Data from the Applied Ethics e-textbook and the Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability in Practice e-textbook

This blog post was written by Steve Stapleton, University of Nottingham.

As part of the project at Nottingham we have surveyed our own students that have been provided our e-textbooks as part of their modules. This is for both the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSP) and the Applied Ethics e-textbooks.

The questions that were asked of both student groups were:

  • How satisfied with the e-book materials were you?
  • Did the e-book materials meet your expectations?
  • If you used other textbooks books as well as the e-book materials provided in the module, how did they compare to the e-book materials?
  • What books, if any, have you bought to for use in this module?
  • What books, if any, have you borrowed from the library or from others for use in the module?
  • What books, if any, have you accessed online for use in this module?
  • What formats have the books been in?
  • What price, if any, did you pay for textbooks to support this module?

The Applied Ethics students were asked one additional question to ascertain how they had accessed the e-textbook, was it through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Smashwords website, iBook store or another route.

Corporate Social Responsibility

We received 49 responses to the survey from students that used the Corporate Social Responsibility e-textbook as part of their module in the business school. The module was a first year undergraduate module called ‘Business sustainability and responsibility’.

The results of the first two survey questions about satisfaction and expectations are listed below:



Some of the key information gained from the other questions included the fact that Only 2 out of 17 respondents indicated that they had purchased a book to support the module. This may support the core principle set out by the lead author of the book that they would like to provide sufficient core content in the e-textbook and supporting module materials to reduce the need for students to have to purchase materials. Also, none of the 18 respondents to the question about whether any books had been borrowed from the library to support the module had in fact borrowed any. And all 18 respondents to the question about which format of book had been used stated that they had only used e-books. It is unclear from the data whether this was just the e-book provided for the course as some respondents (4) stated that they had accessed free online supporting materials. These included articles found online and website browsing.

Applied Ethics

We only received 4 responses to the survey from students that used the Applied Ethics e-textbook as part of their module in the Department of Philosophy. The module was a first year undergraduate module. This makes comparisons across both e-textbooks difficult to do.

The results of the first three survey questions about satisfaction, expectations and how students accessed the e-textbook are listed below:




A summary of the responses given to the other questions includes the fact that none of the 4 respondents reported that they had purchased any textbooks to support the module. One similarity across the two student groups included that some of both groups had used free online articles.

Other similarities across the two student groups include 100% of Applied Ethics students being satisfied with the e-textbook and over 95% of the CSR students being satisfied with their e-textbook. The majority of both groups also stated that the e-textbooks met their expectations. It is difficult to do any meaningful comparison of the two groups in relation to the other questions asked as only 4 Applied Ethics students responded to the survey. However, in the responses that were received, across both groups only 2 students had paid for any material to support the module and most respondents had worked with online support materials only.

For those that may be more interested in the full data gathered in the surveys, it is included in Appendix A.

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