Table of Contents
What is a Case Study?
- A Case Study is a research tool and a learning technique that we can apply in any area of knowledge.
- The fundamental objective of case studies is to know and understand the particularity of a situation to distinguish how the parts work and the relationships with the whole.
Case Study Objectives
The objectives of a case study can classify into:
- Exploratory purposes: whose results we use to formulate a question to initiate an investigation.
- Descriptive goals: help to better describe and understand a particular case.
- Explanatory goals: they guide to facilitate the interpretation of the case.
The case studies are characterized by being:
- Particularistic: intensively and deeply study a phenomenon.
- Descriptive: It differentiates the parts that make up the whole.
- Heuristic: It creates new meanings to expand experiences.
- Inductive: discover relationships and generate hypotheses.
Types of Case Studies
The typologies of case studies are classified by objective (Stake) or by their functions in education (Merriam).
The types of case studies by objectives are:
1. Intrinsic case study
- It provides a greater understanding of the phenomenon.
- Also, the instrumental case study offers greater clarity in the theoretical aspect.
2. Collective case study
- It investigates the phenomena through the deepening of multiple cases.
The types of case study in education are of character:
- Descriptive: cases that describe a situation or phenomenon.
- Interpretative: cases that reinforce the theoretical side or help to theorize.
- Evaluative: cases that guide and help make a decision or formulate a program.
Phases and example of a case study
The case studies focus on the following phases:
1. Selection and definition of the case
- “Maria is an exemplary student, but her grades have dropped in the last quarter.”
- List of questions:
- Firstly, Why have Maria’s grades dropped?
- Secondly, What is the direct cause?
- Also, What is her family situation?
- Lastly, Have other unusual behaviors occurred in Maria?
2. Location of the source of the data
- Family, relatives, friends, teachers, bibliography
3. Analysis and Interpretation
- Maria has felt demotivated since her brother admits to the hospital.
- Also, Maria is the older sister and was very close to her brother.
- Firstly, the family works all day, and Maria has to take care of herself.
- Secondly, preparation of a report: describes the processes, details, conclusions of the case.
- Lastly, case studies in research projects usually follow the structure of a research protocol.
Methodology: How is it done?
Traditionally, the development of a case study divides into five well-defined phases.
These phases are as follows:
1. Case selection
- Before starting any investigation, we must know what we want to study and then select an appropriate and relevant case.
- We must establish the area for which the study may be helpful, the people who may be engaging in case studies.
- Also, how not to define the problem and the objectives of the case study.
2. Elaboration of questions
- Once the topic of study identifies and the case (s) investigates to be selected.
- It will be necessary to elaborate a set of questions that determine what one wants to find out once the study has finished.
- Sometimes it is helpful to establish a global question to serve as a guide to determine more specific and varied questions then.
- Also, in this way, we can get the most out of the situation that we can investigate.
3. Location of sources and data collection
- However, observation techniques, interviews with subjects or through the administration of psychological tests and tests.
- Also, we will obtain most of the information necessary for the elaboration of the theories and hypotheses that give meaning to the investigation.