In psychology, cases study is the use of descriptive research and analysis to obtain in-depth information about a person, group, or a phenomenon. Case study is conducted using techniques such as direct-observation of the person, personal interviews, psychometric tests, and use of earlier researches archived (Dunbar, 2005). Psychology uses a case study often in clinical research to explain an unusual occurrences and conditions of the patient. The conditions are contrary to the pre-established principles in the fields of psychology and clinical research.
Most of the case studies are single-case design; however, there is multiple-case design where instead of using sampling, replication is the criterion for use. Case study in psychology ought to be valid, and reliable to help in the future psychological research. This paper explains the reasons, disadvantages, and advantages of the case study.
Reasons for Using Case Study
Case study allows the researcher to examine and gather information about persons in far more detail than if the research was on a large number of people.
Although the case study is not a research method, clinical and psychological researchers identifies methods of data collection that is suitable for the case study (Goodwin, 1995). For instance, observation, interviews, personal notes, and officially documented records. The reason for the case study is to investigate into the private lives of persons with the focus of understanding them and helping them in overcoming the problems that they experienced in their daily lives.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Case Study
Case study allows the researchers to collect detailed information about a person that is useful. The information would not have been obtained by the other research methods. The information obtained during the case study is richer and is greater in depth compared to the other experimental designs. Moreover, the research considers rare cases where large samples of similar people are not available. Scientific experiments on the person done during the process of study are also an advantage (Dunbar, 2005). The process enables the researchers to adapt to ideas and come up with a hypothesis that will be a point of reference in the future research.
On the contrary, the data collected during the case study cannot apply in a wider population. This makes the data not be useful in longitudinal case studies. In addition, some of the studies are not scientific in nature (Goodwin, 1995). They are only a generalization of the scientific principles. The study considers only one individual; therefore, the study is prone to the researcher biases. The bias of the experimenter can influence the conclusions more than in the other study designs. It is also difficult to prove the effect from the psychological case study (Dunbar, 2005). A case study is often prone to be more time consuming than the time used in other study designs.
Sources of Case Study Data
The case study research generates data from different sources. The researchers use field notes to record data that is already available in stored databases. The use of sampling where one person is examined to represent a wider group is also a method of case study data collection. In addition, questionnaires, observations, and interviewing are other methods used to collect case study data. In conclusion, the study tends to collect qualitative data. The psychological case study is important since it collects unique and in-depth data about a person. Mainly, the rare phenomena and conditions allude to case studies. Finally, it is vital to refer to the recorded data to ensure that the findings are accurate and applicable in the real life situations.
Dunbar, G. (2005). Evaluating research methods in psychology: A case study approach. Malden, MA: BPS Blackwell. Goodwin, C. J. (1995). Research in psychology: Methods and design. New