Childhood and education research group

Oppvekst og utdanning. To ungdommer. Foto.

The research-group «Adolescence and Education» aims to develop knowledge of children’s and youths’ living conditions and upbringing. By use of an eclectic approach, we hope to develop a holistic understanding of both the individual and structural perspectives that influence both up-bringing and education.

The focus of the research-group is, in a broad sense, the living-conditions the region offers in areas such as kindergarten, schools and social-services as well as youth’s informal meeting places. By generating empirical knowledge about children’s and youths’ upbringing and living-conditions in our region, the knowledge of our regional partners will be strengthened. This can contribute to improved nation-wide social-services. It is therefore important that the research includes a close cooperation with local and regional practitioners who actively participate in the research process.

The research project applies both quantitative and qualitative methods ensuring research methods from diverse empirical traditions. Various missions and projects within the group offer possibilities for cooperation among multiple disciplines and therefore strengthen the insight of each researcher as well as the group as a whole. The group arranges courses in methodology for researchers, students and practitioners.

It is beneficial for the regional partners to have a professional cooperation with the research-group in order to discuss the local situation compared to regional- and national development trends represented in official statistics and national research. Four years of experience confirm that the research-group’s outward activities cover a need in the region.

Areas of Research

The research group is professionally rooted in kindergarten, school, health-, welfare- and social-sector. Current research projects include the following themes:

  •     Youth culture
  •     Child- and Youth Relationships 
  •     Child- and Youth Experiences of their Educational Environment 
  •     Teaching, Differentiated Learning and Special Education
  •     Drop-out and Failure to Graduate from Upper-Secondary Education
  •     Marginalisation of Youths
  •     Social Class and Social Differences Today
  •     Child Services and the Minorities-Perspective
  •     The Multicultural Childhood Environment
  •     Diet, Physical Activity, Mental Health and Children’s Physical Development
  •     Local Environment and Recreational Habits
  •     North versus South (comparative studies) 


Arrangements, spring 2019:

  • April 11, 9:00-12:00
  • June 14, 12:00-19:00


Current Research Projects

  • Marginalisation and Co-Created Education (MaCE)

A Erasmus Plus project with a cooperation between University in South-East Norway, University of Cumbria (UK) and VIA University College, Denmark. Project Leader: Mette Bunting (IPED). To read more

  • Youths, Realised Education and Drop-out in Telemark (UngSA)

A longitudinal research project over 10 years, in cooperation with Telemark County and NAV in Telemark and Østfold. Project leader: Mette Bunting (IPED) and Geir H. Moshuus (IKRS). To read more

  • Youths in Telemark, Ungdata (“YouthData”) Survey

A regionally-based umbrella project consisting of independent studies and comparisons of communities. The Ungdata-survey is, for USN, a part of «Youths in Telemark». Project leader: Geir H Moshuus (IKRS). Read more about Youths in Telemark here.

  • Child Welfare Services in a culturally complex Welfare Society

A diagnostic survey in which the theme for the study has been child welfare services’ work with ethnic-minority users. 83 municipalities belonging to Bufetat (Children-, Youth- and Family Affairs) and region Sør (South) participate in the survey. Project leader: Inger Kjersti Lindvig (IHSV). Read more about this project here.

  • Why "Drop Outs" are "Push Outs"

A comparative approach that examines the mechanisms that lead to dropping out of education in Northern- and Southern-Norway. The project is affiliated with NORHED-financed TRANSLED (UiO), - a cooperation between Norway and Tanzania, i.e. SUZA (the State University of Zanzibar) and UDSM (University of Dar es Salaam). Project leader: Torill A. Halvorsen (IPED)

  • Ph.d-project: Youths and Recreation in Telemark

This project studies the relation between youths’ leisure time and their experiences of affiliation, sense of affiliation and well-being. Data is mainly collected from the municiple Ungdata-survey. Research Fellowship: Elisabeth Gulløy (IHSV)

  • Ph.D.-project: Sense of Affiliation in Telemark 

Ph.D Candidate: Mari Bastøe Bergåker (IPED)

Completed projects


  •  From Talent to Skilled Worker

Research that follows the pilot project “From Talent to Skilled Worker” which tests an alternative organisational model for vocational programs through interviews and document studies. Project leader: Åse Streitlien, (IPED). Read more about the project here.

  •  Alternative first-year course for multilingual upper-secondary school students

This research follows an alternative first-year course for multilingual students at Skien Upper-Secondary School, in which students take their first year over a two-year period. Research methods include interviews, observation and document studies. Project leader: Åse Streitlien, (IPED). 


  •   Nutrition, physical exercise, mental health and weight among children and adolescents in Telemark

Research in cooperation with Telemark Hospital with data pertaining to diet, physical activity and mental health and including the weighing and measuring of children. This research is in cooperation with the health services for the municipality of Telemark. Project leader: Inger Margaret Oellingrath (ISH). Read more about this project here.



The Group’s Primary Affiliations

The research group is multidisciplinary and includes the Faculty of Humanities, Physical Education and Education (IPED) and the Institute of Culture, Religion and Social Studies (IKRS), as well as the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (HS) at the Institute for Health-, Social- and Welfare Service Studies (IHSV) and the Institute for Nursing- and Health Sciences (ISH).  

Group Members

Regionale samarbeidspartnere

  • Martin V. Svendsen (Statistician) og Ingebjørg Hestetun (Psychologist) Sykehuset i Telemark
  • Helge Galdal (Head of childhood), Heidi Sønstebø (Consultant), Mona Berg Jensen (Departmental Leader) og Heidi Staurheim (Leader for PPT and oppfølgingstjenesten)  all in the County of Telemark, Childhood
  • Torgeir Selle (Statistician), County of Telemark
  • Kjersti Norgård Aase (Consulting, Analysis and Statistics, Municiple Consultant), County of Telemark, Folkehelse
  • Karin Sørensen (Consultant), County of Telemark
  • Grete Gjelten (Oppvekstsjef) og Frøydis Straume (SLT-coordinator), Municipality of Skien
  • Elin Mandt (Leader), Municipality of Siljan
  • Robert Lien Pettersen (Consultant) Municipality of Bamble
  • Merethe Kronstad (Consultant) Municipality of Porsgrunn

National Network

We are also in contact with other national networks through networking-arrangements, conferences or more informal contact. We also cooperate in various types of publications together with these contacts.

International Network

  • Via University College (Denmark)
  • University of Cumbria (UK)
  • University College Metropol (Denmark)
  • University Baleares, Palma Mallorca (Spain)
  • University of Pune (India)
  • University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) 
  • State University of Zanzibar (Tanzania)
  • Glasgow Caledonian University (Scotland)
  • Roskilde Universitet (Denmark)
  • Reykjavik University (Iceland) 
  • Universidad de Alicante (Spain)
  • Nelson Mandela University (South Africa)
  • University of Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • Free State University (South Africa)
  • North Western University (Sør Afrika)
  • University of Western Cape (Sør Afrika)
  • Rhodes University (Sør Afrika)
  • Tanga International Competence Centre i Tanga (Tanzania)
  • Ilula Orphan Programe i Iringa (Tanzania)
  • El Shaddai, Goa (India) 
  • Crescent Educational & Volunteer Service (Tamale) Ghana
  • California State University Dominguez Hills (California) USA