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Assessing and selecting: Assessing books

Part of the Information Literacy Portal


Information suitable for question and purpose

  • Does the information fit in with the questions you have and / or with the target audience?
  • Is a book suitable as source for your information needs?
  • Does the book represent a general picture?
  • Does the level meet your requirements? Pay attention to the authority.
  • Does the book reflects a complete picture? Do you have to consult additional data?

  • Is current and up-to-date information important for your research?
  • What is the year of publication?
  • Is it the most recent edition?
  • Could you expect that there are more recent developments?
  • In case of references to other sources, how recent are these?



  • Who is the writer and what authority does he have?
  • What is his background and has he published more often?
  • Is there an editor / editorial board?
  • What intention did the author have when writing the publication?
  • Is the information reported objectively?
  • Does the publication mainly contain facts or opinions?
  • What is the purpose of the book? Informative, opinion-forming, entertainment, ...
  • Are the facts in the book correct?
  • Are opinions substantiated with facts, based on solid grounds?
Quality of the book
  • Does the publication look professional?
  • Who has published the book?
  • Are facts or data verifiable?
  • Are the references correct? What are the sources? What is the quality of the reference list?


An example

You write a report in which you have to explain the relationship between sensation and perception in the psychological field. You have found the book "Psychology: Core concepts" by the author Zimbardo.


  • This survey explains all important concepts and theories. Different chapters and paragraphs fit in well with the question. The level is also appropriate
  • The information in the book seems quite complete. It is still advisable to consult more books to get a larger picture and to be able to compare quality and usability
  • It is the most recent edition, the book describes the current state of art


  • The author is well-known. Philip Zimbardo is an American psychologist and a professor emiritus  at Stanford University. He authored various introductory psychology books, textbooks for college students, and other notable works.
  • It is a textbook published by a well-known publisher: Pearson. The book is informative and has a scientific basis.
  • There is an extensive bibliography with recent references.
  • There is an additional website to gain more in-depth knowledge, and instructional videos


  • It is a good textbook to use on all points | Disclaimer | Over Zuyd Bibliotheek