The essay that won the competition for this year's Eilert Sundt award examines young people's attitudes towards transgender people.
“One of the things we discovered that surprised us a little is that young people are perhaps not quite as liberal as we often assume them to be,” says award winner Malin Stedal.
Stedal and Helene Foss Iversen wrote the winning entry "Young people's attitudes towards transgender people":
As many as 53 social science research projects were carried out this spring by students in upper secondary schools in Agder and submitted for the competition for the Eilert Sundt award. The jury has now assessed the entries that came from the following upper secondary schools this year: Arendal, Dahlske, Drottningborg, Kristiansand Katedralskole Gimle (KKG), KVS-Lyngdal, Mandal and Vågsbygd.
On Friday 28 April, it was announced who came in first, second and third in the selection of the best social science research project.
1st place: "Young people's attitudes towards transgender people" by Helene Foss Iversen and Malin Stedal from KKG
2nd place: "Youth and snitching in Kristiansand" by Karina Hodne Hanisch, Synne Strøm-Fadstad and Yasir Adbirashid Mohamed from KKG
3rd place: "Ukrainian refugees in Agder" by Amalie Lorch-Falch and Anne Berggren from Drottningborg VGS
The jury that selects the three best entries consists of representatives from UiA, upper secondary schools in Agder and Agder County Council.
In the jury's comments, emphasis is placed on the fact that the winning entry deals with a hot topic and makes “interesting and significant findings that confirm the hypotheses they made in advance.”
The students receive praise for good methodological insight and awareness of possible sources of error. Furthermore, it says:
“The jury especially commends the candidates for how they manage to discuss their results in an orderly and good manner and link them to previous research and theory. The essay also stands out due to its exceptionally clear language and having an appropriate structure, which makes it a joy to read.”
The top three who made it to the podium were celebrated in a special event at UiA on 28 April, where the students received greetings from the various jury members. Storting representative and jury member Gro Anita Mykjåland said that she was hugely impressed and had gained a deeper understanding of the topics that the projects addressed.
“In politics, everyone wants quick answers. But it is important that we know enough about the consequences when we make decisions. We therefore need wise minds who can delve into the material and continue to ask questions when others have concluded,” she said.
“The work that the students put into these projects is fantastic, and the 53 entries address both creative and interesting issues. The students get a taste of what it is like to study and research social science phenomena, and we know that we recruit many of these students for further studies with us,” says associate professor and leader of the Eilert Sundt award Irene Trysnes.
“It has been a lot of work, but we’ve learned a lot. And I think it has been a great exercise with a view to our future studies,” says Helene Foss Iversen.