Curiosity & Inquiry

Nairn, S. L., Ellard, J. H., Scialfa, C. T., & Miller, C. D. (2003). At the core of introductory psychology: A content analysis. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 44(2), 93-99.

Exposure to the central ideas of the discipline is a primary pedagogical goal of introductory psychology. In this study, key concepts were identified in six introductory psychology textbooks. Of these, 377 concepts were included in at least five of six texts, forming the core of introductory psychology. If a unanimity criterion is adopted, the set is reduced to 197 concepts. These concepts were compared to lists from Zechmeister and Zechmeister (2000), Landrum (1993), and Quereshi (1993). Fifty-eight concepts were common to all four studies and were unevenly distributed among the major subdisciplines within psychology. Discussion focuses on the disparity of consensus across topics, the potential theoretical and practical value in hierarchical concept analyses, and “top-down” construction of a core for introductory psychology.

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