check the book jacket, or back of the book, for biographical information about the author(s).
  • Check the back of the title page for a publication date and publisher information.