Case study methods involve
Systematically gathering enough information about a particular person, social setting, event, or group to permit the researcher to effectively understand how it operates or functions.
Case studies may focus on an individual, a group, or an entire community and may utilize a number of data technologies such as life stories, documents, oral histories, in-depth interviews, and participant observation.
Types of case studies
Stake (1995) suggests that researchers have different purposes for studying cases. He suggests that case studies can be classified into three different types: intrinsic, instrumental, and collective Intrinsic case studies
Intrinsic case studies are undertaken when researcher wants to better understand a particular case.
It is not undertaken primarily because it represents other cases or because it illustrates some particular trait, characteristic, or problem. Rather, it is because of its uniqueness or ordinariness that a case becomes interesting.
Instrumental case studies
Instrumental case studies provide insights into an issue or refine a theoretical explanation.
The intention is to assist the researcher to better understand some external theoretical question or problem.
Collective case studies
Collective case studies involve extensive study of several instrumental cases.
The selection of cases is intended to allow better understanding or perhaps enhanced ability to theorize about a broader context.
Case study design types
There are different appropriate designs for case studies according to
Yin (1994) and Winston (1997). These include exploratory, explanatory, and descriptive case studies.
Exploratory case studies
In exploratory case studies, fieldwork, and data collection may be undertaken prior to definition of the research questions and hypotheses.
This type of study has been considered as a prelude to some social research.
Explanatory case studies
Explanatory cases are suitable for doing causal studies.
In very complex and multivariate cases, the analysis can make use of pattern-matching techniques, which is a situation where several pieces of information from the same case may be related to some theoretical proposition. Descriptive case studies
Descriptive cases require that the investigator begin with a descriptive theory, which establishes the overall framework for the investigator to follow throughout the study.
The scientific benefits of case studies
The scientific benefit of the case study lies in its ability to open the way for discoveries.