May 7, 2006

Choosing a textbook is a guessing game

Every semester nursing faculty select texts for the next semester. We would like to think we are providing our students with a tool that will be better than the competing tools. We read them, look at the pictures, graphs, and charts. We sample the student and instructor CDs and ask the publisher's rep lots of questions. But in the end it is really just a guess if one book is better than another. We really can't compare two identical groups of students and see who learned more from one book or the other. In education research on such a question there are too many variables to control. In the end, nursing faculty must make their text decisions based on their best guess as to what materials students will like and learn from.