Qualitative Method in Professional Practice Research Group

This research group focuses on professional practice, using qualitative methods as a lens through which basic epistemological questions can be addressed while also engendering critical reflection and development of innovative methods in the social sciences and humanities.

Transdisciplinary research

The group has a transdisciplinary profile, with a shared interest for the detailed examination of professional practices through diverse ethnographic approaches. These include participative as well as non-participative observation, production and analysis of video and sound recordings, use of mobile methods such as shadowing, and action research. The group’s current members work mostly on professional practice in higher education, school and kindergarten, but the group is open for research on a wide spectrum of professions and institutions.

Professional practice

Our interest for professional practice can be contrasted with so-called “evidence-based” approaches. The group’s main interest lies in the development of a more thorough and rich understanding of how practices constitute themselves as such and how qualitative methods can contribute to the study and refinement of practice in action. Terms such as materiality, artefacts, language, multimodality, space and embodiment are of crucial importance in this context. Reflection about ethical challenges – also in the context of the increasing role of digitalization and a network society – is as important for this group as developing the potentials inherent to participative approaches.

The research group also serves as a resource beyond the group’s internal activities. By demonstrating the usefulness of relevant, new and innovative methods at the edge of current research methodologies the group contributes to the active formation of peer activities as well as different ways of sharing knowledge and research skills (e.g. the initiation of collaborative research, “collegial scaffolding”, data sessions, project development etc.).

Current topics

  • teaching and learning through the use of qualitative methods
  • action research, co-creation and participative research methods
  • mobile methods (shadowing, walk-alongs, etc.) and use of mobile digital devices
  • use of video
  • connections and rifts between a new visual media culture and ethical issues
  • qualitative data as “evidence”
  • emotions, perception and affect in qualitative research

Partners and networks

  • Mónica Degen (Brunel University)
  • Lars Meier (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung / IAB)
  • Jan Svennevig (University of Oslo)
  • Louise Tranekjær (Roskilde University)
  • Jutta Wiesemann og Clemens Eisenmann (University Siegen)
  • Ellen Andenæs (NTNU)
  • Nettverk for interaksjonsanalyse (University College of Southeast Norway)
  • SPICA (Nordic network funded through NordPlus)
  • ILRF (International Leadership Research Forum)


  • Data sessions: The group organizes regular data sessions where we present and discuss data as work-in-progress.
  • Project development: We arrange meetings and develop new, shared project and applications for external funding.
  • Konferanser/seminar/workshops
  • Research communication and collaboration: We seek to collaborate actively with regional actors such as communities and other relevant actors with regards to methods and ethics of professional education and practice.
  • “Vin og viten”: The group arranges monthly get-togethers at campus Notodden where different research-related topics are discussed in a more relaxed setting in the local library.

Current research projects

Group leader