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CASE STUDY. A/Professor Denis McLaughlin School of Educational Leadership. 1. DEFINITION. Yin (1989):. Complex social phenomena are studied (p.14). Relevant behaviours manipulated Contemporary phenomenon investigated within real life context.

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Case study


A/Professor Denis McLaughlin

School of Educational Leadership

1 definition

Yin (1989):

Complex social phenomena are studied p 14
Complex social phenomena are studied (p.14)

  • Relevant behaviours manipulated

  • Contemporary phenomenon investigated within real life context

  • Multiple sources of evidence used

2 characteristics

  • A concern with the rich and vivid description of events within the case;

  • A chronological narrative of events within the place;

  • An internal debate between the description of events and the analysis of the events;

  • A focus upon particular individual actors or groups of actors and their perceptions;


  • A focus upon particular events within the case;

  • The integral involvement of the researcher in the case;

  • A way of presenting the case which is able to capture reality (Hitchcock and Hughes, 1995, p.317).

3 four styles stenhouse
3. FOUR STYLES evident: Stenhouse

  • Ethnographic case study which involves single in-depth study usually by means of participant observation;

  • Action research case study where the focus is on bringing about change in the case under study;

Stenhouse evident

  • Evaluative case study which involves the evaluation of the programs and where quite often condensed fieldwork replaces the more lengthy ethnographic approach;

  • Educational case study which is designed to enhance the understanding of educational action (in Sturman, 1997).

4 three types m erriam

4 evident. THREE TYPES: Merriam




5 advantages
5. ADVANTAGES evident

  • Strong in reality; difficult to organise

  • Allows generalisation about an “instance or from an instance to a class

  • Attention to to subtlety and complexity

  • Recognises the complexity and “embeddedness” of social truth

    - supports alternative interpretations

Advantages evident

  • Can be archived for subsequent re-interpretations

  • Steps to action

  • Research presented in more publicly accessible form (Adelman, 1988)

6 contributions punch
6 evident. CONTRIBUTIONS Punch

  • Particulars provide unique & unusual insights into reality

  • Understanding of new or persistent problems

  • Peculiar insight used in combination with quantitative research