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IS8004 Seminar 5 The Case Study.

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1 IS8004 Seminar 5 The Case Study

2 A Case Study is an empirical inquiry that:
…investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when …the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident (Yin 2002).

3 Epistemology? Case studies can be Case studies can also be
Positivist (e.g. Benbasat et al., 1987) Interpretivist (e.g. Walsham, 1993) Critical (e.g. Myers, 1994) Case studies can also be Exploratory, Descriptive or Explanatory Case studies are very suitable to answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions

4 When To Use the Case Study Method?
The case study is preferred in examining contemporary events, but when the relevant behaviors cannot be manipulated. Case studies rely on direct observation, and systematic interviewing. Case studies do not permit experimental manipulations and controls are very hard to enact

5 Criticisms of the Method
Insufficient rigour Compared to experimental research But actually experiments are not automatically precise or unbiased Inadequate basis for generalisation Which is why multiple cases are conducted The results of a case study investigation can be generalised to theory and can inform theory development

6 Key Components Research questions - how and why
Research propositions (if any) but not hypotheses That reflect an important theoretical issue and indicate where to look for relevant evidence Unit(s) of analysis What are we studying? Units, people, individuals? What does the data describe? Logic that links the data to the propositions The criteria for interpreting the findings.

7 Single Case Design The focal case is used to test a well-formulated theory The case meets all the criteria for testing the theory The case represents an extreme or unique case The revelatory case A situation that occurs when the investigator has an opportunity to observe and analyze a phenomenon previously inaccessible to scientific investigation. A single case may have multiple units of analysis

8 Multiple Case Design This means that the same study has two or more cases The evidence from multiple cases is often considered more compelling, which makes the overall study more robust. Undertaking a multiple case study can require extensive resources and time beyond the means of a single researcher. Each case must be chosen carefully and specifically The cases should have similar results (a literal replication) or contrary results (a theoretical replication) predicted explicitly at the outset of the investigation.

9 Multiple Case Design It is important in a replication process to develop a rich, theoretical framework. The framework needs to state the conditions under which a particular phenomenon is likely to be found (literal replication) and the conditions under when it is not likely to be found (theoretical replication). The individual cases within a multiple-case study design may be either holistic or embedded. When an embedded design is used each individual case study may in fact include the collection and analysis of highly quantitative data, e.g. surveys.

10 Conducting Case Studies 1
Preparation for Data Collection The researcher should be able to ask good questions be a good listener be adaptive and flexible have a firm grasp of the issues being studied be unbiased by preconceived notions For the specific context of the case study and organisation

11 Conducting Case Studies 2
The researcher must be able to make intelligent decisions about the data being collected. This will require knowledge about why the study is being done; what evidence is being sought; what variations can be anticipated what would constitute supportive or contrary evidence for any given proposition Survey or interview designers also need to know the purpose of the survey and the nature of the analysis that will follow

12 Case Study Protocol The protocol should include
An overview of the case study project (project, substantive issues, relevant reading) Field procedures (how to gain access to interviewees, planning for sufficient resources, providing for unanticipated events etc) Case study questions (about individuals, multiple cases, entire study, normative questions about policy recommendations and conclusions

13 Pilot Case Study It may be sensible to conduct a small-scale pilot case study first so as to test procedures and protocols The pilot can be more convenient so as to train research team members and even act as a "laboratory" The research questions can be broader and less focused than the ultimate data collection plan. The pilot reports can provide lessons for both research design and field procedures

14 Sources of Evidence There are six forms of evidence Documentation
Archival records Interviews Direct observations Participant observations Physical artifacts

15 Documents, Archives & Artifacts
Current organisational documents Policies, practices, templates Historical archive records Past practices, reports on past projects These two forms of data are useful for corroborating evidence from other sources Artifacts include physical objects like certificates, awards, etc.

