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What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on May 8, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on January 30, 2023.

A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organization, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research.

A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods , but quantitative methods are sometimes also used. Case studies are good for describing , comparing, evaluating and understanding different aspects of a research problem .

Table of contents

When to do a case study, step 1: select a case, step 2: build a theoretical framework, step 3: collect your data, step 4: describe and analyze the case.

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. It allows you to explore the key characteristics, meanings, and implications of the case.

Case studies are often a good choice in a thesis or dissertation . They keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources to do large-scale research.

You might use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in depth, or conduct multiple case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions , you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to:

Unlike quantitative or experimental research , a strong case study does not require a random or representative sample. In fact, case studies often deliberately focus on unusual, neglected, or outlying cases which may shed new light on the research problem.

However, you can also choose a more common or representative case to exemplify a particular category, experience or phenomenon.

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While case studies focus more on concrete details than general theories, they should usually have some connection with theory in the field. This way the case study is not just an isolated description, but is integrated into existing knowledge about the topic. It might aim to:

To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, you should conduct a literature review of sources related to the topic and develop a theoretical framework . This means identifying key concepts and theories to guide your analysis and interpretation.

There are many different research methods you can use to collect data on your subject. Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews , observations , and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data.

The aim is to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of the case and its context.

In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give as complete a picture as possible of the subject.

How you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard scientific paper or thesis , with separate sections or chapters for the methods , results and discussion .

Others are written in a more narrative style, aiming to explore the case from various angles and analyze its meanings and implications (for example, by using textual analysis or discourse analysis ).

In all cases, though, make sure to give contextual details about the case, connect it back to the literature and theory, and discuss how it fits into wider patterns or debates.

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Overview dropdown down, celebrating 100 years of the case method at hbs.

The 2021-2022 academic year marks the 100-year anniversary of the introduction of the case method at Harvard Business School. Today, the HBS case method is employed in the HBS MBA program, in Executive Education programs, and in dozens of other business schools around the world. As Dean Srikant Datar's says, the case method has withstood the test of time.

Case Discussion Preparation Details Expand All Collapse All

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How Cases Unfold In the Classroom

How cases unfold in the classroom dropdown up, how cases unfold in the classroom dropdown down, preparation guidelines expand all collapse all, read the professor's assignment or discussion questions read the professor's assignment or discussion questions dropdown down, read the first few paragraphs and then skim the case read the first few paragraphs and then skim the case dropdown down, reread the case, underline text, and make margin notes reread the case, underline text, and make margin notes dropdown down, note the key problems on a pad of paper and go through the case again note the key problems on a pad of paper and go through the case again dropdown down, how to prepare for case discussions dropdown up, how to prepare for case discussions dropdown down, read the professor's assignment or discussion questions, read the first few paragraphs and then skim the case, reread the case, underline text, and make margin notes, note the key problems on a pad of paper and go through the case again, case study best practices expand all collapse all, prepare prepare dropdown down, discuss discuss dropdown down, participate participate dropdown down, relate relate dropdown down, apply apply dropdown down, note note dropdown down, understand understand dropdown down, case study best practices dropdown up, case study best practices dropdown down, participate, what can i expect on the first day dropdown down.

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What happens in class if nobody talks? Dropdown down

Professors are here to push everyone to learn, but not to embarrass anyone. If the class is quiet, they'll often ask a participant with experience in the industry in which the case is set to speak first. This is done well in advance so that person can come to class prepared to share. Trust the process. The more open you are, the more willing you’ll be to engage, and the more alive the classroom will become.

Does everyone take part in "role-playing"? Dropdown down

Professors often encourage participants to take opposing sides and then debate the issues, often taking the perspective of the case protagonists or key decision makers in the case.

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What the Case Study Method Really Teaches

give the meaning of case study method

Seven meta-skills that stick even if the cases fade from memory.

It’s been 100 years since Harvard Business School began using the case study method. Beyond teaching specific subject matter, the case study method excels in instilling meta-skills in students. This article explains the importance of seven such skills: preparation, discernment, bias recognition, judgement, collaboration, curiosity, and self-confidence.

During my decade as dean of Harvard Business School, I spent hundreds of hours talking with our alumni. To enliven these conversations, I relied on a favorite question: “What was the most important thing you learned from your time in our MBA program?”

Alumni responses varied but tended to follow a pattern. Almost no one referred to a specific business concept they learned. Many mentioned close friendships or the classmate who became a business or life partner. Most often, though, alumni highlighted a personal quality or skill like “increased self-confidence” or “the ability to advocate for a point of view” or “knowing how to work closely with others to solve problems.” And when I asked how they developed these capabilities, they inevitably mentioned the magic of the case method.

Harvard Business School pioneered the use of case studies to teach management in 1921. As we commemorate 100 years of case teaching, much has been  written  about the effectiveness of this method. I agree with many of these observations. Cases expose students to real business dilemmas and decisions. Cases teach students to size up business problems quickly while considering the broader organizational, industry, and societal context. Students recall concepts better when they are set in a case, much as people remember words better when used in context. Cases teach students how to apply theory in practice and how to induce theory from practice. The case method cultivates the capacity for critical analysis, judgment, decision-making, and action.

There is a word that aptly captures the broader set of capabilities our alumni reported they learned from the case method. That word is meta-skills, and these meta-skills are a benefit of case study instruction that those who’ve never been exposed to the method may undervalue.

Educators define meta-skills as a group of long-lasting abilities that allow someone to learn new things more quickly. When parents encourage a child to learn to play a musical instrument, for instance, beyond the hope of instilling musical skills (which some children will master and others may not), they may also appreciate the benefit the child derives from deliberate, consistent practice. This meta-skill is valuable for learning many other things beyond music.

In the same vein, let me suggest seven vital meta-skills students gain from the case method:

1. Preparation

There is no place for students to hide in the moments before the famed “cold call”— when the teacher can ask any student at random to open the case discussion. Decades after they graduate, students will vividly remember cold calls when they, or someone else, froze with fear, or when they rose to nail the case even in the face of a fierce grilling by the professor.

The case method creates high-powered incentives for students to prepare. Students typically spend several hours reading, highlighting, and debating cases before class, sometimes alone and sometimes in groups. The number of cases to be prepared can be overwhelming by design.

Learning to be prepared — to read materials in advance, prioritize, identify the key issues, and have an initial point of view — is a meta-skill that helps people succeed in a broad range of professions and work situations. We have all seen how the prepared person, who knows what they are talking about, can gain the trust and confidence of others in a business meeting. The habits of preparing for a case discussion can transform a student into that person.

2. Discernment

Many cases are long. A typical case may include history, industry background, a cast of characters, dialogue, financial statements, source documents, or other exhibits. Some material may be digressive or inessential. Cases often have holes — critical pieces of information that are missing.

The case method forces students to identify and focus on what’s essential, ignore the noise, skim when possible, and concentrate on what matters, meta-skills required for every busy executive confronted with the paradox of simultaneous information overload and information paucity. As one alumnus pithily put it, “The case method helped me learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff.”

3. Bias Recognition

Students often have an initial reaction to a case stemming from their background or earlier work and life experiences. For instance, people who have worked in finance may be biased to view cases through a financial lens. However, effective general managers must understand and empathize with various stakeholders, and if someone has a natural tendency to favor one viewpoint over another, discussing dozens of cases will help reveal that bias. Armed with this self-understanding, students can correct that bias or learn to listen more carefully to classmates whose different viewpoints may help them see beyond their own biases.

Recognizing and correcting personal bias can be an invaluable meta-skill in business settings when leaders inevitably have to work with people from different functions, backgrounds, and perspectives.

4. Judgment

Cases put students into the role of the case protagonist and force them to make and defend a decision. The format leaves room for nuanced discussion, but not for waffling: Teachers push students to choose an option, knowing full well that there is rarely one correct answer.

Indeed, most cases are meant to stimulate a discussion rather than highlight effective or ineffective management practice. Across the cases they study, students get feedback from their classmates and their teachers about when their decisions are more or less compelling. It enables them to develop the judgment of making decisions under uncertainty, communicating that decision to others, and gaining their buy-in — all essential leadership skills. Leaders earn respect for their judgment. It is something students in the case method get lots of practice honing.

5. Collaboration

It is better to make business decisions after extended give-and-take, debate, and deliberation. As in any team sport, people get better at working collaboratively with practice. Discussing cases in small study groups, and then in the classroom, helps students practice the meta-skill of collaborating with others. Our alumni often say they came away from the case method with better skills to participate in meetings and lead them.

Orchestrating a good collaborative discussion in which everyone contributes, every viewpoint is carefully considered, yet a thoughtful decision is made in the end is the arc of any good case discussion. Although teachers play the primary role in this collaborative process during their time at the school, it is an art that students of the case method internalize and get better at when they get to lead discussions.

6. Curiosity

Cases expose students to lots of different situations and roles. Across cases, they get to assume the role of entrepreneur, investor, functional leader, or CEO, in a range of different industries and sectors. Each case offers an opportunity for students to see what resonates with them, what excites them, what bores them, which role they could imagine inhabiting in their careers.

Cases stimulate curiosity about the range of opportunities in the world and the many ways that students can make a difference as leaders. This curiosity serves them well throughout their lives. It makes them more agile, more adaptive, and more open to doing a wider range of things in their careers.

7. Self-Confidence

Students must inhabit roles during a case study that far outstrip their prior experience or capability, often as leaders of teams or entire organizations in unfamiliar settings. “What would you do if you were the case protagonist?” is the most common question in a case discussion. Even though they are imaginary and temporary, these “stretch” assignments increase students’ self-confidence that they can rise to the challenge.

In our program, students can study 500 cases over two years, and the range of roles they are asked to assume increases the range of situations they believe they can tackle. Speaking up in front of 90 classmates feels risky at first, but students become more comfortable taking that risk over time. Knowing that they can hold their own in a highly curated group of competitive peers enhances student confidence. Often, alumni describe how discussing cases made them feel prepared for much bigger roles or challenges than they’d imagined they could handle before their MBA studies. Self-confidence is difficult to teach or coach, but the case study method seems to instill it in people.

There may well be other ways of learning these meta-skills, such as the repeated experience gained through practice or guidance from a gifted coach. However, under the direction of a masterful teacher, the case method can engage students and help them develop powerful meta-skills like no other form of teaching. This quickly became apparent when case teaching was introduced in 1921 — and it’s even truer today.

For educators and students, recognizing the value of these meta-skills can offer perspective on the broader goals of their work together. Returning to the example of piano lessons, it may be natural for a music teacher or their students to judge success by a simple measure: Does the student learn to play the instrument well? But when everyone involved recognizes the broader meta-skills that instrumental instruction can instill — and that even those who bumble their way through Bach may still derive lifelong benefits from their instruction — it may lead to a deeper appreciation of this work.

For recruiters and employers, recognizing the long-lasting set of benefits that accrue from studying via the case method can be a valuable perspective in assessing candidates and plotting their potential career trajectories.

And while we must certainly use the case method’s centennial to imagine yet more powerful ways of educating students in the future, let us be sure to assess these innovations for the meta-skills they might instill, as much as the subject matter mastery they might enable.

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Research Method

Home » Case Study – Methods, Examples and Guide

Case Study – Methods, Examples and Guide

Table of Contents

Case Study Research

Case study is a research method that involves an in-depth, detailed examination of a single unit, such as an individual, family, group, organization, community, or event. Case studies are usually conducted by sociologists, psychologists, historians, anthropologists, or researchers from other social science disciplines.

Case studies are used to provide a rich and detailed account of a particular social phenomenon. They are often used to generate new hypotheses or to test existing theories. In some cases, case studies are also used to evaluate programs or interventions.

Types of Case Study

There are three types of case study research:

Exploratory Case Studies

Descriptive case studies, explanatory case studies.

Exploratory case studies are conducted when little is known about a phenomenon. They are used to generate hypotheses and gather preliminary data.

Descriptive case studies describe a phenomenon in detail. They are used to develop an understanding of a complex issue.

Explanatory case studies explain why or how something happens. They are used to test theories and identify cause-and-effect relationships.

Case Study Data Collection Methods

There are a variety of case study data collection methods, including:


Interviews are perhaps the most common type of data collection in case studies. They allow researchers to collect detailed information about individuals’ experiences and perspectives.

Observations can also be useful in case studies, particularly if the researcher is interested in studying how people interact with their environment.

Document Analysis

Document analysis is another common data collection method in case studies; it involves examining documents such as policy records, media reports, and demographic data.

How to conduct Case Study Research

Conducting case study research is a complex process that requires both scientific and methodological rigor. Follow the steps below:

Advantages of Case Study Research

There are several advantages of using case study research.

Also see Focus Groups in Qualitative Research

Disadvantages of Case Study Research

There are also a number of drawbacks to using this approach.

