Case Study Julie, Abby, Jess and Stephen Block D • Evaluate the use of case studies in research • Explain how a case study could be used to investigate a problem in an organization or group (e.g. a football team, a school, a family) • Discuss the extent to which findings can be generalized from a single case study What is case study? • In-depth investigation of human experience Characteristics of case study: • Descriptive study • Narrowly focused • Combines objective and subjective data • Process-orientated Different types of case study? Intrinsic Instrumental Examines one particular Represents and studies more phenomenon, chosen by general phenomena of researcher’s own interest interest Descriptive Explanatory Generates detailed description Aims to describe and find of a phenomenon, but data possible explanations for a are not analyzed in terms of phenomenon, theoretical existing theory analysis is based on existing theory • Person : one individual • Group: single distinctive set of people • Location: particular place ( and people of that place) • Organization: Single organization or company Strengths of case study • Insight into social processes in a group • Investigate unique phenomena • Stimulates new research • May contradict established theory Weaknesses of case study • Is case study really definable? (Willig (2001): Is case study a series of related studies put together or collection of studies dealing with same question?) • Sometimes difficult to generalize findings • More unreliable and unscientific • Prone to researcher-bias Koluchova (1971, 1991) Case study of Czech twin, effect of deprivation on development The case… • Czech twins were born and their mother died 11 months after their birth • Their father remarried a woman and the boys, from the age of 18 months to 7 were kept in a severe deprivation The case… • Nobody knew of their existence until their situation came to the attention of the authorities • They could hardly walk, play, or speak • After a year in a supportive environment, they made a great progress Method •Longitudinal twin study •Observation Generalization? • Discuss the extent to which findings can be generalized from a single case study? Usage? • How could this be used to investigate a problem in an organization/group? Design your own case study!
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