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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.
Deep Dive into a Topic
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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Single And Multiple Case Study Definition Research
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A difference between a single case study and a multiple case study is that in the last mentioned. the researcher are studying multiple cases to understand the differences and the similarities between the cases (Baxter & Jack. 2008; Stake. 1995).
There are several different definitions and kinds of case studies. Because of different reasons the case studies can be either single or multiple. This study attempts to answer when to write a single case study and when to write a multiple case study. It will further answer the benefits and disadvantages with the different types.
Using a multiple-case research study allows for a more in-depth understanding of the cases as a unit. through comparison of similarities and differences of the individual cases embedded within the quintain. Evidence arising from multiple-case studies is often stronger and more reliable than from single-case research.
The resulting four types of designs for case studies are (Type 1) single-case (holistic) designs. (Type 2) single-case (embedded) designs. (Type 3) multiple-case (holistic) designs. and (Type 4) multiple-case (embedded) designs” (p. 46).
A difference between a single case study and a multiple case study is that in the last mentioned. the researcher are studying multiple cases to understand the differences and the similarities. . .
In multicase study research. the single case is of interest because it belongs to a particular collection of cases. The individual cases share a common characteristic or condition. The cases in …
The C ASE STUDY is a research method that focuses on understanding the dynamics of single settings. Although it can be used for description and deduction (Yin. 1994). our focus is on . . .
Can be single (drawing conclusions from one context) or multiple (drawing generalizable conclusions from patterns across contexts). Case study addresses specific methodological challenges: copes with distinct situation in which there will be …
The single case study is the most basic form of case-oriented research. but researchers may also conduct a series of case studies. each study building on the previous. or conduct simultaneous studies of several instances of the same phenomenon (as in comparative research).
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Single Case Versus Multiple Case Studies
One of Yin's dimensions for classifying case studies involves single-case versus multiple-case studies. In some instances, only a single-case study is necessary or at times even possible; this is true when a unique case comes along that presents a valuable source of information. For example, a social scientist wanting to explore the emotional impact of a national tragedy on elementary-school children might choose to study the Challenger space shuttle disaster or the World Trade Center attacks, as a single-case study.
Eminent Russian psychologist Aleksandr Luria, in his book The Mind of a Mnemonist: A Little Book About a Vast Memory (1968), has, in a most engaging style, described a single-case (holistic) study. The case involved a man by the name of Shereshevskii (identified in the book as subject "S") who possessed an extraordinary memory. Luria began to observe "S" systematically in the 1920's, after "S" had asked him to test his memory. Luria was so astounded by the man's ability to study information for brief periods of time and then repeat it back to him without an error that he continued to observe and test "S" over the following thirty years. Luria was convinced that this man possessed one of the best memories ever studied.
Because of the nature of the phenomenon—an unusually vast memory— and the fact that this man was capable of performing memory feats never before witnessed, a single-case (holistic) study was begun. When studying rare phenomena, as in this instance, it is not possible to find the number of subjects typically required for an experiment; thus, the case-study approach presents the best alternative. Over the ensuing thirty years, Luria carefully documented the results of literally hundreds of memory feats. In some instances, Luria presented "S" with a list of words to memorize and asked him to recall them immediately. At other times, without any forewarning, Luria asked "S" to recall words from lists given more than fifteen years before. In most of these instances, "S" recalled the list with only a few errors. Luria commented on much more than the results of these memory tests; he also carefully studied the personality of "S." Luria wanted to understand him as a whole person, not only as a person with a great memory. Closely involved with his subject, Luria personally gave the instructions and collected the data. Whereas the data from the memory tasks provided some degree of objectivity to the study, most of the information came from the subjective observations and judgments made by Luria himself. The study was reported in a book-length narrative.
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What is the differences between single case and multiple case study designs?
A single case study design is an intensive investigation of one person, group, or event. It has the aim of creating an in-depth, holistic understanding of the case. Single case study designs often involve observations, interviews, and document reviews to explore the case study in detail. A multiple case study design is a type of research methodology which seeks to study several cases in the same context. These studies involve multiple cases that are studied over a period of time, and they are often used to compare cases to one another. Multiple case study designs allow researchers to explore similarities and differences between the cases, and to evaluate the effects of context on different outcomes. They also provide an opportunity to study the impact of data collection methods, as multiple cases are more likely to yield robust results due to sample size.
