Last Updated: Sep 05, 2023 Views: 5572

There are several questions that you can ask yourself to help you determine if a book you have found would be considered a scholarly resource.

  • Is the author a recognized expert on the topic? What are the author’s credentials? Scholarly authors typically have terminal degrees in their field.  To help you track down information about an author, please refer to this FAQ: How can I find information about an author?
  • Do you see citations or footnotes throughout the text and references (a list of cited sources that the author consulted to support their research in the book) after each chapter or at the end of the book?  For examples, see the FAQ: Where can I find an example of a references or works cited page?
  • Do you see a lot of jargon, or subject-specific words or acronyms, being used often without any explanation of their meaning?  Scholarly books are written by scholars for their peers in the field who already know these terms.
  • Who is the publisher? Generally, university presses are a good sign that you have a scholarly work, but there are other publishers that have a good reputation as well.  There are commercial academic publishers, professional and trade associations that publish, as well as government organizations.

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If you have a specific title in mind and you would like some assistance determining if it is scholarly, please contact the Reference Desk at

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