A case Study is essentially the situation, individual, group or organisation in which the researcher is investigating (Robson 2002). Yin (1981) goes on to state that a:
‘Case study is a strategy for doing research which involves an empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple sources of evidence.’
Others like Creswell (2002) define case studies as a process of investigation, which is based on the extensive collection of data. Furthermore to be a case study Creswell refers to a case as a ‘bounded’ system. In other words there must be some clearly defined boundaries. This view is expanded on by Miles and Huberman (1994) who argue that in some instances it might be more accurate to refer to a case study as a site study, acknowledging the fact that the investigation takes place in a physical or social setting. Galliers (1992) states Case studies can be very effective in providing a detailed account of a group or organisations experience of a particular phenomenon. Case studies can also be very effective in dealing with many variables which makes them conducive to a mixed method approach.
However, Galliers (1992) goes on to comment on the difficulty of generalising based on the results of a single case study. How much one can generalise can be dependent on the type of case study. Stake (2000) identifies three different types of case study, namely the: intrinsic, instrumental and collective. The intrinsic tends to be a case that is unusual, and any findings are generally not suitable to deduce any kind of theory. Instrumental case studies aim to offer an insight into a certain issue, from which more general conclusions may be drawn. Collective studies take a multiple case approach with the aim of advancing understanding and generalising to greater degree.
As well as the problems of generalisation some sate that the intimate nature of case studies can impair objectivity Coolican... [continues]
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