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Case Study Research By Kenneth Medley.

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1 Case Study Research By Kenneth Medley

2 Case Study Research A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident (Stakes, 1995).

3 Characteristics of Case Studies
1. The study of particular instances. 2. An in-depth study of the case. 3. Study of a phenomenon in its natural environment. 4. Representation of emic and etic perspectives.

4 An In-Depth Study of The Case
In the case study a substantial amount of data should be collected about the specific case (or cases) selected to represent the phenomenon. The data may come in the form of physical objects, words, or images.

5 Study of the Phenomenon in Its Natural Context
Observing the phenomenon in its own environment helps to close the boundaries between the phenomenon and context.

6 Representation of Emic and Etic Perspectives
Emic- the participant’s view of the phenomenon being studied. Etic- the researcher’s interpretation of the phenomenon being studied. The etic perspective helps the researcher to make sense of findings.

7 Types of Case Studies 1. Ethnographic Case Study- an intensive, holistic description and analysis of a social unit or phenomenon. This type of case study is concerned with the cultural aspect of the phenomenon being studied (Merriam, 1988). 2. Historical Case Study- involves searching for data to answer questions about a past phenomenon for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of present institutions, practices, trends, and issues in education (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996).

8 Types of Case Studies Continued
3. Psychological Case Study- employs concepts, theories, and measurement theories from psychology in investigating problems (Merriam, 1988). 4. Sociological Case Study- attend to the constructs of society and socialization in studying phenomena (Merriam, 1998).

9 Purposes of Case Studies
1. Description- the case study should provide a detailed account of the phenomenon. A good depiction will provide what is called a thick description, that is, statements that re-create a situation in as much of its context as possible. In creating thick description the researcher looks for constructs (concepts that are observed from phenomena) and themes (salient, characteristic features of a case.

10 Purpose of Case Study Continued
2. Interpretation- these descriptive data are used to develop conceptual categories or to illustrate, support, or challenge theoretical assumptions held prior to data gathering. 3. Evaluation- involve description, explanation, and judgment. Case studies serve as a good evaluation because they provide a thick description, are holistic and lifelife, simply data to be considered by the reader, and illuminate meaning.

11 Components of Case Study Research Designs
1. A study’s question- case study research is often concerned with how and why questions, so the initial task is to clarify precisely the nature of your study questions in this regard. 2. Its propositions- they help to direct attention to something that should be examined within the scope of the study. 3. Unit of analysis- this component is related to the fundamental problem of defining what the case is. The unit of analysis is the aspect of the phenomenon that can be sampled.

12 Components of Designs Continued
4. Linking the data to the propositions- relating pieces of information from the case to some theoretical proposition. 5. Interpreting the findings

13 Data Collection Methods
1. Interviewing- person to person encounter in which one person elicits information from another. Types of interviews highly structured/standardized semistructured unstructured/informal

14 Types of Data Collection Continued
2. Observation- a method that gives the researcher a first hand encounter with the phenomenon of interest in its natural environment. Keys to observation Pay attention shift from wide angle to narrow angle lens look for key words in people’s remarks in each conversation concentrate on the first and last remarks in each conversation mentally play back remarks and scenes during breaks in the talking or observing

15 Types of Data Collection Continued
3. Mining Data From Documents- information gathered from resources such as public records, personal papers, physical traces, and artifacts. Documents are crucial to an investigation when historical studies can no longer be observed settings are remote or inaccessible when studies rely on technical expertise such as a doctor’s report studies of intimate personal relationships cannot be observed

16 Analyzing Case Study Data
1. Interpretational Analysis- the process of examining case study data closely in order to find constructs, themes, and patterns that can be used to describe and explain the phenomenon being studied. Interpretational analysis involves developing categories, coding segments, and grouping category segments.

17 Analyzing Case Study Data Continued
2. Structural Analysis- the process of examining case study data for the purpose of identifying patterns inherent in discourse, text, events, or other phenomena. 3. Reflective Analysis- a process in which the researcher relies mainly on their own judgment and intuition to evaluate the phenomena being studied.

18 Reliability of Case Studies.
Reliability remains to be problematic for case study research simply because human behavior is never static. However, Merriam (1998), mentions two techniques that researchers can use to ensure that results are dependable. 1. the investigator should be thorough in providing information about the data collected so that replication can take place 2. multiple methods of data collection should be used (triangulation).

19 Validity of Case Studies
Questions also arise about the validity of case studies due to the biases of the researcher and the individuality of the participant. Strategies to increase validity include: using multiple investigators, sources, and methods to confirm findings member checks- asking participants to recheck data given asking colleagues to comment on findings be aware of researcher biases, assumptions, and world view

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