ERIC Number: ED233963
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Sep
Reference Count: 0
The Failure of Excellence in Texts.
Research and reviews of college introductory sociology textbooks reveal that most do not accurately reflect the diversity of views and perspectives in sociology and do not accurately convey the research-based knowledge of the discipline. Content analysis of textbooks published in the last 20 years indicates that most textbooks are comprehensive, structure has changed little, content is eclectic, divergent theoretical perspectives are rarely explored, and research findings and recent scholarly contributions are rarely incorporated. An analysis of textbook reviews reveals that texts are criticized for lacking depth, neglecting contemporary macro-level societal phenomena in favor of student interest and readability, omitting summaries and syntheses of research, inadequately portraying how sociologists actually work, and not acknowledging controversy among sociologists or ambiguity in the knowledge base. Failure of excellence in textbooks is attributable to economic concerns of publishers; the existence of mass lecture sessions, which is related to the use of comprehensive texts; and constraints on authors inherent in the publication of a manuscript. The solution is for university sociology departments to publish their own textbooks. Faculty responsible for the course could write a text, receiving a reduced teaching load or summer support. Revenue from sales could be used for further support of authors or departmental programs. (KC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Sociological Association (San Francisco, CA, September 6-10, 1982).