View all articles in this issue
Psychology Subfield Images in Introductory Textbooks: A Contextual Content Analysis
Download this article for $1.00 (FREE for Members)
by Shawna L. Anderson and D. W. Rajecki* - Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Introductory textbook passages (n = 168) describing 13 psychology subfields--plus the field of psychiatry--were evaluated with the Minnesota Contextual Content Analysis program. Comparative emphasis scores showed that all textbook subfield descriptions were markedly low on emotional content, but a cluster analysis revealed 3 groupings on other dimensions. Texts' descriptions of 2 subfields (engineering and industrial/organizational) most strongly emphasized a practical theme. Descriptions of 7 other subfields (biological, clinical, counseling, developmental, health, personality, and social) were moderately analytic, with some showing an emphasis on traditional (normative) content. Finally, descriptions of the 5 remaining areas (cognitive, educational, experimental, and school, plus psychiatry) most strongly emphasized an analytic theme. This general pattern was similar to that found in subfield descriptions available from the American Psychological Association. Findings are discussed in terms of psychology's public image.