Case study Essay
Case study research is considered one of the most in depth research measures, it considers and analyzes the historical developments of the subject being studied carefully, it tries to develop answers for questions found in the study area. Because of the detailed nature of this type of research it often takes considerable amount of time to conclude. Case studies usually looks at their subject of study from its past history to the present behavioral manifestation. The researcher usually maintains a reasonable passivity, he monitors the characteristics of the subject as they present themselves.
One of the good points associated with case studies is that they have the capacity to show casual relationships, primarily because of the length of time that is applied. (Polit 1989). Case studies as research tools have been criticized because the researcher may get to intimate with the study subject and therefore skew the results of the study. The other argument against it is that the volume may be too thin for it to be generalized as an objective research avenue. There are several types of case studies, including snapshot case studies, longitudinal case studies, pre-post case studies, the patchwork case studies and the comparative case studies.
The snapshot case study is described as the study of one research subject with detailed objectivity. It employs comparative analysis of sub-entities. The longitudinal case study studies one subject many times. The pre-post case study focuses on studying one subject at two separate periods, between major events that could have affected the study subject. The patchwork case study studies the subject on several occasions by using the longitudinal, the snapshot study, and the pre-post studies.
The result of this kind of study is often a complete more comprehensive report. (Garson, David G). The comparative case study uses the quantitative and qualitative research methodology. According to Soy 1997, there are required steps that a case study ought to go through in order to secure valid and objective conclusions. Following Soy’s protocol case studies should start with: the determination and definition of the research questions, followed by selecting the cases and determining data gathering and analysis.
The next step should be preparation for data collection, and then data collection in the field, evaluation and analysis of the data and lastly preparing the report. According to Soy’s first step, the researcher must decide and define his question of focus. By deciding what the primary or overarching question would be the researcher has essentially set his entire study focus in motion. This is then followed by looking at other connected issues in the subject of interest. These issue may vary, but they will give the researcher good insights as to what the questions ought to be, and therefore a good base to begin to develop the answers to those queries.
It is recommended that researchers do reviews of previous literature on their subject of interest, and that would give them some ideas on how to position and refine their questions. ( Soy 1997). For step two, when the techniques of data gathering are formulated, the researcher would be confronted on making relevant decisions on whether to choose single case or an array of cases.
To increase the objectivity and the validity of the study, the researcher must be sure to choose his cases very carefully, he should also be particular about the ultimate research measure that would be used in the study. To make a clever decision on all factors that would be incorporated into the study, it is necessary to return and examine the true objective of the case study. So he must always remind himself as to what the purpose of the study is at all time. The employment of array of techniques and multiple studying tools always benefits case studies. (Soy 1997). On step three, preparation for data collection.
Usually case studies produces enormous amount of data, so the researcher would need to be highly organized and prepared in order not to be overpowered by the enormity of the information. He must plan in advance how to organize and retrieve the information, and in what order. It would not make sense to acquire all the important data only to lose it to poor organization before it is used for the necessary analysis. For step four, collection of data in the field, its already clear that the researcher would be dealing with enormous amount of data, but in order for the data to be available for ready access, and for the researcher to allow himself the opportunity to identify causal revelation, then he would need to save his data in a system that would be readily referenced and sorted.
The researcher must know how to document his data in a systemic, non- confusing format. It is highly recommended that researchers in the field maintain a field note. With the field note a researcher could record events in real time. It could be used to record emotional changes, and records of emotional changes may be helpful in determining some bias may be creeping up to the researcher or if he remains able to separate himself from the study.
Field notes could also be used to record questions prompted by unanticipated events. But the researcher should always bear in mind that his field note is separate from his data. For step six, the evaluation and analysis of data. Here the researcher is expected to review the data and identify links between the object, the resultant outcome of the study and the research query. It is suggested that the researcher take advantage of all possible avenues that the case study research offers in order to ensure an objective valid result. It is suggested that the researcher sorts through the data by as many different ways as possible.
By looking at the data from different angles some insights that could have been missed may show up. And that may help find unexpected or conflicting information. A conflicting information that results from multiple eyes sifting through the data would require closer checking of the study, and that could only be advantageous for the whole study. The researcher could also go back, repeat some of the steps that had already been take, and that could help in finding new information or some other observations that may have been missed.
The other system known as “cross case search for pattern” helps the researcher to avoid wrong or invalid conclusion. More professional examination of the study could only elevate the validity of the study as opposed to the other way around. The last step on Soy’s step is the sixth, here the researcher is expected to present the case study report in a way that the reader could comprehend. Although the case study might have been a difficult subject with complex information, the researcher would need to locate a system that would enable him to present it in a simplified understandable format.
The written communication would have to be understood. Some researchers go the extra length by finding an audience that would critique the presentation of the entire work before it is released officially. The researcher ought to always remember that case study research is complicated, it produces abundant amount of data, and it often requires multitude of sources, but there is no doubt that it is useful in generating important information on real life studies, and professionals are continuing to use it as data. It may need some patience, but it remains relevant.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 17 May 2017
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