Skip Nav

Case Study Research Design

Navigation menu

❶For psychologists, anthropologists and social scientists they have been regarded as a valid method of research for many years.

TQR Publications

Follow TQR on:
Related Posts
The Case Study as a Research Method

Beyond decisions about case selection and the subject and object of the study, decisions need to be made about purpose, approach and process in the case study.

Gary Thomas thus proposes a typology for the case study wherein purposes are first identified evaluative or exploratory , then approaches are delineated theory-testing, theory-building or illustrative , then processes are decided upon, with a principal choice being between whether the study is to be single or multiple, and choices also about whether the study is to be retrospective, snapshot or diachronic, and whether it is nested, parallel or sequential.

The typology thus offers many permutations for case-study structure. These are, to a differentiable degree, similar to the case study in that many contain reviews of the relevant literature of the topic discussed in the thorough examination of an array of cases published to fit the criterion of the report being presented. These case reports can be thought of as brief case studies with a principal discussion of the new, presented case at hand that presents a novel interest.

Some issues are usually realised in a situation where marketing is concerned. In a case where the market of any organisation is in a messy state, the agency will always seek to find out some of the reasons why the scenario is that way. They will have to gather information that may help them in solving such issues. For this to be fully achieved, one must be able to carry out a market research to establish where the problem is.

This, therefore, calls for the different methods which can be used in a situation where one wants to conduct a marketing research. The organisations have to choose one of the available techniques so that they can thoroughly conduct their investigations. Some of the primary methods that would be used included interviews, surveys, focus groups, observations and in some cases use field trials.

One of the benefits of this method is that the company will be able to get feedback from a significant portion of customers.

Most of the customers will be able to answer the questions which will pertain to the brand and therefore a concrete feedback will be achieved. The other merit is the fact that it is less costly when compared to the others such as interviews. The company will just have to pay for the production of questionnaires used in the survey. On the other hand, surveys also have demerits. One of the disadvantages is the fact that their design is inflexible. This is because the study that the company uses from the beginning, as well as its administration, cannot be changed throughout the process of gathering data that is meaningful.

In some cases, the survey questions are usually inappropriate since the company will be forced to come up with items that will be used by the entire body of customers.

In public-relations research, three types of case studies are used: Under the more generalized category of case study exist several subdivisions, each of which is custom selected for use depending upon the goals of the investigator. These types of case study include the following:. At Harvard Law School In , Christopher Langdell departed from the traditional lecture-and-notes approach to teaching contract law and began using cases pled before courts as the basis for class discussions.

Research in business disciplines is usually based on a positivist epistemology , [24] namely, that reality is something that is objective and can be discovered and understood by a scientific examination of empirical evidence. But organizational behavior cannot always be easily reduced to simple tests that prove something to be true or false. Reality may be an objective thing, but it is understood and interpreted by people who, in turn, act upon it, and so critical realism , which addresses the connection between the natural and social worlds, is a useful basis for analyzing the environment of and events within an organization.

A critical case is defined as having strategic importance in relation to the general problem. A critical case allows the following type of generalization: The case study is effective for generalizing using the type of test that Karl Popper called falsification , which forms part of critical reflexivity.

Falsification offers one of the most rigorous tests to which a scientific proposition can be subjected: Popper himself used the now famous example: The case study is well suited for identifying "black swans" because of its in-depth approach: Galileo Galilei built his rejection of Aristotle 's law of gravity on a case study selected by information-oriented sampling and not by random sampling.

The rejection consisted primarily of a conceptual experiment and later on a practical one. These experiments, with the benefit of hindsight, seem self-evident. Nevertheless, Aristotle's incorrect view of gravity had dominated scientific inquiry for nearly two thousand years before it was falsified.

In his experimental thinking, Galileo reasoned as follows: If the two objects are then stuck together into one, this object will have double the weight and will according to the Aristotelian view therefore fall faster than the two individual objects. This conclusion seemed contradictory to Galileo. The only way to avoid the contradiction was to eliminate weight as a determinant factor for acceleration in free fall.

Rather, it was a matter of a single experiment, that is, a case study. The air pump made it possible to conduct the ultimate experiment, known by every pupil, whereby a coin or a piece of lead inside a vacuum tube falls with the same speed as a feather.

What is especially worth noting, however, is that the matter was settled by an individual case due to the clever choice of the extremes of metal and feather.

Random and large samples were at no time part of the picture. However it was Galileo's view that was the subject of doubt as it was not reasonable enough to be the Aristotelian view. By selecting cases strategically in this manner one may arrive at case studies that allow generalization. It is generally believed [ by whom? Other roots stem from the early 20th century, when researchers working in the disciplines of sociology, psychology, and anthropology began making case studies.

The popularity of case studies in testing theories or hypotheses has developed only in recent decades. Educators have used case studies as a teaching method and as part of professional development , especially in business and legal education. The problem-based learning PBL movement offers an example.

When used in non-business education and professional development, case studies are often referred to as critical incidents.