About the author

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I am Muhammad Hassan, a Researcher, Academic Writer, Web Developer, and Android App Developer. I have worked in various industries and have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. In my spare time, I enjoy writing blog posts and articles on a variety of Academic topics. I also like to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the IT industry to share my knowledge with others through my writing.

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What Is a Case Study?

An in-depth study of one person, group, or event

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

give the meaning of case study method

Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.

give the meaning of case study method

Verywell / Colleen Tighe

Benefits and Limitations

Types of case studies, how to write a case study.

A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in various fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

The purpose of a case study is to learn as much as possible about an individual or group so that the information can be generalized to many others. Unfortunately, case studies tend to be highly subjective, and it is sometimes difficult to generalize results to a larger population.

While case studies focus on a single individual or group, they follow a format similar to other types of psychology writing. If you are writing a case study, it is important to follow the rules of APA format .  

A case study can have both strengths and weaknesses. Researchers must consider these pros and cons before deciding if this type of study is appropriate for their needs.

One of the greatest advantages of a case study is that it allows researchers to investigate things that are often difficult to impossible to replicate in a lab. Some other benefits of a case study:

On the negative side, a case study:

Researchers may choose to perform a case study if they are interested in exploring a unique or recently discovered phenomenon. The insights gained from such research can help the researchers develop additional ideas and study questions that might be explored in future studies.

However, it is important to remember that the insights gained from case studies cannot be used to determine cause and effect relationships between variables. However, case studies may be used to develop hypotheses that can then be addressed in experimental research.

Case Study Examples

There have been a number of notable case studies in the history of psychology. Much of  Freud's work and theories were developed through the use of individual case studies. Some great examples of case studies in psychology include:

Such cases demonstrate how case research can be used to study things that researchers could not replicate in experimental settings. In Genie's case, her horrific abuse had denied her the opportunity to learn language at critical points in her development.

This is clearly not something that researchers could ethically replicate, but conducting a case study on Genie allowed researchers the chance to study phenomena that are otherwise impossible to reproduce.

There are a few different types of case studies that psychologists and other researchers might utilize:

The three main case study types often used are intrinsic, instrumental, and collective. Intrinsic case studies are useful for learning about unique cases. Instrumental case studies help look at an individual to learn more about a broader issue. A collective case study can be useful for looking at several cases simultaneously.

The type of case study that psychology researchers utilize depends on the unique characteristics of the situation as well as the case itself.

There are also different methods that can be used to conduct a case study, including prospective and retrospective case study methods.

Prospective case study methods are those in which an individual or group of people is observed in order to determine outcomes. For example, a group of individuals might be watched over an extended period of time to observe the progression of a particular disease.

Retrospective case study methods involve looking at historical information. For example, researchers might start with an outcome, such as a disease, and then work their way backward to look at information about the individual's life to determine risk factors that may have contributed to the onset of the illness.

Where to Find Data

There are a number of different sources and methods that researchers can use to gather information about an individual or group. Six major sources that have been identified by researchers are:

Section 1: A Case History

This section will have the following structure and content:

Background information : The first section of your paper will present your client's background. Include factors such as age, gender, work, health status, family mental health history, family and social relationships, drug and alcohol history, life difficulties, goals, and coping skills and weaknesses.

Description of the presenting problem : In the next section of your case study, you will describe the problem or symptoms that the client presented with.

Describe any physical, emotional, or sensory symptoms reported by the client. Thoughts, feelings, and perceptions related to the symptoms should also be noted. Any screening or diagnostic assessments that are used should also be described in detail and all scores reported.

Your diagnosis : Provide your diagnosis and give the appropriate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual code. Explain how you reached your diagnosis, how the client's symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s), or any possible difficulties in reaching a diagnosis.

Section 2: Treatment Plan

This portion of the paper will address the chosen treatment for the condition. This might also include the theoretical basis for the chosen treatment or any other evidence that might exist to support why this approach was chosen.

This section of a case study should also include information about the treatment goals, process, and outcomes.

When you are writing a case study, you should also include a section where you discuss the case study itself, including the strengths and limitiations of the study. You should note how the findings of your case study might support previous research. 

In your discussion section, you should also describe some of the implications of your case study. What ideas or findings might require further exploration? How might researchers go about exploring some of these questions in additional studies?

Here are a few additional pointers to keep in mind when formatting your case study:

A Word From Verywell

Case studies can be a useful research tool, but they need to be used wisely. In many cases, they are best utilized in situations where conducting an experiment would be difficult or impossible. They are helpful for looking at unique situations and allow researchers to gather a great deal of information about a specific individual or group of people.

If you have been directed to write a case study for a psychology course, be sure to check with your instructor for any specific guidelines that you are required to follow. If you are writing your case study for professional publication, be sure to check with the publisher for their specific guidelines for submitting a case study.

Simply Psychology. Case Study Method .

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach . BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011 Jun 27;11:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-100

Gagnon, Yves-Chantal.  The Case Study as Research Method: A Practical Handbook . Canada, Chicago Review Press Incorporated DBA Independent Pub Group, 2010.

Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . United States, SAGE Publications, 2017.

By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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Case Study Research Method in Psychology

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Educator, Researcher

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education.

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Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons), Psychology, MSc, Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

Case studies are in-depth investigations of a single person, group, event, or community. Typically, data is gathered from various sources and by using several different methods (e.g., observations & interviews ).

What are Case Studies?

The case study research method originated in clinical medicine (the case history, i.e., the patient’s personal history). In psychology, case studies are often confined to the study of a particular individual.

The information is mainly biographical and relates to events in the individual’s past (i.e., retrospective), as well as to significant events which are currently occurring in his or her everyday life.

The case study is not itself a research method, but researchers select methods of data collection and analysis that will generate material suitable for case studies.

Case studies are widely used in psychology, and amongst the best known were the ones carried out by Sigmund Freud, including Anna O and Little Hans .

Freud (1909a, 1909b) conducted very detailed investigations into the private lives of his patients in an attempt to both understand and help them overcome their illnesses. Even today, case histories are one of the main methods of investigation in abnormal psychology and psychiatry.

This makes it clear that the case study is a method that should only be used by a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist, i.e., someone with a professional qualification.

There is an ethical issue of competence. Only someone qualified to diagnose and treat a person can conduct a formal case study relating to atypical (i.e., abnormal) behavior or atypical development.

The procedure used in a case study means that the researcher provides a description of the behavior. This comes from interviews and other sources, such as observation.

The client also reports detail of events from his or her point of view. The researcher then writes up the information from both sources above as the case study and interprets the information.

The research may also continue for an extended period of time, so processes and developments can be studied as they happen.

Amongst the sources of data the psychologist is likely to turn to when carrying out a case study are observations of a person’s daily routine, unstructured interviews with the participant herself (and with people who know her), diaries, personal notes (e.g., letters, photographs, notes) or official document (e.g., case notes, clinical notes, appraisal reports).

The case study method often involves simply observing what happens to or reconstructing ‘the case history’ of a single participant or group of individuals (such as a school class or a specific social group), i.e., the idiographic approach .

The interview is also an extremely effective procedure for obtaining information about an individual, and it may be used to collect comments from the person’s friends, parents, employer, workmates, and others who have a good knowledge of the person, as well as to obtain facts from the person him or herself.

Most of this information is likely to be qualitative (i.e., verbal description rather than measurement), but the psychologist might collect numerical data as well.

The data collected can be analyzed using different theories (e.g., grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, text interpretation, e.g., thematic coding).

All the approaches mentioned here use preconceived categories in the analysis, and they are ideographic in their approach, i.e., they focus on the individual case without reference to a comparison group.

Interpreting the information means the researcher decides what to include or leave out. A good case study should always clarify which information is the factual description and which is an inference or the researcher’s opinion.

Case studies allow a researcher to investigate a topic in far more detail than might be possible if they were trying to deal with a large number of research participants (nomothetic approach) with the aim of ‘averaging’.

Because of their in-depth, multi-sided approach, case studies often shed light on aspects of human thinking and behavior that would be unethical or impractical to study in other ways.

Research that only looks into the measurable aspects of human behavior is not likely to give us insights into the subjective dimension of experience, which is important to psychoanalytic and humanistic psychologists.

Case studies are often used in exploratory research. They can help us generate new ideas (that might be tested by other methods). They are an important way of illustrating theories and can help show how different aspects of a person’s life are related to each other.

The method is, therefore, important for psychologists who adopt a holistic point of view (i.e., humanistic psychologists ).


Because a case study deals with only one person/event/group, we can never be sure if the case study investigated is representative of the wider body of “similar” instances. This means the conclusions drawn from a particular case may not be transferable to other settings.

Because case studies are based on the analysis of qualitative (i.e., descriptive) data, a lot depends on the psychologist’s interpretation of the information she has acquired.

This means that there is a lot of scope for observer bias, and it could be that the subjective opinions of the psychologist intrude in the assessment of what the data means.

For example, Freud has been criticized for producing case studies in which the information was sometimes distorted to fit particular behavioral theories (e.g., Little Hans ).

This is also true of Money’s interpretation of the Bruce/Brenda case study (Diamond, 1997) when he ignored evidence that went against his theory.

How to reference this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2019, August 03). Case study method . Simply Psychology. simplypsychology.org/case-study.html

Diamond, M., & Sigmundson, K. (1997). Sex Reassignment at Birth: Long-term Review and Clinical Implications. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine , 151(3), 298-304

Freud, S. (1909a). Analysis of a phobia of a five year old boy. In The Pelican Freud Library (1977), Vol 8, Case Histories 1, pages 169-306

Freud, S. (1909b). Bemerkungen über einen Fall von Zwangsneurose (Der “Rattenmann”). Jb. psychoanal. psychopathol. Forsch ., I, p. 357-421; GW, VII, p. 379-463; Notes upon a case of obsessional neurosis, SE , 10: 151-318.

Further Information

Case Study Approach Case Study Method

Enhancing the Quality of Case Studies in Health Services Research

“We do things together” A case study of “couplehood” in dementia

Using mixed methods for evaluating an integrative approach to cancer care: a case study

Freud’s Case Studies

Little Hans – Freudian Case Study

H.M. Case Study

Anna O – Freudian Case Study

Genie Case Study – Curtiss (1977)


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Cases are narratives, situations, select data samplings, or statements that present unresolved and provocative issues, situations, or questions (Indiana University Teaching Handbook, 2005). The case method is a participatory, discussion-based way of learning where students gain skills in critical thinking, communication, and group dynamics. It is a type of problem-based learning . Often seen in the professional schools of medicine, law, and business, the case method is now used successfully in disciplines such as engineering, chemistry, education, and journalism. Students can work through a case during class as a whole or in small groups.

In addition to the definition above, the case method of teaching (or learning):

(Bruner, 2002, and Christensen, Garvin, and Sweet, 1991)

What is the value of the case method?

Bruner (1991) states that the case method:

What are some ways to use the case method appropriately?

Choose an appropriate case

Cases can be any of the following (Indiana University Teaching Handbook, 2005):

Develop effective questions

Think about ways to start the discussion such as using a hypothetical example or employing the background knowledge of your students.

Get students prepared

To prepare for the next class ask students to think about the following questions:

Set ground rules with your students

For effective class discussion suggest the following to your students:

Other suggestions

In conclusion, cases are a valuable way for learning to occur. It takes a fair amount of preparation by both the teacher and the students, but don't forget these benefits (Bruner, 2002):

Where can I learn more?

Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning

249 Armory Building 505 East Armory Avenue Champaign, IL 61820

217 333-1462

Email: [email protected]

Office of the Provost

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Case Study Method

Related terms:.

26th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering

Sebastián Herrera , ... Luis Cisternas , in Computer Aided Chemical Engineering , 2016

1 Introduction

The case study method is a learning technique in which the student is faced a particular problem, the case. The case study facilitates the exploration of a real issue within a defined context, using a variety of data sources ( Baxter et al., 2008 ). In general terms, the case study analyzes a defined problem consisting in a real situation and uses real information as methodological tool. For chemical engineering students, the analysis of a case study gives them a global and holistic vision of a real problem at an engineering field, allowing to develop and apply their knowledge on unit operations and transport phenomena, being these the base education for a chemical engineer ( Heinanen et al., 2012 ). Furthermore, this methodology allows students to develop and to enhance different skills, such as the capacity of comprehension and analysis of real problems the capacity to propose and evaluate alternatives for the improvement of the problem considered, to work collaboratively, also their capacity of information management and synthesis of problems.

In process engineering field the metallurgical processes occupy a substantial market segment ( Chakraborty et al., 2004 ). These industries process different kind of minerals, which are required within several supply chains to develop an interest product. Furthermore the fast growth of the world’s population and the need of a better quality of life lead to greater minerals demand. In this context, the production of H 3 BO 3 from boron ores is a real case study within the metallurgical field. The H 3 BO 3 is used in many branches of the industry, such as nuclear technology, production of heat resistant materials, also in the medical, pharmaceutical and electronic related sectors, among others (Demirkiran et al., 2009). The boron ores are available in huge quantities in nature. Turkey, as country, has the biggest boron resources in the world ( Küçük and Kocakerim, 2005 ). However, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, also share a large reserve of boron. Here in Chile, the most abundant boron ore in this region is the ulexite.

