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Case Study Research Method

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Jasmine Beal

on 19 March 2014

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Transcript of Case Study Research Method

Case Study Research Method
How is this method a form of qualitative research?
This is a form of qualitative research because it uses data that is nonnumerical like pictures or words (Christensen, 2012). The case study method also follows the exploratory method of research where the researcher makes an observation, collects data, and then analyzes the data (Christensen, 2012). Most case studies occur because the researcher wants to know more about a particular topic (Christensen, 2012).
What type of data collection is used?
Participant observations, in depth interviews, open ended questionnaires, focus groups, test, secondary data such as documents or physical data tend to be the most frequently used in educational case studies (Christensen, 2012). Other methods include field notes and visual data collection such as photo interviewing. The researcher is the primary data collector (Christensen, 2012).
How is it used and what types of questions will it answer?
It can be used to address exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory research questions (Christensen, 2012). It will answer questions like who is being studied, what specifically are you trying to figure out, where is this study being held, how do all the parts fit together? (Christensen, 2012). Baxter (2008) stated that a case study should answer these questions: Can you manipulate the behaviour of those involved in the
study? Do you want to cover contextual conditions because you believe they are relevant to the event under study? Are the boundaries clear between the event and context? Other questions to be asked are, do I want to
analyze the individual? Do I want to analyze a program? Do I want to analyze the process? Do I want to “analyze” the difference between organizations? (Baxter, 2008)
How do you ensure validity and reliability with this method
Research Examples
Children with learning disabilities, a special needs student, a science classroom, a magnet school, or an educational program like Head Start (Christensen, 2012).
Internal and External validity: Does it relate?
Internal validity relates weakly because the researcher has to identify potential causes and effects, how something operates, and they have to develop and test hypothesis and theories (Christensen, 2012). When potential casual relationships are studied, they must be tested by using an experimental method. External validity has a weak factor in qualitative research because the sample is not randomly selected and because researchers are more interested in documenting particular findings over universal findings (Christensen, 2012).
Mastery of Methodology
Christensen (2012) stated that the case study research method is more varied than phenomenology, ethnography, and grounded theory which all focus on one aspect like experience, culture, or an explanation. The case study method is usually based on qualitative data but it can often times include mixed methods as well (Christensen, 2012). The main purpose is to figure out everything htere is to know about the case you are studying. You can discuss a group or individual, an event, an activity, or a process (Christensen, 2012). Case studies have internal and external contexts; meaning they have an inside viewpoint and an outside viewpoint like location. In order to remain focused in this method, it is best to set boundaries and stick to them (Baxter, 2008)
Cons of this method
When researchers generalize their findings from their case study it can be very risky because they have only looked at a sample instead of a population (Christensen, 2012).
Baxter (2008) stated that researchers often attempt to answer questions that are too broad or chose topics that have too many objectives for one study as another limitation of this method. (No author, No date) states that by using the method it would be almost impossible to replicate the findings, the researcher might have a bias, and there may be a distortion in a memory.
When is this method used?
Pros of this method
What type of data analysis is used?
The qualitative case study is an approach to research that encourages exploration
of a phenomenon within its context by using a variety of data sources (Baxter, 2008).This method is used during qualitatitve research. It focuses on providing a detailed account of one or more cases (Christensen, 2012).During a case study, you focus on one case as it exists in its real life context (Christensen, 2012).
Types of Case Study

