Previous candidates

Hall, Jeffrey Brooks

State school inspection in Norway and Sweden (SINS) - A comparative study of key actors’ legal practices, legal statutes and policy

The PhD project seeks to expand the understanding of how state school inspections are carried out in Norway and in Sweden, and how policy shapes this form of regulative tool.  The study draws on theoretical concepts such as governing, institutionalization and accountability. The research problem to be pursued is; How does policy portray, and how do key actors perceive state school inspection in Norway and Sweden?

Until now there have been few studies in Norway focusing on this phenomenon, however more in the case of Sweden. Drawing on other European studies of school inspection, the main goal of this comparative study is to examine inspectoral systems in Norway and Sweden. The project furthermore seeks to uncover how national inspections are executed in the two Nordic countries, and point of departure was an analysis of a wide range of key policy documents and legal statutes (study 1). Secondly, through interviews with school inspectors and education directors in County Governors’ Offices who carry out the inspection process, I study how they conceive school inspections as a means of controlling and supporting schools (study 2). Third, based on observation data from shadowing school inspectors in the field as well as case-specific inspection reports, I further explore the current transformation of the ‘new’ inspection regime in Norway through a case study of one of the County Governors Offices in study 2. Finally, a study of upper-secondary school principals in Norway and Sweden will be carried out based on interview data (study 4).

This sub-project is part of Legal standards and Professional Judgment in Educational Leadership: The LEX-EL project, and is funded by the Research Council of Norway (2012-2016).

PhD Program Institution: Faculty of Education, Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo


Tveit, Sverre

Assessment for selection in the Scandinavian systems

The study investigates the rationales and policies for certifying and selecting upper secondary students for higher education in the Scandinavian countries. In Norway, Sweden and Denmark admission to most higher education institutions and programs is centrally administrated and based on students' secondary education certificates. The certificates comprise various types of formal assessments of which the vast majority is awarded by the students’ teacher of the relevant subject and to various extents by external examiners. For teachers the responsibility of awarding formal assessments form part of a complex classroom context which often includes other and sometimes conflicting purposes of assessment (e.g. support learning). The methods used are document analysis and expert interviews. The study seeks to illuminate what strategies the national authorities apply in order to ensure validity and comparability of their assessment systems in upper secondary education.

PhD Programme Institution: Institute for Educational Research, University of Oslo



Stokker Jensen, Vigdis

Risk and Marginality in Education – OECD and Norway

The aim of my project is to reveal and discuss some of the tension points that emerge in educational policy on the basis of risk thinking and risk management. The core tension lies between the risk of welfare state decline on a system level and being at risk (of marginalization) on a group and individual level. This tension emerges in policy documents when someone is classified as being at risk or being marginalized. Both classifications are based on statistics and probability assumptions, and both are connected to either ‘disadvantage’ or ‘disability’ as deviance from a norm. The communication of such classifications through policy tends to interact with the classified, constituting a dialectical looping process. Building on a theoretical discussion on how risk perception and risk management unfolds in policy documents in the period of 2002-2011, mainly in OECD with Norway as an example of concretization, the empirical part of the project is in-depth, individual interviews with students or dropouts from upper secondary school that falls under the classification of  at risk and/or marginalized.

PhD Programme Institution: Faculty of Psychology, Department of Education, University of Bergen



Hilt, Line

Intercultural communication in schools: theory and praxis interacting

The aim of this project is to develop further the concept of intercultural communication based on a theoretical discussion, analysis of policy-documents and qualitative interviews and observations in two schools. The theoretical starting point is communication theory in general and Niklas Luhmanns System Theory of communication in particular. This implies not only studying the interaction-based communication (pupil-teacher, pupil-pupil) in classrooms, but also communication in schools as organisation systems reproduced by decisions, as well as attempts of governance through political communication.

