Content Analysis of Undergraduate Psychology Textbooks (ICPSR 36966)

Version Date: Dec 20, 2017 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
William O'Donohue, University of Nevada-Reno

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36966.v1

Version V1

Psychology is one of the most popular undergraduate majors in American universities, despite the fact that the discipline still has many unsettled questions regarding fundamental philosophical and methodological issues. These issues may be associated with a lack of clarity regarding an accurate conception of science and the nature of the relationship between psychology and science with respect to these controversies. Kuhn (1967) has suggested that scientific paradigms are transmitted in textbooks.

To understand how the scientific status of psychology is depicted, 30 undergraduate textbooks were examined. Textbooks were examined on the following categories:

  1. What constitutes science is controversial
  2. Bad (Pseudo) science
  3. Second demarcation problem
  4. Deductive stance
  5. Inductive stance
  6. Verisimilitude/tentativeness of science
  7. Theory ladenness of facts
  8. The role of theory in hypothesis formation
  9. The role of competing theories (i.e. Laudan)
  10. Social constructionism (vs. natural kinds)
  11. Rhetorical views of science
  12. Science and biases (e.g., political influences)
  13. The role of ad hoc hypotheses
  14. Evolutionary epistemology
  15. Recognition of conceptual problems (i.e. is it important for science to address conceptual problems or only empirical ones?)
  16. Kuhnian paradigms
  17. Mature vs pre-paradigm sciences
  18. Strict method vs "anything goes" (i.e. Feyerabend).

Introductory, cognitive, social, and abnormal textbooks were examined.

O’Donohue, William. Content Analysis of Undergraduate Psychology Textbooks. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-12-20. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36966.v1

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This dataset is part of ICPSR's Archives of Scientific Psychology journal database. Users should contact the Editorial Office at the American Psychological Association for information on requesting data access.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

The purpose of the study was to understand how the scientific status of psychology is depicted in American universities by examining 30 introductory, cognitive, social, and abnormal psychology textbooks for undergraduate students.

The research team examined 30 textbooks by coding for 18 different categories of analysis, in accordance with a coding scheme for each category. A codebook included with the study provides definitions for the 18 categories and the coding criteria for each category.

A convenience sample of thirty textbooks were selected from undergraduate psychology courses taught at the University of Nevada, Reno in addition to textbooks located in the University Library, textbook samples obtained from publishers, and electronic copies found on Amazon.com.

Textbooks used in undergraduate psychology courses

Textbook
text, observational data

2017-12-20

2017-12-20

2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • O'Donohue, William. Content Analysis of Undergraduate Psychology Textbooks. ICPSR36966-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-12-20. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36966.v1

Notes

  • This dataset is part of ICPSR's Archives of Scientific Psychology journal database. Users should contact the Editorial Office at the American Psychological Association for information on requesting data access.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

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Archives of Scientific Psychology

This dataset is made available in connection to an article in Archives of Scientific Psychology, the first open-access, open-methods journal of the American Psychological Association (APA). Archiving and dissemination of this research is part of APA's commitment to collaborative data sharing.