To Case Study or Not to Case Study,That is the Question. COM 304 Research & Writing Methods Dr. Feigenbaum Week 5 A Valentine’s Day Themed Lecture
Lecture Summary • What is a case study? • Is a case study right for me? • How do I select a case study?
Performing a case study is like shining a spotlight on an individual person, group or object
“Case studies focus on one (or just a few) instances of a particular phenomenon.” (p 52)
“[They provide] an in-depth account of events, relationships, experiences or processes occurring in that particular instance.” (p 52)
“[A case] can be based on things like an individual, an organization, an industry, a workplace, an educational programme, a policy or a country.” (p 52)
Register as a user and do participant-observation Conduct a visual and textual analysis of the website Interview a small sample of site users Create a questionnaire targeted at site users Gather background stats and available user data Register as a user and do ethnographic research
Multiple Methods help Magnify Processes, Relationships and Experiences
“The case study approach works best when the researcher wants to investigate an issue in depth and provide an explanation that can cope with the complexity and subtlety of real life situations.”
Is Case Study right for me? • Do I want to be able to use and develop multiple methods? • Am I ready to focus and work on one thing in-depth? • Would I like to learn a lot about a specific example? • Can I deal with the complexities that will arise? • Will I get excited to discover the subtleties?
Requires a conscious and deliberate choice. • Should be based on specific attributes the researcher wants to investigate. • Is NOT randomly selected. • Needs to have clear and distinct boundaries. • You must have explicit reasons why you’ve chosen this case.
Testing a Theory: People are most likely to be attracted to and enter a committed relationship with partners that are ethnically and culturally similar to themselves.
Is this Case Study right for me? PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS A matter of convenience (Mr. Right now) Intrinsically Interesting (BFF) The study is part of commissioned research (arranged marriage) There are unique opportunities (gold digger)
From particular to general • Identify significant features on which comparison with others in the same set of examples can be made. • Show how the case compares with others in the set of examples in terms of significant features.
How do you relate the case? Physical attributes (style, representations, images, features) Historical attributes (developments and changes) Institution attributes (organizations, policies, procedures)