case study method

case study method

The Effectiveness of the Case Study Method

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1. Introduction

To investigate the effectiveness of the case study method, the survey method, and the psychometric method in light of the three criteria for research, we have selected an ongoing educational development project as a case and have collected data on the project employing all three methods. The project in question is a part of the M. Tech. (Education) program designed and offered by the Centre of Advanced Study in Education, Faculty of Education, M. S. University of Baroda. This program is sponsored by the University Grants Commission for in-service teachers and teacher educators serving in various teacher education institutions and functionaries. The specific project relates to the field-testing of a curriculum development model for conducting action research by the teacher-trainees so that it may become a regular feature of school practice and school-based professional development. This project involves curricular intervention in terms of preparing some tentative teaching-learning materials and trying them out in a small part of the curricular field followed by critical analysis of the process and the outcomes of curricular transaction.

2. Benefits of the Case Study Method

a. Enabling to retain the holistic and in depth of an event. By using the case study method a researcher can have the freedom to choose the methods to answered his research questions. This may differ to the other research methods which more constraint in the use of available method but often does not answer the research questions. Some complex questions, for example how and why questions, or questions which requiring to trace the sequence of certain event can be answered with satisfactory if using the case study methods. This is because each case study have characteristics of case uniqueness and that questions are best answered using the method of case studies to identify on a process of events.

A case study can be conducted on a population or a single unit such as a person, a group, an organization, or a community. This case studies can produce several benefits to the researchers who use case study approach, such as it allows the researchers to retain the holistic and in depth and retain the contemporary of the events in its real life context using a various sources of evidence. This benefits will be explained into the following point:

The case study method is considered as one of the fundamental tools in developing the understanding, testing the hypothesis, and analysis of a concept. Case study can be done in various research in any area among the most common are in the discipline of social science though it also can be applied in scientific field. There are also different ways to perform the case study, in which can be divided depend on the examination timeline and the goal of a research but still lead to the idea to comprehend a real life case or an higher abstraction to a case to increase the researcher understanding about a certain case. Because the case study method itself is used to exercise the ability in students to apply the knowledge that they get from the theory and compare it to the practical they need a certain flexibility to understand leaving the enough freedom for the students to develop their reasoning. This is no different to what researcher tend to do in order to find some answer of a question, by using a case study method it will enable an opportunity to examine a certain issues and reach a conclusion from the result of a case.

3. Limitations of the Case Study Method

It can be difficult to apply the case study method to all cases. Case studies are not suitable for all research situations, and one must be cautious in determining whether or not it is the appropriate method to employ. For example, one wouldn’t use a case study of an individual to try to generalize the behavior of all people. The individual is of no statistical or probabilistic importance, and the results would be worth nothing. Similarly, case studies on various public events, such as the inauguration of a new government policy, a war, or an economic crash, are simplistic. They aim to provide an in-depth account of the event and hope to uncover what caused the event through building a causal chain. Case studies can only be fully evaluated on an instance of the event in question. The case itself can be taken as a snapshot of the event at the instance in time it is being studied. In order to fully understand why and how the event occurred, a case study would only be sufficiently evaluative by continuing to track the causes of the event on more cases over the time period in question. Step by step logic is difficult to evaluate on just one case.

With advantages of the case study method being as varied, in depth and well-documented as they are, it is not surprising that the case study is a popular research method with many fields ranging from the pure sciences to the applied professions. However, case study research also has its disadvantages. These include its applicability to all cases, its generalizability, and its reliability.

4. Case Study Method in Practice

A good example of a case study promoting the understanding of a theory with an ad hoc type method would be the work by S J Prais on the Income Series for the United Kingdom. This work has been widely acclaimed as a major methodological advance without the use of statistical methods, and it will certainly feature in the literature on econometrics for a long time to come.

The principal characteristic of a case study is that it is conducted in situ, and it is not primarily concerned with the phenomena that occur. For a case study to be defined, it must explain the relationship between a problem and its causes or its effects. In most instances, a case study will effectively utilize a method of an ad hoc type, and it is this that often gives the case study a bad reputation in terms of method or logic. However, in certain instances, it is indeed very appropriate to use it as a method of example or exploration, which can serve an instrumental function through aiding a more precise understanding of what a given theory would predict in a given context. Case studies are particularly useful for studying a theory which has a relationship with a wide-ranging set of variables, where it is not clear how one would classify the variables and their relationship.

Relying on a number of known case examples, one may choose to design the study of the concept by a number of alternative strategies. A randomized experiment is one of them, which is very powerful with respect to refuting the validity of a cause and effect hypothesis. Unfortunately, it is not very good at establishing its validity, and for this task, a study of the proposition in a real-life context is often more appropriate. The case study is an approach that offers a high degree of leeway to the person responsible for the study, and as such, it is very far from being a method defined by a set of techniques or an underlying logic. This does not mean, however, that case studies lack method.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, the case study method is a very effective and useful tool, especially in situations of investigation. The method utilizes a great deal of research tools; it also requires having an understanding of the research approaches and the different ways in which information can be gathered. This puts it in the reader’s grasp that it is more than a simple way of showing data. As Stake (1995) says, the data provided in case studies is “the stuff of stories”. It is this aspect of storytelling that can help build an increased understanding of the topic in question, presented in a way that the end user will remember. This is a key benefit simply because memory is proven to be linked to a better understanding of material and eventual increased performance. Another important attribute to the case study method is its ability to be examined using many methods of analysis. It is because case studies are uniquely able to provide detailed information about a specific topic that they are often used as the basis for further research. Socarpentry describes how another integration to Student A’s case can help build an understanding around the topic evidence, given that there are many different types of evidence that case study research can put to use. These topics can be easily cross-referenced with the original case for aiding understanding. Finally, integrating case study research into teaching scenarios is a very effective way to help students understand a topic in depth. Having students write their own case studies on topics of interest to them serves as a very comprehensive learning tool. This could be the most essential point of case study integration as it helps foster the education of future case study researchers. As there always needs to be more researchers.

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