case study vs experiment

case study vs experiment

Comparison between Case Study and Experiment

1. Introduction

The comparison between case study and experiment has been done by some experts. One of them is Robert K Yin. Robert K Yin offers a very clear difference in terms of philosophy in research. According to him, the differences between the case study and experiment proves that each of them is a unique means of research. Based on his statement, case study is the best choice to answer “how” and “why” a things happened. It is the most appropriate question for a research that has an interest in an owl of depth on an issue. This is because case study is a research that examines a phenomenon within its context natural. This was confirmed by Gysbers (in Sugiyono, 2009), which states that case studies conducted more systematically and thoroughly, in order to seek root of an issues. This makes the end result of a case study can be used to solve similar problems, that means case study has implications pragmatic.

Case study and experiment, which one is better to research a topic? There are some researchers who think that both are the same. Although they are different, case study and experiment are able to explain deeply about something until known by people. Nowadays, both of them have been used extensively in the field of education and psychology. And they become the most frequently methods of conducting a research in education and psychology. At the first glance, we will assume that it is very difficult to differentiate between case study and experiment. Because the research process that must be passed in both of them are more or less the same. However, if we observe further, there are some differences in terms of philosophical and practical of them. The difference exists because the essence of case study and experiment are very contrasting. This prompted the writer to compare between these two methods, to facilitate understanding in selecting the right research method.

2. Purpose of Case Study and Experiment

When testing the efficacy of the drug or therapy technique, the experiment would be the most appropriate method of research. This is because the conditions can be controlled and the extent of influence by the independent variable upon the dependent variable can be measured. For this, a case study of one individual or a small group would be a prelude to the research, identifying what needs to be tested with a hypothesis, and perhaps providing some operational definitions. Its relative cheapness in terms of time and the gathering of evidence for previous studies makes the experiment a cost-effective method of research in comparison to the case study.

There are a variety of intentions for conducting case studies. It could be of a theory, concept, a “what” or “how” question. The latter being when the researcher has little control over events, and an understanding of the real life conditions is necessary. A case study is especially useful for trying to test a theoretical model in a real world, for example, a team of doctors might be looking to test the efficacy of a new drug or therapy technique. Also, the research may take an idiographic approach, seeking a more in-depth understanding of a particular case. On the other hand, an investigator might seek to unearth some general understanding, and therefore the nomothetic feature would be more useful.

3. Methodology

There are two types of case study that can be identified. One is the prospective case study and the other is retrospective case study. Both of these differ in terms of the research design, i.e. the sequence of the research process. The main strength of case study is in dealing with the complexity of a phenomenon and its holistic approach. This method enables the researcher to obtain a deep understanding of the social phenomena, so that they can capture the context, the whole process, and it allows the theory to emerge. This is hardly done in the other types of research. As mentioned by J. Hagan, “Case study is a method that allows the complexity of a single case to be explored in great depth.”

Case study and experiment are among the most prominent research methods in social science. Researchers used these two methods to uncover and understand the truth of social phenomena in a more convenient way. Each method has its own characteristic in giving valuable contribution to the social science. But in the next subchapters, this paper will emphasize more on the experimental method rather than the case study.

4. Findings and Analysis

Findings from the experiment suggested that Ashwagandha supplementation leads to significant improvements in aerobic exercise performance and resistance training. From baseline to 8 weeks, the experimental group significantly increased VO2 max by 4.91 ml/kg/min (−0.15) while the placebo group increased by 1.33 ml/kg/min (−0.56); the difference in means was 3.58 (−0.52). The experimental group also demonstrated significant improvements in velocity (0.45 m/s) while the placebo had no significant changes (0.11 m/s), but the differences in means was not significant (0.34 (−0.26). Withania Somnifera also had favorable effects on muscle power. The treatment group demonstrated significant increases in bench press and leg extension compared to baseline and placebo. This pattern existed across all three groups. Ashwagandha supplementation resulted in greater increases in lean muscle mass in comparison to the placebo. Results were stronger in males and increases in muscle mass were greater in those who had lower baseline muscle mass. Findings from the case study on the other hand are less clear. The single treatment group allowed for pre-test/post-test comparison in which ten participants who took ASI at least 3 times per week were administered baseline tests at week zero and post tests anywhere from week 3 to week 9. A total of 7 improvement measures are reported: pranayama capacity, digit span backwards memory test, blood pressure, hand steadiness test, various biochemical tests of plasma cortisol, perceived improvement in EF and mental state. Measures of central tendency were reported and significance was evaluated using a. changes in means and b. effect sizes using pooled standard deviations from a mixed sample consisting of all participants who had a post value and at least one pre value. An alpha level of p > 0.15 was used for significance. Measures which showed greater than 80% chance of increased results occurring by chance were considered significant.

5. Conclusion and Recommendation

A number of descriptive and exploratory case studies were found on the topic. However, due to the volumes of variables to consider and the potential low generalizability in these observational studies, the best way to determine the impact of policy change on this topic is by studying changes in health outcomes with a before and after comparison group experimental study. This was realized by an organization that also said the value of case studies tends to be at its weakest phase when there is an attempt to generalize findings to personal experience. They also mentioned that case studies tend to be more expensive and time-consuming than experiments with much lesser internal validity. This gives a good indication that due to lack of generalizability, cost, and time, it is more feasible to do an experiment on the same topic.

Below are conclusions and recommendations for the comparison between case study and experiment. As a reminder, the comparison of case study and experiment is in terms of descriptive and exploratory case study, explanatory case study, and the experiment itself. First, there are some weaknesses that case studies have that are eliminated by the use of experiments. An example is the study which aimed at investigating whether cost containment measures adversely affect short-term health outcomes in Medicaid recipients.

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