Case Study

Topics: Scientific method, Case study, Qualitative research Pages: 11 (372 words) Published: January 23, 2015
Case Study

Case study methods

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

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

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

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

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