This case study is analyzed hierarchically and systematically, by process synthesis, which requires the integration of real data and the application of basic chemical engineering principles in order to generate process alternatives in the conceptual stage of the process design ( Cisternas, 1999 ). The early stages in the process synthesis are characterized by deficient information and several uncertainties ( Steimel et al., 2013 ). Furthermore, a thorough search of information is needed. One alternative to describe the process synthesis to students of chemical engineering is through the hierarchical decision procedure introduced by Douglas (1985) . The decisions are based on operational experience of designers, as well as on information obtained in research literature and previous designs developed. At the beginning, the hierarchical decision procedure developed by Douglas was focused in the gas-liquid process. However, to involve solid processing operations, key to metallurgical processes, the conceptual design of gas-liquid-solid processes was developed by Rajagopal et al. (1992) . The hierarchical procedure consists of six decision levels. The process information, as well as the detail in the flowsheet structures increased in each level. Moreover, an economic assessment is also carried out in the last part of each level, in order to provide a quantitative comparison between the different processes alternatives developed.

The aim of this paper is to show and analyze the process synthesis based on the production of H 3 BO 3 from ulexite ores, using different reaction agents. The different agents and the study of its behavior with ulexite ores can be found into the research literature.

This specific case study allows the generation of different alternatives for analysis. Therefore, is an effective tool for undergraduate student of chemical engineering. The methodology of Douglas is used as a systematic and hierarchical methodology to conceptual process design.

Case Study: Methods and Analysis

A. Bennett , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001

This article reviews case study methods , also called ‘small- n ’, ‘comparative,’ or ‘qualitative’ methods. It outlines within-case methods of analysis, including process tracing and congruence testing, and cross-case methods of comparison, including John Stuart Mill's methods of agreement and difference, Alexander George's method of ‘structured, focused comparison,’ and Charles Ragin's method of ‘qualitative comparative analysis.’ It argues that case studies can help develop typological theories, or contingent generalizations on the different causal patterns leading to a particular outcome (related notions include configurational analysis and fuzzy logic). This article notes philosophies of science relevant to case study methods, including scientific realism, Bayesian confirmation theory, and Imre Lakatos' methodology of scientific research programs. Finally, it summarizes the comparative advantages of case study methods, including conceptual validity, identification of new variables, and modeling of complex interactions effects, as well as their comparative limitations, including the potential for indeterminacy and the dangers of selection bias. The central conclusion is that the comparative advantages of case study methods, statistical methods, and formal modeling are different and complementary, and that research proceeds more effectively through the combination of these methods than through the use of any one method alone.

Interpretive Methods: Macromethods

R. Stryker , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001

Analytic Induction ; Archival Methods ; Case Study: Methods and Analysis ; Case-oriented Research ; Causal Counterfactuals in Social Science Research ; Causation (Theories and Models): Conceptions in the Social Sciences ; Classification: Conceptions in the Social Sciences ; Comparative Studies: Method and Design ; Content Analysis ; Explanation: Conceptions in the Social Sciences ; Generalization: Conceptions in the Social Sciences ; Grounded Theory: Methodology and Theory Construction ; Ideal Type: Conceptions in the Social Sciences ; Idealization, Abstraction, and Ideal Types ; Interpretive Methods: Micromethods ; Narrative, Sociology of ; Weber, Max (1864–1920)

Regression Testing in Software Product Line Engineering

Per Runeson , Emelie Engström , in Advances in Computers , 2012

3.2 State of Practice on Software Product Line Testing

The potential productivity gain in software product line testing is not fully utilized in industry practice. A common situation is product developers spending much time in verifying each product configuration as reported by Kato and Yamaguchi [41] (T1/P2 in Section 3.1.1 ). A few good examples are published on how the testing part may be conducted in an efficient manner [39,22] , but mostly, experience reports focus on other aspects than testing.

Engström and Runeson [23] studied an emerging software product line organization in depth using case study methods . The studied case is the testing in the case company’s development of Android 4 embedded devices. For the in-depth analysis, the testing of one function is studied. The function exist in several product variants, depends on hardware variants, evolves in different versions over time, and is adapted to continuous upgrades of the Android platform. The development organization is complex, involving a globally distributed development, and the market situation involves delivery of tailored product variants to customers, based on varying market and country specifications. From a business perspective a product line strategy is in place. However, the technical and methodological benefits of the systematic reuse are not yet fully exploited, hence it is an emerging product line.

Before starting their path towards software product lines, products were tested one by one, product by product (T1 in Section 3.1.1 ). The software code base was originally the same, although it existed multiple versions in parallel. Variants were defined using conditional compilation instructions in the code. This approach grew very expensive and inefficient over time.

The first move towards a product line concept was the grouping of products into clusters. Each cluster aimed at developing a handful of products within a certain time frame. The first product in line (called mother ) was planned to be a top-of-the-line product, with most possible features. Subsequent products (called daughters ) were planned to have less features and capabilities. The testing aimed at resembling the incremental testing approach (T2). However, the approach was too idealistic in that (1) the mother product caused delays on all daughter products, even though the cause of the delay might be a feature not aimed for the daughters, and (2) the market department forced new features into the daughter products.

At a major technology shift, a new software architecture enabled a shift in the development process. The company introduced the Android software platform for their embedded devices. The new architecture was more clearly split into platform layers and an application layer. However, it was not possible to implement all required variability in the application layer of the architecture, so variants exist also in the platform layer. The testing applied is a combination of the incremental approach (T2) and the division of responsibility (T4). In addition to the principal organizational units, outlined in Fig. 6 , the Android platform development as another even more general layer on top of the company organizational units.

The case context: The product line products developed in a software project in the case study context comprise different product variants (about 10), called product configurations in Fig. 8 . The products are in turn customized for a number of different customers and market segments (hundreds) which have different software requirements, and are called release configurations . Each release is packaged in a product package , including physical packaging, defaults settings, etc. Some variability points are bound at compile time, others at build time, and yet others are bound in runtime.

give the meaning of case study method

Fig. 8 . Configuration view of the product line under study.

The software development is distributed over three organizational units ( core software , application software , and product composition ), where they primarily focus on platform, product, and release configurations, respectively, as defined in Fig. 8 . Within the core software and application software organizations, the software is divided into different functional areas and for each area there is a team of developers. Parts of the organizations are distributed over three continents.

Testing in the core software and application software organizations are conducted at (at least) three main levels of test abstraction each, which involves repeated testing of common parts. Feature tests (unit testing, structural, and functional testing) are carried out by the functional area teams. Integration tests and system test are carried out at both the test departments for platform and product. At the product composition level, all product configurations are tested with system tests and all product packages are acceptance tested. Regression testing is conducted at all test levels and organizational units.

Overlaid testing: In the case, the amount of overlaid testing, and the factors causing overlay, were investigated. The analysis distinguishes between test design overlay and test execution overlay . Test design overlay refers to the existence of more than one test case that test the same item for the same purpose. Test execution overlay refers to multiple executions of the same coverage item with the same purpose. Redundant tests refer to overlaid test cases where any differences between the tests do not affect the outcome of the tests. Two of the research questions studied were [23] :

How much testing in a variability-intensive context is overlaid and which is redundant? Testing is repeated across abstraction levels, versions, and variants which could imply that multiple testing is done on the same items. How much of the overlaid testing is really redundant?

When and why does overlaid testing appear? If overlaid testing exist, which factors are causing the overlaid testing?

In total 517 test executions of 192 different test cases were identified, which tested the case function, over a period of 22   weeks. The failure identification rate is generally low: 15 of the 517 test executions failed. Feature testing and integration testing run only one failing execution each.

A coverage item is an entity describing the scope of a test or set of tests. It is defined to be a tuple of “purpose” (e.g. response time) and “focus” (e.g. feature), see Fig.   9 . Both test purposes and test focuses are defined hierarchically. For example, the compatibility purpose may be divided into compatibility with devices of other brands through Bluetooth connection, and with two different kinds of memory.

give the meaning of case study method

Fig. 9 . Graphical view of test redundancy, from Engström and Runeson [23] . Each circle represents a coverage item covered by the feature testing (blue outline), integration testing (red outline) and product testing (green outline). Numbers within parentheses is the number of designed test cases and the numbers without parentheses are the executions.

Overlay in test design: At the highest level of coverage item abstraction, these 192 test cases cover 19 unique coverage items (see Fig. 9 ). Hence, if redundancy in test design is analyzed at this level of abstraction 90% of the test cases could be considered overlaid since they do not cover any unique coverage items.

A large share of the design overlay identified at the highest level of abstraction can be attributed to the variability of the test cases, i.e., most of the test cases are different variants at a more detailed level of coverage analysis. There is, for example, 112 different 5 system test cases designed to test the function in terms of compatibility with different models of devices, and types and sizes of memories.

Increasing the detail level of the “purpose” parameter, there is no overlay between the different test levels: feature integration and system testing, and no overlay within feature testing. There is still design redundancy within integration testing and system testing at this level, 33% and 63% respectively.

Overlay in test execution: Overlay in test execution is defined as re-execution of a coverage item and could origin both in overlay in the test design or the re-execution of a test case. However the overlaid test execution is not redundant, if it has been affected by a change since the last execution. In the case study, the information about the delta between versions was not easily accessible. Instead an upper limit of redundancy was measured.

At the highest level of abstraction, 517 test executions tested the case function. Ninety six percent of these are overlaid. The overlay remains high even for analysis at lower abstraction levels.

Factors causing redundancy: Based on the analysis of the test data and interviews with nine testers and managers, three key factors were identified:

Distribution of test responsibilities: Organizational distribution had greater impact than geographical.

Inconsistent documentation of test cases: Importance of consistency in design and documentation of test cases seem to depend on the size of the test suite and the number of involved test managers. In contrast to the intuition of the practitioners, redundancy in requirements or the absence of a complete requirement specification did not cause design redundancy in the testing.

Insufficient delta analysis: Lack of commonality analysis of the variation in space as well as lack of regression analysis of the variation in time were the two main causes of overlaid test executions.

Behind these factors, there is a chain of causes and effects, described in Fig. 10 , which is elaborated in depth by Engström and Runeson [23] .

give the meaning of case study method

Fig. 10 . Graph illustrating the hypotheses derived from the case study [23] . Red arrows indicate relations partly contradicted by the quantitative data. F   =   Feature test, I   =   Integration test, S   =   System test, O   =   Overlap.

The studied case is referred to as an “emerging” software product line [23] , meaning that it rather indicates needs to improve the software product line practices than having good practices in place. Out of the three identified factors listed above, causing redundancy, the inconsistent documentation of test cases is not specifically related to software product lines, although the deficiency causes more problems in this context, than in one-off product development contexts.

The distribution of test responsibilities puts pressure on the communication between organizational units to communicate what is tested, when, and why. The research listed in Section 3.1.1 contributes to addressing this problem, specifically, defining test trade-off strategies and test reuse strategies.

Addressing the issue of insufficient delta analysis involves methods to identify and communicate differences between versions and variants, and selecting test cases accordingly. The research listed in Section 3.1.2 is aimed to partly address this problem. Some of the technical parts originate from regression testing in general, which are elaborated in Section 4 . Another approach to addressing the problem is visualization, which is further discussed in Section 5 .

Participant Observation

G.A. Fine , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001

This brief overview has examined central features of the participant observation methodology. In doing so, it de-emphasized both the strategies of analysis (the extended case study method , grounded theory) used by practitioners and the modes of presentation (realist tales, impressionist tales). No method of data collection can exist without related techniques by which data are analyzed and presented.

Throughout the twentieth century, participant observation proved to be a powerful technique through which researchers understood a diverse set of social worlds in a way that did justice to the complexity of the activities of group members and to their own perspectives and understandings. While this methodology benefits by the triangulation with other styles of research to create adequate theoretical understanding, participant observation provides the basis by which researchers can understand the richness of the social settings that they—and others—inhabit.

Business, Social Science Methods Used in

Gayle R. Jennings , in Encyclopedia of Social Measurement , 2005

Case Studies

Case studies are associated with the development of detailed information relating to a specific business phenomenon, with phenomena across similar organizations or settings, or with one specific case (person, organization, or setting). Case study method may draw on a number of methods to gather data, such as observation, experiments, structured interviews, questionnaires, and/or documentary analysis. Case study within a positivistic paradigm is subsequently guided by the tenets of a quantitative methodology. Advantages of case studies associated with case-specific detail is the obtainment of objective and use of multiple methods to gain detailed data on the case. Disadvantages are associated with resource allocation and (with field case studies) the inability to control all variables systematically.

