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ERIC Number: EJ1068989
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jul
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Comparing Carbonyl Chemistry in Comprehensive Introductory Organic Chemistry Textbooks
Nelson, Donna J.; Kumar, Ravi; Ramasamy, Saravanan
Journal of Chemical Education, v92 n7 p1171-1177 Jul 2015
Learning the chemistry of compounds containing carbonyl groups is difficult for undergraduate students partly because of a convolution of multiple possible reaction sites, competitive reactions taking place at those sites, different criteria needed to discern between the mechanisms of these reactions, and no straightforward selection method applicable to all. Factual inaccuracies in some recently used comprehensive introductory organic chemistry textbooks can distract and confuse students. Student interest, combined with some inconsistencies, prompted a systematic comparison of these textbooks, enabling some suggestions for improvement. Students also selected a preferred order of presentation in which carbonyl chemistry should appear for optimal learning: carboxylic acids, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acid derivatives, a,ß-unsaturated carbonyls, and carbonyl compounds that undergo enol chemistry. This ordering is generally based on a combination of (1) grouping according to the purpose of the functional group, (2) increasing complexity of reactions with a nucleophile, and (3) decreasing carbonyl compound reactivity. In order to facilitate solving carbonyl chemistry problems and understanding these competing factors, information about the reactions is presented in three forms: a text discussion, a Summary Sheet, and a Decision Tree. The recommendations are consistent, descriptive, and pedagogically useful, and they should remedy many discrepancies.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A