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Introduction. This study explored how various meanings are attributed to the term facts in Swedish schools and how this may shape conditions for students' learning. The understanding of information activities as social, communicative, and discursive, which motivates the study, is informed by a sociocultural perspective of learning and information interaction. Method. The study re-analyses empirical data from four previous research projects, where material was collected through various qualitative methods, mainly interviews, observations, and document analysis. The material involved 14 classes from year 2 to year 12.Analysis. The data were analysed thematically. In the material, 565 occurrences of facts are identified and categorised. Results. The analysis generated three themes. Firstly, facts were associated with specific genres or modalities. Secondly, facts were seen as distinguishable, external, and tangible. Thirdly, facts came across as having strong connections to neutrality and they were viewed as evidence. Conclusions. The analysis showed variation in how the study participants talked about facts. Despite the dominant associations, each theme displayed more complex meanings of the term, which indicates that fact cannot be equated to how the term has been used as an analytical term in previous research. The frequent use of the term facts can be understood as a result of the strong focus on students seeking and using certain types of information for writing school reports. The results show how important it is that information researchers adopt an open and explorative approach to the meaning of the language used in school activities that they study.
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