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Many research databases will simply tell you. (Most of the time they're right) For example:
But in case the database doesn't tell you, citations for books and book chapters contain particular information that other publication types don't have. Among these are the following:
A citation to a particular chapter within a book will typically have
In addition to looking at issues of authority (the book author's credentials, the publisher, etc.) a good way to evaluate a book is to read reviews of it.
The best reviews of scholarly books will be found in journals covering that field. From the library's home page, click RESEARCH BY SUBJECT and select the academic discipline of your book, then click the ARTICLES tab within that discipline's guide to find databases that may have relevant book reviews.
For non-academic books, or books for which you can't find reviews in subject databases, try some of the resources on this book reviews guide.