Evaluating Nonfiction

Authority

  • Who is the author?
  • What are her qualifications for writing on this subject?AmericanPlague
  • Does the author have a point of view? How does it come across in the text?

Organization

  • How is the subject matter organized? Is it constructed in a logical way?
  • Are facts and concepts easy to follow and understand, keeping in mind the age of the intended audience?
  • Is there a table of contents, an index, any appendices? Are they organized clearly?

Design

  • How are illustrations or photographs used? Do they support and/or extend the information presented?
  • Are photos clearly captioned?
  • How are design elements used to support and extend the subject matter? Are sidebars, graphs, charts, infographics, and other elements integrated into the design? Are they effective?
  • Is the style and size of the typeface pleasing and appropriate for the intended audience?
  • Does the text flow in and around design elements in a pleasing way? Must readers flip pages back and forth in order to follow along? If so, does it break up the flow of the reading experience?

Style

  • How is the information presented? Is it dry, matter-of-fact, lively, thrilling?
  • Does the tone respect the intelligence of the intended audience?
  • Are stereotypes used? Is didactic or condescending language used?

Documentation

  • Is there an index? A bibliography? Footnotes or endnotes? How are they organized?
  • What sources are used: primary, secondary? Are they up-to-date?
  • Is additional backmatter included? How does it extend learning and inquiry for readers?

 

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