Open Educational Resources (OER): Social Sciences

Open Access Textbooks in the Social Sciences

Browse recommended titles in different disciplines below, or search a variety of Open Educational Resource digital collections and directories.


  • Explorations: An Open Invitation to Biological Anthropology 
    From the website: The first comprehensive, peer-reviewed open access textbook for biological anthropology courses. Produced with support from the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges (a section of the American Anthropological Association) and a grant from Minnesota State. Available free of charge for use in any setting. Includes teaching resources.
  • The History of Our Tribe: Hominini by Barbara Welker
    From the website: The book explores the field of paleoanthropology past and present. Beginning over 65 million years ago, Welker traces the evolution of our species, the environments and selective forces that shaped our ancestors, their physical and cultural adaptations, and the people and places involved with their discovery and study. It is designed as a textbook for a course on Human Evolution but can also serve as an introductory text for relevant sections of courses in Biological or General Anthropology or general interest.
  • Introduction to Human Geography by R. Adam Dastrup 
  • Native Knowledge 360 created by the National Museum of the American Indian 
    From the website: NK360° provides educational materials, virtual student programs, and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories, and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America. NK360° challenges common assumptions about Native peoples and offers a view that includes not only the past but also the vibrancy of Native peoples and cultures today.
  • Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology by Nina Brown, Laura Gonzalez, and Thomas Mcllwraith
    From the website: Different from other introductory textbooks, this book is an edited volume with each chapter written by a different author. Each author has written from their experiences working as an anthropologist and that personal touch makes for an accessible introduction to cultural anthropology.


  • Analyzing Meaning: An Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics by Paul R. Kroger
    From the synopsis: This book provides an introduction to the study of meaning in human language, from a linguistic perspective. It covers a fairly broad range of topics, including lexical semantics, compositional semantics, and pragmatics. 
  • Essentials of Linguistics by Catherine Anderson
    From the website: This Open Educational Resource (OER) brings together Open Access content from around the web and enhances it with dynamic video lectures about the core areas of theoretical linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics), supplemented with discussion of psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic findings.


Interdisciplinary Topics

  • Journalism, 'Fake News' and Disinformation: A Handbook for Journalism Education published by United Nations 
    From the book's introduction: To serve as a model curriculum, this handbook is designed to give journalism educators and trainers, along with students of journalism, a framework and lessons to help navigate the issues associated with ‘fake news’.
  • Copy(write): Intellectual Property in the Writing Classroom edited by Martine Courant Rife, et al.
    From the website: The editors of Copy(write): Intellectual Property in the Writing Classroom bring together stories, theories, and research that can further inform the ways in which we situate and address intellectual property issues in our writing classrooms. The essays in the collection identify and describe a wide range of pedagogical strategies, consider theories, present research, explore approaches, and offer both cautionary tales and local and contextual successes that can further inform the ways in which we situate and address intellectual property issues in our teaching.


  • Introduction to Community Psychology: Becoming A Change Agent by Leonard A. Jason, Olya Glantsman, et al.
    From the website: This textbook will show you how to comprehensively analyze, investigate, and address escalating problems of economic inequality, violence, substance abuse, homelessness, poverty, and racism. It will provide you with perspectives and tools to partner with community members and organizations to promote a fair and equitable allocation of resources and opportunities.
    Includes quizzes and lecture slides.
  • Research Methods in Psychology by Rajiv S. Jhangiani, I-Chant A. Chiang, et al. 
    A comprehensive textbook for research methods classes. A peer-reviewed inter-institutional project. Includes resources for instructors 


Social Work

  • Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System by Alison S. Burke, David Carter, et al.
    From the website: This OER covers law enforcement, criminal courts, sentencing, penal institutions, and community-based sanctions. It also includes historical and contemporary perspectives on components of the criminal justice system, as well as the legal and constitutional frameworks in which they operate. 
  • Social Problems: Continuity and Change published by University of Minnesota Libraries 
    From the website: Social Problems: Continuity and Change is a realistic but motivating look at the many issues that are facing our society today. As this book’s subtitle, Continuity and Change, implies, social problems are persistent, but they have also improved in the past and can be improved in the present and future, provided that our nation has the wisdom and will to address them.
  • Speak Out, Call In: Public Speaking as Advocacy by Meggie Mapes
    From the website: Speak Out, Call In: Public Speaking as Advocacy is a contemporary, interdisciplinary public speaking textbook that fuses rhetoric, critical/cultural studies, and performance to offer an up-to-date resource for students. With a focus on advocacy, this textbook invites students to consider public speaking as a political, purposeful form of information-sharing.