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Chapter 14  Case Study Research

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 2 months ago

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Chapter 14 Complete

p. 434: #1(Describe the typical characteristics of a case study)


"Case study research is the in-depth study of instances of a phenomenon in its natural context from the perspective of the participants involved in the phenomenon." (p.436)


Four characteristics of case study research:

1. the study of phenomena of focusing on specific instances, that is, cases


"A case study is done to shed light on a phenomenon, which is the processes, events, persons, or things of interest to the researcher. ...A case is a particular instance of the phenomenon."


2. an in-depth study of each case


"These data are in the form of words, images, or physical object, although some quantitative data may be collected as well. Often data are collected over an extended time period, and several methods of data collection argues."


3. the study of a phenomenon in its natural context


"...the goal still is to learn about the phenomenon from the perspective of those in the field."


4. the study of the emic perspective of case study participants


"The participants' viewpoint is called the emic perspective.

"The researcher's viewpoint as outsiders is called the etic perspective and helps them make conceptual and theoretical sense of the case, and to report the findings so that their contribution to the literature is clear."


#13(Describe several methods that can be used to check the validity and reliability of case study findings)p. 460-465


Positivist Criteria

"The overall validity of a study is strengthened if the researcher presents a strong chain of evidence, that is, clear, meaningful links between research questions, raw data, and findings."


"The causal inference is strengthened if pattern matching is found, that is, if the patterns discovered in the case study data correspond to predictions drawn from the theoretical presuppositions."


Interpretive Criteria

"Interpretive validity refers to judgements about the credibility of an interpretive researcher's knowledge claims. The criteria are of 4 types:



  • 1. Usefulness--"One way in which a case study can be useful is that it enlightened the individuals who read the report of its findings..liberal rates, the individuals being studied, leaders of the report, or some other group."
  • 2. Contextual completeness--"The more comprehensive the researcher's contextualization, the more credible are her interpretations of the phenomena." (Multivocality {participants do not speak with a unified voice} and Tacit Knowledge {Largely unarticulated, contextual understanding that is often manifested in nods, silences, humor, and naughty nuances."})
  • 3. Researcher positioning--"A researcher's interpretations are more credible and useful if he demonstrates sensitivity in how he relates to the situation been studied."
  • 4. Reporting style--"verisimilitude-'a style of writing that draws the reader so closely into subjects' worlds that these can be palpably felt." Pg. 462-463


  • Triangulation-checking against other sources. (If obtained in an interview then checked with a quantitative method.)
  • Member checking-the process of having these individuals (participants) of the statements made in the researchers report for accuracy and completeness.
  • Outlier analysis-using extreme cases as a way to test and thereby strengthen the basic findings
  • Long-term observation-gathering data over a long period of time and making repeated observations of the phenomenon
  • Representativeness Check-consideration whether there was over reliance on accessible or elite informants in collecting data
  • Coding check-checking the coding process using methods for determining inter-rater reliability developed by quantitative researchers


#16(Describe the advantages and disadvantages of case study research)


  1. bring a case to life in a way that is not possible using the statistical methods
  2. helps readers to compare cases with their own situations
  3. reveal the researcher's perspective, thus enabling readers to determine whether the researcher has the same perspective on the phenomenon as they do
  4. ideally suited to investigating outliers and other unusual phenomena




  1. difficulty of generalizing the findings to other situations
  2. ethical problems can arise if it proves difficult in the report to disguise the identity of the organization or individuals that were studied
  3. highly labor-intensive and require highly developed language skills


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