How to evaluate books
- Who is the author and what is their expertise in the subject area?
- Do they have any professional affiliations?
- Is their work experience or education relevant? Are any of their other publications relevant?
- When was it published?
- Is the information still relevant?
- Has the book been updated? Is there a more recent edition?
- Is the book relevant to your topic?
- Does it have the depth you require?
- Review the table of contents and the index to confirm the information you require is covered in the book and to what extent.
- What is the author’s motivation?
- Who are the intended readers? The content will vary depending on the book’s targeted audience. It could be very general and introduce the readers to a subject. Conversely, the content could be very specific, aimed at other scholars in the field.
- Is there a bibliography or list of references?
- Can you identify research data?
- What was the editorial process?
- Is this information reliable?
- What perspectives are given, or ignored?
- Be alert for bias. The author may represent only one side of a topic or argument.
Research provides evidence and drives the conclusions reached by the author.