Stockholm university

Malin TvärånaSenior lecturer


I'm a PhD of Teaching and Learning with Specialisation in the Social Sciences Education. I teach social science/social studies and civics education, as well as didactic theory and methods.

My research focuses civics and citizenship education and education development research, for example Phenomenography and Variation theory, Activity theory and Design research.

At the moment I'm in charge of a research project on visual litteracy in social science education at SU/Stockholm Teaching and Learning Studies, and part of a research project on general and subject specific methods for developing critical digital literacy, at Uppsala University. 

Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Kritiskt omdöme i samhällskunskap

    2019. Malin Tväråna (et al.).

    Thesis (Doc)

    Teachers struggle to design teaching that that will promote students’ social science knowledge in accordance with the citizenship education purpose of the subject. This study aims to expand the knowledge base of social science education by exploring the meaning of, and teaching for, the ability to critically analyse essentially contested value issues, specifically fairness and justice issues, in social science.

    The project concludes results from three studies containing five empirical intervention sub-studies of social science teaching, conducted at upper secondary, middle and lower primary school level. All studies were based on the educational design-based research approach learning study,where teaching interventions are designed, analysed and evaluated in collaboration with practising teachers. For the intervention design and the analysis of empirical data, phenomenography, variation theory and activity theory were used.

    The results comprise descriptions of what it is means to know how to reason critically about fairness and justice issues in social science, what the critical aspects for learning how to do this are, how this knowing can be related to different teaching practices and design principles, and what indications of an emerging ability to critically analyse these issues can be. The results can be used as tools when designing, implementing and evaluating teaching and as empirically grounded additions to a theoretical description of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge. 

    Based on the results, the progression of the ability is discussed and a model for social science analytical reasoning (samhällsanalytiskt tänkande) is proposed. The model expresses analytical reasoning in social science as the development of a critical judgement in relation to contested societal issues with the purpose of reaching an agency-directed citizenship education.

    Read more about Kritiskt omdöme i samhällskunskap
  • Tycka eller tänka om rättvisa – vad främjas i mellanstadiets samhällskunskapsundervisning?

    2019. Malin Tväråna. Nordidactica (2), 136-161


    Social science in primary school is often shaped by a crowded curriculum, and directed towards remembering and recapitulating facts rather than developing qualified ways of reasoning about societal issues. Nevertheless, critical reasoning is regarded a crucial ability for civics, both in the national curriculum and by teachers. The article explores teaching designed to benefit students’ possibilities to qualify their critical reasoning about issues of judicial justice in civic education in year 6 of primary school. The focus is on how the actions of students’ and teachers’ build teaching practises that promote or hinder critical reasoning about justice issues, depending on the motives for civics expressed and mediated through the actions of both teachers and students. Data material in the study consisted of transcribed group discussions and whole class conversations from three cycles of research lessons in a learning study conducted in collaboration with a team of seven primary school teachers. Four subject practises were identified, driven by different motives: participation, identity, deliberation and critical judgment. Actions driven by deliberation and critical judgment benefitted students’ critical reasoning about justice issues, while actions driven by participation and identity conflicted with it. The results may contribute to the discussion within social science didactics about the meaning of critical reasoning and critical judgement as a subject specific ability.

    Read more about Tycka eller tänka om rättvisa – vad främjas i mellanstadiets samhällskunskapsundervisning?
  • Theories of justice among eight-year-olds

    2018. Malin Tväråna. Nordidactica (4), 43-64


    The study addresses the question of what conditions of teaching that benefits the development of the ability to critically analyse issues of justice in early social science and civics education. It also presents some indications of this emerging ability, where students treat the concept of justice not as a stated or explained fact or viewpoint but as a contested concept that needs critical examination. The analysis shows the possibility for eight-year-olds to start learning how to reason about justice as an essentially contested concept and to start participating in critical analyses of societal issues of distributive justice in a qualified way. This article discusses how teaching can be designed to help younger students develop and qualify the ability to analyse justice issues and proposes indications of such an ability.

    Read more about Theories of justice among eight-year-olds
  • Framgångsrik undervisning

    2015. Anja Thorsten, Malin Tväråna.


    Om fokus läggs på att ta reda på hur eleven har förstått ämnesinnehållet i stället för om eleven har förstått är det lättare att ta reda på vad som behöver förändras i undervisningen. På så sätt skulle bedömningen bli ett mer konstruktivt redskap för att få alla elever att utvecklas och lära sig.

    Read more about Framgångsrik undervisning

Show all publications by Malin Tväråna at Stockholm University