Political Science

John L. Korey , in Encyclopedia of Social Measurement , 2005

Long a staple of political science research, case studies have the advantage of examining politics holistically. Sometimes this comes at the expense of the ability to generalize findings by placing them in a rigorous theoretical context. That such is not an inherent limitation of the case study method can be seen in two very different applications of the method, one in which individual actors provide the cases for analysis and the other in which the cases consist of entire political systems.

Monroe questioned why some people act in ways that are, to varying degrees, at odds with their self-interest. Through interviews, she examined 25 individuals whose behavior fell at different points on a continuum from self-interest to altruism (the entrepreneur, the philanthropist, the hero, and the rescuer of Jews during the Holocaust). Her work explicitly challenged rational choice theories explaining behavior wholly in terms of self-interest (although sometimes defining self-interest so broadly as to make the argument tautological).

Monroe concluded that various hypotheses from sociology, economics, biology, and psychology only very imperfectly serve to distinguish the altruist, especially the hero and the rescuer, from the entrepreneur. She found that what does seem to be the distinguishing characteristic is what she called “perspective,” concluding that altruists perceive their relationship to others in more universal terms than do most people, with lower boundaries between self, kin, and group identity and identification with others generally.

A very different application of the case study approach is that of Weaver and Rockman and colleagues, who sought to provide a theoretical framework for a series of case studies examining whether and how institutional differences influence the capabilities of government. Their case studies compared the American experience in a number of issue arenas with those of other industrialized democracies. Beginning with the contrast between presidential and parliamentary systems, they analyzed the ways in which this distinction, although important, interacts with various other institutional and noninstitutional factors across time and in varying policy contexts.

An important subset of the case study method is participant observation, an approach that political scientists have borrowed from anthropology. The examples used here derive from the study of the U.S. Congress.

Richard Fenno has spent his career studying Congress, is a leading practitioner of participant observation, and has written trenchantly on this method in a series of essays published in 1990. Although most studies of congressional behavior have taken place within the confines of the nation's capital, Fenno followed members back to their states and districts in order to study their relationships with their constituents. In the 1970s, he explored the “home styles” of 18 members of the House of Representatives. Later, he did the same for several members of the Senate.

For his research to be successful, it was important that Fenno develop a high level of rapport with his subjects. This might mean anything from helping to change a member's flat tire to blending in with an election campaign by pitching in with stamping envelopes, working a phone bank, or engaging in other “materially trivial” forms of participation. Fenno was aware of, and wrote perceptively about, the dangers of too much rapport. Such overidentification runs the risk of interfering with the researcher's judgment. Fenno maintained that in their research, “political scientists … should refrain from engaging in any behavior that has the intention of affecting political outcomes.” To guard against these dangers, he developed a very strict set of ethical standards as a way of maintaining appropriate boundaries between researcher and subjects, declining even to register with a political party or join any interest groups. Subsequent experience led him to modify some of his self-imposed limitations. For example, following publication of his research on Dan Quayle after the former senator had become vice president, Fenno decided to abandon his former practice of refusing to give interviews to the media.

Despite his efforts to maintain a strictly professional relationship with his subjects, Fenno found that he could not maintain complete detachment: “I could not bring myself to be indifferent to their electoral success. I wanted them all to win. ”

As Fenno acknowledged, his research has involved much more observation than participation. This is in marked contrast to what happens when a political scientist becomes a political actor and then writes about the experience partly from the perspective of his or her scholarly discipline. Such actors, of course, do not take the same vow of political celibacy advanced by Fenno. North Carolina Democrat David Price first came to Congress in 1987. He has since written a memoir based primarily on his experiences but drawing on the literature of his discipline, including the work of Fenno. Somewhere in between Fenno and Price on the participation–observation spectrum is the work of scholars such as Redman and also Dwyre and Farrar-Myers, who have worked on legislation as congressional staffers and then written case studies attempting to shed light in a systematic way on the legislative process.

Sex Offenders, Clinical Psychology of

G.C.N. Hall , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001

The clinical study of sex offenders had its beginnings in research on sexuality. Some of the earliest scholarly writings on sexual deviance were detailed case studies by psychiatrist Krafft-Ebing ( 1965/1886 ). Krafft-Ebing postulated that all sexual deviations were the result of masturbation. The case study method focused exclusively on highly disturbed individuals without matched control cases, which precluded objective considerations of etiology (Rosen and Beck 1988 ).

Kinsey and colleagues ( 1948 ) conducted large-scale normative surveys of sexual behavior, resulting in major works on male and female sexuality. Because adult–child sexual contact was relatively common in his samples, Kinsey underplayed the negative effects of such behavior (Rosen and Beck 1988 ). Work on sexual deviance continued at the Kinsey Institute after Kinsey's death (Gebhard et al. 1965 ).

A major advance in the assessment of sexual arousal was the development of the laboratory measures of penile response by Freund ( 1963 ). Freund's measure, known as the penile plethysmograph, involved an inflatable tube constructed from a condom, by which penile volume change in response to erotic stimuli (e.g., nude photographs) was measured by air displacement (Rosen and Beck 1988 ). Less intrusive penile measures to assess circumference changes were later developed (Bancroft et al. 1966 ; Barlow et al. 1970 ). Among behaviorists, penile response to deviant stimuli (e.g., children, rape) became virtually a gold standard of measurement for sexual deviance (e.g., Abel et al. 1977 ).

The emphasis of behaviorists on the role of sexual arousal in sex offending came under criticism from feminist theories. Rape was conceptualized as a ‘pseudosexual’ act of anger and violence rather than as a sexual disorder. This approach was popularized by Groth ( 1979 ). More recent conceptualizations have incorporated sexual, affective, cognitive, and developmental motivational components of sex offending (Hall et al. 1991 ).

Expression and Interaction: Microfoundations of Expressive Forms

Y. Ogasawara , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001

2.1 Subculture

The culture of a group is structured through an ongoing negotiation between members of the group. Rather than assuming the content and meaning of culture a priori , many studies of subculture follow symbolic interactionist theory and examine how microlevel group processes give rise to a set of symbols, meanings, and behavioral norms—often a whole way of life—that bind the group members. A representative case is Fine's analysis of group culture or ‘idioculture’ that emerged in American little league baseball teams ( 1987 ). Specifically, he identifies five elements that are necessary for a cultural item to enter the life of a group that interacts intensively over a long period of time: the item must be known, usable, functional, appropriate, and repeatedly triggered.

Although the American subculture studies customarily avoid political questions, subculture often has explicitly political content. What is critical for understanding such subculture is to examine the relationship between a subculture and the social class within which it emerges and the relationship between a subculture and the dominant culture. When subculture is a site of political struggle, the central problem becomes understanding how interacting members of the social class connect and negotiate their lived experiences to subcultural representations. British Cultural Studies led by Stuart Hall, Tony Bennett, and associates at the Birmingham Centre emphasize the political context of subculture.

British Cultural Studies is often said to take much from Marxism and structuralism, but it is clear that it also incorporates many elements of symbolic interactionism. Using case studies and ethnographic methods, the emergence of subculture is analyzed as a collective solution to the problems faced by members of the social class such as lack of educational and employment opportunities. An illustrative study is Hebdige's research on ‘style’ developed by postwar English youth, which includes dress, talk, rituals, and music ( 1979 ). Hebdige details the way in which the white working-class youth deal with their problems by developing a style that define their identity and prove their membership in a group. They create a new style by borrowing items from existing styles and putting them together in novel ways. Hebdige's work illustrates that working-class youth possess few other means than creating their own style in order to attain some collective status within a society and to exercise some control over their lives.

One of the interesting phenomena concerning subculture is the development of a tension that members of a group experience between staying faithfully committed to the aesthetic goals of the group and compromising them for financial and reputational gain in the commercial world of the dominant culture. This issue is examined by Lachmann in his study of graffiti writers ( 1988 ). Lachmann analyzes how graffiti writers of New York created organizational and ideological bases for the allocation of fame, and why they eventually lost such bases. According to Lachmann, the vast majority of graffiti writers, called taggers, compete on the basis of the quantity of tags, while the minority become muralists who seek fame through their artistic styles. The latter meet at ‘writers’ corners' to allocate fame for style among skilled colleagues. However, when the corners were destroyed by police harassment, some writers were recruited to paint graffiti for sale in galleries, which resulted in fragmentation of the graffiti subculture. Lachmann's study shows how oppositional aesthetic standards of graffiti writers developed through social interaction with their mentors, colleagues, and audiences, and how such standards were weakened by co-optive interventions of the larger society.

Of course, subcultural expression is not limited to Western culture. Sato 1991 has described the teenaged bosozoku drivers (the ‘violent driving tribe’), who in tens, sometimes in hundreds, careen motorcycles and cars on the busy streets of large Japanese cities with deafening sounds. Many are dressed carefully in their elegant and bizarre costumes of kamikaze party uniforms combined with American punk, surfer, or rock-and-roll gear. Their cars and bikes are customized beyond recognition of their original appearance. The majority of bosozoku drivers are from middle-class families and seldom get involved in other unlawful activities. Analyzing the symbols, fashions, and customs of this youth subculture, Sato argues that such deviant lifestyles satisfy the cravings of the affluent youth for excitement and new experience in what is commonly regarded to be a harmonious and homogeneous society.

The implication of big data analytics on competitive intelligence: A qualitative case study of a real estate developer in the UAE

Eman Reda AlBahsh , Amin Hosseinian-Far , in Strategy, Leadership, and AI in the Cyber Ecosystem , 2021

3 Research methodology

3.1 scope of research.

This paper focusses on evaluating competitive intelligence process performance whilst utilising big data sources and analytics. The evaluation will be conducted within a local real estate developer, in the UAE, Abu Dhabi, hereafter referred as ‘EK04’. The organisation has recently adopted Oracle to implement BDA, and this paper will carry out the first evaluation of competitive intelligence process and performance after the first implementation of BDA.

The research plans to fulfil the gap in the literature, by providing a comprehensive model which combines both big data and competitive intelligence together, as an operational tool to support decision-making.

3.2 Research philosophy and approach

The project adopted the philosophy of constructivism, whereby the researcher assumes that reality is constructed intersubjectively through meanings and understandings, developed socially and experimentally ( Merriam, 2009 ). The paper seeks to address complexity and meanings of the variables within a particular situation ( Black, 2006 ), making a detailed explanation and interpretations of collected data that have a myriad meaning ( Byrne, 2001 , p. 372).

Following a philosophical epistemological approach of interpretivism, the paper will look for subjective and in-depth information, founded in individual intentionality ( Husserl, 2012 ). The knowledge can be generated endogenously and not only exogenously ( Packard, 2017 ). This epistemological philosophy will guide in collecting unique experiences in life from managers and decision-makers and will accordingly provide an eminent picture of reality by which our mental small world representation or model of reality is constructed ( Maitland and Sammartino, 2015 ).

The research rationale is motivated by the research objectives which are exploratory in nature and seeks to gain an in-depth understanding of a certain behaviour. This exploratory type of research often seeks to find out what is happening in a given situation, clarifying and developing better understanding of how things happen ( Mansour, 2017 , p. 8). It contains a type of questions that are flexible towards a phenomenon to understand the relationship between variables, which means, it will help the authors to clarify how BDA can affect the decision-making within an organisation's competitive intelligence system. Subsequently and once the relationships are demonstrated, a large scale of performance evaluation could be done to determine which components or events are most likely to cause best practices of effective decision-making within the competitive intelligence system.

Through an inductive reasoning the evaluation will begin with a detailed observation of the big data implementation connections with the competitive intelligence system, aiming to move forward an abstract generalisation and statements. In addition, as this research aims to understand the experience of managers, the data intensity is expected to be very high. Therefore the generated knowledge and findings shall be capable to construct a rigid relationship of dynamics and resilience between the variables’ components. Whilst the inductive approach can reveal insights about relationships, it is also possible that it will identify other cognitive activities and discover a new phenomenon. Tenenbaum et al. (2007) claim that there are other set regularities associated with an inductive approach which would help in other activities, including categorisation, probability judgement, and decision-making. Moreover, similarity can be a main currency of the inductive approach ( Heit and Hayes, 2005 ).

Given the exploratory nature of the research work, a case study method is selected to reflect the elements of CI and BDA as the central emphasise of the research design and to “stress on developmental factors in relation to environment” ( Merriam, 2009 , p. 103). Having a bounded system ( Merriam, 2009 ; Stake, 2006 ) will help the paper to identify how the decision-making fed by BDA will impact the competitive intelligence process. The paper also seeks to investigate relationships between research variables, aiming to provide evidences about reasons for success or failure ( Mann, 2006 ).

3.3 Data collection

The research was carried out based on qualitative approach by using semistructured interviews for data collection to secure rich descriptions supporting the purposes of the research. Interviews will help the research to gain an in-depth understanding of the complexity of the phenomena ( Creswell, 2014 ), and it will establish the meaning of experiences from the perspective of those involved ( Merriam, 2009 ). The questionnaire consists of two areas: the first area used a set of 20 predetermined questions, composed of primary questions, such as “Tell me about the history of the organization”, “how usually you propose a new plan to the top management?”, and “what materials do you think is best for you to be prepared with? How top management prioritize plans”. The second area was the open-ended subquestions or ‘probes’, which aim to understand the implication of BDA on competitive intelligence; instances include “Can you think of another organization that did this differently than your organization? Why? How?”

