In the world of research, you need to know about all the diverse types of research methods available for you; it is not always easy when deciding which method to go with. Within this document, we will be discussing the case study method. Case studies are crucial to researchers in the science field since of the unique insight that it brings to the realm of research. As with all research, case studies have their own set of guidelines that are particularly important for every researcher to know. Knowing when case studies are proper, pros and cons, and how to gather the important data that is needed to conduct the study is what all you need to consider when you are getting everything lined up for your case studies.
A case study is a method researchers go to when it comes to events that would not normally be considered a daily event (Crawford, 2020, p. 78). The study subject/s are usually human, animals, events, or even type of treatments that cannot be studied and/or tested in an ethical manner. Case studies dating back to the time of the famous Psychoanalyst Sigmond Freud were used to make thousands of useful discoveries of mysterious wonders involving these rare and unusual events (Gavin, 2008).
Does the Good Out-Way the Bad?
Case studies are useful in many cases, but there are also those moments when the good is outweighed by the bad. It is helpful to consider all the advantages and disadvantages before deciding whether a case study is proper for your research method. Look at every aspect of the study you are looking to conduct. Being aware of the pros vs. the cons can make the world's difference. M.M. Kennedy, a psychological researcher, once said, “Studies of individual cases allows the researcher to learn the intricate details of how a treatment is working, rather than averaging the effects across a number of cases” (Swanson, 2010, p.27).
The Upper Hand
Case studies have the upper hand in the world of research, especially when the subject is part of an unusual or rare event that would not have been ethically acceptable to conduct research on in normal everyday studies (Crawford, 2020, p. 79). The fact that case studies are used in qualitative research (Publication Manual, 2021, p. 5) allows the researchers to gather more data that would be missed in any other method. The biggest advantage would be that any information or data that is to be collected is always authentic and realistic findings because the researcher is collecting the data firsthand as the case study is being conducted.
The most common defect of conducting case study research is that sometimes there is a tendency to have some biases throw into the mix putting a cloud over the factual issues at hand. When that happens, it is impossible to produce any real validity results (Crawford, 2020, p. 79). It is also heightened by the fact that it can be extremely demanding and very time consuming, which can cause both the researcher and the subject to become burnt-out and that could compromise the entire study (Gavin, 2008). It is important to note that the unusual event or situation that is being studied, may not have the same effects or results on everybody, which is why the case study would be the go-to possibility for the situation.
Why Choose the Case Study Approach?
There are a multitude of examples of as to why one would choose to conduct a case study over all the other available research methodologies in the field, but the most logical reasoning is that case studies are able to be used for every application known to researchers (Crawford, 2020, p. 79). To get more realistic facts on the thoughts of the subjects and a better understanding of their perceptions of life, a case study would help in achieving those goals (Swanson, 2010, p. 27). If a more personal experience is what you wish to obtain, then taking the route of conducting a case study would be the best way to reach those goals.
Where Can You Find Your Source of Information?
Gathering of the data factors of your research for the case study, there are many resources available for the researcher’s use. One-way, would to conduct multiple in-depth interviews, both before and after your research findings. In-depth interviews offer up close and direct observations during the process of the interactions between researchers and subjects (Gavin, 2008). It also opens the door for the opportunity to dig-in a little deeper to have a more knowledgeable understanding of the participants' views on life and helps in becoming more knowledgeable about the phenomenon that is being studied. Observation is the most used method in data collection, which was originally introduced to the psychological research community during the 1940’s by Carol Rogers (Mcleod, 2010, p. 78). Rogers helped in the growth of instrumentation of therapy with questionnaires, rating scales, observation guides, and as well as interview schedules.
As discussed above, the use of conducting a case study is a valuable tool in the research method pool. The phenomena of those bizarre and unusual events make up for the perfect recipe for the use of conducting a case study. As you keep in mind the fact that not everybody can or will be affected in the same manor, which is what makes it a rare, phenomenal event worthy of being researched. As with any good research, following the formulation of the scientific method should always be implemented so that your research findings can be replicated for their validity.
APA Publishers Manual of the American Psychological Association. (2020). https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
Crawford Ph.D., R. (2020). Introduction to Research: Less Fright, More Insight. Kendall Hunt Publishing Co.
Gavin, H. (2008). Understanding Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology. SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/https://www-doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.4135/9781446214565.n3
McLeod, J. (2010). Collecting and Analysing Case Material: A Practitioner and Student Toolkit (pp. 78–91). SAGE Publications Ltd. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446287897.n5
Swanborn, P. (2010). Case Study Research. SAGE Publications Ltd. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/[SITE_ID]/detail.action?docID=3032236