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How to conduct and complete a Case Study Essay


In this paper, the definition and description of what a case study is, what are some reasons for using a case study, what are some disadvantages and advantages of this approach? Also included in this paper I will talk about what are some of the ways a researcher can acquire information that can is used for a case study. A case study can be defined as a descriptive account of the behavior, history, and other relevant factors concerning a particular individual (Cozby, Bates, 2012).

What is a Case Study?

A case study is an intensive type of research that involves a process in which detailed information is collected over a period of time. The case study method can be accurately understood as a specific way of defining cases, not a way of analyzing cases (Gerring, 2004). A further characteristic of how a case study works is that multiple methods of collecting data can be used (Pegram, 2000). A case study is designed to provide testing whether theories work in the real world. Case study research stands for CSR. A case study consists of five components, the research questions, the propositions, what topic or subject that is going to be analyzed. Lastly a determination of how the data is linked to the proposals (Zucker, 2009). When using a case study it is important to remember that it will not give you a direct answer to the theory questions, but it will provide an understanding of the subject.

A further hypothesis can be generated after a case study is conducted to examine further the proposition. There are six different examples of case studies, for example, multiple case Studies. Multiple case Studies can generate more than one case, for example, exploring differences within and between cases. The explanatory case study is used for seeking answers to real life questions or theories. Exploratory case studies are used to explore situations that have no clear outcomes (Yin, 2003). The intrinsic case study is used when the case is of primary interest in the study. Instrumental case studies are used to accomplish something other than the understanding of a particular situation. Lastly Collective case studies are similar to multiple case studies (Yin, 2003). What are some reasons for using a case study approach?

A case study method can be used in social science, psychology, anthropology, and ecology. The Case study method is specially used for trying and testing theoretical simulations in real life situations. In psychology, a case study is used as a descriptive research approach to obtain an in-depth analysis of a person, group, community, and phenomenon. A variation of techniques may be used including personal interviews, direct observation, psychometric tests, and archival records. Occasionally, a case study is done when an individual acquires a particularly rare, unusual, or noteworthy condition (Cozby, Bates, 2012). What are advantages and disadvantages of this approach?

Advantages of a case study include informing us of conditions that are rare or unusual and therefore providing us with unique data about some psychological phenomenon, such as memory, language, or social exchange. Understandings and knowledge gained through a case study may also lead to the development of theories that are tested using other methods (Cozby, Bates, 2012). Also during a case study scientific experiments can be conducted which leads to further testing of a specific proposition. Lastly when conducting a case study, it allows the researcher to collect detailed, more in-depth data that is not usually obtained by other research methods. Disadvantages of a case study involve having a difficult definite conclusion to the hypothesis since there is no right or wrong answer.

Also not all case studies are scientific, for example, Freud’s study of Anna O, and her problem with hysteria. This case is not scientific and is not capable of generalization. Case studies involve observations of a subject under research but the researcher may miss issues entirely due to inappropriate data collected. How can a researcher acquire information or data that can be used for a case study? What are some various sources for information that a researcher can use in a case study? A researcher can obtain information or data for a case study from many different sources.

Some of these sources include direct observation, interviews, documents, archival records, physical artifacts and participant observation (Yin, 1994; Stake, 1995). Direct observation involves studying a subject in a natural environment by multiple observers. Interviews are an important process for gathering data in a case study. Some documents that can be obtained include letters, articles, newspapers and clerical records. Archival documents that are acquired include census records, survey records and name lists. Several physical artifacts can be collected for example, tools and objects. Lastly participant observation involves the researcher actually participating and observing in the study (Yin, 1994; Stake, 1995).

Cozby, C. P, and Bates, C. S, (2012), Methods in Behavioral Research, (11th Ed.), McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Gerring, John, (May, 2004), What is a Case Study and What is it good for? The American Political Science Review. Pegram, Anne, (Winter of 1999/2000), What is case study research? RCN Publishing Company Stake, R. (1995). The art of case research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. Yin, R. K. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods (Second Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing. Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research: Design and Methods (Third Ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing. Zucker, M. Donna, (2009), How to do Case Study Research, University of Massachusetts.

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