E-Class Records

Topics: Scientific method, Case study, Qualitative research Pages: 9 (3050 words) Published: March 27, 2014
In the social sciences and life sciences, a case study (or case report) is a descriptive, exploratory or explanatory analysis of a person, group or event. An explanatory case study is used to explore causation in order to find underlying principles.[1][2] Case studies may be prospective (in which criteria are established and cases fitting the criteria are included as they become available) or retrospective (in which criteria are established for selecting cases from historical records for inclusion in the study). Thomas[3] offers the following definition of case study: "Case studies are analyses of persons, events, decisions, periods, projects, policies, institutions, or other systems that are studied holistically by one or more methods. The case that is the subject of the inquiry will be an instance of a class of phenomena that provides an analytical frame — anobject — within which the study is conducted and which the case illuminates and explicates." According to J. Creswell, data collection in a case study occurs over a "sustained period of time."[4] Another suggestion is that case study should be defined as a research strategy, an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon within its real-life context. Case study research can mean single and multiple case studies, can include quantitative evidence, relies on multiple sources of evidence, and benefits from the prior development of theoretical propositions. Case studies should not be confused with qualitative research and they can be based on any mix of quantitative and qualitative evidence. Single-subject research provides the statistical framework for making inferences from quantitative case-study data.[2][5] This is also supported and well-formulated in (Lamnek, 2005): "The case study is a research approach, situated between concrete data taking techniques and methodologic paradigms." The case study is sometimes mistaken for the case method, but the two are not the same. Contents

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1 Case selection and structure
2 Generalizing from case studies
3 History of the case study
4 See also
5 References
6 Useful Sources
7 External links
Case selection and structure[edit]
An average, or typical, case is often not the richest in information. In clarifying lines of history and causation it is more useful to select subjects that offer an interesting, unusual or particularly revealing set of circumstances. A case selection that is based on representativeness will seldom be able to produce these kinds of insights. When selecting a subject for a case study, researchers will therefore use information-oriented sampling, as opposed to random sampling. Outlier cases (that is, those which are extreme, deviant or atypical) reveal more information than the potentially representative case. Alternatively, a case may be selected as a key case, chosen because of the inherent interest of the case or the circumstances surrounding it. Or it may be chosen because of researchers' in-depth local knowledge; where researchers have this local knowledge they are in a position to “soak and poke” as Fenno[6] puts it, and thereby to offer reasoned lines of explanation based on this rich knowledge of setting and circumstances. Three types of cases may thus be distinguished:

1. Key cases
2. Outlier cases
3. Local knowledge cases
Whatever the frame of reference for the choice of the subject of the case study (key, outlier, local knowledge), there is a distinction to be made between the subjestorical unity[7] through which the theoretical focus of the study is being viewed. The object is that theoretical focus – the analytical frame. Thus, for example, if a researcher were interested in US resistance to communist expansion as a theoretical focus, then the Korean War might be taken to be the subject, the lens, the case study through which the theoretical focus, the object, could be viewed and explicated.[8] Beyond decisions about case selection and the subject and object of the study,...
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