What are the difference between single case and multple case study designs?
Single case study designs focus on a single individual, group, or site, while multiple case studies involve the study of two or more individuals, groups, or sites. In single case studies, the researcher is attempting to understand a particular phenomenon in-depth, often by collecting qualitative data. In multiple case studies, the researcher may be attempting to compare different cases and assess whether variables relating to them differ. Multiple case studies involve analyzing and comparing data from multiple studies to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon under investigation.
What is (are) the difference(s) between single case and multiple case study designs?
Scope: Single case study designs focus on a single unit of analysis, while multiple case study designs involve multiple units of analysis. Nature: Single case studies usually involve an in-depth investigation of an individual case or a limited number of cases, while multiple case studies involve investigating a wider range of cases. Data Collection: Single case studies involve gathering data on a single unit of analysis, while multiple case studies involve collecting data from multiple sources or locations. Generalizability: Single case studies are not very generalizable, while multiple case studies can provide more generalizable results. Study Length: Single case studies are usually shorter than multiple case studies. Purpose: Single case studies typically have a descriptive purpose, while multiple case studies can have a more explanatory purpose.
What is the difference between single case and multiple case study designs?
Single case study designs involve an in-depth examination of one or a few people, places, events, or phenomena. This type of research often focuses on understanding a particular situation or event in-depth. It is useful when an overview of a phenomenon is needed or when the researcher cannot study a larger number of cases because of time constraints or limited resources. Multiple case study designs involve looking at several people, places, events, or phenomena simultaneously. This type of research provides a broader perspective and can reveal patterns or relationships among different cases that may not be seen in a single case. It is useful when there is a need to understand the broader context in which certain phenomena occur. Multiple case studies also allow for comparison and contrast of different cases, which can provide more insight into a particular situation or event.
What is the difference between single case study design and multiple Case research design?
Single case study design is an in-depth exploration of a single entity or phenomenon. This type of research design allows researchers to gain an understanding of a phenomenon through an extended, detailed analysis of a single case. Multiple case research design is a research design in which multiple cases are studied and analyzed in order to draw more general conclusions. It is a method used to explore complex phenomena when single case studies are not enough to provide an understanding of the phenomenon. Multiple cases give researchers the ability to examine broader dimensions and to consider more contextual factors that might be influencing the phenomenon.
What are the differences between single case and multiple case study design?
Single case study design: A single case study design focuses on a single individual, group, or event. It involves collecting data from a single source, such as an interview or observation, over a limited period of time. This type of study is used when the researcher has a specific research question or hypothesis in mind. Multiple case study design: A multiple case study design involves collecting data from multiple sources, such as interviews or observations, over a longer period of time. It can involve collecting data from different individuals, groups, or events and comparing them to each other. This type of study is used when the researcher has a broader research question or hypothesis and wants to better understand the complexity of the issue.
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Multiple Case Studies
Nadia Alqahtani and Pengtong Qu
The case study approach is popular across disciplines in education, anthropology, sociology, psychology, medicine, law, and political science (Creswell, 2013). It is both a research method and a strategy (Creswell, 2013; Yin, 2017). In this type of research design, a case can be an individual, an event, or an entity, as determined by the research questions. There are two variants of the case study: the single-case study and the multiple-case study. The former design can be used to study and understand an unusual case, a critical case, a longitudinal case, or a revelatory case. On the other hand, a multiple-case study includes two or more cases or replications across the cases to investigate the same phenomena (Lewis-Beck, Bryman & Liao, 2003; Yin, 2017). …a multiple-case study includes two or more cases or replications across the cases to investigate the same phenomena
The difference between the single- and multiple-case study is the research design; however, they are within the same methodological framework (Yin, 2017). Multiple cases are selected so that “individual case studies either (a) predict similar results (a literal replication) or (b) predict contrasting results but for anticipatable reasons (a theoretical replication)” (p. 55). When the purpose of the study is to compare and replicate the findings, the multiple-case study produces more compelling evidence so that the study is considered more robust than the single-case study (Yin, 2017).
