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Case Study Research. Edwin D. Bell Winston-Salem State University. Why Case Study Research?. It is one of several ways of doing research.

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case study research

Case Study Research

Edwin D. Bell

Winston-Salem State University

why case study research
Why Case Study Research?
  • It is one of several ways of doing research.
  • “In general, case studies are preferred when (a) “how” and “why” questions are being posed, (b) the investigator has little control over events, and the focus is on contemporary phenomenon within a real-life context” (Yin, 2009. p. 2).
definition of a case study is two fold
Definition of a Case Study is Two-Fold
  • A case study is an inquiry that
    • investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within a real-life context, especially when
    • the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not really clear
definition of a case study is two fold continued
Definition of a Case Study is Two-Fold (continued)
  • The Case Study inquiry
    • Copes with the technically distinctive situation in which thee are many variables of interest than data points, and as one result
    • Relies on multiple sources of evidence, with data needing to converge in a triangulation fashion and as another result
    • Benefits from the prior development of theoretical propositions to guide data collection and analysis.
    • (Yin, 2009. 18).
  • It is generally accepted in action research “that researchers should not rely on any single source of data, interview, observation, or instrument” (Mills, 2003, p. 52)
  • “In research terms, this desire to use multiple sources of data is referred to as triangulation.” ( Mills, 2003, p. 52)
types of triangulation
Types of Triangulation
  • Yin (2009) describes four types of triangulation
    • Data source (multiple data sources)
    • Investigator(multiple investigators)
    • Theories (see Essence of a Decision)
    • Methodological (multiple data collection methods)

(We will use multiple data sources and multiple data collection methods in our case studies)

data sources
Data Sources
  • Yin (2009) Recommends six sources of data for case studies (see Figure 4.1 on p. 102)
    • Documentation
    • Archival Records
    • Interviews (or surveys)
    • Direct observation
    • Participant observation
    • Physical artifacts
data collection methods
Data Collection methods
  • Creswell and Clark (2007) recommend mixed method data collection, i.e., using both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods to strengthen the validity of the conclusions that you reach.
  • (see Research design and mixed methods approach: A hands on experience)
theoretical propositions
Theoretical Propositions
  • Literature Review (LR)
  • Analysis of your environment (AN)
  • Concept Map (CM) is a function of the literature review and your analysis of your environment, i.e., CM = f (LR*AN)
  • Validity – generally there are four types
    • Construct validity – identifying correct operational measures for the concepts being studied
    • Internal validity – does your concept map work the way you predicted
    • External validity – does your study add to the theoretical understanding of the concepts
    • Reliability – demonstrating that the operations of the study can be repeated with the same results (Yin, 2009).
  • Creswell, J. W. & Clark, V. L. P. (2007).

Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand oaks, CA: Sage.

  • Mills, G. E. (2003). Action research: A Guide for the teacher researcher, 2nd Edition, Merrill/Prentice-Hall: Upper saddle River, NJ.
references continued
References (continued)
  • Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods, 4th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.