What is a case study?

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What is a case study?

A case study is a type of research method that includes a deep and detailed study of the subject and related contextual conditions. Case studies are usually observed in social sciences and life sciences. The study may be about a person, a group of people with the aim of generalizing over various units. A case study can be defined as the research strategy that investigates phenomenon within its real-life context. A case study should not be confused with qualitative research. they can have a combination of quantitative and qualitative evidence.

Under the generalized category of the case study, there are several subdivisions, each of which has its own goals and objectives. These types of case studies include the following:

  1. Illustrative Case Studies

Illustrative Case studies are basically the expressive studies. In this, one or two instances of an episode are used to describe the situation that occurred. These descriptive case studies have the main motive of familiarizing the things that are unfamiliar and give the readers briefing of the topic in question.

  1. Exploratory Case Studies

Exploratory case studies are also known as the pilot case studies. These are abridged case studies, that are made before the implementation of the large-scale research. The primary function of these case studies is to help in the identification of the questions and other necessary measurements that is done before the actual study. The only drawback of this type of case studies is that the initial evidence proves to be released well before the conclusions.

  1. Cumulative Case studies

The cumulative case studies serve a function of a collection of all the information that has been gathered from the different sources at different times. The main ideology behind these studies is that all the evidence and information collected out of the past studies will help in generalization without any additional cost and time.

  1. Critical Instance Case Studies

Such case studies scrutinize more than one site with the purpose of studying the situation of unique interest or to call into question or universal assertion. This method is useful in answering the cause and effect questions.

After the identification of the question, the next thing that has to be done is to choose the right type of case study method. This will help the researcher to begin designing the approach of the case study. To get a complete and detailed picture of the situation, the researcher can make use of the different approaches and the methods to gather the data or the information. The different methods may involve the interviews, the field studies or transcript analyses and the exploration of the artifacts. One of these methods can be chosen by the researches to collect the data. If not this, they can choose the method of their choice. Once the researcher has determined, the type of data and the different methods of collecting the data, the next task is to decide the strategy to be used for analyzing the information. The researchers of the case study infer the information either by holistically or by using coding methods. This is a suitable approach when the question being studied is general in nature and the data provides an outline. Searching the data to find and categorize specific actions and features, is involved in this type of study.

Not taking a particular type and method of data collection of a case study in consideration, following are the advantages that all the case studies have:

  • Case studies are flexible as compared to the other types of research and further allows the researcher to determine and explore as the development of research takes place.
  • The main emphasis of the case studies is on the depth of the content and the matter. The researcher can use different varieties of data sources to be clear about the situation.
  • Case studies often shed new light on an established theory that leads to further investigation.
  • The investigation and analyzation of the situation are done by the researchers. This is done as it is very important for the researchers to know about the events and behaviors related to the particular situation.

Everything has some pros and cons and so has the case studies. Following are some of the disadvantages of the case studies:

  • There may occur duplication of the data.
  • The case studies may have some level of partially and it may be a problem.
  • The data or the information related to the case study is too deep and hence, it is not possible to conduct the research on a larger scale.
  • There are apprehensions related to the consistency, legitimacy, and generalizability of the results.

This was a basic introduction to the case studies, including the summary, types and also the advantages and disadvantages. Consider these points while to sit back to know more about the case studies and researches.

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