Research Group in Social Studies Education (SAMD)

Themes core to social studies, democracy and citizenship, and sustainable development, will increasingly claim space in schools' activities. As a teacher education institution we are expected to educate teachers with relevant competencies in a society rapidly evolving. The research in SAMD aim at addressing these issues.

Social studies is the fourth largest mandatory subject in the Norwegian school. Social studies denotes the integrated study of multiple fields of social sciences and the humanities, including but not restricted to history, social geography, sociology, anthropology and political science. Our research activities are therefore situated within, and stretches across, multiple scientific disciplines. We focus on various facets of teaching, didactics, knowledge production and social justice related to social studies education at all levels of the educational system, from early childhood education and through teacher education.

Research on social studies education is growing in Norway, and we aim at being in the front of this emerging field nationally and internationally. Our activities are not restricted to research, but also include teaching, developing teaching materials, as well as exploration of teaching methods and pedagogical strategies in partnership with schools and communities nationally and internationally. We value applied and practice-oriented research, and we are interested in global cooperation and knowledge exchange while emphasizing the importance of locally grounded education.

Our main thematic research interests resonates with the core elements in the Norwegian curriculum for social studies, hereunder 

  • Democracy and citizenship
  • Sustainable development
  • Identity and community
  • Critical thinking about society and social relations
  • Inquiry and questioning as learning methods

We are part of the Norwegian national network for social studies in teacher education.

We welcome any comments, questions or requests for further information. Please do not hesitate with contacting Heidi Biseth or Kristin Gregers Eriksen.


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7-8 November 2019: "From a Democratic Classroom to a Global Society", Conference with Professor Joel Westheimer (University of Ottawa). The target audience of the conference is student teachers at USN, teacher educators and teachers interested in democracy and citizenship. A detailed program is available here. Also follow the conference on Facebook.


Karl Christian Alvestad

Heidi Biseth (Research group leader)

Stig Bjørshol

Eirik Brazier

Ingrid R. Christensen

Anders Davidsen 

Kristin Gregers Eriksen (PhD candidate)

Erik A. Fjeldstad (Master student)

Line Løbben Jenssen (PhD candidate)

Audhild Lindheim Kennedy (PhD candidate)

Walter R. Lehmann

Kari Hærnes Nordberg

Trude Petterson

Magnus Sandberg (NTNU) (PhD candidate)

Marta Stachurska-Kounta

Rønnaug Sørensen

Åsmund Aamaas

Associated members:

Liv Gardsjord Lofthus (PhD candidate)

Tuva Skjelbred Nodeland