16 Interviews Case study interview questions are usually open-ended.
Specific questions can be derived from the case study protocol. More structured questions can also be asked, along the lines of a formal survey. A structured interview would involve the sampling procedures and the instruments used in regular surveys, and it would subsequently be analyzed in a similar manner.

17 Direct Observations By making a field visit to the case study "site", the investigator is creating the opportunity for direct observations. To increase the reliability of observational evidence, a common procedure is to have more than one observer making an observation, whether formally or casually.

18 Participant Observations
The researcher may play a variety of roles within a case situation and may actually participate in the events being studied. The researcher (e.g. if an insider) may be able to gain access to events or groups that are otherwise inaccessible to scientific investigation. Researchers have to be aware of potential bias. If they work as insiders, they cannot easily maintain their independence. They could become supporters or defenders of the organisational status quo.

19 Principles of Data Collection 1
Using multiple sources of evidence The opportunity to use multiple sources of evidence in case studies far exceeds that in other research methods such as experiments or surveys. The use of multiple sources of evidence in case studies allows an investigator to address a broader range of historical and observational issues. It also enables better triangulation of findings It contributes to a holistic understanding of a case and contributes to theorisation.

20 Principles of Data Collection 2
Creating a case study ‘database’ The lack of a formal database for most case study efforts is a major shortcoming of case study research. Four components should be contained in a database created for case study research Notes (including interview data) Documents Tabular materials (e.g. from surveys; structured interviews) Narrative (stories; diaries).

21 Principles of Data Collection 3
Maintaining a chain of evidence This is to allow an external observer, such as the reader of the case study, to follow the derivation of any evidence from initial research questions to ultimate case study conclusions. The three principles are intended to make the data collection process as explicit as possible Then the final results can adequately reflect construct validity and reliability, thereby becoming worthy of further analysis.

22 Analyzing Case Study Evidence
Relying on theoretical propositions The proposition helps to focus attention on some data and to ignore others to organize the entire case study and to define alternative explanations to be examined Developing a case description Develop a descriptive framework to organise the case study and identify types of event or process or interaction an overall ‘pattern’ of complexity that could be used to explain why an implementation failed.

23 Modes of Analysis Pattern matching
Comparing an empirically based pattern with a predicted one. If the patterns coincide, the results can help to strengthen a case study’s internal validity. Explanation building Analyze the data by building case explanations. Time series analysis Match data over time with: A theoretically significant trend specified in advance A rival trend, also specified in advance

24 Case Study Report Writing
It is important to know the audience Different audiences have different expectations Thus, a primarily academic audience (MISQ) is not the same as one that includes managers and executives (HBR, SMR, CMR)

25 Case Study Report Styles
Linear-analytic Problem, methods, findings of data collection and analysis, conclusion. Comparative The same kind of case is repeated two or three times Alternative descriptions or explanations can be compared. Theory-building Where case evidence is used to construct/ground a new theory Suspense Like a detective story, a murder mystery

26 Standards of Excellence
Significance Completeness Alternative perspectives considered Sufficient evidence displayed An engaging, attractive and readable style Failure cases can be as instructive as successful cases, if the explanations are persuasive

27 References Benbasat, I., Goldstein, D.K. and Mead, M. (1987) The Case Research Strategy in Studies of Information Systems, MISQ, 11, 3, Eisenhardt, K.M. (1989) Building Theories from Case Study Research, AMR, 14, 4, Ignatiadis, I. and Nandhakumar, J. (2009) The Effect of ERP System Workarounds on Organizational Control, Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, 21, 2, Lee, A.S. (1989) A Scientific Methodology for MIS Case Studies, MISQ, 13, 1, Myers, M.D. (1994) Quality in Qualitative Research in Information Systems, 5th Australasian Conference on Information Systems, Walsham, G. (1993) Interpreting Information Systems in Organizations, Wiley, Chichester. Yin, R.K. (1991, 1998, 2003) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Sage. Yin, R.K. (1993, 2003) Applications of Case Study Research, Sage.

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