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Field Guide to Research Sources

What type of source did you find? Use this field guide to identify it.

Books (including ebooks)

What they are: Long pieces of writing on one topic, usually divided into pages and (sometimes) chapters.


What they give you: A broad, detailed look at a topic. If the book is scholarly, it will also give you citations to other sources.


How to spot them: Both books and ebooks have publication information, including the name of the publisher and the year of publication. Look for this info on the copyright page near the beginning of the book.


What they look like in library search results:
A screenshot of a book in Quest


What ebooks look like:
(Note the publisher and copyright.)
Screenshot of an e-book


What books in print look like: 
(Note the publisher and copyright.)Opened book


Caution symbol


Caution! Some books are just collections of chapters by various authors. In books like these, each chapter is a separate source, so you would cite the chapter, not the entire book.