The data collection (i.e. the interviews) was conducted in a cautious manner, for example, to pause or prompt appropriately ( Ritchie and Lewis, 2003 , p. 141), considering the interview guide approach ( Patton, 1980 ) and using an interview schedule prior to conducting the interviews. A pilot study was carried out to test the questionnaire. There were no changes to the data-collection instrument as a result of the pilot study; however, an additional literature review was conducted to include a broader range of theoretical perspectives on big data implementation and competitive intelligence.

A total of seven interviews were conducted at the site of EK04 to fit the research focus, assuring participants are comfortable in their natural setting ( Creswell, 2014 ). Interview duration was between 50 and 60   min and was audiotaped along with important notes taken on a paper. All interviews were conducted by the lead researcher, to limit variation in interview technique. Interviewees were in senior management from five major departments (marketing, sales, operations, finance, and customer service). They all have been nominated by the organisation's CEO who is a key player of decision-making along with the vice chairman (VC).

The experience of participating respondents related to their years of experience and field of work is presented in Table 1 .

Table 1 . Respondents list (pseudonym), field, and years of experience.

Ensuring concerns around reliability and validity, full institutional ethics policy was strictly adhered to; the participant information sheets along with the informed consent forms, which have been filled and signed by each interviewee, were gathered prior conducting the interviews. The study was longitudinal in respect that interviewees had insights for the competitive intelligence process before and after the adoption of BDA, and they were able to make comparisons and provide information about the decision-making experience.

3.4 Data analysis

The data analysis process was systematic and iterative, considering Miles et al. (2014) , in which we were looking for emerging themes, and comparisons supported by existing literature. After each interview, data were analysed separately and compared with previous interview responses in attempt to identify themes. This was done using a comparative method in which it compared new data with preliminary findings that have been analysed previously. In addition, back and forth actions between interview results and the extant literature were conducted to enable research answering the research questions. The interviews provided patterns and variance in descriptions of how the implementation of BDA supports the process of competitive intelligence; they attempted to also examine the underlying mechanism which links the new implementation to the CI process agility. ‘Concept cards’ ( Glaser and Strauss, 1965 ) have been used to organise the data and to generate themes. Based on the interview conclusions, grouped and regrouped themes and codes were generated.

For deeper understanding and to improve generalisability ( Miles et al., 2014 ), a comparison between themes and codes across all interviews was made, aiming to find significant information about the CI process and decision-making amongst different departments. The initial conclusions were next shared with respondents and the CEO—who did not participate in the interviews—to assess rationality of results and visualise links of CI's decision-making between the departments. Contrastive explanation theory ( Tsang and Ellsaesser, 2011 ) had guided this meeting, providing suitable contrastive scenarios of why certain process is more important for a certain department.

Finally, emergent themes and group subjects were connected with the extant literature review to explore for possible explanation of the data analysis and enable justification for the proposed process.

Case Study Method Definition, Characteristics, Stages & Sources

Introduction case study method of data collection.

The credit of introducing case study method  goes to Frederic Leplay, an English philosopher. Herbert Spencer adopted it and Healey was the first who supported this method and studied Juvenile Delinquency. Later on sociologists, Anthropologists, Ethnologists and other researcher were interested in the study of various cultures by case study method.

Meaning of Case Study

A case study is a comprehensive study of a social unit of society, which may be a person, family group, institution, community or event. A case study focuses attention on a single unit thoroughly. The aim is that to find out the influencing factors of a social unit and the relationship between these factors and a social unit.

Definitions of Case Study Method

Keeping the above definitions in view we conclude that case study is a method of studying a social unit and its aspects deeply and thoroughly.

Characteristics of Case Study

Following are the characteristics

Stages in a Case Study Method of Data Collection

The techniques and processes of a case study method are given as following.

Sources of Data for Case Study

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Case Studies

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Imagine it's your birthday and you come home to find your family has bought you your favourite cake, as they do every year.

Now imagine that your neighbour, on their birthday, cuts into a large apple pie instead of a cake. Everyone on your street gets cakes on their birthday except this one neighbour. This intrigues you and you start researching this unusual tradition. Why not a birthday cake? Is there some cultural or historical significance behind celebrating with a pie? If so, why is it an apple pie? Would having a cherry pie, for example, hold the same meaning?

The point of this (seemingly random) scenario is to understand why researchers may choose to use case studies in their research. To give you a good understanding of case studies, we will be looking at:

Definition of case study research

Case studies are a research method sometimes used by sociologists. Research that takes the form of a case study can also be called a case study design. Let's examine the definition of a case study.

Description of case studies

Case studies are used in a wide range of academic research areas. For instance, they can be used to study the intricacies of a particular medical phenomenon or to investigate a certain historical event.

In social research, such as in sociology, case studies are a good way to investigate social phenomena or to understand how certain processes and groups within society operate.

A researcher could study the details of a serial killer's deviance (focusing on one individual) or explore the integration of asylum seekers and refugees in a particular neighbourhood (focusing on a specific group of people).

Let's consider some common features or characteristics of case studies.

Methodology of case studies

Case studies can use methodological pluralism (using a wide range of research methods) to achieve triangulation (cross-checking of data to increase validity).

Due to the use of methodological pluralism, case studies can produce both quantitative and qualitative data.

Case studies can sometimes also be longitudinal studies (researchers studying the data at regular intervals over a long period of time).

The sample of the case study (the person, group, event, etc that is being studied) is often chosen because they are unique or exceptional in some way, and researchers want to learn more. For instance, researchers may choose to study a group of 15 delinquent children in a certain school because they deviate from behavioural norms.

Data found from case studies can be used to formulate new social theories or to test the validity of existing theories.

Check out Longitudinal Studies for more information.

Because case studies have a narrow focus , they are not used to make wider claims about populations. However, although the focus is narrow, the scope of the project can be very extensive, e.g. if a researcher is studying a person's social development throughout childhood and adolescence.

Using case studies with other research methods

Case studies can be used to follow up on a survey to provide more depth to the investigation. A case study can also precede a survey to establish whether a phenomenon merits further research.

Methodological pluralism in case studies

Researchers can use methodological pluralism in case studies to obtain a wide range of data using a wide range of research methods. Although the research methods used vary from case to case, they may include the following:



Examining videos and photos

Studying documents such as historical records or letters

Examples of case studies

Case studies are relevant not only to sociology but to many different fields, including history, politics, economics, law, and the media . Some well-known examples of case studies include research on:

A community

Karen O'Reilly's (2000) and Michaela Benson's (2011) research of expatriate Briton communities in Costa del Sol, Spain. They examined groups of British people in Spain, who were notorious for being drunkards.

Researchers dove behind the stereotypes of British expatriates in Costa del Sol and studied their everyday experiences. They also studied expats' reasons for migrating to Spain and found complex accounts of expatriate life through interviews .

Stephen Ball's (1981) study into underperforming working-class students at Beachside Comprehensive examined in detail why working-class students were not performing well in school. Ball carried out participant observation at the school for three years. Upon observing two groups of students, he found there was some differentiation between students, which harmed working-class students' education.

An organisation

Simon Holdaway's (1982, 1983) study of police service, w hilst serving as a sergeant. Holdaway carried out a covert ethnographic study of police work in the London Metropolitan Police Service.

The study is considered ground-breaking. Holdaway is referred to by some sociologists as a police research pioneer.

Graham Allison's (1971) study of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He wrote the ' Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis ', analysing the historical events of 1962.

It was used as a case study to study governmental and political decision-making in further detail. The book is well-known in the study of international relations.

Advantages and disadvantages of case study method in sociology

Gauging the suitability of a case study for a research project depends on several considerations.

Case Studies, Hand ticking an option on a survey, StudySmarter

Advantages of case studies

Interpretivist sociologists favour case studies because they generate detailed, qualitative data and bring in-depth insights to the investigation.

Case studies that use methodological pluralism are highly valid as they have achieved triangulation.

Researchers can gather both qualitative and quantitative data.

It is comparably cheaper to study a small sample compared to researching a large sample.

Disadvantages of case studies

Case studies are criticised by positivists for small and unrepresentative sample sizes, meaning that findings cannot be generalised to the wider population.

Positivists also state case studies are difficult to replicate because of the unique circumstances of each case study.

Researcher bias and influence may affect the validity of the findings.

It can still be expensive and time-consuming to carry out a case study.

Depending on the nature of the case study, there may be ethical concerns , especially around sensitive information.

Case Studies - Key takeaways

Frequently Asked Questions about Case Studies

--> what is a case study.

A case study is an in-depth investigation focused on an individual person, group, community, organisation, situation, or event. 

--> What is the purpose of case study research?

Case studies are used in a wide range of academic research areas. For instance, they can be used to study the intricacies of a particular medical phenomenon or to investigate a certain historical event. 

--> What is case study research?

Case study research is research obtained through the case study design. A case study design is a research method.

--> Why is the case study method used in sociology?

--> how do you write a case study.

To write a case study, one must choose a topic, pick a methodology, choose a sample, conduct the study, analyse their data, and write up their findings.

Final Case Studies Quiz

What are case studies?

Show answer

Case studies are in-depth investigations focused on an individual person, group, community, organisation, situation, or event.  

Show question

Research that takes the form of a case study can also be called a _____.

Case study design

What is methodological pluralism?

Methodological pluralism is the use of a wide range of research methods.

Why do case studies use methodological pluralism?

To achieve triangulation.

Case studies can only produce qualitative data. True or false?

How can data from case studies be used?

Data found from case studies can be used to formulate new social theories of to test the validity of existing theories.

Case studies have a ____ focus but ____ scope.

Narrow, extensive.

A researcher wants to study 100 delinquent schoolchildren. Why might it not be a good idea to use a case study design?

Any of the following:

Which kind of sociologists favour case studies and why?

Interpretivist sociologists favour case studies because they generate detailed, qualitative data and bring in-depth insights into the investigation. 

Case studies that use methodological pluralism are high in _____ as they have achieved triangulation.

It is often comparably cheaper to study a small sample compared to a large sample. True or false?

What kind of sociologists criticise case studies and why?

Case studies are criticised by positivists for small and unrepresentative sample sizes, meaning that findings cannot be generalised to the wider population. 

According to positivists, why are case studies difficult to replicate?

Positivists state case studies are difficult to replicate because of the unique circumstances of each case study.

What can affect the validity of the findings of a case study?

Researcher bias and influence.

In sociology, what are case studies good for?

Case studies are a good way to investigate social phenomena or to understand how certain processes and groups within society operate.

of the users don't pass the Case Studies quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

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Writing A Case Study

Types Of Case Study

Barbara P

Understand the Basic Types of Case Study Here

Published on: Jun 22, 2019

Last updated on: Dec 19, 2022

Types of Case Study

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A case study is an effective research method that specifically studies a single case over a period of time. Writing a  case study  is a very useful form of study in the educational process.

If students have real-life examples, it can help them learn more and synthesize information in a more effective manner. Such writing projects are one of the best ways of learning in a classroom.

A case study also has different types and forms. As a rule of thumb, all of them require a detailed and convincing answer based on a thorough analysis.

So, in this article, we are going to discuss the different types of case study research methods in detail.

What is a Case Study?

Case studies are a type of research methodology. They examine subjects, projects or organizations to tell stories and try conclusions about them based on evidence gathered during the process.

It allows you not only explore new avenues but also get insight into what drives any subject’s decisions and actions. Case studies are a great way for first-year students to develop their research skills.

A case study focuses on a single project for an extended period of time, which allows students to explore the topic in depth.

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What are the Types of Case Study?

There are 6 types of case studies used for different purposes. The main purpose of case studies is to analyze problems within the boundaries of a specific organization, environment, or situation.

According to design, case studies can be divided into the following categories:

Illustrative Case Study

Exploratory case study, cumulative case study, critical instance case study, descriptive case study, intrinsic case study.

Refer to the following section for a detailed description of each type of case study with examples.

An illustrative case study is used to examine a familiar case in order to help others to understand it. It is one of the main types of case studies in research methodology and is primarily descriptive.

In this type of case study, usually, one or two instances are utilized to explain what a situation is like.

Type of Case Study Research Design

An exploratory case study is a primary project conducted before a large-scale investigation. These types of case studies are very popular in the social sciences like political science and primarily focus on real-life contexts and situations.

Typically, these are used to identify research questions and methods for a large and complex study. The main purpose of an exploratory case study is to help identify situations for the further research process.

A cumulative case study is one of the main types of case studies in qualitative research. It is used to collect information from different sources at different times.

The aim of this case study is to summarize the past studies without spending additional cost and time on new investigations. So, it is a form of data analysis.

Critical instances case studies are used to determine the cause and consequence of an event.

