Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


Asking questions when reviewing books

What is the purpose?

  • Informing the reader: What is being informed?
  • Entertaining the reader: Is ths meant for entertainment purposes?
  • Sharing information with the reader: What does the author share with the reader?
  • Advertising/selling: Is the author trying to sell a product, service or similar concept?
  • Advocacy: Is the author trying to influence views, beliefs, elections, pros/cons and more?
  • Recruitment: Is the author trying to encourage membership?
  • Current news & information: Is the reader providing updates?
  • Questions such as these address the purpose of the page. The reader evaluates what the author purpose of the source?
  • These are some examples of types of purposes authors present in articles.

Who is the Author?

  • Is the author a government agency?
  • Is the author an expert in this field?
  • Where is the author employed?
  • What else has he/she written?
  • Has he/she won awards or honors?
  • Is the author a higher education institution?
  • Is the author an association?
  • Is the author an individual?

What is the background of the author?

  • Is there information on the authors background and can it be verified?
  • Is the author qualified to speak on the subject being written?
  • Questions such as these addresses if the content is correct or biased?


  • bibliography lists are usually included to present supported research. 
  • References include  primary sources (ex. journal articles)
  • References include current books
  • The citation style is clear and consistent.

Asking questions when reviewing books 2

What is the content?

  • Is the page organized?
  • Is the book relevant to the topic or subject of study?
  • Is it well researched?
  • Is it well written?
  • Does the book cover the topic comprehensively, partially or is it an overview?
  • What language is being used?
  • Is the content biased (liberal, conservative, association/advocacy groups, businesses etc.?
  • Questions such as these look at the content to allow the reader to evaluate if it is a reputable source?
  • Who is the target audience (general audience, professionals, researchers)?
  • These are a few questions readers need to ask.

How old is the content?

  • When was the book published? 
  • Some content change over time such as healthcare. Health care today may be different from 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. years.
  • Are there revised editions? APA revises their book. small changes can be seen from the 5th to 6th edition?
  • Does the book answer part or all of y our questions?


  • Is the book up to date with current research?
  • Is it useful?
  • Does it support or argue against an argument or main point of the page?
  • Does it support arguments with evidence?
  • Does it provide information that can be challenged and provide partial information?