PhD Programme Institution: Faculty of Psychology, Department of Education, University of Bergen


Abrahamsen, Hedvig

Distributed leadership in Norwegian lower secondary schools

In this project the aim is to explore how distribution of leadership is performed and experienced by school leaders and teachers in Norwegian lower secondary schools focusing on structural reorganization, and to investigate on dominant discourses of school leadership in Norwegian public policy documents.  The project is designed as qualitative multi-case study, and the data will be collected from interviews of principals, focus group interviews from the leadership teams and teachers, together with observations and document analysis. The theoretical framework for the project draws on analytical, descriptive distributed leadership.

PhD Programme Institution: Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo



Emstad, Anne Berit (Emstad defended her thesis on December 7, 2012)
The principal's role in the post-evaluation process. - How does the principal participate in the work carried out after the school has been evaluated?

The main issue for my thesis is to look at the principal’s role in the post-evaluation process. How does the principal participate in the work carried out after the school has been evaluated? An interesting aim is to understand how the evaluation is used in the entire school – if it’s an interaction going on between all levels in the school, and if the evaluation is used to improve the schools practise. It will be important for me to understand the role of the principal in this process. Theories about evaluation, learning and leadership will be used as a framework for the analyses and discussion. This study is a qualitative study. The primary source of data for the study is based upon in-dept- interviews in six primary schools in Norway. In each of the schools the principal, three teachers and a group of pupils were interviewed.

PhD Programme Institution: Department of Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Andreassen, Svein-Erik
Local curriculum - action research in a case study

The topic for my project is local curriculum, and the research question is: How can local work with then national curriculum help to give the pupils more clearly goals for learning? I intend to use action research and case study as strategies. I build my study on Norwegians research result that shows that 1) teachers have problems with relating their self to goals in national curriculum, and 2) that the focus in Norwegians schools seems to lay more on the activities than the learning, and 3) that the pupils don’t seems to know the goals for learning. The school leader and teachers on a high school will take part in my study at the same time as they work with their own development project.

PhD Programme Institution: Department of Education, University of Tromsø

Eide, Helene Marie Kjærgård
Leadership, assessment and learning

The project aims to develop knowledge about how school leaders use feedback to teachers when working with results from assessment and tests in their own organisations. The main research question for the project is: How do school leaders provide feedback in order to promote teachers` professional learning and contribute to organisational change? This study is a qualitative study and data will be collected from document analysis, in-dept interviews with teachers and school leaders and from observations in the school where the informants work. The study pursues a socio-cultural perspective on assessment and learning.

PhD Programme Institution: Faculty of psychology, Department of education, University of Bergen


Helstad, Kristin
Collective knowledge building among teachers in upper secondary schools: writing across the disciplines

The project draws upon an intervention study where experts from the University cooperate with an interdisciplinary group of teachers with the purpose of promoting writing in and across the disciplines. Special attention is paid to how the teachers explore their knowledge and practices connected to their work with student’s texts. The research questions are: How is professional knowledge negotiated? What kind of professional knowledge is at play? How do external experts and school leadership contribute to the processes of knowledge creation?  The study investigates professional development at work place in a socio-cultural and dialogical perspective, and it is designed as an ethnographic fieldwork with sound recordings, observations and interviews as main methods.

PhD Programme Institution: Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo

Mausethagen, Sølvi
Redefining teacher professionalism under increased accountability 

This PhD project studies the role of the teacher in a changing education policy context. In the last two days decades, there has been an increased focus on effective schools and student learning, presumably implying a greater emphasis on testing, assessment and teacher acciuntability. The study aims to address issues of development towards more control over teacher work, and more specifically whether these developments influence teacher relations to students, parents, management and colleagues. The empirical study is framed as a qualitative case study and will be performed by studying teacher accountability for student learning in two schools within one municipality with a so-called active school ownership. The data material will consist of interviews, observation of teacher talk and document analysis.

