Rather, several situations or events may be examined to raise questions or challenge previously held assertions. Once the question has been identified and the basic type of case study method has been selected, the researcher will need to begin designing their case study approach. In order to obtain a full and detailed picture of the participant or small group, the researcher can use a variety of approaches and methods to collect data.
These methods may include interviews, field studies, protocol or transcript analyses, direct participant observations, a review of documents and archived records, and an exploration of artifacts.
Researchers may choose to use one of these methods to collect data single method approach or they may use several methods multi-modal approach.
After the researcher has determined the data collection methods and what type of data will be used and recorded in the study, he or she will need to decide upon a strategy for analyzing the data. Case study researchers typically interpret their data either holistically or through coding procedures. A holistic approach reviews all of the data as a whole and attempts to draw conclusions based on the data in its entirety.
This is an appropriate approach when the question being studied is more general in nature and the data provides an overview. Sometimes, it may be more useful to break the data into smaller pieces. This usually involves searching the data to identify and categorize specific actions or characteristics.
These categories can be assigned a numeric code that allows the data to be analyzed using statistical, quantitative methods.
Regardless of the type of case study, data collection method or data analysis method, all case studies have advantages and disadvantages. The following list discusses the potential benefits and limitations associated with using case study research methods: Advantages: Case studies are more flexible than many other types of research and allow the researcher to discover and explore as the research develops.
Case studies emphasize in-depth content. The researcher is able to delve deep and use a variety of data sources to get a complete picture.
The data is collected in a natural setting and context. Often leads to the creation of new hypotheses that can be tested later. Case studies often shed new light on an established theory that results in further exploration. Researchers are able to study and analyze situations, events and behaviors that could be created in a laboratory setting. Disadvantages: The uniqueness of the data usually means that it is not able to be replicated.
Case studies have some level of subjectivity and researcher bias may be a problem. Because of the in-depth nature of the data, it is not possible to conduct the research on a large scale.
There are concerns about the reliability, validity and generalizability of the results. The Resource Links on this page provide a more comprehensive and detailed discussion regarding the types of case study methods, data collection methods and data analysis methods.
In summary, the following video, Case Study, reviews the case study methodology and discusses several types of case study methods. Bernard, H. Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Burt, C. Research in education. Creswell, J. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications. Gomm, R. Case study method: Key issues, key texts. Knupfer, N. They are advantageous when the research goal is to describe the prevalence of a certain phenomenon or to be predictive of a certain outcome.
The key is to understand that your research questions have both substance — for example what is my study about and form for example am I asking a who, what, where, why or how question. Histories are preferred when there is virtually no access or control, and can of course be done about contemporary events: in this situation the method begins to overlap with that of the case study. Experiments are done when an investigator can manipulate behavior directly, precisely and systematically.
The case study is preferred in examining contemporary events, but when the relevant behaviors can not be manipulated. Perhaps the greatest concern has been the lack of rigor of case study research. To many times,the case study researcher has been sloppy, has not followed systematically procedures, or has allowed equivocal evidence or biased views to influence the directions of the findings of the conclusions.
A second concern is that they provide little basis for scientific generalization. The short answer is that case studies, like experiments, are generalizable to theoretical propositions and not to populations or universes. A third concern is that case studies take to long.
This incorrectly confuses the case study method with a specific method of data collection, such as ethnography or participant observation. Case studies are a form of inquiry that does not depend solely on ethnographic or participant observer data.
This is an appropriate approach when the question being studied is more general in nature and the data provides an overview. Such studies are not to create new generalizations. A holistic approach reviews all of the data as a whole and attempts to draw conclusions based on the data in its entirety.
Yes If research focusses on what questions, either of two positions arises. Knupfer, N.
Rosenthal, R. Sometimes, it may be more useful to break the data into smaller pieces.
Experiments are done when an investigator can manipulate behavior directly, precisely and systematically. Case studies are a form of inquiry that does not depend solely on ethnographic or participant observer data. Disadvantages: The uniqueness of the data usually means that it is not able to be replicated. Because of the in-depth nature of the data, it is not possible to conduct the research on a large scale. The short answer is that case studies, like experiments, are generalizable to theoretical propositions and not to populations or universes. Rosenthal, R.