The main reason for this type of case study is to investigate one or more sources with unique interest and sometimes with no interest in general. A critical case study can also be used to question a universal assertion.

When you have a hypothesis, you can design a descriptive study. This type of report starts with describing what you are studying. It aims is to find connections between the subject being studied and a theory.

After making these connections, the study can be concluded. The results of the descriptive case study will usually suggest how to develop a theory further.

A descriptive report would use the quantitative data as a starting point for more in-depth research.

Intrinsic studies are more common in psychology. This type of case study can also be conducted in healthcare or social work. So, if you were looking for types of case study in sociology, or type of case study in social research, this is it.

The focus of intrinsic studies is on a unique individual. These types can sometimes study groups close to the researcher as well.

The aim of such studies is not only to understand the subject better, but also their history and how they interact with everything around them. Basically, studying the subject with the perspective of their suroundings is what is needed for this type of case study.

Here is a PDF example to help you learn more about different types of case studies.

Types of Case Study PDF

Now you know the different types of case study methods in research. Make sure you follow the right  case study format  for great results.

Remember each type is defined in general terms but keep in mind that many aspects of a case study such as data collection and analysis, qualitative research questions, etc. are dependent on the researcher and what the study is looking to address.

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Types of Subjects of Case Study

In general, there are six types of case studies and 5 types of subjects they address. Every case study whether exploratory, critical, or cumulative, fits into the following subject categories.

This type of study focuses on one subject or individual and can use several research methods to determine the outcome.

This type of study takes into account a group of individuals. This could be a group of friends, coworkers, or family.

The main focus of this type of study is the place. It also takes into account how and why people use the place.


This study focuses on an organization or company. This could also include the company employees or people who work in an event at the organization.

This type of study focuses on a specific event. It could be societal or cultural and examines how it affects the surroundings.

Review some  case study examples  online before starting working on a specific type of case study. These examples will help you understand how a specific case study is conducted.

Case studies are being used more and more in colleges and universities to help students understand how a hypothetical event can influence a person, group, or organization in real life.

Writing a case study can be tricky and complicated especially when you are facing an urgent deadline. That’s why our  legitimate essay writing service  is here to provide you a full case study writing service.

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Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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The Important Steps of the Case Study Method

give the meaning of case study method

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what is case study in research

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There are several steps to be taken for the case study method. To know

Determine and define research questions, select cases and determine data collection and analysis techniques.

Collection of data in the field

Evaluate and analyze data, prepare the report.

what is case study method

The first step in the  scientific research is to establish a firm research focus that the researcher can refer to throughout the study of a complex phenomenon or object. The researcher establishes the focus of the study by asking questions about the situation or problem being studied and determining a purpose for the study. The object of research in a study may often be

Each object is likely to be intrinsically linked to issues

The investigator investigates the object of in-depth study using a variety of data collection methods to produce evidence that leads to the understanding of the case and answers the research questions.

During the research design phase, the researcher determines which approaches will be used in the selection of single or multiple real-life cases to examine in depth, and which instruments and approaches to data collection will be used.

When using multiple cases, each case is treated as unique. The conclusions of each case can then be used as information that contributes to the entire study, however each case remains a single case.

how is a case study conducted

The researcher must determine whether to study cases that are unique in some way or cases that are considered typical and can also select cases to represent a variety of geographic regions, a variety of size parameters or other parameters.

A useful step in the selection process is to repeatedly go back to the purpose of the study in order to draw attention to where to look for cases and evidence that will satisfy the purpose of the study and answer the raised research questions. Selecting multiple or unique cases is a key element.

Preparation for data collection in the Case Study Method

Because case-study research generates a large amount of data from multiple sources, systematic organization of data is important to prevent the researcher from becoming overwhelmed by the amount of data and to prevent the researcher from losing sight of the original goal and questions of the researcher. search.

Prepaid preparation assists in the handling of large amounts of data in a documented and systematic manner. The researchers prepare databases to assist in the categorization, classification, storage and retrieval of data for analysis.

the case study method

The researcher must collect and store multiple sources of evidence comprehensively and systematically in formats that can be referenced and classified so that convergent lines of inquiry and patterns can be discovered. The researchers carefully observe the object of the case study and identify causal factors associated with the observed phenomenon.

The renegotiation of the arrangements with the objects of the study or the addition of questions to the interviews may be necessary as the study progresses. Case study research is flexible, but when changes are made, they are documented systematically.

The researcher examines the raw data using many interpretations to find links between the search object and the results with reference to the original search questions. Throughout the process of evaluation and analysis, the researcher remains open to new opportunities and insights.

The case study method, using multiple methods of data collection and analysis techniques, offers researchers the opportunity to triangulate data to strengthen the findings and conclusions of the research.

The tactics used in the analysis force researchers to go beyond initial impressions to improve the likelihood of accurate and reliable findings.

Examples of case studies allow you to deliberately sort data in many different ways to expose or create new ideas and look for conflicting data to disallow the analysis. Researchers categorize, tabulate, and recombine data to address the initial propositions or purpose of the study, and perform cross-checks of facts and discrepancies in the accounts.

how to start a case study essay

Examples of case studies report the data in a way that transforms a complex issue into one that can be understood, allowing the reader to question and examine the study and come to an independent understanding of the researcher.

The purpose of the written report is to portray a complex problem in a way that conveys an experience passed on to the reader. The studies present the data in a very accessible way to the public and can lead the reader to apply the experience to their own actual situation.

Researchers pay close attention to sufficient evidence to gain the confidence of the reader that all routes have been explored, clearly communicating the boundaries of the case and giving special attention to conflicting propositions.

The introduction of the report includes acknowledging all participants, indicating the problem, listing the research questions, describing the methods used to conduct the research and any potential flaws in the method used, explaining the data collection and analysis techniques used and concluding with the answers to questions and suggestions for future research.

Key features of the report include a feeling of specific stories related to the successes or losses experienced by organizations that were transmitted during data collection and responses or comments illuminating issues directly related to the research questions.

The researcher develops each question using quotes or other details of the data collected, and points to triangulation of data where applicable. The report also includes confirmation and departures from the conclusions of the literature used.

The report’s conclusion makes affirmations and suggestions for new research activities so that another researcher can apply these techniques to another community network and its participants to determine if similar findings are identifiable in other communities.

case study approach

We know that studies are complex because they often involve multiple sources of data, can include multiple cases within a study, and produce large amounts of data for analysis. Researchers from many disciplines use the case study method to construct theory, produce a new theory, discuss or challenge theory, explain a situation, provide a basis for applying solutions to situations, exploring or describing an object or phenomenon.

The advantages of this method of study are its applicability to real, contemporary, human situations and its public accessibility through written reports. The results of case studies relate directly to the everyday experience of the average reader and facilitate the understanding of complex real-life situations.

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Case Study Research: Methods and Designs

Case study research is a type of qualitative research design. It’s often used in the social sciences because it involves…

Case Study Method

Case study research is a type of qualitative research design. It’s often used in the social sciences because it involves observing subjects, or cases, in their natural setting, with minimal interference from the researcher.

In the case study method , researchers pose a specific question about an individual or group to test their theories or hypothesis. This can be done by gathering data from interviews with key informants.

Here’s what you need to know about case study research design .

What Is The Case Study Method?

Main approaches to data collection, case study research methods, how case studies are used, case study model.

Case study research is a great way to understand the nuances of a matter that can get lost in quantitative research methods. A case study is distinct from other qualitative studies in the following ways:

Here are the primary features of case study research:

They commonly use the case study method in business, management, psychology, sociology, political science and other related fields.

A fundamental requirement of qualitative research is recording observations that provide an understanding of reality. When it comes to the case study method, there are two major approaches that can be used to collect data: document review and fieldwork.

A case study in research methodology also includes literature review, the process by which the researcher collects all data available through historical documents. These might include books, newspapers, journals, videos, photographs and other written material. The researcher may also record information using video cameras to capture events as they occur. The researcher can also go through materials produced by people involved in the case study to gain an insight into their lives and experiences.

Field research involves participating in interviews and observations directly. Observation can be done during telephone interviews, events or public meetings, visits to homes or workplaces, or by shadowing someone for a period of time. The researcher can conduct one-on-one interviews with individuals or group interviews where several people are interviewed at once.

Let’s look now at case study methodology.

The case study method can be divided into three stages: formulation of objectives; collection of data; and analysis and interpretation. The researcher first makes a judgment about what should be studied based on their knowledge. Next, they gather data through observations and interviews. Here are some of the common case study research methods:

One of the most basic methods is the survey. Respondents are asked to complete a questionnaire with open-ended and predetermined questions. It usually takes place through face-to-face interviews, mailed questionnaires or telephone interviews. It can even be done by an online survey.

2. Semi-structured Interview

For case study research a more complex method is the semi-structured interview. This involves the researcher learning about the topic by listening to what others have to say. This usually occurs through one-on-one interviews with the sample. Semi-structured interviews allow for greater flexibility and can obtain information that structured questionnaires can’t.

3. Focus Group Interview

Another method is the focus group interview, where the researcher asks a few people to take part in an open-ended discussion on certain themes or topics. The typical group size is 5–15 people. This method allows researchers to delve deeper into people’s opinions, views and experiences.

4. Participant Observation

Participant observation is another method that involves the researcher gaining insight into an experience by joining in and taking part in normal events. The people involved don’t always know they’re being studied, but the researcher observes and records what happens through field notes.

Case study research design can use one or several of these methods depending on the context.

Case studies are widely used in the social sciences. To understand the impact of socio-economic forces, interpersonal dynamics and other human conditions, sometimes there’s no other way than to study one case at a time and look for patterns and data afterward.

It’s for the same reasons that case studies are used in business. Here are a few uses:

And that’s not all. Case studies are incredibly versatile, which is why they’re used so widely.

Human beings are complex and they interact with each other in their everyday life in various ways. The researcher observes a case and tries to find out how the patterns of behavior are created, including their causal relations. Case studies help understand one or more specific events that have been observed. Here are some common methods:

1. Illustrative case study

This is where the researcher observes a group of people doing something. Studying an event or phenomenon this way can show cause-and-effect relationships between various variables.

2. Cumulative case study

A cumulative case study is one that involves observing the same set of phenomena over a period. Cumulative case studies can be very helpful in understanding processes, which are things that happen over time. For example, if there are behavioral changes in people who move from one place to another, the researcher might want to know why these changes occurred.

3. Exploratory case study

An exploratory case study collects information that will answer a question. It can help researchers better understand social, economic, political or other social phenomena.

There are several other ways to categorize case studies. They may be chronological case studies, where a researcher observes events over time. In the comparative case study, the researcher compares one or more groups of people, places, or things to draw conclusions about them. In an intervention case study, the researcher intervenes to change the behavior of the subjects. The study method depends on the needs of the research team.

Deciding how to analyze the information at our disposal is an important part of effective management. An understanding of the case study model can help. With Harappa’s Thinking Critically course, managers and young professionals receive input and training on how to level up their analytic skills. Knowledge of frameworks, reading real-life examples and lived wisdom of faculty come together to create a dynamic and exciting course that helps teams leap to the next level.

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Objectives Of Research , What are Qualitative Research Methods , How To Make A Problem Statement and How To Improve your Cognitive Skills to upgrade your knowledge and skills.

Case Method Teaching and Learning

What is the case method? How can the case method be used to engage learners? What are some strategies for getting started? This guide helps instructors answer these questions by providing an overview of the case method while highlighting learner-centered and digitally-enhanced approaches to teaching with the case method. The guide also offers tips to instructors as they get started with the case method and additional references and resources.

On this page:

What is case method teaching.

Why use the Case Method?

Case method teaching approaches, how do i get started.

The CTL is here to help!

For support with implementing a case method approach in your course, email [email protected] to schedule your 1-1 consultation .

Case method 1 teaching is an active form of instruction that focuses on a case and involves students learning by doing 2 3 . Cases are real or invented stories 4  that include “an educational message” or recount events, problems, dilemmas, theoretical or conceptual issue that requires analysis and/or decision-making.

Case-based teaching simulates real world situations and asks students to actively grapple with complex problems 5 6 This method of instruction is used across disciplines to promote learning, and is common in law, business, medicine, among other fields. See Table 1 below for a few types of cases and the learning they promote.

Table 1: Types of cases and the learning they promote.

For a more complete list, see Case Types & Teaching Methods: A Classification Scheme from the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.

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Case Method Teaching and Learning at Columbia

The case method is actively used in classrooms across Columbia, at the Morningside campus in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the School of Business, Arts and Sciences, among others, and at Columbia University Irving Medical campus.

Faculty Spotlight:

Professor Mary Ann Price on Using Case Study Method to Place Pre-Med Students in Real-Life Scenarios

Read more  

Professor De Pinho on Using the Case Method in the Mailman Core

Case method teaching has been found to improve student learning, to increase students’ perception of learning gains, and to meet learning objectives 8 9 . Faculty have noted the instructional benefits of cases including greater student engagement in their learning 10 , deeper student understanding of concepts, stronger critical thinking skills, and an ability to make connections across content areas and view an issue from multiple perspectives 11 . 

