What Is a Case Study?
When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.
At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.
As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.
Study a Pattern
One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.
During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.
As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.
Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.
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Case Study Research: Design and Methods (Applied Social Research Methods) Fifth Edition
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- ISBN-10 1452242569
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- Publisher SAGE Publications, Inc
- Publication date May 10, 2013
- Language English
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About the author.
Robert K. Yin is President of COSMOS Corporation, an applied research and social science firm. Over the years, COSMOS has successfully completed hundreds of projects for federal agencies, state and local agencies, and private foundations.
Outside of COSMOS, Dr. Yin has assisted numerous other research groups, helping to train their field teams or to design research studies. The most recent such engagements have been with The World Bank, the Division of Special Education and disAbility Research at George Mason University, the Department of Nursing Research and Quality Outcomes at the Children’s National Health System (Washington, DC), and the School of Education, Southern New Hampshire University.
Dr. Yin has authored over 100 publications, including authoring or editing 11 books (not counting the multiple editions of any given book). Earlier editions of the present book have been translated into eight languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Romanian, Italian, Polish, and Portuguese), and a second book on Qualitative Research from Start to Finish (2016) is in its 2nd edition and has been translated into four languages (Chinese, Korean, Swedish, and Portuguese). Dr. Yin received his B.A. in history from Harvard College (magna cum laude) and his Ph.D. in brain and cognitive sciences from MIT.
- Publisher : SAGE Publications, Inc; Fifth edition (May 10, 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 312 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1452242569
- ISBN-13 : 978-1452242569
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.25 x 0.5 x 9.25 inches
- #322 in Medical Psychology Research
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About the author
Robert k. yin.
Robert K. Yin, Ph.D., serves as Chairman of the Board and CEO of COSMOS Corporation, an applied research and social science firm that has been in operation since 1980. Over the years, COSMOS has successfully completed hundreds of projects for government agencies, private foundations, and other entrepreneurial and non-profit organizations. At COSMOS, Dr. Yin actively leads various research projects, including those in which the case study method is used. He has authored numerous books and peer-reviewed articles, including Case Study Research and Applications of Case Study Research. In 1998 he founded the “Robert K. Yin Fund” at M.I.T., which supports seminars on brain sciences, as well as other activities related to the advancement of pre-doctoral students in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
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Robert K. Yin. (2014). Case Study Research Design and Methods (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 282 pages
by Trista Hollweck
2016, The Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation
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This paper aims at exploring and discus sing the possibilities of applying qualitative content analysis as a (text) interpretation method in case study research. First, case study research as a research strategy within qualitative social research is briefly presented. Then, a basic introduction to (qualitative) content analysis as an interpretation method for qualitative interviews and other data material is given.
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Yin, R. K. (2014). Case Study Research Design and Methods (5th ed., 282 p.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjpe.30.1.108
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