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. It is 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 includes students as co-researchers. The group also arranges courses in methodology for researchers, students and practitioners.

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) 

Current Research Projects

Erasmus + KA3 (Support for Policy Reform - Social Inclusion); Co-created Social Inclusion in Education (COSI.ed). The project was built on MaCE, and involves Finn Hjardemal (HIU), Vibeke Krane and Inger Kjersti Lindvig (HS), partners from Spain, Poland, Portugal, Denmark, as well as Vestfold and Telemark County. Efforts are being made for a comprehensive model for social inclusion of pupils and students that can be said to be at risk of social exclusion and marginalization. Through this work, the aim is to develop a political strategy and policy formulation that can be used in all countries in the EU in the efforts to include and safeguard all students' right to education. Project Leader; Mette Bunting (IPED). Information about the project will come shortly.

Child welfare services and their work under Covid-19. Project Leader; Vibeke Krane. Information will come soon.

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, Vestfold og Buskerud, 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: Elisabeth Gulløy (IHSV). Read more about Youths in Telemark hereRead more about Youths in Vestfold hereRead more about Youths in Buskerud 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.

Youth Voices World Wide – Collaborating partners in memorandum of understanding: SUZA (State University of Zanzibar), UDSM (University of Dar es Salaam) and USN (University of South-Eastern Norway).The project has a comparative approach aiming towards a mutual knowledge exchange where student, employee and researcher mobility are collectively intertwined through a joint topic; youth not completing education. Project leader: Torill A. Halvorsen (IPED)

Developing a Ph.D. candidate team. Enculturation, participation and inclusion in the disciplinary research community. Collaboration, mutual experience exchange and supervision. 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)

Ph.D.- project; Offentlig phd. Ph.D Candidate: Mona Berg Jensen (Telemark fylkeskommune)

Ph.d - prosjekt: Students narrativs about the social and cultural practices of the school community. The project studies students' experiences of social processes with a spesific focus on their experiences of bullying and recognition in the school community. A cultural educational study of students’ narratives in or out of upper secondary school in Telemark. Stipendiat: Kathrine Bordevich (IPED)

Ph.D.- project; Offentlig phd. Ph.D Candidate: Kristin Støren (Porsgrunn kommune)

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 and national samarbeidspartnere

Telemark og Vestfold fylkeskommune, Buskerrud fylkeskommune, Fylkesmannen i Telemark og Vestfold, Fylkesmannen i Buskerud, samt kommune samarbeid i tilhørende fylker.

NOVA (OsloMet), UIO, Statistisk sentralbyrå, UiT, FAFO, Forum for studier Sør, Nettverk for praksisstudier internasjonalt for profesjonsutdanningene, Nasjonalt nettverk for ungdomsforskning, Nasjonalt nettverk om skoleavbrudd 

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

We collaborate in several of our projects internationally, such as Denmark, UK, Poland, Spain, Scotland, Iceland, India, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa and the USA.