Skip to Main Content

HIST 17B_Gutierrez: About Scholarly Books

Guitierrez research guide for off-site Merced College students.

Tips for Using Scholarly Books

Books provide a treatise on a single subject written by an expert in the field and provide greater depth and context.  

Books through the A-Z

Scholarly Books & Book Chapters

Use books or book chapters when you need more depth on a topic. Scholarly books are those published by a university press or other academic publisher that contain references to outside research.

For some fields, like the arts and humanities, many researchers share their work through scholarly books since these researchers are analyzing sources rather than conducting experiments, though they also publish scholarly journal articles.

How Library Stuff Works: Scholarly Books

McMaster Libraries (2:29)

How to Read a Book for Research

RIT Libraries (2:29)


Monograph Book - All chapters written by the same author/s

Anthology - Each chapter written by a different author/s & gathered into a book by an editor or editors

Anatomy of Scholarly Books

The table below describes the common components of scholarly books, though not every section may be represented.

Title Page provides the publication information you need to properly cite the book, such as the complete title (sometimes, book have subtitles), names of all authors or editors, edition of the book if there is more than one, name of the publisher, city of publication, and date of publication.
Table of Contents provides a list of the chapters with the corresponding page numbers. The table of contents may give a general idea of the topics covered in the book, as well as a sense of how the book is arranged (e.g., chronologically).
List of Illustrations provides a list of photographs, drawings, tables, or other types of illustrations used to support the contents of the book, usually with corresponding page numbers.
Preface, Foreward, or Introduction provides the reader with the author's intention or purpose for writing the book, as well as a sense of the kind of research that was used to produce the book.
Bibliography, References List, etc. a list of sources that were used to create the book or a list of additional sources on the topic. Bibliographies may be located at the ends of chapters throughout the book, or at the end of the book.

located at the back of the book, the index is an alphabetical list of the specific subjects in the book, along with the corresponding page numbers. Indexes may provide names, dates, events, geographic locations, and other terms related to the contents of the book. Browsing an index is an excellent way to identify exactly where in the book relevant information may be located. An index can also provide subject terms and keywords that might be useful for further research on a topic.