Answered By: Beth Broyles
Last Updated: Jun 13, 2014     Views: 21

Short answer?  It depends.

Books

Advantages:
1) Books are great for general topics, overviews of a topic, and historical background on a topic.
2) Some books are collections of essays or chapters on different topics or different aspects of a topic, and, as such, may be specific.
3) If you need a book and we don’t have one on your topic, try the GIL Universal Catalog and request books you find there through GIL Express (generally 3-4 days). 

Disadvantages:
1) Because of the process  (researching, writing, editing, publishing, distributing…), it is difficult to find books on relatively recent topics.
2) Confirming that the information in a book is scholarly can be tricky. Peer-reviewing may or may not be used, and it can be difficult to differentiate between scholarly and non-scholarly.

Articles

Advantages:
1) Most databases let you limit results to scholarly/peer-reviewed.
2) If we don’t have access to the full text of the article, you can generally get it within a couple of days through  Interlibrary Loan .

Disadvantages:
1) Because articles are usually written by professors/scholars, they choose topics that are very specific and not covered by other scholars.
2) Articles that are overviews on general topics can be difficult to find.
3) It can be more difficult to find articles written for non-experts.


Whether you are looking for books or articles, if you are having difficulty finding information on your topic, consult a librarian.

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