PhD Programme Institution: Centre for the Study of the Professions, Oslo University College

Jensen, Ruth
Inter-professional work – developing expertise as educational leaders 

The study is designed as a qualitative study stretched over two years with a developmental approach. It rests partly on ethnographic fieldwork, with a focus on the work in a project team of school leaders, leaders from municipality and researchers from a university in a Norwegian context, and partly on interaction analysis processes of learning. The study aims at investigating how professional development of school leaders is played out empirically by paying special attention to school data as mediators in professional development of school leaders, reflective work in a team from a dialectic approach and to moments in professional development being conducive to change. Cultural Historical Activity Theory, (CHAT), grounded in Vygotsky, is chosen as a theoretical framework for the analysis of audio and video data from ten workshops. The data is analyzed across different timescales.

PhD Programme Institution: Department of Teacher Education and School Development, University Of Oslo

Prøitz, Tine Sophie
Learning outcomes – what are they and where do they come from?

The PhD-project is a conceptual analysis of the phenomenon learning outcomes. More precisely it is an exploratory investigation of conceptions of the phenomenon held by three central stakeholders: scholars within educational research, the Norwegian government, and teachers. An important perspective is how learning outcomes is understood at the theoretical and intentional level (academic, political and central level), and how it is perceived at the practical and professional level. The main research question is: Learning outcomes; what are they, and where do they come from? Theoretical framework: social constructivism. Method: review, document analysis and interviews.

PhD Programme Institution: Institute for Educational Research, University of Oslo

Ramberg, Magnus Rye
What constitutes changes in teachers practice?

The purpose is to investigate in what extent the teachers practice has changed, as a consequence of different demands and expectations aimed towards the teacher profession. Research questions: “How did/do teachers experience their own practice in implementing R94/L97/LK06, in connection to contemporary/present demands and expectations?” and “Can the different demands and expectations contribute to explain an eventual change in teachers practice?” I intend to use new institutional theory and mixed-methods, where the qualitative investigation shall uncover how teachers view their own practice. The respondents are teachers in primary, secondary and high school (quantitative survey n= ca.1000).

PhD Programme Institution: Department of Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Skog, Pia

Art as Perspective on Educational Leadership

This PhD-project introduces art as a research perspective to describe the executive and creative aspects of educational leadership as a field of practice. The purpose is to develop knowledge that can provide a sharpened focus on school leaders' practices between governance performance requirements on one side, and the practice field's need of development and new solutions on the other. The research also aims to develop knowledge that can contribute to educational leaders awareness of their own ability to maneuver between the executive and the creative paradigms as forms of knowledge, but also relate to them as complementary conditions. This study is a qualitative study and data will primarily be collected from interviews with educational leaders. The study pursues a phenomenological and hermeneutical approach to art in leadership.

PhD Programme Institution: Faculty of Social Science and Technology Management, Programme for Teacher Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Mølstad, Christina Elde

Comparison of the curriculum as steering in Finland and Norway

The aim of the PhD project is to investigate what sort of steering tool the national curriculum for compulsory school is in Finland and Norway. Research question: How is the curriculum in Finland and Norway as steering tools? Steering is partly constituted by limitations and regulations from government to the school, and partly by the given space of action for participants. The project is mainly based on Northern European curriculum theory, especially frame factor theory by Lundgren. The research question in this thesis will be answered by analyzing the national curriculum and by interviewing key people in the ministries and directorates of education in the two countries

PhD Programme Institution: Institute for Educational Research, University of Oslo


Vennebo, Kirsten Fosshaug

Leadership and Innovation in Schools. A longitudinal study of leadership in schools’ innovative organizational learning processes with ICT

The study aims to develop knowledge about leadership in schools’ innovative work with ICT. Innovative work is regarded as learning processes through which new ideas, objects and practices are developed. Leadership is investigated as actions and operations that influence, give direction and coordinate such processes. Drawing on Cultural Historical Activity Theory the study explores participants' interactions to show how and discuss why acts of initiative and agency may be consequential for the schools’ innovations. The project is designed as a qualitative multi-case study. Data consists of audio recorded discussions in leadership and teacher teams, interviews with leaders and teachers, field notes from classroom observations and document analysis.

PhD Programme Institution: Department of Teacher Education and School Development, University of Oslo



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Published Sep. 2, 2013 11:19 AM - Last modified Aug. 16, 2016 2:03 PM