Scholarly books are typically written for an expert audience and intended to share research findings. Although not peer reviewed, books published by university presses and other established academic publishers go through a thorough editorial process.
They generally fall into four categories:
Reference works (also called background sources) are useful to quickly get authoratitive facts or information or an overview of a subject.
Subject encyclopedias and handbooks are particularly useful when initially researching a topic. Use them for gaining an overall sense of a topic. Important to know: you won't find the latest developments in a subject area in a reference work.
The TiU library has online access to a large number of dictionaries and encyclopedias. They are listed on the library's Encyclopedias and dictionaries page.
Look up handbooks in the library catalog (see Module D). Search by entering a topic keyword + handbook, then refine your search results to display only books.