Case studies are an important research method in areas where innovations are studied. They enable us to study contemporary and complex social phenomena in their natural context. Over the years researchers working from both epistemological perspectives have addressed important methodological issues. A case study is expected to capture the complexity of a single case, and the methodology which enables this has developed not only in the social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and economics, but also in practice-oriented fields such as environmental studies, business studies, social work and Counselling. (Yin 1994)
Croty (1998, p2) explains that there are four questions which are basic elements of any research process. What methods do we propose to use? What methodology governs our choice and use of methods? What theoretical perspective lies behind the methodology in question? What epistemology informs this theoretical perspective?
This paper is written to present the case study as a research approach, showing that its characterization is not an easy task, due mainly to its many different approaches and applications. In order to demonstrate its application, I have indicated its most common advantages and disadvantages, stressing the important role played by the researcher, who must be careful about generalizations. Soy (1997)
The case study approach refers to a group of methods which emphasize qualitative analysis Yin, (1984, p.23) simplifies it as, data collected from a small number of associations through methods such as participant-observation, in-depth interviews, and longitudinal studies. The essence of case study methodology is triangulation, the combination on different levels of techniques, methods, strategies, or theories.
Crotty (1998, p.5) explains that research conducted using the data collection method of participant observation, is one of many theoretical perspectives which exemplify a constructionist
References: Gorard, G. (2004). Combining methods in educational and social research. Berkshire: Open University Press Hayes,D Mertens, D.M. (2005). Research methods in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative and qualitative approaches. (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks: Sage. Soy, S K. (1997). The case study as a research method. Unpublished paper, University of Texas at Austin. Stake, R. E. (1978). "The case study method in social inquiry." Educational Researcher 7: 5-8 Stake, Robert Stake, Robert. (1998). “Case Studies” in: Norman Denzin & Yvonna Lincoln.(eds.): Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage. Thomas, G (2011) A typology for the case study in social science following a review of definition, discourse and structure.Qualitative Inquiry, 17, 6, 511-521 . Yin, R. (1984,1989, 1994,2009). Case study research: Design and methods (1st ed.). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing.