case study analysis example

case study analysis example

The Importance of Case Study Analysis

1. Introduction

There are several definitions of case study research. One of the most suitable and widely used is provided by the American scholar Robert K. Yin. Yin, who is a methodologist, says that a case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident, and in which multiple sources of evidence are used. This type of methodology will be used to conduct this dissertation as it is the most appropriate way to investigate the research questions. This is because this study is looking at a contemporary problem within an actual organization in real-life context. With the case study, there are several limitations that need to be considered. This includes the fact that a case study can only be used to investigate one area and therefore cannot be generalized to fit the whole issue. Also, the data gained may be impacted by data collection taking place over a period of time, something which patience and careful preparation can prevent. A final limitation is that data analysis in Yin’s methodology is based on logic rather than statistical calculations. Despite these limitations, Yin’s approach to case study is the most appropriate current researchers can use to investigate a particular area. This is seen in its employment in other case studies to investigate similar areas to this research (e.g. Amanda J Sharfman and Michael Chazan, 2005; Bob Doherty and David A Pierce, 2009). The case study will be carried out using materials available from the targeted organization between the dates of mid-June 2012 to August 2012.

2. Methodology

In the following section, the layout and reasoning behind the case study methodology are discussed. To aid the future of case study comparisons with extant probability strategies, clarifying the differences between each approach is in order. Each strategy has its uses, but it is argued that detailed comparisons are usually ignored when researchers have used case study methods and when researchers have reviewed case studies from the past. This type of research is an underutilized strategy. The logic of design and variations of a case study approach, such as intrinsic, instrumental, and collective, may be too detailed in comparison to other case comparisons. Probability strategies are more focused upon generalization, heuristics to follow, and simplification of the case to attain results. This can bring statistical biases and an ignorance to the complexity of the case, hence producing poor results when trying to compare with a case study (p. 341). The below comparisons of definition will show a clearer understanding of the differences.

3. Findings

Case study methodology has traditionally been viewed as a way to conduct empirical inquiry, but it has the added value of enabling the researchers to define the research questions. The use of past tense verbs may depend on the type of study being reported. If it is a snapshot case study (an examination of a single incident or individual, or a particular point in time), then the use of past tense is consistent with the nature of the investigation. For longitudinal case studies, the use of past tense may be insufficient; if the research is still pertinent in the findings today, then it is legitimate to use the present tense. An example of a study following the case study research methodology. This study would follow a collective case study design since the question is about a whole war and the goal is to understand all the complexities. The case in question was the sanctions placed, and lift on Iraq, and the war that ensued. The stated goals of the Iraq war in relation to the sanctions had a profound impact on global health. This history provided the U.S president George W. Bush with several justifications for the war, historical and legal deposition by Iraq to invasion and regime change, a legacy of human rights abuses by the ruling Ba’ath party, and alleged attempts to revive weapons of mass destruction and links to terrorists were the prominent causation case for the invasion. In terms of the effects of the war on global and public health, the president’s 4 main points: to improve the health and prosperity of Iraqis, revelation of threats to international security, and his assertions regarding international law and moral justification, there is certainly a proposition of causation to the current and future health of global communities.

4. Implications

The case study, in essence, is a small-scale research method, and it is one which the novice researcher probably has a rather latent. The method is also flexible, allowing an easy transition between idiographic questions – how and why analysis focused on a single or a few cases, and a nomothetic analysis leading to propositions and generalizations that cut across cases. For these, and some other reasons, it is quite important to examine what the requirements are for good case studies and how they can be met. We had become alerted to a fragmented literature in many disciplines, with varying usage of the term case study, and rather diverse concepts of methodological validations and specificities of techniques. This has led to difficult judgments, for it looked as if some quite valuable and effortful pieces of research were foundering on too low an assessment in terms of available criteria of quality and significance.

In the process, the analyst may be doing what in medicine is called a differential diagnosis. Consider, for example, the classic studies in the British National Health Service on the relations between social class and health or between stress and illness. These studies of grand policy would not be good candidates for case analysis. But many researchers in medical sociology and epidemiology have employed case studies, often using units that are smaller than the usual case. For instance, using the method of interviewing patients to get verbal autopsies about the sequence of events leading to deaths that can be attributed to some failure of the health system. This kind of case study is used to the end of identifying which was the critical deviation in path from a comparison series to the decisions that led to unfavorable outcomes, and thus to suggest ways of improving the system’s functioning. The analysis of SQ will usually center on a relatively focused set of a few key analyses. But even more impressive, we think, is the type of study that begins without predefined questions, as an attempt to get a comprehensive understanding of an ill-specified phenomenon. This kind of study has a propensity to grow through data collection and analysis into a series of linked cases.

In healthy learning environments, where there are a number of hypothetical setbacks, thinking through their implications can have very constructive effects. The case study approach is one way in which such active analysis can be encouraged. A prime function of a case study is to sharpen diagnostic skills. For a case study to serve this function best, the researcher or analyst works through the flat facts of the case to identify those factors that accounted for the happening of events and that can tell us why alternative events did not take place.

5. Conclusion

One of the main advantages of case study research is that it allows for the in-depth study of the situation at hand. It is particularly useful for psychologists who seek to obtain a full understanding of human behaviour. Jason’s behaviour can be linked to his feelings of alienation from his peers and subsequent frustration. He was provided with a private environment in which he completed his work. This had a very positive effect towards the end of the study. However, bearing in mind Jason’s needs, it would be better if he were to work in a small group with people of similar ability, perhaps with a learning assistant. This would simulate his ideal learning environment: ‘a classroom without a classroom’. This is the first of two major recommendations for Jason’s educational progress.

We can have the best and most qualified teachers in the world, but if the methodology of teaching is not also considered and altered to suit the needs of the students, very little learning may occur. It is clear that in Jason’s case, traditional methods were inappropriate. This case study highlights the importance of understanding the needs of a student. In the beginning he appeared to be an intelligent boy, however due to his environment his behaviour developed to the extent where his school work was adversely affected. It is felt that Jason (and his parents) would not accept with much enthusiasm a special school designed for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties – it would make him feel stigmatised. But Jason does need extra help with his work, perhaps in a ‘normal’ classroom with a learning assistant.

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