Formal research methods have always produced case studies. They are likely to appear in journals and professional conferences as opposed to popular works. Many disciplines have utilised the case study research. Some of these disciplines include anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, education, clinical science, social works, and administrative science.
When studying a case study the ‘case’ here can be a person, an organisation like harvard case studies, action, or event that exists within a specific period. For instance, there are case studies of individuals as well as case studies of clinical practices produced in clinical science. When a case is used in the abstract sense in that it is a claim, an argument, proposition, it can be the subject of many research methods and not just a case study research. Such a study may involve qualitative and quantitative and qualitative methods of research.
Case studies be defined as research strategies, an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon and how it relates it to a real-life context. Case student can be multiple of single case studies that can include quantitative evidence, multiple sources of evidence and benefits from the previous development of theoretical propositions. However, case studies should not be confused with qualitative research. This is because they can use a combination of qualitative and quantitative evidence.
A case study in psychology
It uses the descriptive research approach to obtain a comprehensive analysis of a person, group, or phenomenon. It employs a variety of techniques, which include direct observations, interviews, psychometric tests, and archival record. Case studies have been used in clinical research to describe sporadic events and conditions, which are in contrasts with the established principles that guide the field of psychology.
They use replication instead of sampling as an inclusion criterion when dealing with multiple or single case design. A case study in psychology must produce valid and reliable results for it to be useful in the future. Case method and case study are two different aspects, but they have been mistaken to mean the same. The notable advantage of a case study in psychology is the potential for the development of the novel hypothesis for a later date testing. It can describe specific and rare cases.
Writing a case study
Case studies are designed to assist in linking real-life examples to the bigger theory. It had the following characteristics:
- A broad and detailed description of the case as well as its elements
- The chronological order of contents
- It focuses on a phenomenon, a person, an organisation, event, group project and so on
- It combines description, analysis and interpretation of data
Approach to your case study assignment
Even if you are dealing with an analytical or problem-oriented case study. Several steps are important in the process of writing. They include:
- Read through the case and get the whole picture
You will be able to establish what has happened. This concerns the events, factors, and connections in deep You can apply the theoretical approach to explain your findings
- Identify the reason
- Develop and assess possible solutions
- Make recommendations if required
The format and structure of a case study
When formatting your case study paper, it should take the format of a report or as an essay. It can also take the format of harvard case studies. The assignment bearer can be very instrumental in deciding the structure you will use for your case study paper. If you are not sure, be prudent enough to ask your professor for clarification.
Common mistakes found when analysing a case study
When you are working on your case studies, ensure that you avoid these common errors
- Ignoring certain facts that would affect the overall picture
- Failing to explain the causes or implications of the problem
- Making assumptions that are not supported by evidence, thereby simplifying the case and omitting valuable information
- Presenting causes and solutions as generic rather than case-specific
- Over-reliance on your own experience. In other words, you prefer common sense other than theory and data.
Importance of case studies
Case student research is methods that involve an up-close, comprehensive, and detailed investigation of a topic of study and related contextual position. It helps in bringing an understanding to an issue that is complex. Remember that a case under investigation can be a person, an event, a group or an organisation. A case study has the power to extend experience or add strength to existing knowledge through previous research. The contextual analysis is premised on a limited number of events or conditions and how they relate.
Benefits of using case studies for your research
- They are comprehensive
They enable a holistic review where a research is at liberty to use tools that would not apply to other standalone research techniques. It gives him time to develop a comprehensive understanding of the topic to establish a credible platform to examining the factors that affect a case student in extensive detail.
- They reduce bias
Case studies shave been known to reduce bias because they allow for the diversity of opinion as opposed to using a single view of a person you get a survey response to an interview. By allowing, the diversity of opinion, case studies eliminates chances of bias and enhances an understanding the topic under investigation.
Limitations of using a case study
- Broad relevance
The findings cannot be generalised. However, when a case study is part of the broader research, it can explore common problems comprehensively.
Case studies do not guarantee the confidentiality of the research respondents. Their identity is crucial in painting the real picture that is taking place. Many researchers have found out that respondents are more comfortable in situations where their identity is protected. On the other hand, this is a big problem to the researcher give the comprehensive nature of the study. Comprehensive case studies require one to seek confirmation that the respondents agree that the material is accurate and anonymous. This enhances the confidence of both parties. To get that permission can take quite some time and can lead to an additional restatement of the published research.
Case study research consumes a lot of time. Planning for multiple interviews, waiting for the data to come in, coordinating focus groups and other activities can take most of the researcher’s time. For that researcher who depends on voluntary case study participants who have to go about their daily businesses, as usual, this is what they have to grapple with. This can be surmounted by use of incentives to the respondents and then outline what they are accepted to do from the start and to send deadline notifications in advance. This ensures that you receive data early enough.
When using case studies, you can try the following steps:
- Define your research questions
- Select your case study and determine the technique you will use for data collection and analysis
- Get ready to engage in data collection
- Collect data in the field
- Carry out the evacuation of your data and analysis
- Write your report
Determine your research questions
Come up with the questions that you want to use in your case studies. These questions must get answers from the study come up with questions that concern the problem under investigation and determines the purpose of the study. Your case study should be able to answer the ‘why’ or ‘how’. These are questions directed to a limited number of events or conditions and their inter-relationships. The best ways to formulate these questions is through conducting a literature review
- Select your case study and settle on the data collection and analysis technique
The researcher has to decide the approach he is going to use in selecting single or multiple real-life case studies. When working in multiple cases, each case is determined individually. He also has to decide the instruments used in data gathering and the approaches.
- Prepare for data collection
Case studies are known to generate large amounts of data. This makes it easy for the researcher to organise his data systematically to prevent confusion or getting overwhelmed by data.
- Collecting data in the field
The researcher must collect data and store is comprehensively and systematically
- Data Evaluation and analysis
The researcher must examine raw data using different interpretations. It becomes easy for him to draw linkages between the outcome of the research and the objective without forgetting the research questions.
- Preparing the report
Data is interpreted in a way that the audience can use to understand a hitherto complex problem. The audience can quest and examines the study to deduce the independence pf the researcher.