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  2. Introduction • Case studies can be used in teaching and research • The following is concerned with the use of research cases only Case study research

  3. Teaching and research cases Table 7.1 – A comparison of teaching and research cases Case study research

  4. Research cases • Research cases can be used: • In exploratory research – to discover • In explanatory research – to test, to explain, or to compare • The purpose of case study research in business and management is to use empirical evidence from real people in real organizations to make an original contribution to knowledge Case study research

  5. Case study research • The term ‘case study’ has multiple meanings. It can be used to describe a detailed study of a single social unit (e.g. a case study of a particular organization) or to describe a research method. • Yin defines a case study as an empirical enquiry that: • investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when • the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident" (Yin, 1994: 13). • Yin’s approach to case study research is basically positivist, since he recommends the use of hypotheses and/or propositions Case study research

  6. Definition of case study research in business • ‘Case study research in business uses empirical evidence from one or more organizations where an attempt is made to study the subject matter in context. Multiple sources of evidence are used, although most of the evidence comes from interviews and documents’. • In business and management, case study research almost always involves a firm or organization • Case study research can be positivist, interpretive or critical Case study research

  7. Positivist Case Studies • Good case study design is vital • Yin (1994) suggests five components of good case study design: 1. a study’s questions 2. its propositions, if any 3. its unit(s) of analysis 4. the logic linking the data to the propositions 5. the criteria for interpreting the findings Case study research

  8. Interpretive Case Studies • Interpretive case studies generally attempt to understand phenomena through the meanings that people assign to them • Interpretive case studies define quality in terms of the plausibility of the story and the overall argument (not validity and reliability) • Interpretive case studies focus on the social construction of reality – how and why people see the world the way they do Case study research

  9. Critical case studies • Critical case study research involves critical reflection on current practices, questions taken-for-granted assumptions, and critiques the status quo based on the theories of one or more critical theorists • Words such as ‘validity’ and ‘reliability’, which imply an objective reality independent of social reality, are not normally used in interpretive or critical studies Case study research

  10. Doing case study research • Make sure that you find an interesting case • Make sure you have good people skills • Gather rich data and try to establish the context Case study research

  11. Critique of case study research • Case study research is the most popular qualitative research method used in the business disciplines • Case study research allows researchers to explore or test theories within the context of messy real-life situations • A disadvantage of case study research is that it can be difficult to gain access to the particular company or group of companies that you want to study • Another disadvantage is that the researcher has no control over the situation • Case study research can be time consuming Case study research

  12. What makes an exemplary case study? • The case study must be ‘interesting’ • The case study must display sufficient evidence • The case study must be ‘complete’ • The case study must consider alternative perspectives • The case study should be written in an engaging manner • The case study should contribute to knowledge • One case study is fine! A common error: sampling logic Case study research