To write a multiple-case study, a summary of individual cases should be reported, and researchers need to draw cross-case conclusions and form a cross-case report (Yin, 2017). With evidence from multiple cases, researchers may have generalizable findings and develop theories (Lewis-Beck, Bryman & Liao, 2003).
Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Lewis-Beck, M., Bryman, A. E., & Liao, T. F. (2003). The Sage encyclopedia of social science research methods . Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Yin, R. K. (2017). Case study research and applications: Design and methods . Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Key Research Books and Articles on Multiple Case Study Methodology
Yin discusses how to decide if a case study should be used in research. Novice researchers can learn about research design, data collection, and data analysis of different types of case studies, as well as writing a case study report.
Chapter 2 introduces four major types of research design in case studies: holistic single-case design, embedded single-case design, holistic multiple-case design, and embedded multiple-case design. Novice researchers will learn about the definitions and characteristics of different designs. This chapter also teaches researchers how to examine and discuss the reliability and validity of the designs.
Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2017). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches . Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
This book compares five different qualitative research designs: narrative research, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case study. It compares the characteristics, data collection, data analysis and representation, validity, and writing-up procedures among five inquiry approaches using texts with tables. For each approach, the author introduced the definition, features, types, and procedures and contextualized these components in a study, which was conducted through the same method. Each chapter ends with a list of relevant readings of each inquiry approach.
This book invites readers to compare these five qualitative methods and see the value of each approach. Readers can consider which approach would serve for their research contexts and questions, as well as how to design their research and conduct the data analysis based on their choice of research method.
Günes, E., & Bahçivan, E. (2016). A multiple case study of preservice science teachers’ TPACK: Embedded in a comprehensive belief system. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 11 (15), 8040-8054.
In this article, the researchers showed the importance of using technological opportunities in improving the education process and how they enhanced the students’ learning in science education. The study examined the connection between “Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge” (TPACK) and belief system in a science teaching context. The researchers used the multiple-case study to explore the effect of TPACK on the preservice science teachers’ (PST) beliefs on their TPACK level. The participants were three teachers with the low, medium, and high level of TPACK confidence. Content analysis was utilized to analyze the data, which were collected by individual semi-structured interviews with the participants about their lesson plans. The study first discussed each case, then compared features and relations across cases. The researchers found that there was a positive relationship between PST’s TPACK confidence and TPACK level; when PST had higher TPACK confidence, the participant had a higher competent TPACK level and vice versa.
Recent Dissertations Using Multiple Case Study Methodology
Milholland, E. S. (2015). A multiple case study of instructors utilizing Classroom Response Systems (CRS) to achieve pedagogical goals . Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (Order Number 3706380)
The researcher of this study critiques the use of Classroom Responses Systems by five instructors who employed this program five years ago in their classrooms. The researcher conducted the multiple-case study methodology and categorized themes. He interviewed each instructor with questions about their initial pedagogical goals, the changes in pedagogy during teaching, and the teaching techniques individuals used while practicing the CRS. The researcher used the multiple-case study with five instructors. He found that all instructors changed their goals during employing CRS; they decided to reduce the time of lecturing and to spend more time engaging students in interactive activities. This study also demonstrated that CRS was useful for the instructors to achieve multiple learning goals; all the instructors provided examples of the positive aspect of implementing CRS in their classrooms.
Li, C. L. (2010). The emergence of fairy tale literacy: A multiple case study on promoting critical literacy of children through a juxtaposed reading of classic fairy tales and their contemporary disruptive variants . Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (Order Number 3572104)
To explore how children’s development of critical literacy can be impacted by their reactions to fairy tales, the author conducted a multiple-case study with 4 cases, in which each child was a unit of analysis. Two Chinese immigrant children (a boy and a girl) and two American children (a boy and a girl) at the second or third grade were recruited in the study. The data were collected through interviews, discussions on fairy tales, and drawing pictures. The analysis was conducted within both individual cases and cross cases. Across four cases, the researcher found that the young children’s’ knowledge of traditional fairy tales was built upon mass-media based adaptations. The children believed that the representations on mass-media were the original stories, even though fairy tales are included in the elementary school curriculum. The author also found that introducing classic versions of fairy tales increased children’s knowledge in the genre’s origin, which would benefit their understanding of the genre. She argued that introducing fairy tales can be the first step to promote children’s development of critical literacy.
