Comprehensiveness rating: 4 read less
This "book" is a compilation of modules on topics (some broad, some fairly specific) written for the most part by researchers, often well-known ones, within those areas. The website says the publication date is 2016, but most of the chapters seem to be written earlier than that. The methods chapters seem the most up-to-date, with a couple of references from 2014/2015, but for most chapters the most recent research cited is from 2011, and for some, including areas that are rapidly changing such as social neuroscience, the most recent references are from 2009.
Because the modules are often fairly specific, they cover some topics that you wouldn't necessarily see in a traditional social psychology textbook (e.g., social neuroscience,culture and emotion, theory of mind, the family). The methods chapters in particular cover a more recent methods such as implicit measures and big data, and one of them at least mentions the replication crisis with priming. On the other hand, there are also things that you'd typically see in a social psychology textbook that get left out. For example, there is no mention throughout the modules of the Elaboration Likelihood Model (they introduce the idea, but not the theory per se) or any discussion of the relationship between attitudes and behavior or the theories (e.g., Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behavior) related to those. In the prejudice chapter, there's not much on threat or evolutionary approaches or research on ways to reduce prejudice such as contact. There are several modules that deal with relationships, but no mention of the Investment Model. As a final example, the cultural module mentions individualism vs. collectivism and vertical vs. horizontal, but doesn't describe some of the other ways cultures have been differentiated in social psychology (e.g., tight vs. loose).
Part of the reason some of this is left out is that the modules are fairly short, and their comprehensiveness varies based on module author(s). The modules provide overviews of the areas, but there is a lot of variety in the depth they go into. Some chapters have many references from a broad range of authors, whereas another has only 8 references (6 of which the module author is co-author on).
Accuracy rating: 4
The modules seem accurate, but not always up-to-date. There are some places where I noticed inconsistencies that may be confusing or problematic. For example, "hypothesis" is defined differently in two different methods chapters (and appears twice in the overall glossary, one for each definition). One of the definitions I don't agree with, and the second I didn't think was a great definition either. As another example, the method chapter mentioned how some priming studies had been found not to replicate and why that was important, but there was no mention of these potential issues in the social cognition module when that research was discussed.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 3
Because the book is in modules, an instructor could easily choose to use some and not others. Most of the modules were five or more years old it seemed, but the degree to which that might matter will depend on the topic covered in the module. There weren't many current event examples in the modules, so there wasn't much to go out-of-date there (e.g., mentions of elections or particular events).
Clarity rating: 4
Overall the modules were easy to read, although this differed somewhat by module, as they were written by different authors. I thought some parts of the statistics chapter in particular would be difficult for some undergraduates.
Consistency rating: 2
There isn't a consistent framework (e.g., theoretical focus, theme) for the modules. They differ in their topics, in the breadth of their topics, and in the approach the authors take. There are similarities in that each module begins with learning objectives, and ends with web resources, discussion questions, and learning objectives, and a glossary.
Modularity rating: 5
You could easily use just parts of this book, and I think that most instructors would.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4
There aren't any connections between modules, but the modules generally present things clearly.
Interface rating: 4
It's only available in pdf right now. It would be nice to have other formats so that students could highlight sections more easily. It was readable on my computer and my phone. Definitions appear if you hover over the vocabulary words.
Grammatical Errors rating: 3
I didn't notice any grammatical errors, but the references were often not in APA style. I teach APA style in my classes, so I think that it's important than a textbook follow it.
Cultural Relevance rating: 4
There were not many specific examples (somewhat surprisingly) in the modules, so it should be relevant across cultures. The modules generally reported research only from Western countries (I would prefer that they also discuss cultural effects where relevant), but there were two chapters that explicitly dealt with culture.
I think these reviews would be more useful to potential adopters if they were written by people who have already used the books in their courses. I also think they should allow people to post anonymous reviews. As far as I know, the only way one can write these reviews is to go to a presentation by the group and receive a time-linked invitation. It's also important to note that reviewers are paid for reviews. As far as this particular book goes, I think it would be especially useful to supplement other chapters and/or articles in a class where the instructor did not want to use a traditional textbook.