Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary
True to its title, the text is brief, and thus, lacks depth and details. There is no effective index and/or glossary; however, due to its concise nature, there is no need for one. The text is blatantly biased toward the value and benefits of democracy, and rarely notes the struggles or disadvantages it faces. Moreover, the textbook often compares the system to its counter, authoritarianism, while ignoring the increasing reality of hybrid regimes. Certain key concepts, such as “transparency” are described, yet, the text fails to include the terms. Despite its shortcomings, which mostly derive from its briefness, it provides the reader with a simple and short read that explains the key concepts of democracy adequately enough.
Comprehensiveness Rating: 2 out of 5
Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased
The content is accurate, and seems to be error-free. However, the textbook is biased toward democracy, and lacks any critical analysis toward the system.
Content Accuracy Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement
The content is up-to-date; however, it is perhaps already obsolete in that it fails to note the declining popularity of democracy and challenges it faces. The biased approach of the textbook lacks a realistic representation of democracy outside western countries, and a more detailed, or well-rounded text would make the text would prevent the text from becoming obsolete within a short period of time. Yet, the text is written and arranged in such a way that updates will be easy and straightforward to implement.
Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used
Some key terms do not receive adequate context, such as civil society, which is a key concept to democracy that deserves its own section, or at the very least, definition. Also, the photos used throughout the text, although appropriate, were not noted in the text, and the caption failed to clearly provide adequate context for their placement. However, for the most part, the text is very lucid and accessible.
Clarity Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework
The text is consistent in terms of terminology and framework. It clearly laid out its aims at the beginning of the text, and did not lost track or deviate from its stated direction.
Consistency Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.
The textbook is well laid out in terms of sections and subunits. However, I cannot fathom using this book as the only text for a course, as breaking it up and assigning sections would not provide the student with enough content, or reading material. But, the text is a good starting point and foundational text to democracy, and could easily correlate with additive readings due its divisible sections, which are clear and self-referential.
Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion
The text holds itself up with a good organization and structure. However, the flow is occasionally disrupted with awkward sentences, and a tendency to over-quote. I felt as if this was one of the textbook’s weaknesses, as it was short and succinct, yet, dominated by quotes rather than paraphrasing, or incorporating them in the columns for example, rather than in the body.
Organization Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader
The text was free of many technological or interface issues; but, a distraction I was drawn too was the distortion of the pictures, as many seemed blurry.
Interface Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text contains no grammatical errors
Throughout the text, I noticed numerous inconsistent spacing and comma issues. Occasionally there would appear to be an extra space, or an extra comma, and other times I noticed a missing comma or space. This affected the flow a bit at times. Also, there was a contraction used at one point in the text (don’t), which I felt should be spelled out to keep consistency.
Grammar Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds
I would not consider the text culturally offensive necessarily, but it did not represent the numerous examples of semi-democracies throughout the world, many of which continue to struggle to fully implement democratic principles. The text seemed repetitive in the sense that the United States was often used, as it usually is, to illustrate the benefits of democracy, while a more culturally relevant text may have incorporated the many countries and regions who have blended non-democratic measures into their system, creating their own style of democracy.
Cultural Relevance Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?
The textbook does not include many Canadian-specific examples, yet, the case studies provided are few overall. I think this text would be best updated by incorporating an “Additional Resources” unit at the end of each section, with hyperlinks and recommended readings for students to draw from, providing them with more comprehensive and in-depth information regarding democracy in Canada and around the world.