Case and case study • A case is a phenomenon, or an event, chosen, conceptualized and analyzed empirically as a manifestation of a broader class of phenomena or events. • Case study is a research method based on the in-depth empirical investigation of one, or a small number, of phenomena in order to explore the configuration of each case, and to elucidate features of a larger class of (similar) phenomena.
When we should use case study approach? • When focus of the study is to answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions; • When we cannot manipulate behaviour of those involved in the study; • When we want to study contextual conditions because we believe they are relevant to the phenomenon we study; • When boundaries are not clear between the phenomenon and context.
Conducting case study: steps • Determining the case/unit of analysis • Selecting the type of case study • Defining research questions • Designing framework action plan • Data collecting – triangulation • The analysis and generalizations
Three ingredients of case study • Capability to deal with a diversity of evidence • Ability to articulate research questions and theoretical propositions • Production of dynamic research design which entails continued interactions among design, data collection and analysis.
Defining research questions • One of the common pitfalls associated with case study is that there is a tendency for researchers to attempt to answer a question that is too broad or a topic that has too many objectives for one study. • By already having developed your research questions and theoretical propositions, you will have started your case study design. • First of all you have to define your case, unit of analysis.
Determining the case/unit of analysis • What the case is? What is unit of analysis? • The case is a phenomenon of some sort, occuring in a bounded context. It could be an individual, a program, the process. • Challenges – to place boundaries on the case, to make difference between case (problem) and context. • Suggestions on how to bind a case: • by time and place • by time and activity • by definition and context
Determining the type of case study • Explanatory – focused on explanation of presumed causal links. • Exploratory – used to explore situations in which linkages, processes are not clear. • Descriptive – describe phenomenon in real life context • Intrinsic – genuine interest in particular case; not because case represents other cases, or illustrates some problem, but because is particular, specific, peculiar case per se. • Instrumental – provides insight into an issue or helps to refine theory. Case is of secondary interest, it has supportive role.
Single and multiple case studies • Single case study – one unit (individual or group) within one environment (context).. • Multiple case study – to explore differences within and between cases.
Designing framework action plan • A design is the logical sequence that connects the empirical data to a study's initial research questions and, ultimately, to its conclusions. Colloquially, a research design is an action plan for getting from here to there, where here may be defined as the initial set of questions to be answered and there is some set of conclusions (answers) about these questions. Between here and there may be a number of major steps, including data collection and data analysis.
Data collecting – triangulation Defining of a point in space with three vectors Using the concept for the case study method, a robust fact may be considered to have been established if evidence from three (or more) different sources all coincides. To get such convergence, you must ask the same questions of the different sources of evidence.
The analysis and generalizations • Even your single case can enable you to generalize to other cases that represent similar theoretical conditions. In fact, the classic single-case studies are classic in part because of their broad implications or generalizability—even though only single cases were the subjects of study. In other words, generalizing from case studies is not a matter of statistical generalization (generalizing from a sample to a universe) but a matter of analytic generalization (using single or multiple cases to illustrate, represent, or generalize to a theory).