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ERIC Number: EJ918266
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Topic Sequence and Emphasis Variability of Selected Organic Chemistry Textbooks
Houseknecht, Justin B.
Journal of Chemical Education, v87 n6 p592-597 Jun 2010
Textbook choice has a significant effect upon course success. Among the factors that influence this decision, two of the most important are material organization and emphasis. This paper examines the sequencing of 19 organic chemistry topics, 21 concepts and skills, and 7 biological topics within nine of the currently available organic textbooks. The emphases of the textbooks were also examined through analysis of questions, reactions, and mechanisms presented for aromatics, aldehydes, and ketones. The most significant difference in organization among the books was whether the first type of reactivity discussed was addition reactions of alkenes (Brown et al.; Bruice; McMurry) or substitution-elimination reactions of alkyl halides (Carey; Hornback; Smith; Solomons and Fryhle; Wade; Vollhardt and Schore). Textbooks also vary in the order by which carbonyl compounds and their reactivity is introduced, though all do so after covering the reactivity of aromatic compounds. Most textbooks contain [approximately]250-300 questions covering aromatics and 150-250 questions covering aldehydes and ketones and their reactions at the carbonyl carbon, although one textbook (Smith) contains 441 carbonyl questions. All textbooks place a heavy emphasis on predict-the-product, provide-the-reagent, and multistep synthesis questions. Most of the texts examined introduce the same reactions with at least some mechanistic detail. Wade and Smith, however, provide the most complete mechanisms in the topics examined. (Contains 6 figures.)
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 - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A