Research in Higher Education

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 429-454

First online:

Reported Gains in Student Learning: Do Academic Disciplines Make a Difference?

  • Gary R. PikeAffiliated withUniversity of Missouri–Columbia
  • , Timothy S. KillianAffiliated withUniversity of Missouri–Columbia

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This study examined differences in students' college experiences and learning outcomes using Biglan's typology of pure and applied disciplines. It was expected that students in applied disciplines would have more positive perceptions of the college environment, be more involved, and report greater gains in learning and intellectual development than students in pure disciplines. An analysis of data from one university identified significant differences in the college experiences and learning outcomes of students in pure and applied disciplines; however, differences in reported learning seemed to be related to disciplinary content, rather than Biglan's pure and applied topology.

academic disciplines learning Biglan college environment