Ethnography exemplifies a type of case study, commonly found in communication case studies. Ethnography is the description, interpretation, and analysis of a culture or social group, through field research in the natural environment of the group being studied. The main method of ethnographic research is thorough observation, where the researcher observes study participants over an extended period of time within the participants' own environment. Comparative case studies have become more popular [ when?

One approach encourages researchers to compare horizontally, vertically, and temporally. Using case studies in research differs from their use in teaching, where they are commonly called case methods and casebook methods. Teaching case studies have been a highly popular pedagogical format in many fields ranging from business education to science education.

Harvard Business School has been among the most prominent developers and users of teaching case studies. Additional relevant documentation, such as financial statements, time-lines, and short biographies, often referred to in the case study as exhibits, and multimedia supplements such as video-recordings of interviews with the case subject often accompany the case studies.

Similarly, teaching case studies have become increasingly popular in science education. The National Center for Case Studies in Teaching Science has made a growing body of case studies available for classroom use, for university as well as secondary school coursework. Teaching case studies need not adhere strictly to the use of evidence, as they can be manipulated to satisfy educational needs.

The generalizations from teaching case studies also may relate to pedagogical issues rather than the substance of the case being studied. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with case method , used in teaching.

Encyclopedia of Case Study Research. Design and Methods 5th ed. Classic Case Studies in Psychology. Collaborative Medicine Case Studies: An example of a study using the case study research design. Some argue that because a case study is such a narrow field that its results cannot be extrapolated to fit an entire question and that they show only one narrow example. On the other hand, it is argued that a case study provides more realistic responses than a purely statistical survey.

The truth probably lies between the two and it is probably best to try and synergize the two approaches. It is valid to conduct case studies but they should be tied in with more general statistical processes. For example, a statistical survey might show how much time people spend talking on mobile phones, but it is case studies of a narrow group that will determine why this is so. The other main thing to remember during case studies is their flexibility.

Whilst a pure scientist is trying to prove or disprove a hypothesis , a case study might introduce new and unexpected results during its course, and lead to research taking new directions. The argument between case study and statistical method also appears to be one of scale. Whilst many 'physical' scientists avoid case studies, for psychology, anthropology and ecology they are an essential tool. It is important to ensure that you realize that a case study cannot be generalized to fit a whole population or ecosystem.

Finally, one peripheral point is that, when informing others of your results, case studies make more interesting topics than purely statistical surveys, something that has been realized by teachers and magazine editors for many years.

The general public has little interest in pages of statistical calculations but some well placed case studies can have a strong impact. The advantage of the case study research design is that you can focus on specific and interesting cases.

This may be an attempt to test a theory with a typical case or it can be a specific topic that is of interest. Research should be thorough and note taking should be meticulous and systematic.

The first foundation of the case study is the subject and relevance. In a case study, you are deliberately trying to isolate a small study group, one individual case or one particular population. For example, statistical analysis may have shown that birthrates in African countries are increasing. A case study on one or two specific countries becomes a powerful and focused tool for determining the social and economic pressures driving this.

In the design of a case study, it is important to plan and design how you are going to address the study and make sure that all collected data is relevant. Unlike a scientific report, there is no strict set of rules so the most important part is making sure that the study is focused and concise; otherwise you will end up having to wade through a lot of irrelevant information.

It is best if you make yourself a short list of 4 or 5 bullet points that you are going to try and address during the study. If you make sure that all research refers back to these then you will not be far wrong.

With a case study, even more than a questionnaire or survey , it is important to be passive in your research. You are much more of an observer than an experimenter and you must remember that, even in a multi-subject case, each case must be treated individually and then cross case conclusions can be drawn.

Analyzing results for a case study tends to be more opinion based than statistical methods. The usual idea is to try and collate your data into a manageable form and construct a narrative around it. Use examples in your narrative whilst keeping things concise and interesting. It is useful to show some numerical data but remember that you are only trying to judge trends and not analyze every last piece of data.

What is a Case Study?

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Case studies is a popular research method in business area. Case studies aim to analyze specific issues within the boundaries of a specific environment.

Privacy FAQs

The Case Study as a Research Method Uses and Users of Information -- LIS D.1 -- Spring Introduction Case study research excels at bringing us to an understanding of a complex issue or object and can extend experience or add strength to what is already known through previous research.

About Our Ads

In Research Methodology This is the Important Part to Grow Knowledge So Today We Discuss about the Case Study. This Study is Inspire by Jensen and Rodgers () identified taxonomy of case studies comprising five types as shown in Image. The case study research design have evolved over the past few years as a useful tool for investigating trends and specific situations in many scientific disciplines. This article is a part of the guide.

Cookie Info

case study as a research method 2 investigate contemporary real-life phenomenon through detailed contextual analysis of a limited number of . CHAPTER 1. A (VERY) BRIEF REFRESHER ON THE CASE STUDY METHOD 5 different research methods, including the case study method, can be determined by the kind of research question that a study is trying to address (e.g., Shavelson.