Through case-based learning, students are the ones asking questions about the case, doing the problem-solving, interacting with and learning from their peers, “unpacking” the case, analyzing the case, and summarizing the case. They learn how to work with limited information and ambiguity, think in professional or disciplinary ways, and ask themselves “what would I do if I were in this specific situation?”

The case method bridges theory to practice, and promotes the development of skills including: communication, active listening, critical thinking, decision-making, and metacognitive skills 12 , as students apply course content knowledge, reflect on what they know and their approach to analyzing, and make sense of a case. 

Though the case method has historical roots as an instructor-centered approach that uses the Socratic dialogue and cold-calling, it is possible to take a more learner-centered approach in which students take on roles and tasks traditionally left to the instructor. 

Cases are often used as “vehicles for classroom discussion” 13 . Students should be encouraged to take ownership of their learning from a case. Discussion-based approaches engage students in thinking and communicating about a case. Instructors can set up a case activity in which students are the ones doing the work of “asking questions, summarizing content, generating hypotheses, proposing theories, or offering critical analyses” 14 . 

The role of the instructor is to share a case or ask students to share or create a case to use in class, set expectations, provide instructions, and assign students roles in the discussion. Student roles in a case discussion can include: 

Prior to the case discussion, instructors can model case analysis and the types of questions students should ask, co-create discussion guidelines with students, and ask for students to submit discussion questions. During the discussion, the instructor can keep time, intervene as necessary (however the students should be doing the talking), and pause the discussion for a debrief and to ask students to reflect on what and how they learned from the case activity. 

Note: case discussions can be enhanced using technology. Live discussions can occur via video-conferencing (e.g., using Zoom ) or asynchronous discussions can occur using the Discussions tool in CourseWorks (Canvas) .

Table 2 includes a few interactive case method approaches. Regardless of the approach selected, it is important to create a learning environment in which students feel comfortable participating in a case activity and learning from one another. See below for tips on supporting student in how to learn from a case in the “getting started” section and how to create a supportive learning environment in the Guide for Inclusive Teaching at Columbia . 

Table 2. Strategies for Engaging Students in Case-Based Learning

Approaches to case teaching should be informed by course learning objectives, and can be adapted for small, large, hybrid, and online classes. Instructional technology can be used in various ways to deliver, facilitate, and assess the case method. For instance, an online module can be created in CourseWorks (Canvas) to structure the delivery of the case, allow students to work at their own pace, engage all learners, even those reluctant to speak up in class, and assess understanding of a case and student learning. Modules can include text, embedded media (e.g., using Panopto or Mediathread ) curated by the instructor, online discussion, and assessments. Students can be asked to read a case and/or watch a short video, respond to quiz questions and receive immediate feedback, post questions to a discussion, and share resources. 

For more information about options for incorporating educational technology to your course, please contact your Learning Designer .

To ensure that students are learning from the case approach, ask them to pause and reflect on what and how they learned from the case. Time to reflect  builds your students’ metacognition, and when these reflections are collected they provides you with insights about the effectiveness of your approach in promoting student learning.

Well designed case-based learning experiences: 1) motivate student involvement, 2) have students doing the work, 3) help students develop knowledge and skills, and 4) have students learning from each other.  

Designing a case-based learning experience should center around the learning objectives for a course. The following points focus on intentional design. 

Identify learning objectives, determine scope, and anticipate challenges. 

Determine how you will know if the learning objectives were met and develop a plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the case method to inform future case teaching. 

Select an existing case, create your own, or encourage students to bring course-relevant cases, and prepare for its delivery

Plan for the case discussion and an active role for students

Student preparation and expectations

Andersen, E. and Schiano, B. (2014). Teaching with Cases: A Practical Guide . Harvard Business Press. 

Bonney, K. M. (2015). Case Study Teaching Method Improves Student Performance and Perceptions of Learning Gains†. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education , 16 (1), 21–28. https://doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.846

Davis, B.G. (2009). Chapter 24: Case Studies. In Tools for Teaching. Second Edition. Jossey-Bass. 

Garvin, D.A. (2003). Making the Case: Professional Education for the world of practice. Harvard Magazine. September-October 2003, Volume 106, Number 1, 56-107.

Golich, V.L. (2000). The ABCs of Case Teaching. International Studies Perspectives. 1, 11-29. 

Golich, V.L.; Boyer, M; Franko, P.; and Lamy, S. (2000). The ABCs of Case Teaching. Pew Case Studies in International Affairs. Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. 

Heath, J. (2015). Teaching & Writing Cases: A Practical Guide. The Case Center, UK. 

Herreid, C.F. (2011). Case Study Teaching. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. No. 128, Winder 2011, 31 – 40. 

Herreid, C.F. (2007). Start with a Story: The Case Study Method of Teaching College Science . National Science Teachers Association. Available as an ebook through Columbia Libraries. 

Herreid, C.F. (2006). “Clicker” Cases: Introducing Case Study Teaching Into Large Classrooms. Journal of College Science Teaching. Oct 2006, 36(2). https://search.proquest.com/docview/200323718?pq-origsite=gscholar  

Krain, M. (2016). Putting the Learning in Case Learning? The Effects of Case-Based Approaches on Student Knowledge, Attitudes, and Engagement. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. 27(2), 131-153. 

Lundberg, K.O. (Ed.). (2011). Our Digital Future: Boardrooms and Newsrooms. Knight Case Studies Initiative. 

Popil, I. (2011). Promotion of critical thinking by using case studies as teaching method. Nurse Education Today, 31(2), 204–207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2010.06.002

Schiano, B. and Andersen, E. (2017). Teaching with Cases Online . Harvard Business Publishing. 

Thistlethwaite, JE; Davies, D.; Ekeocha, S.; Kidd, J.M.; MacDougall, C.; Matthews, P.; Purkis, J.; Clay D. (2012). The effectiveness of case-based learning in health professional education: A BEME systematic review . Medical Teacher. 2012; 34(6): e421-44. 

Yadav, A.; Lundeberg, M.; DeSchryver, M.; Dirkin, K.; Schiller, N.A.; Maier, K. and Herreid, C.F. (2007). Teaching Science with Case Studies: A National Survey of Faculty Perceptions of the Benefits and Challenges of Using Cases. Journal of College Science Teaching; Sept/Oct 2007; 37(1). 

Weimer, M. (2013). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice. Second Edition. Jossey-Bass.

Additional resources 

Teaching with Cases , Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Features “what is a teaching case?” video that defines a teaching case, and provides documents to help students prepare for case learning, Common case teaching challenges and solutions, tips for teaching with cases. 

Promoting excellence and innovation in case method teaching: Teaching by the Case Method , Christensen Center for Teaching & Learning. Harvard Business School. 

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science . University of Buffalo. 

A collection of peer-reviewed STEM cases to teach scientific concepts and content, promote process skills and critical thinking. The Center welcomes case submissions. Case classification scheme of case types and teaching methods:

Columbia Resources

Resources available to support your use of case method: The University hosts a number of case collections including: the Case Consortium (a collection of free cases in the fields of journalism, public policy, public health, and other disciplines that include teaching and learning resources; SIPA’s Picker Case Collection (audiovisual case studies on public sector innovation, filmed around the world and involving SIPA student teams in producing the cases); and Columbia Business School CaseWorks , which develops teaching cases and materials for use in Columbia Business School classrooms.

Center for Teaching and Learning

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers a variety of programs and services for instructors at Columbia. The CTL can provide customized support as you plan to use the case method approach through implementation. Schedule a one-on-one consultation. 

Office of the Provost

The Hybrid Learning Course Redesign grant program from the Office of the Provost provides support for faculty who are developing innovative and technology-enhanced pedagogy and learning strategies in the classroom. In addition to funding, faculty awardees receive support from CTL staff as they redesign, deliver, and evaluate their hybrid courses.

The Start Small! Mini-Grant provides support to faculty who are interested in experimenting with one new pedagogical strategy or tool. Faculty awardees receive funds and CTL support for a one-semester period.

Explore our teaching resources.

CTL resources and technology for you.

This website uses cookies to identify users, improve the user experience and requires cookies to work. By continuing to use this website, you consent to Columbia University's use of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with the Columbia University Website Cookie Notice .

Conducting Case Study Research in Sociology

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A case study is a research method that relies on a single case rather than a population or sample. When researchers focus on a single case, they can make detailed observations over a long period of time, something that cannot be done with large samples without costing a lot of money. Case studies are also useful in the early stages of research when the goal is to explore ideas, test, and perfect measurement instruments, and to prepare for a larger study. The case study research method is popular not just within ​the field of sociology, but also within the fields of anthropology, psychology, education, political science, clinical science, social work, and administrative science.

Overview of the Case Study Research Method

A case study is unique within the social sciences for its focus of study on a single entity, which can be a person, group or organization, event, action, or situation. It is also unique in that, as a focus of research, a case is chosen for specific reasons, rather than randomly , as is usually done when conducting empirical research. Often, when researchers use the case study method, they focus on a case that is exceptional in some way because it is possible to learn a lot about social relationships and social forces when studying those things that deviate from norms. In doing so, a researcher is often able, through their study, to test the validity of the social theory, or to create new theories using the grounded theory method .

The first case studies in the social sciences were likely conducted by Pierre Guillaume Frédéric Le Play, a 19th-century French sociologist and economist who studied family budgets. The method has been used in sociology, psychology, and anthropology since the early 20th century.

Within sociology, case studies are typically conducted with qualitative research methods . They are considered micro rather than macro in nature , and one cannot necessarily generalize the findings of a case study to other situations. However, this is not a limitation of the method, but a strength. Through a case study based on ethnographic observation and interviews, among other methods, sociologists can illuminate otherwise hard to see and understand social relations, structures, and processes. In doing so, the findings of case studies often stimulate further research.

Types and Forms of Case Studies

There are three primary types of case studies: key cases, outlier cases, and local knowledge cases.

Within these types, a case study may take four different forms: illustrative, exploratory, cumulative, and critical.

Whatever type and form of case study you decide to conduct, it's important to first identify the purpose, goals, and approach for conducting methodologically sound research.

give the meaning of case study method

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What is it?

Case study is a research methodology, typically seen in social and life sciences. There is no one definition of case study research. 1 However, very simply… ‘a case study can be defined as an intensive study about a person, a group of people or a unit, which is aimed to generalize over several units’. 1 A case study has also been described as an intensive, systematic investigation of a single individual, group, community or some other unit in which the researcher examines in-depth data relating to several variables. 2

Often there are several similar cases to consider such as educational or social service programmes that are delivered from a number of locations. Although similar, they are complex and have unique features. In these circumstances, the evaluation of several, similar cases will provide a better answer to a research question than if only one case is examined, hence the multiple-case study. Stake asserts that the cases are grouped and viewed as one entity, called the quintain . 6  ‘We study what is similar and different about the cases to understand the quintain better’. 6

The steps when using case study methodology are the same as for other types of research. 6 The first step is defining the single case or identifying a group of similar cases that can then be incorporated into a multiple-case study. A search to determine what is known about the case(s) is typically conducted. This may include a review of the literature, grey literature, media, reports and more, which serves to establish a basic understanding of the cases and informs the development of research questions. Data in case studies are often, but not exclusively, qualitative in nature. In multiple-case studies, analysis within cases and across cases is conducted. Themes arise from the analyses and assertions about the cases as a whole, or the quintain, emerge. 6

Benefits and limitations of case studies

If a researcher wants to study a specific phenomenon arising from a particular entity, then a single-case study is warranted and will allow for a in-depth understanding of the single phenomenon and, as discussed above, would involve collecting several different types of data. This is illustrated in example 1 below.

Using a multiple-case research study allows for a more in-depth understanding of the cases as a unit, through comparison of similarities and differences of the individual cases embedded within the quintain. Evidence arising from multiple-case studies is often stronger and more reliable than from single-case research. Multiple-case studies allow for more comprehensive exploration of research questions and theory development. 6

Despite the advantages of case studies, there are limitations. The sheer volume of data is difficult to organise and data analysis and integration strategies need to be carefully thought through. There is also sometimes a temptation to veer away from the research focus. 2 Reporting of findings from multiple-case research studies is also challenging at times, 1 particularly in relation to the word limits for some journal papers.

Examples of case studies

Example 1: nurses’ paediatric pain management practices.

One of the authors of this paper (AT) has used a case study approach to explore nurses’ paediatric pain management practices. This involved collecting several datasets:

Observational data to gain a picture about actual pain management practices.

Questionnaire data about nurses’ knowledge about paediatric pain management practices and how well they felt they managed pain in children.

Questionnaire data about how critical nurses perceived pain management tasks to be.

