Skip to main content

Library Research Methods: Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly Books

Academic Books

Scholarly books disseminate research and academic discussion among professionals within disciplines.  They are intended for academic study and research, and are preferred when writing college-level papers. They are published by academic or university presses.

Non-scholarly books do not examine a topic with the sufficient level of detail and intellectual rigor. They are not authoritative (the authors are often not academics). They are written to entertain and broadly inform, rather than to advance a field of study. Non-scholarly books are published by commercial presses.

 

Comparing Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Books

 

Scholarly/Academic Book

Non-scholarly/Popular Book

Purpose

  • To share with other scholars the results of primary research & experiments.
  • To entertain or inform in a broad, general sense.

Author

  • A respected scholar or researcher in the field; an expert in the topic; names are always noted.
  • A journalist or feature writer; names not always noted.

Publisher

  • A university press; a professional association or known (independent) scholarly publisher.
  • A commercial publisher.
     

Intended audience

  • Other scholars or researchers in the field, or those interested in the topic at a research level.
  • General public.

Style

  • Language is formal and technical; usually contains discipline-specific jargon.
  • Language is casual. Few, if any, technical terms are used (and if they are, they are usually defined).
     

References

  • References are always cited and expected; text often contains footnotes.
  • Very uncommon; text may contain referrals to "a study published at..." or "researchers have found that..." with no other details.

 

Adapted from University of Toronto Libraries 

The Culinary Institute of America | Conrad N. Hilton Library | 1946 Campus Drive | Hyde Park, NY 12538-1430
Telephone: 845-451-1747 | Email: library@culinary.edu |