Monday, January 18, 2010

Psychology Textbooks--The First in a Series of Posts

Every year on the various listservs, a number of discussions break out as to which Psychology text are good and which ones can work.  This will be the first in a series of posts discussing a variety of textbooks for both regular and AP Psychology.  For the uninitiated, psych teachers and professors tend to refer to general psych texts not by title, but rather by author, since most of them seemingly have the word, "Psychology" in their titles.

Other than colleagues, the first place most of us look to for textbooks is the Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology (OTRP), an online presence of APA Division 2: The Society for the Teaching of Psychology.  On this site is a section devoted to introductory psychology.  One of the resources on that page is a compendium of of information about intro texts, publishers, a rating of level of the textbooks (low, low-mid, middle, mid-high, and high), and other helpful information.

Obviously, this list needs to be updated, but an experienced teacher on several of the listservs probably has a feel for what is out there, even with new texts being introduced every year.  One of our goals is to highlight some of the texts that our readers use with their high school classes for both regular and AP levels.  To that end, this week, I will be discussing and evaluating the textbooks that I use (currently Coon and Mitterer for AP and Coon for regular psych).

If you'd like to be a guest contributor and tell us about one of your texts, contact one of the moderators and we will coordinate postings.  Information that we'd like to include is listed below.  Likely this is too much for some and not enough for others.  Please comment on what else you'd like to see.
  • Title and Edition
  • Author(s)
  • Publisher 
  • Textbook's companion website for instructors (URL)
  • Companion website for students (URL)
  • Date of most recent edition
  • Level (use OTRP as a guide)
  • Number of Authors
  • Number of Female Authors
  • Number of chapters
  • Number of Text Pages
  • Number of Pages per Chapter
  • Text Pages Plus Back Matter
  • Commentary on how much you have to supplement the text for your students (level of your students)
  • Strengths and Weaknesses of the text
Supplements for the text:
  • Describe and evaluate the supplements that come with the adoption of the text
  • Strengths and Weaknesses of the text
We look forward to the discussion (and probably debate) about texts in the next few months.

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