These datasets were analysed separately and then compared 7–9 and demonstrated that nurses’ level of theoretical did not impact on the quality of their pain management practices. 7 Nor did individual nurse’s perceptions of how critical a task was effect the likelihood of them carrying out this task in practice. 8 There was also a difference in self-reported and observed practices 9 ; actual (observed) practices did not confirm to best practice guidelines, whereas self-reported practices tended to.

Example 2: quality of care for complex patients at Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics (NPLCs)

The other author of this paper (RH) has conducted a multiple-case study to determine the quality of care for patients with complex clinical presentations in NPLCs in Ontario, Canada. 10 Five NPLCs served as individual cases that, together, represented the quatrain. Three types of data were collected including:

Review of documentation related to the NPLC model (media, annual reports, research articles, grey literature and regulatory legislation).

Interviews with nurse practitioners (NPs) practising at the five NPLCs to determine their perceptions of the impact of the NPLC model on the quality of care provided to patients with multimorbidity.

Chart audits conducted at the five NPLCs to determine the extent to which evidence-based guidelines were followed for patients with diabetes and at least one other chronic condition.

The three sources of data collected from the five NPLCs were analysed and themes arose related to the quality of care for complex patients at NPLCs. The multiple-case study confirmed that nurse practitioners are the primary care providers at the NPLCs, and this positively impacts the quality of care for patients with multimorbidity. Healthcare policy, such as lack of an increase in salary for NPs for 10 years, has resulted in issues in recruitment and retention of NPs at NPLCs. This, along with insufficient resources in the communities where NPLCs are located and high patient vulnerability at NPLCs, have a negative impact on the quality of care. 10

These examples illustrate how collecting data about a single case or multiple cases helps us to better understand the phenomenon in question. Case study methodology serves to provide a framework for evaluation and analysis of complex issues. It shines a light on the holistic nature of nursing practice and offers a perspective that informs improved patient care.

Competing interests None declared.

Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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Case Study Research – Everything You Wanted to Know

Case study research remains a controversial data collection approach. However, it is recognized widely in different social studies. That’s because it enables researchers to provide in-depth explanations of different social behaviors.

case study research

Perhaps, you’re wondering, what is a case study research? Maybe you want to know what it involves. Well, this is a research method that utilizes reports from past studies. It allows researchers to explore and understand complex issues using those reports. This research method may be considered robust, especially when researchers require holistic, in-depth investigation.

Most social sciences recognize case study research design and methods and their roles have become more prominent. This approach is used to research and write about topics in education, sociology, and community-based issues like drug addiction, poverty, and unemployment.

What is Case Study Research?

In social studies, the case study is a research method in which a phenomenon is investigated in its real-life context. It’s an empirical inquiry and research strategy that is based on an in-depth investigation of a group, event, or individual to explore the underlying principles causes.

Essentially, this study can be defined as an exploratory and descriptive analysis of a case. But, what is a case study in research? Well, a case can be anything that a researcher wants to investigate. This can include a person, a group, an event, a decision, a policy, period, institution, or any other system that can be studied historically.

Methods Used in Case Study Research

This type of research uses the same study methodology with other research types. But, the most common case study research method starts with the definition of a single case. It can also be a group comprising similar cases. These can be incorporated for a multiple-case study.

This is followed by a search to determine what is already known about the case or cases. This search can involve a review of grey literature, reports, and media content. This review plays a critical role in enabling the researchers to understand the case. It also informs researchers when it comes to developing case study research questions.

In most case studies, data is often qualitative, though not exclusively. Thus, researchers engage in case study qualitative research. When researchers use multiple cases, they analyze each case separately. Themes can arise from assertions or analysis about the entire case.

Case study research methodology can include: Personal interviews Archival records Psychometric tests Direct observation

Case studies are more in-depth when compared to observational research. That’s because they use several records or measures while focusing on a single subject. In some cases, a multiple-case design can be used. What’s more, a case study can be retrospective or prospective. A retrospective case study uses criteria to choose cases from historical records. Prospective case studies, on the other hand, uses established criteria while including extra cases as long as they meet the set criteria.

Because case studies use qualitative data like the one collected from interviews, they tend to be more liable. However, quantitative data and questionnaires can also be used. For instance, a case study can be used in clinical research to monitor and determine the effectiveness of treatment.

Types of Case Study Research

When you research case study, you explore causation to identify the underlying principles. But, they can’t be generalized to a larger population the way researchers do when conducting experimental research. They also can’t provide predictive power the same way correlational research can do. Rather, they provide extensive data that can be used to develop new hypotheses that can be used for further research. It can also be used to study rare conditions or events that are hard-to-study.

A case study research paper can fall into any of these categories:

People may define case study research differently based on these major types of this investigation. Nevertheless, it’s an intensive and systematic investigation of a group, community, individuals, or other units where the researchers examine in-depth data that relate to several variables.

Example of Case Study Research

Case study definition in research may vary. However, students should be keen to choose topics they are comfortable researching and writing about. Here are case study research question examples that be used for this kind of investigation.

Different data collection methods can be used to assess and understand each case separately. This can lead to a better understanding of the phenomenon under investigation. The goal of the case study research design is to provide a framework that can be used to evaluate and analyze complex issues. For instance, in the last two examples above, a case study can be used to shed light on the nursing practice as a holistic approach. It can also provide a perspective that will inform the nurses to give improved care to their patients.

How to Do Case Study Research

When writing a case study paper, follow these steps, suggested by our writing professionals :

In a nutshell, a case study entails collecting data that leads to a better understanding of a phenomenon. The methodology of a case study provides a framework that is used to analyze and evaluate more complex issues.

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Encyclopedia of Case Study Research

Reader's guide

Entries a-z, subject index.

Case study research has a long history within the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, dating back to the early 1920's. At first it was a useful way for researchers to make valid inferences from events outside the laboratory in ways consistent with the rigorous practices of investigation inside the lab. Over time, case study approaches garnered interest in multiple disciplines as scholars studied phenomena in context. Despite widespread use, case study research has received little attention among the literature on research strategies.

The Encyclopedia of Case Study Research provides a compendium on the important methodological issues in conducting case study research and explores both the strengths and weaknesses of different paradigmatic approaches. These two volumes focus on the distinctive characteristics of case study research and its place within and alongside other research methodologies.

Key Features

Presents a definition of case study research that can be used in different fields of study; Describes case study as a research strategy rather than as a single tool for decision making and inquiry; Guides rather than dictates, readers understanding and applications of case study research; Includes a critical summary in each entry, which raises additional matters for reflection; Makes case study relevant to researchers at various stages of their careers, across philosophic divides, and throughout diverse disciplines

Academic Disciplines; Case Study Research Design; Conceptual Issues; Data Analysis; Data Collection; Methodological Approaches; Theoretical Traditions; Theory Development and Contributions

From Case Study Research

Types of Case Study Research

Front Matter

Reader’s Guide

Back matter.

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  1. What Is The Case Study Method

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  2. case-study method

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  3. What Do You Mean By The Term Case Study

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  4. case-study method

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  5. The Case Study Method

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  6. Definition Of Case Study In Sociology

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  1. What Is a Case Study?

    A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organization, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research. A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods, but quantitative methods are sometimes also used.

  2. What is the Case Study Method?

    Simply put, the case method is a discussion of real-life situations that business executives have faced. On average, you'll attend three to four different classes a day, for a total of about six hours of class time (schedules vary). To prepare, you'll work through problems with your peers. Read More

  3. What the Case Study Method Really Teaches

    Summary. It's been 100 years since Harvard Business School began using the case study method. Beyond teaching specific subject matter, the case study method excels in instilling meta-skills in ...

  4. Case study method Definition & Meaning

    case study method noun : a method of research used especially in sociology by which accumulated case histories are analyzed with a view toward formulating general principles Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that's only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

  5. Case Study

    Case study is a research method that involves an in-depth, detailed examination of a single unit, such as an individual, family, group, organization, community, or event. Case studies are usually conducted by sociologists, psychologists, historians, anthropologists, or researchers from other social science disciplines.

  6. Case Study: Definition, Examples, Types, and How to Write

    A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in various fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

  7. What the Case Study Method Really Teaches

    "The case method forces students to identify and focus on what's essential, ignore the noise, skim when possible, and concentrate on what matters." 3. Bias Recognition Students often have an initial reaction to a case stemming from their background or earlier work and life experiences.

  8. Case Study Research Method in Psychology

    The case study research method originated in clinical medicine (the case history, i.e., the patient's personal history). In psychology, case studies are often confined to the study of a particular individual. The information is mainly biographical and relates to events in the individual's past (i.e., retrospective), as well as to ...

  9. The Case Method

    The case method is a participatory, discussion-based way of learning where students gain skills in critical thinking, communication, and group dynamics. It is a type of problem-based learning. Often seen in the professional schools of medicine, law, and business, the case method is now used successfully in disciplines such as engineering ...

  10. Case Study Method

    The case study method is a learning technique in which the student is faced a particular problem, the case. The case study facilitates the exploration of a real issue within a defined context, using a variety of data sources (Baxter et al., 2008 ). In general terms, the case study analyzes a defined problem consisting in a real situation and ...

  11. Case Study Method Definition, Characteristics, Stages & Sources

    A case study is a comprehensive study of a social unit of society, which may be a person, family group, institution, community or event. A case study focuses attention on a single unit thoroughly. The aim is that to find out the influencing factors of a social unit and the relationship between these factors and a social unit.

  12. Case Studies: Definition, Methodology & Examples

    Case Studies: Definition, Methodology & Examples | StudySmarter Sociology Theories and Methods Case Studies Case Studies Case Studies American Identity Ethnic Groups in America Gender Roles Race and Ethnicity Sex Education Sex and Sexuality Sexuality in America Beliefs in Society Age and Religion Contemporary Religion

  13. 6 Types of Case Study

    A case study is an effective research method that specifically studies a single case over a period of time. Writing a case study is a very useful form of study in the educational process. If students have real-life examples, it can help them learn more and synthesize information in a more effective manner.

  14. The Important Steps of the Case Study Method

    There are several steps to be taken for the case study method. To know. Determine and define research questions. Select cases and determine data collection and analysis techniques. Preparation for data collection. Collection of data in the field. Evaluate and analyze data. Prepare the report. By following these six steps the case study is complete.

  15. Case Study Research: Methods and Designs

    Case study research is a type of qualitative research design. It's often used in the social sciences because it involves observing subjects, or cases, in their natural setting, with minimal interference from the researcher.

  16. Case Method Teaching and Learning

    Case method 1 teaching is an active form of instruction that focuses on a case and involves students learning by doing 2 3. Cases are real or invented stories 4 that include "an educational message" or recount events, problems, dilemmas, theoretical or conceptual issue that requires analysis and/or decision-making.

  17. Case study

    Theory testing case studies aim to assess the validity and scope conditions of existing theories. Plausibility probes, aim to assess the plausibility of new hypotheses and theories. Building block studies of types or subtypes, aim to identify common patterns across cases.

  18. Conducting Case Study Research in Sociology

    A case study is a research method that relies on a single case rather than a population or sample. When researchers focus on a single case, they can make detailed observations over a long period of time, something that cannot be done with large samples without costing a lot of money.

  19. What is a case study?

    Case study is a research methodology, typically seen in social and life sciences. There is no one definition of case study research.1 However, very simply… 'a case study can be defined as an intensive study about a person, a group of people or a unit, which is aimed to generalize over several units'.1 A case study has also been described as an intensive, systematic investigation of a ...

  20. Case Study Research

    In social studies, the case study is a research method in which a phenomenon is investigated in its real-life context. It's an empirical inquiry and research strategy that is based on an in-depth investigation of a group, event, or individual to explore the underlying principles causes.

  21. Case Study Research & Examples

    A case study is a method that investigates an occurrence, or case, in a real-life setting. The purpose of conducting a case study is to understand the participant's experience or to...

  22. Give The Meaning Of Case Study Method

    Give The Meaning Of Case Study Method: ASSIGNMENT. Your Price:.40 per page. Toll free 1(888)814-4206 1(888)499-5521. 4.8/5. Essay Service Features That Matter ... that's what I meant . Give The Meaning Of Case Study Method, Case Study Of Airline Reservation System, Top Literature Review Writer Sites Ca, General Essay About Our Indian Writers In ...

  23. Case Study Method: A Step-by-Step Guide for Business Researchers

    Case study method is the most widely used method in academia for researchers interested in ... define a case strategy as. an intensive study of one or a small number of business networks, where multiple sources of evidence are used to develop a holistic description of the network and where the network refers to a set of companies (and ...

  24. SAGE Research Methods

    Written in an accessible and jargon-free style, this book provides a comprehensive, student-friendly guide to the nature and use of case study research. Whether as part of a more substantial study or as the foundation for a self-contained smaller project, case studies provide viable and valuable alternatives to conducting large-scale research.

  25. SAGE Research Methods

    Case study research has a long history within the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, dating back to the early 1920's. At first it was a useful way for researchers to make valid inferences from events outside the laboratory in ways consistent with the rigorous practices of investigation inside the lab.