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 beExploratory, Descriptive or ExplanatoryCase 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 rigourCompared to experimental researchBut actually experiments are not automatically precise or unbiasedInadequate basis for generalisationWhich is why multiple cases are conductedThe 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 hypothesesThat reflect an important theoretical issue and indicate where to look for relevant evidenceUnit(s) of analysisWhat are we studying? Units, people, individuals?What does the data describe?Logic that links the data to the propositionsThe criteria for interpreting the findings.
7 Single Case DesignThe focal case is used to test a well-formulated theoryThe case meets all the criteria for testing the theoryThe case represents an extreme or unique caseThe revelatory caseA 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 DesignThis means that the same study has two or more casesThe 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 specificallyThe 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 DesignIt 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 CollectionThe researcher shouldbe able to ask good questionsbe a good listenerbe adaptive and flexiblehave a firm grasp of the issues being studiedbe unbiased by preconceived notionsFor 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 aboutwhy the study is being done;what evidence is being sought;what variations can be anticipatedwhat would constitute supportive or contrary evidence for any given propositionSurvey 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 StudyIt may be sensible to conduct a small-scale pilot case study first so as to test procedures and protocolsThe 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 recordsInterviewsDirect observationsParticipant observationsPhysical artifacts
15 Documents, Archives & Artifacts Current organisational documentsPolicies, practices, templatesHistorical archive recordsPast practices, reports on past projectsThese two forms of data are useful for corroborating evidence from other sourcesArtifacts 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 ObservationsBy 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 evidenceThe 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 findingsIt 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 researchNotes (including interview data)DocumentsTabular materials (e.g. from surveys; structured interviews)Narrative (stories; diaries).
21 Principles of Data Collection 3 Maintaining a chain of evidenceThis 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 possibleThen the final results can adequately reflect construct validity and reliability, thereby becoming worthy of further analysis.
22 Analyzing Case Study Evidence Relying on theoretical propositionsThe proposition helpsto focus attention on some data and to ignore othersto organize the entire case study and to define alternative explanations to be examinedDeveloping a case descriptionDevelop a descriptive framework to organise the case study and identifytypes of event or process or interactionan 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 buildingAnalyze the data by building case explanations.Time series analysisMatch data over time with:A theoretically significant trend specified in advanceA rival trend, also specified in advance
24 Case Study Report Writing It is important to know the audienceDifferent audiences have different expectationsThus, 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-analyticProblem, methods, findings of data collection and analysis, conclusion.ComparativeThe same kind of case is repeated two or three timesAlternative descriptions or explanations can be compared.Theory-buildingWhere case evidence is used to construct/ground a new theorySuspenseLike a detective story, a murder mystery
26 Standards of Excellence SignificanceCompletenessAlternative perspectives consideredSufficient evidence displayedAn engaging, attractive and readable styleFailure cases can be as instructive as successful cases, if the explanations are persuasive
27 ReferencesBenbasat, 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.