Published on October 15, 2014
1. EVALUATING BOOKS
2. PURPOSE & AUDIENCE • What is the book's purpose? Is the purpose stated or implied? • Who is the book's intended audience? How might this influence its content? • Is the book a primary or secondary source?
3. c h e ckin g p u r p o s e a n d a u d i e n c e : -- Determine the approach used (fiction, nonfiction, opinion, or a mixture). -- Read introductory material. -- Note the tone and terminology used in the work. -- Examine the types of information, evidence, and examples used.
4. AUTHORITY Does the author have adequate qualifications/expertise? • Is the work cited in other writings? • Are the author's qualifications given? • Who is the sponsoring agency? • What are the organization's credentials and reputation? • Who is the copyright holder? Might this be important?
5. che cking the wr i t e r ' s autho r i t y : -- Use biographical dictionaries and critical essays to investigate the author. -- Search appropriate databases for works that cite the book. -- Read reviews of the book (and other works by the author). -- Find out if the author has written other books or articles on the topic. -- Look on the dust jacket or in the preface (double-check the information).
6. ACCURACY & RELIABILITY • Is a bibliography or reference list available so information can be verified? • Does the book offer trustworthy information? • Does the book indicate editorial quality (free of errors)? • Is the information protected by copyright?
7. c h e cki n g a c c u r a c y a n d r e l i a b i l i t y : -- Examine the text for evidence of careful research. -- Check if data, statistics, and facts are documented (and timely). -- Double-check information in the book with other sources. -- Read reviews in reputable sources. -- Examine the quality of items listed in the bibliography, if one is present. -- Check the publisher type: academic, commercial, independent, vanity, etc. -- Use Books in Print for information about the publisher
8. OBJECTIVITY • Is the information biased or objective? Is that appropriate? • Is the text mostly fact or opinion? Is that appropriate? • Does the text acknowledge the above?
9. che cking obj e c t i v i t y : -- Examine the writer's claims. Are they logical and reasonable? -- Examine the evidence presented. Is it adequate and credible? -- Read reviews and critical essays about the book.
10. CURRENCY Is the information current? Should it be? • Are current research findings and/or theories evident? Should they be?
11. c h e ckin g wo rk' s cu r r en c y : -- Check dates on references, if any are given. -- Compare the information with that presented in other sources. -- Check the publishing history (copyright dates, publishing dates, etc.).
12. COVERAGE Does the book adequately cover its topic? • Are important aspects of the topic omitted? • Are omissions acknowledged? • Does the book significantly contribute to the field/discipline? Should it?
13. che cking c o v e rag e : -- Examine the table of contents, chapter headings, and index. -- Analyze the breadth of content. Does it meet expectations?
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