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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New publication:

Teaser picture of the book "Northern Lights on Civic and Citizenship Education""Northern Lights on Civic and Citizenship Education: A Cross-national Comparison of Nordic Data from ICCS" - Research group members have participated in this anthology which sheds a light on citizenship learning and identifies to which extent that there is a common Nordic model on civic education, young people's civic competences, and how these results have changed over recent years. The book also reflects upon the interesting dynamics between teaching citizenship and learning democracy.

A virtual book launch is organized by IEA and the Nordic Council of Ministers on 23 March 2021, 13:00-15:00 CET. More info here. Welcome!


Karl Christian Alvestad (Research group leader)

Heidi Biseth 

Stig Bjørshol

Eirik Brazier

Ingrid R. Christensen

Anders Davidsen 

Kristin Gregers Eriksen

Line Løbben Jenssen

Audhild Lindheim Kennedy (PhD candidate)

Walter R. Lehmann

Solveig Magerøy (PhD candidate)

Kari Hærnes Nordberg

Trude Petterson

Anne Irene Risøy

Hege Roll-Hansen

Kristine H. Rubilar (PhD candidate)

Magnus Sandberg (NTNU) (PhD candidate)

Rønnaug Sørensen

Åsmund Aamaas

Associated members:

Tuva Skjelbred Nodeland (PhD candidate, Uppsala University)