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Case Study Method. Nick Johns (Bournemouth University, ctf consultants). Case Study Method. Real life situation in real time Limited in space and time Immediate impact Immediate relevance. Research Philosophy.

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case study method

Case Study Method

Nick Johns

(Bournemouth University, ctf consultants)

case study method2
Case StudyMethod
  • Real life situation in real time
  • Limited in space and time
  • Immediate impact
  • Immediate relevance
research philosophy
Research Philosophy
  • Ontology: Who are you, who are you studying? Are they your equals or your subjects? What rights do you consider them to have?
  • Epistemology: What do you consider to be knowledge and how does this affect your data collection and analysis?
  • Validity, reliability: Have you found out what you say you found out? Can you convince others that you have done so? Can you generalise the results to another situation?
the slippery slope
The slippery slope

Quantitative research

Qualitative research

Objective, apersonal

Case study research

Action research

Subjective, interpersonal

making non science into science
Making non-science into science?
  • Get as many different views on the situation as possible (triangulate)
  • Demonstrate that the techniques and the way they will be used were decided in advance
  • Be scrupulously careful with recording and cataloguing all data.
  • Underpin your case with theory and derive theory from the case itself
case study methodology
Case Study Methodology
  • Plan and chart techniques to be used
  • Identify site(s) for access & convenience
  • Schedule data collection
  • Regular review
example of case study research design from johns lee ross 1998 p 148
Example of case study research designfrom Johns & Lee-Ross (1998) p. 148

In-depth interviews

Hackman and Oldham'sJob Diagnostic Survey (1980)




Participant observation

Direct output from research method

Information for research method formulation

  • Analysis is the key, so don’t gather anything until you know how you will use it
  • Notes vs Audiotape vs videotape: too little data or too much?
  • Investigative journalist in the field: cold scientist out
storage and cataloguing
Storage and cataloguing
  • Label, number, code
  • Transcribe, translate
  • Index, catalogue
  • General overview plus detailed scrutiny
destination development through entrepreneurship a comparison of two cases
Destination development through entrepreneurship: a comparison of two cases
  • Compared Hay on Wye “Town of Books” with Stavanger “Town of Culture”
  • Objective: to contrast the factors underlying (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful tourism entrepreneurship
  • Methods:
    • Interviews with key entrepreneurs
    • Interviews with other stakeholders
    • Relevant news items and other literature

Johns, N. and Mattsson, J. (2005) Destination development through entrepreneurship: a comparison of two cases. Tourism Management. 26(4):605-616.

  • Why is this a suitable situation for a case study?
  • Aims & objectives
  • Theoretical basis
  • Appropriateness of data collected
  • Appropriateness of data-gathering methods
  • Credibility/validity/reliability of findings
building reflective practitioners on business programmes an action research study
Building Reflective Practitioners on Business Programmes: An Action Research Study
  • Faculty on Masters programmes at a Swiss hotel school
  • one specific issue: that students would be encouraged to become reflective practitioners.
  • Three academic years
  • Centred around gathering student feedback
  • Data gathered: course paperwork, student course feedback, course and programme reports, committee minutes, interviews with students and faculty

Johns, N. And Henwood, J. A. (2008) Building reflective practitioners on business programmes: an action research study . Journal of Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism Education. Accepted awaiting publication.

border tourism in israel conflict peace fear and hope
Border Tourism in Israel: Conflict, Peace, Fear and Hope

The main aim of this research is to describe and analyse cultural elements that express the symbolic landscape of Israel's border-tourism attractions. The methodology selected is based on the naturalistic approach of landscape interpretation. A descriptive analysis is provided of the symbolism of elements in two case studies of border tourism in Israel. These places have grown into unique tourist attractions, and they illustrate the conflict or the co-operation between Israel and its neighbouring countries. Visits to Israeli border sites usual y entail observation and hold a special meaning f or tourists, either because they can sense the danger and fear of battles conducted in the past near the border, or because they have a close and clear look at the neighbouring country. On the other hand, these sites are also places of hope for a better future - one of peace and co-operation between the two sides. In many cases the observation points have

Grown to signify both the core of the conflict and a prayer for peace, a special simultaneity of fear and hope.

Gelbman, A. (2008) Border tourism in Israe l: conflict, peace , fear and hope . Tourism Geographies. 10 (2) 193-213.

International franchise partner selection and chain performance through the lens of organisational learning

This study aims to investigate how international franchisors engage in exploratory and exploitative learning in the partner selection process and the implications for chain performance. Based on an embedded case study of a leading international hotel organisation, the findings reveal that the franchisor attempted a balanced learning approach in response to challenges caused by high cultural distance in international markets. However, the ‘crowd-out’ effect of exploration and exploitation created a ‘tension’: exploration emphasising adaptation to local needs dominated the partner identification stage in country markets, whilst exploitation stressing standardisation and efficiencies dominated the partner decision-making stage at division. As a result, a consistent brand image came at the cost of very cautious international expansion.

Wang, C. L. and Altinay, L. (2008) International franchise partner selection and chain performance through the lens of organisational learning. Service Industries’ Journal. 28 (2) 225– 238.