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HIST 150: History Through Objects: The Atlantic World

Different types of materials do different things

A book isn't just a long article.

A chapter isn't an article that lives in a book.

A reference book is not the same as an argumentative book/monograph.

Every type of scholarly source has a specific purpose and scope, and knowing what each publication is meant to do will help you know where to start. The general types are:

  • Reference Books: Broad overviews of a very large topic
  • Research Books: (monographs) Argumentative study of a reasonably large topic
  • Report or Popular Press Book: Scholarly summary of a large topic. Sometimes with an argument but often an overview/summary.
  • Book Chapter: Narrow focus on a specific topic, but within the context of a larger topic/book. Can be both summary & argument)
  • Article: Narrow focus, very argumentative. Extremely specific. Not good for general information -- you need to know background info already.
  • Book Review: a brief summary of a book. Not a peer reviewed source
  • Dissertation: You shouldn't be using these in this class. A dissertation is an Extremely focused, book-level study of a very specific topic.  These are not peer reviewed & not really considered "published." 


Reference Book Examples

Report or Popular Publication


Book review