A sociology textbook (Image credit: earthlightbooks)

If you were a contestant on Jeopardy! and the following clue came up, how would you respond?

Answer: “A social science that involves the study of human societies and activities”

If you were to respond to Alex Trebek with, “What is sociology?” you would win some money!

Sociology, in some cases, is an entire college major by itself. It involves using both critical analysis and empirical research to study how societies are created and maintained. History is a major part of sociology because some of the earliest forms of human societies, such as those in the Mediterranean, offer significant insights into how the world as we know it began and how societies could continue to develop in the future. In just a few thousand years, we have obviously made tremendous strides in how we function as humans and how specific groups interact with others from a social perspective.

As a sociology student, you need to have some materials that will enhance your learning experience – and help you do well on papers and exams. The following 10 titles are considered the top 10 sociology textbooks as ranked by TopTenTopTen.com, which ranks all kinds of textbooks and other items. As you can tell, James M. Henslin is a terrific sociology writer:

1) Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach by James M. Henslin (2010 – Prentice Hall)

2) Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach by James M. Henslin (2011 – Prentice Hall)

3) Sociology by Richard T. Schaefer (2009 – McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages)

4) The Practice of Social Research (Sociology) by Earl R. Babbie (2009 – Wadsworth Publishing)

5) The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology by Kerry Ferns and Jill Stein (2007 – W.W. Norton & Company)

6) Sociology by John J. Macionis (2011 – Prentice Hall)

7) Essentials of Sociology, A Down-to-Earth Approach [8th Edition – with MySocLab Series] by James M. Henslin (2009 – Allyn & Bacon)

8) Sociology and Modern Social Problems by Charles A. Ellwood (2010 – Nabu Press)

9) Introduction to Sociology by Anthony Giddens, Mitchell Duneier, Richard P. Appelbaum, and Deborah Carr (2011 – W.W. Norton & Company)

10) Sociology: The Essentials by Margaret L. Andersen and Howard F. Taylor (2010 – Wadsworth Publishing)

All of these books and thousands more are available for purchase or rent online. To compare prices on them in order to get the best deal and save the most money, use Textbooks.org. You can view lists of books and how much they cost to either buy or rent from all of the top online booksellers. You should also look for books at your local campus bookstore or shop at some of the local independent textbook outlets in your area. Shopping around is the best way to save money.