NARST Practice Session: Standardizing the Methodology of Textbook Content Analysis

Andrea M.-K. Bierema (MSU) and Renee' Schwartz (Georgia State University)

Standardizing the Methodology of Textbook Content Analysis

According to the National Research Council Committee (U.S.) on Undergraduate Biology Education to Prepare Research Scientists for the 21st Century (2003), biology curricula are not portraying current biological research frameworks, methods, and findings and instead are teaching students biology geared toward the past. However, there is little evidence in support of such teaching within the basis of curriculum, which is the textbook. In examining the few studies on college biology textbooks that do exist, no clear methodology has been established. Not only do studies rarely explain their method in detail, but they also rarely cite any other studies to justify their methods. Since we still know so little about the content covered in college biology textbooks and because there is no clear methodology for analyzing textbook content, a methodology was developed. Methods from previous studies and described in qualitative research books covering content analysis were reviewed while establishing the methodology. This presentation will describe the developed methodology and provide a detailed account of how these methods were applied in identifying the conceptual frameworks of textbooks in a sub-discipline of biology: animal behavior.