Presentation on theme: "Designing Case Studies. Objectives After this session you will be able to: Describe the purpose of case studies. Plan a systematic approach to case study."— Presentation transcript:
Objectives After this session you will be able to: Describe the purpose of case studies. Plan a systematic approach to case study design. Recognize the strengths and limitations of case studies as a research method. Compose a case study report that is appropriately structured and presented.
Definition Yin (2003b:13) defines the case study as 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. Case studies explore subjects and issues where relationships may be ambiguous or uncertain. But, in contrast to descriptive surveys, they are trying to attribute causal relationships and are not just describing a situation.
Case studies can be used when… A ‘how’ or ‘why’ question is being asked. The researcher has no control over the situation. The focus is on contemporary events.
The process of case study construction StageProcess Step 1Assemble raw case data This consists of all the information collected about an organization, person or event. Step 2 (optional)Construct case record Organize, classify and edit raw data to condense it. Step 3Write case study narrative.
Replication through use of multiple cases (adapted from Flick, 2006)
Quality in case studies: construct validity This can only be achieved if the researcher: Operationally defines the concepts at the outset. Selects appropriate measurement instruments and/or data sources for the defined concept. Uses multiple sources of data in a way that encourages divergent lines of inquiry. Establishes a chain of evidence during the data collection process. Evaluates the draft case study report through feedback from key informants.
Quality in case studies: internal validity – pattern matching
Quality in case studies: internal validity – explanation building State Proposition A 1 Amend to produce Proposition A 2 Compare Case Study 1 data with Proposition A 1 Compare Case Study 2 data with Proposition A 2 Etc.
Quality in case studies: internal validity – time-series analysis Time Measurement of dependent variable Year 1 Measurement of dependent variable Year 2 Measurement of dependent variable Year 3 Measurement of independent variable(s) Year 1 Measurement of independent variable(s) Year 2 Measurement of independent variable(s) Year 3
Limitations of case studies Tend to be context-specific. Illuminating rather than confirmatory. Limits on generalizability.
Summary Case studies are often deductive in character, beginning from a theoretical premise or stance. They should be used when there is no opportunity to control or manipulate variables, but when there is an interest in explanations and analysis of situations or events. Case study research should involve the development of an initial hypothesis or set of questions, and the design of research tools, protocols and field procedures. Case studies can involve single or multiple units of analysis (individuals, departments, objects, systems, etc.) in combination with single or multiple case designs. In case studies, researchers should aim to collect multiple sources of evidence that should evolve into a chain of evidence, linking research questions, data, analysis and case study reports. Data for case studies are typically collected from multiple sources including documentation, archives, interviews and direct or participant observation. Internal validity in case studies is strengthened by pattern matching, explanation building and time-series analysis. Reliability is strengthened by multiple replication of the same or similar cases.