What, Why, When, Where: A Case Study
There are many questions that are asked about the nature of case studies. The next few paragraphs will address some of the common questions regarding case studies and provide basic answers. The answers are not by any means inclusive or exhaustive. The purpose of this paper is to provide a general understanding of a few questions concerning case studies.
What: Case Study
A case study is an approach to research that focuses on gaining an in-depth understanding of a particular entity or event at a specific time. To unpack this a little further we can go on to say that any and every detail of the subject’s life is ...view middle of the document...
545) ]. Case studies are often used as an exploratory research project or for development of more organized instruments [ (Rowley, 2002, p. 16) ].
When: Case Study
One of the most valuable advantages to the case study approach is the richness of the information the researcher is able to gather. “Because of their in-depth, multi-sided approach case studies often shed light on aspects of human thinking and behaviour that would be unethical or impractical to study in other ways” (McLeod, 2008). There are aspects of human nature that can only be revealed through detailed observation in a natural setting. This in and of itself adds value to the participants life. The results of the research can also be generalized to help many other people in similar situations. Case studies also have an advantage of simplifying complex concepts that may be otherwise too difficult to study in another approach.
Some of the disadvantages of case studies are that they tend to be highly subjective and researcher bias can easily introduced to the study. In addition to bias, McLeod (2008) states that “Because they are based on the analysis of qualitative (i.e. descriptive) data a lot depends on the interpretation the psychologist places on the information that has been acquired.” While there are several sources of information taken into consideration, there is still only one interpretation from the researcher. There is also the issue of time. Time is valuable to everyone involved in research and the case study approach is very time consuming. Not only is this approach...