Case Study Research 25apr Jib

How to Know Whether and When to Use Case Studies as a Research Method

  • Your questions seek to explain some present circumstance ("how" or "why" some social phenomenon works)
  • Your questions require an extensive and "in-depth" description of some social phenomenon
  • When you would like to examine contemporary events, but the relevant behaviors cannot be manipulated
METHOD Form of Research Question Require Control of Behavioral Events? Focus on Contemporary Events?
Experiment how, why? yes yes
Survey who, what, where, how many, how much? no yes
Archival Analysis who, what, where, how many, how much? no yes/no
History how, why? no no
Case Study who, why? no yes

Relevant Situations for Different Research Methods

The case study includes primary & secondary documents, direct observation of the events being studied and interviews of the persons involved in the events.

Definition of the case study as a research method

1. A case study is an empirical inquiry that

  • investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real-life context, especially when
  • the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident.

2. The case study inquiry

  • copes with the technically distinctive situation in which there will be many more variables of interest than data points, and as one result
  • relies on multiple sources of evidence, with data needing to converge in a triangulating fashion, and as another result
  • benefits from the prior development of theoretical propositions to guide data collection and analysis.

Yin, Robert K. (2009). Case Study Research Design and Methods SAGE Publications, Inc.
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