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Case study research. www.lincoln.ac.uk What is a “case study” A detailed study of a particular instance of a phenomenon. Any phenomenon Focusing on one.

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Presentation on theme: "Case study research. www.lincoln.ac.uk What is a “case study” A detailed study of a particular instance of a phenomenon. Any phenomenon Focusing on one."— Presentation transcript:

1 Case study research

2 What is a “case study” A detailed study of a particular instance of a phenomenon. Any phenomenon Focusing on one or more aspects of the phenomenon, but bounded. Aspects can be broken down into units of analysis. Usually thought of as being in the qualitative paradigm – but they can and do use quantitative methods to collect data.

3 Why do case studies? Describe a real life situation Explaining why something is the way it is in a given context Evaluating an intervention. Tend to generate a great deal of data Well written studies are often engaging and have strong persuasive power.

4 Why NOT do case studies Sometimes seen (typically by positivists) as not having adequate explanatory power. Can be very difficult to get access to the case you want to study. Can involve complex ethical issues Data collection can be time consuming, and often, expensive. Data analysis is a major challenge.

5 Features of case study Generalise to theory, not to population –Construct validity –Internal validity –External validity –Reliability Designs –Single/multiple –Holistic/embedded

6 A case to study? Daily Lunch Programme for Vulnerable Schoolchildren in Albania ( ) $3.2 million was given to improve child nutrition, and improve health and nutrition awareness in economically depressed regions of Albania

7 Albanian lunch program study What type of case study would this be? What phenomenon is being investigated? What are the boundaries of this case What are the aspects of the case? What units of analysis could we look at? Would other research methods be more appropriate?

8 Case study tools The protocol –Overview of the project –Field procedures –Case study questions –“data shells” –A guide for the final report The database –Case study notes –Case study documents –Tabular material –narratives

9 Some (real) case study topics Drug selling and licit income in distressed neighbourhoods (Fagan, 1992) Participation in playground activities (Boulton, 1992) Coping with computers (Blease & Cohen 1990) Sport, the media and the construction of compulsory heterosexuality: A case study of women's rugby union (Wright & Clarke, 1999)

10 Pros and cons Results often accessible to wide audience Show up unique features that (e.g. surveys) can hide Strong on reality Very flexible – they can cope with unexpected events Not easy to generalise Not easily replicable Prone to observer bias and can be selective and subjective. Unexpected ethical issues can surface.

11 References Blease & Cohen (1990) Coping with computers: An ethnographic study in primary classrooms. London, Paul Chapman Publishing. Boulton, M. J. (1992) Participation in playground activities at middle school. Education research, 34 (3) Fagin, Jeffrey ( 1992) Drug selling and licit income in severely distressed neighbourhoods: The economic lives of street level drug users and dealers. In Harrel & Peterson (1992) Drugs, Crime and Social Isolation. – Washington D.C. Urban Institute Press, p 99ff Wright, Jan & Clarke, Gill, (1999) Sport, the media and the construction of compulsory heterosexuality: A case study of women's rugby union. – International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 34 (3) Yin, Robert (2009) Case Study Research: Design & Methods. 4 th ed. – London, Sage, 2009 Image credits Slide 1 by TheBigLife Slide 3 PowerPoint Clip art


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