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CMN 228 - Thweatt: Books

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Selected Books of Interest

Key Parts of an Academic Book

  • Frontmatter
    The 'frontmatter' is the first few pages of the book - usually including a page with the book title as well as the author and publisher's information. This information is most of what you'll need to write a citation.
  • Table of Contents
    The Table of Contents (ToC) shows you where chapters begin and lists the author for each chapter, if the book has multiple authors.
  • Preface / Introduction
    Many academic books have a preface and/or introduction. In these sections, the author gives you a preview of what the book says and explains why they wrote the book. The last section of an introduction is often a chapter-by-chapter preview of the book. Look here to figure out which chapter is most relevant to your research.
  • Chapters
    Depending on the kind of academic book, each chapter may have a different author. The author of a chapter will be listed on the first page of that chapter. 
  • Notes
    Notes are the 'expansion pack' for the book. Authors use the Notes section to provide additional detail, recommend further reading, or engage in side-arguments. Notes are important to understanding the nuance and context of a chapter.
  • Index
    The index is an alphabetical listing of topics addressed or referenced in the book. The index will often include the names of other authors cited in the text.