There are 3 types of the case study research design: intrinsic, instrumental, and collective (Christensen,2012).
Intrinsic Case Study
Instrumental Case Study
Collective Case Study
During this method, the researcher is trying to understand a specific case (Christensen, 2012). It is a single-case design where the researcher provides in depth details about about the case (Christensen, 2012). The goal is to understand everything about the case and how it all fits together (Christensen, 2012). This is the most widely used method in the field of education more specifically program evaluation (Christensen, 2012). It's goal is to describe the program and discover how well a it works within the school or a classroom (Christensen, 2012). Researchers also use the exploratory method to learn more about a topic from a single case (Christensen, 2012).
Reserachers can put all of their time and resources into studying a particular case which means they can develop an indepth understanding of the topic they are studying (Christensen, 2012). (No author, No date) states that this method stimulates new research, could possibly contradict a theory, give new insight to an event, and grant access to an inacessiblt subject.
The researcher's primary goal is to understand something other than the particular case (Christensen, 2012). The case itself is important, but it isn't the main focus; basically the researcher studies the case to discover something more general (Christensen, 2012). Researchers aren't trying to make a conclusion based on the case study, they are trying to make a universal conclusion about the topic (Christensen, 2012). Major questions answered are how it works and why does it work so well. When the researcher choses the case, they are doing so because they want to test a thory or understand an issue better; the case is unique or typical in some type of way (Christensen, 2012). This type of method is very popular with academic researchers when they are trying to generalize or make an extension of previous research on a certain topic (Christensen, 2012).
The researcher wants to gain insight on a topic by studying multiple cases in one study (Christensen, 2012). Several cases are studied at a time; usually instrumentally instead of intrinsicially (Christensen, 2012). It is easy to compare cases using this method, it is easy to test a theory, and it is easier to make a generalization about a topic (Christensen, 2012). However, it makes it harder to provide an in depth analysis. When using this method, researchers are often faced with making the decision between depth and detail (Christensen, 2012). Detail usually wins because there isn't enough time to focus on all of the cases like in a single case study.
The researcher examines the case and then reports the finding by using detailed and descriptive words or pictures (Christensen, 2012). If multiple cases are used, then each case is examined as a whole and then cross analysis is conducted to look for similarities or differences. When there is a group then each person's viewpont is examined.(Christensen, 2012).
In a collective case study, the report can be analyzed by case with a section set aside for integration for all the cases (Christensen, 2012). In general, the report of findings are published in books or monographs written in narative form and range from 20 to 25 pages in length (Christensen, 2012).
When discussing validity, the term trustworthiness is sometimes used; it means the same thing (Christensen, 2012). When discussing validity, researchers are looking at the plausibility, credibility, trustwortiness, the defendability and the level of the researcher's bias. There are three types of qualitative validity: descriptive, interpretative, and theoretical (Christensen, 2012).
Descriptive Validity
Interpretative Validity
Theoretical Validity
This type focuses on accuracy. Questions that are answered by this type are: Did what was reported as taking place in the group actually occur? Did the researchers accurately report what they saw and heard? (Christensen, 2012).
The best strategy to use is investigator triangulation which involves multiple observers recording and describing the participants and their location. When multiple observers are used, it is easier to cross check observations and come to an agreement about what happened (Christensen, 2012).
This type focuses on the degree to which research participants viewpoint, thoughts, felings, intentions, and experiences are accurately perceived by the researcher and portrayed in the research (Christensen, 2012). Participant checking and low inference descriptors are the most important strategies used to establish validity.When reserachers share the participant viewpoints they tend to clear up any form of miscommunication (Christensen, 2012). Low inference descriptors allow the reader to experience the exact language of the participants. Questions to be answered are: do the people being studied agree with what you have said about them? (Christensen, 2012).
This type refers to the degree to which a theoretical explanation developed from a research study fits the data (Christensen, 2012). This type is ususally more abstract than the other two; it provides an explanation of the event. Extended fieldwork or theory triangulation are the best strategies to use because you have to spend a lot of time studying the research participants or examining the event and and explain it by using diferent theories or perspectives. Pattern matching or peer review are also useful in determining validity (Christensen, 2012).
Ex. The types of decisions made by teachers and the factors influencing their decision.
Ex. The reason for differences in recruitment rates of minority ethnic people in asthma research (Crowe, 2011)
Ex. The introduction of electronic health records (Crowe, 2011).
Ex. Males in prison instead of African American males in prison (Crowe, 2011).
Jasmine Beal
Ex. Discussing your findings with your peers so they can identify any errors (Christensen, 2012)..
Ex. A verbatim descriptor allows the participants exact words to be interpreted by others (Christensen, 2012)
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