CASE STUDY Research
Case Study Defined Yin (1994) Merriam (1988) A qualitative case study is an intensive, holistic description and analysis of a single instance, phenonomenon, or social unit (p. 21). The single most defining characteristic of case study lies in delimiting the object of the study, the case. It is a bounded system (Smith, 1978). • “a case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon with-in its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident” (p. 13). • A case is an integrated system (Stake, 1995).
What is Case Study? Study of individual, program, event, group, intervention, or community In-depth understanding of the situation and the meaning for those involved. Case study does not claim any particular methods for data, collection or data analysis. Any or all methods for gathering data , from testing to interviewing, can be used in data analysis. We are focusing on insight, discovery, and interpretation, rather than hypothesis testing in this class • A case is a bounded system • “think of the case as a phenomenon of some sort occurring in a bounded context” (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p. 25).
Science is often misrepresented as ‘the body of knowledge acquired by performing replicated controlled experiments on the laboratory.’ Actually, science is something much broader: the acquisition of reliable knowledge about the world. In some fields, such as chemistry and molecular biology, replicated controlled experiments in the laboratory are feasible and provide by far the most reliable means to acquire knowledge… where it’s impossible to manipulate …experimentally, one has no choice except to renounce laboratory experiments in favor of natural ones. (p. 18) Diamond, J. (p. 17-18, 2005)
Research = seek Research = seek again Case = instance/example Study = attentive scrutiny Case Study = attentive scrutiny of an instance or example
CASE STUDY A story focused on a particular instance or example A story about who, what, when, where, why, and how… ? A story worth investigating and reporting
Case Study: • Intensive, holistic description and analysis of a single unit or bounded • Can be integrated with other qualitative research approaches, • For example: • an ethnographic case study • Phenomenological case study • Building on theory(Aviram, 1993) Practices Inhibiting School Effectiveness in an Israeli Boarding School
Case Study: An exploration of a “bounded system” or a case (or multiple cases) over time through in-depth data collection involving multiple sources of information rich in data. Creswell (p. 61, 1998)
A bounded system is bounded in time and place and is the “case” that is the object of study. Creswell (p. 61, 1998)
In general, case studies are the preferred strategy when “how” or “why” questions are being posed, when the investigator has little control over events, and when the focus is on a contemporary phenomenon with in some real life context. Yin (volume 5, p. 1, 2003)
Case Study Case study is the study of the particularity and complexity of a single case, coming to understand its complexity within a single case Stake, 1995
Examples of bounded systems/phenomena that are of case study interest: Person Process Program Event Intervention Group Organization Community Issue ?????
2. What is case study form Exploratory Descriptive Explanatory (causal) Intrinsic (uniqueness) Instrumental (issue) Collective (multiple) Historical Ethnographic Evaluative Topical (e.g., educational, leadership) Multi-site Within-site ???????? ? ?
Form: Case Study Exploratory: Campus Response to a Student Gunman (Asmussen & Creswell, 1995) based on no theories, models and variables, context emerging Explanatory (heuristic): describe the course of events, ex. The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis (Allison, 1971), Explain reasons for a problem, what happened, and why? Descriptive: ex. Street Corner Society (Whyte, 1943/1955) describing a subculture. Result is a thick description
Form: Case Study • Illustrates the complexities of a situation • Show the influence of personalities on the issue • Show the influence of the passage of time on the issue- deadlines, funding, change of personnel, etc. • Include vivid material- quotations, clipping, interviews, newspaper articles. • Obtain information from many sources • Spell out differences of opinions • Present information in many ways
Form: Case Study • Uniqueness: • What it can reveal about a phenomenon, knowledge we would otherwise not have access to • Case studies are thus “an intensive, holistic description of analysis of a single entity, phenomenon, or social unit” (Merriam, 1998, p. 34) They are exploratory, explanatory, or descriptive.
1 2 3. What is case study context? Context: The circumstances within which a particular event occurs Physical, Social, Historical, Economic Case studies are context-based inquiries The richness of the context is a major part of the study Many data collections need to be employed
Case Study: The case study is the method of choice when the phenomenon under study is not readily distinguishable from its context. Yin (volume 34, p. 4, 2003) “Case studies help us to understand processes of events, projects, and programs and to discover context characteristics that will shed light on an issue or object” (Sanders, 1981, p. 44)
4. What is Case Study Design? ? • A research design describes • how resources and procedures • were organized into a coherent • plan for collecting and • interpreting data that address the • Research question(s). i.e., how the • research was conducted. ? • Case study accommodates a wide range of • design decisions and plans involving • site(s) and samples, data collection and • analysis techniques, role of the • researcher, timelines, and presentation • and interpretation of data ?
