Just because information has been published in a book doesn't mean that it is necessarily accurate or appropriate to use in your research. Consider asking the following questions before citing a book in your work:
Authority: Can you trust the source?
- Who is the author? What are the author's credentials or other qualifications?
- Is the author affiliated with any universities, corporations, or other organizations?
- Is the author a recognized authority in the relevant field of study?
- Who published the book? Was it published by an academic or popular press?
Currency: Is the information up to date?
- What is the publication or copyright date?
- Is the information time-sensitive? Some types of information go out of date quickly (e.g. medical knowledge).
Purpose: Why was the book written?
- Who is the intended audience? Is the book written for an academic or popular audience?
- Does the author present a balanced view of the topic? Are opposing viewpoints acknowledged?
Content: Is the information that the book presents quality academic research?
- Is the book organized in a logical and understandable manner?
- Are the author's arguments well-reasoned and supported by sufficient evidence?
- Does the book include a bibliography or reference list? Is it lengthy? Are the materials cited primarily scholarly sources? Are they a mix of primary and secondary sources, or only secondary sources?