Disciplinary Differences in University Teaching

  • Cristina SinEmail author
  • Diana Soares
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9553-1_329-1


General Definition

Disciplinary differences in university teaching are often analyzed through the hard/soft, pure/applied taxonomy. They concern curriculum content, epistemology, and organization of knowledge, teaching, learning, and assessment practices, as well as acquired generic skills and modes of research training.

Disciplinary differences have been the object of research for several decades. Kuhn (1962) distinguished between disciplines with strong paradigms and those with weak or nonexistent ones. Biglan (1973), focusing on research, classified the disciplines in soft and hard (depending on the strength of disciplinary paradigm) and pure and applied (depending on the degree to which they are concerned with application). Becher and Trowler’s seminal book Academic Tribes and Territories (2001) looked into how disciplinary epistemology (based on Biglan’s typology) influences academic cultures, practices, and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIPES – Centre for Research in Higher Education PoliciesMatosinhosPortugal
  2. 2.Agência de Avaliação e Acreditação do Ensino Superior (A3ES)LisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Universidade Europeia Laureate International UniversitiesLisbonPortugal