Colloquially, a research design is a logical plan for getting from here (questions to be answered) to there (answers). Yin (volume 34, p. 4, 2003) Components of design: Research question, propositions, if any, its unit of analysis, the logic linking the data to the propositions, and the criteria for interpreting the findings
Types of case studies: Single (holistic) Embedded (several units of analysis) Multiple Cases (2 or more) holistic or embedded
5. What are data collection techniques in case study research? Observation Document Analysis Photo/video Mapping Artifacts Interviews Focus Groups ???????????? SIAT GmbH
SKILLS NEEDED TO DO CASE STUDIES Interviews/focus groups Individual players users client Administration/leaders legislators observations researcher The researcher is like a detective Case study Protocol
Recording Interviews: use a tape recorder or videotaped, take notes, write down as much as possible right after the interview including reflections (verbal and non-verbal behavior, then write verbatim transcriptions Recording Observations: The physical setting, the participants, activities and interactions, conversation, subtle factors, your own behavior Relationship between observer and participant: Complete participant Participant as observer Observer as participant Complete observer Record field notes immediately (time, place, purpose), draw a diagram of the setting and trace movement through it, record your feelings, reactions, hunches, initial interpretations Recording data
6. What are analysis techniques in case study research? • Now the challenges begin: • Analysis of Themes ( i.e., CCM) • Within-case Analysis (each case is first treated as a comprehensive case itself. • Cross-case Analysis (seeking to build abstractions across cases) • Case study data base So little done, so much to do. Cecil Rhodes, last words Die zwei grössten Tyrannen der Erde – der Zufall und die Zeit. Johann Gottfried Herder
Data is Data is Data… The purpose of analysis is to bring meaning, structure and order to data. Anfara, V. A. and Brown, K.M. (2001, p.12)
In Qualitative research, it is a matter of making sense of voluminous data gathered from documents, observations and interviews… composing a coherent and credible story. i.e., “This is my story and (why) I’m sticking to it
The problem is… • Soft • Sloppy • Suspect
The answer is… • design for rigor • disclose the details of the process • i.e., who, what, where, when, how, why? • i.e., “show hand/open mind”
Data Analysis Holistic Themes will emerge… • We are trying to understand behavior, issues, and contexts with regard to our particular case trying to find the pattern or the significance through direct interpretation. Ask: “what did that mean?” Look over episodes or passages of text again and again, reflecting, triangulating, being skeptical about first impressions
Data Analysis: What to do with the data: • Construct categories or themes that capture some recurring pattern i.e concepts indicated by the data. = intuitive process, but also systematic and informed using the constant comparative method comparing incidents, respondents’ remarks, and so on with each other. Units of data are sorted into groupings that have something in common.
theme… C1 theme… C5 C3 theme… theme… theme… C2 C4 theme…
What to do with it… • After working through entire transcript, then field notes, then documents, in this manner, go back over marginal notes and comments and try to group these comments and notes that seem to fit together. Are similar themes present in all data sets? Merge all lists into a master list of categories derived from all sets of data.
What to do with it… ·compare one unit of information with the next looking for recurring regularities in the data. The process is to breaking data down into bits of information and then assigning these bits to categories bringing all bits together again in a novel way. Some categories may be further subdivided further (compare to arranging food in a grocery store) Create files and archives ·conduct category construction in conjunction with data collection
What to do with it..·code to categories (notes in the margin, comments, observations, queries)·reduce to presentation & interpretation of what has been learned, e.g., composition of case descriptions, profiles, depictions, vignettes, salient themes, graphics, etc.·describe the triangulation of data, e.g., matrix alignment of findings to data sources
What to look for… What stands out! • Interesting events, behaviors, assertions, stories • Patterns of behavior, thinking • recurring language • Metaphors • ???????
And then… Themes emerged! Historically, data analysis in qualitative research has been something like a mysterious metamorphosis. The investigator retreated with the data, applied his or her analytic powers, and emerged butterfly-like with “findings.” (Merriam, 1998, pp. 155-6)
The process of composing relationships in qualitative material does not yield to algorithms or other formulas, at least not when the process is inventive. One must make judgments about relationships by “consulting” one’s somatic experiences: How does the image feel? Is there a coherence among its constituent parts? Does it hang together? Is it satisfying? …humans are meaning-making creatures. – Eisner, E. (2002, p. 230)
Naming your Categories • Names can come from either researcher, the participants, or the literature. • Categories should reflect the purpose of the research, be exhaustive, mutually exclusive, • Sensitizing, conceptually congruent • How many categories? • Answer: it should be manageable with a minimum of unassignable items (Guba & Lincoln, 1981, p. 96).
Data Generation Data Analysis
Environmental Experience Teacher Persona Teacher Learning Influence on High School Teacher Implementation of Best Practice Teaching Context
Case Presentation Reporting the story…
Reporting the Data • There is no standard format for reporting case study research (Merriam, 1998, p. 193). • Some generate theory, some are descriptive in nature, others are analytical • State the problem • Rich context description • Rich description of transactions and processes observed • Descriptions of elements studied in-depth • Lessons learned (Lincoln & Guba (1985).
Content of the Case????? • Questions • Method • Site • Sample • Physical context • Social context • Demographic context • Program context • Historical context • Events • Observations • Perceptions • Interpretations • Outcomes
Advice about organizing the presentation and interpretation of data… • Look to exemplars • Think about it • Work from context to focus • Interpret to research questions