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The Case Study as a Research Method

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Some argue that because a case study is such a narrow field that its results cannot be extrapolated to fit an entire question and that they show only one narrow example. On the other hand, it is argued that a case study provides more realistic responses than a purely statistical survey. The truth probably lies between the two and it is probably best to try and synergize the two approaches. It is valid to conduct case studies but they should be tied in with more general statistical processes.

For example, a statistical survey might show how much time people spend talking on mobile phones, but it is case studies of a narrow group that will determine why this is so.

The other main thing to remember during case studies is their flexibility. Whilst a pure scientist is trying to prove or disprove a hypothesis , a case study might introduce new and unexpected results during its course, and lead to research taking new directions.

The argument between case study and statistical method also appears to be one of scale. Whilst many 'physical' scientists avoid case studies, for psychology, anthropology and ecology they are an essential tool.

It is important to ensure that you realize that a case study cannot be generalized to fit a whole population or ecosystem. Finally, one peripheral point is that, when informing others of your results, case studies make more interesting topics than purely statistical surveys, something that has been realized by teachers and magazine editors for many years. The general public has little interest in pages of statistical calculations but some well placed case studies can have a strong impact.

The advantage of the case study research design is that you can focus on specific and interesting cases. This may be an attempt to test a theory with a typical case or it can be a specific topic that is of interest. Research should be thorough and note taking should be meticulous and systematic.

The first foundation of the case study is the subject and relevance. In a case study, you are deliberately trying to isolate a small study group, one individual case or one particular population. For example, statistical analysis may have shown that birthrates in African countries are increasing.

A case study on one or two specific countries becomes a powerful and focused tool for determining the social and economic pressures driving this. In the design of a case study, it is important to plan and design how you are going to address the study and make sure that all collected data is relevant. Unlike a scientific report, there is no strict set of rules so the most important part is making sure that the study is focused and concise; otherwise you will end up having to wade through a lot of irrelevant information.

It is best if you make yourself a short list of 4 or 5 bullet points that you are going to try and address during the study. If you make sure that all research refers back to these then you will not be far wrong.

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Case Study Methodology in Business Research. Add to Wish List. Description The complete guide for how to design and conduct theory-testing and other case studies… Case Study Methodology in Business Research sets out structures and guidelines that assist students and researchers from a wide range of disciplines to develop their case study research in a consistent and rigorous manner.

The Bookshelf application offers access: One of the benefits of this method is that the company will be able to get feedback from a significant portion of customers. Most of the customers will be able to answer the questions which will pertain to the brand and therefore a concrete feedback will be achieved.

The other merit is the fact that it is less costly when compared to the others such as interviews. The company will just have to pay for the production of questionnaires used in the survey. On the other hand, surveys also have demerits. One of the disadvantages is the fact that their design is inflexible. This is because the study that the company uses from the beginning, as well as its administration, cannot be changed throughout the process of gathering data that is meaningful.

In some cases, the survey questions are usually inappropriate since the company will be forced to come up with items that will be used by the entire body of customers. In public-relations research, three types of case studies are used: Under the more generalized category of case study exist several subdivisions, each of which is custom selected for use depending upon the goals of the investigator.

These types of case study include the following:. At Harvard Law School In , Christopher Langdell departed from the traditional lecture-and-notes approach to teaching contract law and began using cases pled before courts as the basis for class discussions. Research in business disciplines is usually based on a positivist epistemology , [24] namely, that reality is something that is objective and can be discovered and understood by a scientific examination of empirical evidence.

But organizational behavior cannot always be easily reduced to simple tests that prove something to be true or false. Reality may be an objective thing, but it is understood and interpreted by people who, in turn, act upon it, and so critical realism , which addresses the connection between the natural and social worlds, is a useful basis for analyzing the environment of and events within an organization.

A critical case is defined as having strategic importance in relation to the general problem. A critical case allows the following type of generalization: The case study is effective for generalizing using the type of test that Karl Popper called falsification , which forms part of critical reflexivity.

Falsification offers one of the most rigorous tests to which a scientific proposition can be subjected: Popper himself used the now famous example: The case study is well suited for identifying "black swans" because of its in-depth approach: Galileo Galilei built his rejection of Aristotle 's law of gravity on a case study selected by information-oriented sampling and not by random sampling. The rejection consisted primarily of a conceptual experiment and later on a practical one.

These experiments, with the benefit of hindsight, seem self-evident. Nevertheless, Aristotle's incorrect view of gravity had dominated scientific inquiry for nearly two thousand years before it was falsified. In his experimental thinking, Galileo reasoned as follows: If the two objects are then stuck together into one, this object will have double the weight and will according to the Aristotelian view therefore fall faster than the two individual objects. This conclusion seemed contradictory to Galileo.

The only way to avoid the contradiction was to eliminate weight as a determinant factor for acceleration in free fall. Rather, it was a matter of a single experiment, that is, a case study. The air pump made it possible to conduct the ultimate experiment, known by every pupil, whereby a coin or a piece of lead inside a vacuum tube falls with the same speed as a feather.

What is especially worth noting, however, is that the matter was settled by an individual case due to the clever choice of the extremes of metal and feather. Random and large samples were at no time part of the picture. However it was Galileo's view that was the subject of doubt as it was not reasonable enough to be the Aristotelian view. By selecting cases strategically in this manner one may arrive at case studies that allow generalization.

It is generally believed [ by whom? Other roots stem from the early 20th century, when researchers working in the disciplines of sociology, psychology, and anthropology began making case studies.

The popularity of case studies in testing theories or hypotheses has developed only in recent decades. Educators have used case studies as a teaching method and as part of professional development , especially in business and legal education.

The problem-based learning PBL movement offers an example. When used in non-business education and professional development, case studies are often referred to as critical incidents. Ethnography exemplifies a type of case study, commonly found in communication case studies. Ethnography is the description, interpretation, and analysis of a culture or social group, through field research in the natural environment of the group being studied.

The main method of ethnographic research is thorough observation, where the researcher observes study participants over an extended period of time within the participants' own environment.

Comparative case studies have become more popular [ when? One approach encourages researchers to compare horizontally, vertically, and temporally. Using case studies in research differs from their use in teaching, where they are commonly called case methods and casebook methods. Teaching case studies have been a highly popular pedagogical format in many fields ranging from business education to science education.

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Sep 20,  · Case Study Methodology in Business Research Jan Dul and Tony Hak AMSTERDAM • BOSTON • HEIDELBERG • LONDON • NEW YORK • OXFORD PARIS • SAN DIEGO • SAN FRANCISCO • SINGAPORE • SYDNEY • TOKYO Butterworth-Heinemann is an imprint of Elsevier.

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Case Study Methodology in Business Research is a clear, concise and comprehensive text for case study methodology. Templates are supplied for case study protocol and how to report a case study.5/5(1).

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Case studies are a popular research method in business area. Case studies aim to analyze specific issues within the boundaries of a specific environment, situation or organization. According to its design, case studies in business research can be divided into three . Case studies are one of the most popular approaches to business and management research. By bringing together research accounts from various research traditions, this collection is .

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The Case Study as a Research Method Uses and Users of Information -- LIS D.1 -- Spring Introduction Case study research excels at bringing us to an understanding of a complex issue or object and can extend experience or add strength to what is already known through previous research. Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , Jan Dul and others published Case Study Methodology in Business Research.