Comparing Student Perceptions of Textbooks: Does Liking Influence Learning?

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Faculty perceptions of textbook quality, anecdotal posts to listservs, and published ratings frequently determine textbook choice. Although faculty members intend to have students use the textbooks, few published empirical studies assess student opinions. In two studies, students rated widely adopted introductory psychology textbooks on eight categories ranging from visual aids to writing quality. Results showed little inter-textbook differences; however, students indicated clear preferences. We found different patterns in preferences for visual material (e.g., photographs) versus written material (e.g., examples), but no differences in the ratings of tables and in the use of research examples. Students clearly differentiate between textbooks, but textbook ratings did not relate to quiz scores on text material.

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