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SUBJECT LIBGUIDE: EVALUATING RESOURCES: Evaluating Books

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: 

  • 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?

Relevance

  • 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?