What is a case study?

The Term Case in Case study

The common use of the term ’case’ relates to the study with geographical location like an organisation or a workplace. In a case study the focus is on a bounded system which distinguishes it from other research design.

Qualitative and Quantitative

Here the concentration is upon intensive examination of the setting. Case studies are often employed for both quantitative and qualitative research. In few cases where as investigation is based upon quantitative research, it becomes difficult to find out whether it can be described as a case or a cross-sectional research design.

With a case study, the case becomes an object of interest in its own way and the aim of the researcher is to give an in-depth elucidation of it. Until and unless a distinction is made, it is not easy to differentiate the case study as a special research design as any kind of a research can mean to be a case study.

Need for Formal Sampling

A few case study researchers select cases to represent a population and in such a case more formal sampling is needed. What brings a difference in a case is that the researcher is mostly concerned with elucidating the unique features of the case which is known as idiographic approach.

Selection of Case

Selection of case should be based upon the opportunity to learn. Therefore, it is suggested that researchers should work on cases where they can do some learning. There are basically three different types of case study:

  • Intrinsic cases are undertaken to have insight into the specificities of the situation.
  • Instrumental case studies are those that focus on comprehending a broader issue or letting generalisations to be challenged.

Multiple or collective cases are undertaken jointly to find a general phenomenon.

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