Who's the Publisher?
Look for the reputation
For research projects, you'll likely want to use books from academic presses rather than popular presses. (That's not a hard-and-fast-rule, though.) The name of the book publisher can tell you a lot about the nature of the book.
For example, Oxford University Press, Indiana University Press, and Harvard University Press are very academic. They even sound academic.
Other publishers may be less familiar to you, publishers like Gale, Macmillan, St. Martin's Press and Charles Scribner's Sons.
How can you find out about a publisher? An easy way is to use Google books, like this:
If you can't find the book in Google Books, you can also look up the publisher in the Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media, which should be available in your library.