Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sociology Textbooks

I am a bit biased when it comes to sociology textbooks.  I dislike most of them.  David Nehring has a nice blog post about soc texts and their value in this post.

I would rather go back to the "old days" when I had no text and put together a reading list that accomplished the goals I had for the unit/course. That said, in the world of sociology texts, there are some good books out there.

Concerns in Selecting a Sociology Text

  • Is the subject matter high school appropriate? (what grade levels are being taught?)
  • Is the reading level appropriate to the students I have (not the ones I wish I had)?
  • Is the reading engaging for a high school level student?
  • Is the content substantive enough so there will not have to be much teacher-added explanation? 
  • Are the complex ideas simplified enough to be understandable, but still retain the complexity?
  • Is the text one that my school board would adopt--or is it too controversial? (some communities are more conservative than others--in fact, some would not even allow sociology)
  • What kind of funding do I have?  Will I be able to afford the ancillaries?
  • If the book is a college intro book, will the binding hold up for more than two or three semesters?
  • How much will I have to supplement the text?  Is the book solid enough in terms of content for me to use frequently or will I be using photocopies of articles more?
  • How extensive are the ancillaries?  To what extent will they be able to assist me?
    • Test bank (if this will be a part of your course)
    • videos
    • additional primary source readings
    • Presentations/lectures--are they more than just chapter outlines?
    • online tutorials, glossaries, flashcards, etc.
    • webquests online?
    • Instructor's Manual--are there good activities for engaging students?  Who has written them--a theoretician or a practitioner)?

Publisher Reps
McGraw-Hill Higher Education
McGraw-Hill High School Teachers (there are several HS level soc texts)
Cengage Rep Finder
Pearson Rep Finder (for college teachers)
Pearson Main Page (rep finder is in top right corner)
Worth Publishers

If you know of others, please leave a comment.

If you were to go to and look for sociology texts, you'd get a nice list.

The list of possibilities from offers this list

To be honest, I've not examined the sociology texts available in the past eight years.  When I created the sociology course at my school, I adopted the Diana Kendall book, Sociology in Our Times.  I really liked the approach that she used--her examples were relatable and her point of view as a woman gave her some gravitas in the eyes of my students.  The text also had great ancillaries.  Henslin and his texts are pretty popular and with the ones I've read, one cannot go wrong with either of them.

The Teaching High School Sociology web site


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