Asher, K. C. (2014). Mediating occupational socialization and occupational individuation in teacher education: A multiple case study of five elementary pre-service student teachers . Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (Order Number 3671989)
This study portrayed five pre-service teachers’ teaching experience in their student teaching phase and explored how pre-service teachers mediate their occupational socialization with occupational individuation. The study used the multiple-case study design and recruited five pre-service teachers from a Midwestern university as five cases. Qualitative data were collected through interviews, classroom observations, and field notes. The author implemented the case study analysis and found five strategies that the participants used to mediate occupational socialization with occupational individuation. These strategies were: 1) hindering from practicing their beliefs, 2) mimicking the styles of supervising teachers, 3) teaching in the ways in alignment with school’s existing practice, 4) enacting their own ideas, and 5) integrating and balancing occupational socialization and occupational individuation. The study also provided recommendations and implications to policymakers and educators in teacher education so that pre-service teachers can be better supported.
Multiple Case Studies by Nadia Alqahtani and Pengtong Qu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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Single Case Study
- Information Technology
- Virtual Reality
- Online Communities
- Global Positioning System
- Supply Chain
- Research Worker
Jonathan Lazar , ... Harry Hochheiser , in Research Methods in Human Computer Interaction (Second Edition) , 2017
7.7 Choosing Cases
Single-case studies may present little, if any, difficulty in case selection. Case studies often involve cases that are somehow unique or incomparable to others. Intrinsic case studies limit you to consideration of the specific instance of interest. Convenience can also be a factor—you may choose a specific case “because it's there.” This is often the case when you are not particularly concerned about generalizing: when conducting an exploratory case study aimed at building initial understandings of a situation, any case might work (see Section 7.11 ). In all of these instances, selection is straightforward: you work with what you have available. Otherwise, you will want to put careful consideration into your criteria for selecting cases.
There are a few general guidelines that apply to almost any sort of case study. Like ethnographic investigations ( Chapter 9 ), case studies require a great deal of time, careful preparation, and often close cooperation with one or more individuals or organizations. Given these challenges, the individuals, groups, organizations, or systems that you choose should be chosen carefully. You will want to try to identify case study participants who have an interest in committing some of their own resources to work with you to make the research successful. You should also try to maximize convenience, working with geographically convenient participants whenever possible.
Further considerations in your choice of cases will be driven by the details of your research design. If you are conducting an instrumental case study aimed at developing generalizable models of classes of users or contexts, you should aim for cases that are representative in the appropriate aspects. Although the analysis tools may be different, this is the same problem faced by quantitative user studies (see Chapter 2 ): if the participants in your study are sufficiently different from the group to which you are generalizing, your findings may not hold up, no matter how strong the analysis. Thus, if you are doing a case study to understand how technically unsophisticated users interact with antispyware and antivirus tools, you probably don't want to ask computer science undergraduates, who are likely to be more technically savvy than most users. The additional credibility that comes from having appropriate participants is referred to as external validity ( Yin, 2014 ).
Multiple-case studies reduce concerns about external validity somewhat, as consistent findings across your cases can be used to counter the argument that you are describing some idiosyncrasy of your specific participants. However, these problems reappear if you are attempting theoretical replication—members of each group must both represent that group appropriately while differing from other groups in the appropriate dimensions.
Sara's case study provides an instructive example of case selection. When reading the paper, all we are told about Sara is that she is a blind college student. We are not given any other details about her age, background, or socioeconomic status. However, we can infer from the list of tasks—which includes activities such as organizing CDs, cooking, and receiving text messages by cell phone—that she is fairly active and self-reliant. In other words, as far as we know, she may be an appropriate participant for a study of the workaround strategies used by people who are blind. We might not be able to make generalizations that apply her results to other people, but that would be true of any single participant. Furthermore, as the study was described as descriptive and explanatory ( Yin, 2014 ), the authors do not make any claims of generality.
Some case studies specifically seek out unusual, distinctive, or “edge” cases. When studying antispyware or antivirus tools, you might argue that computer science undergraduates are worth studying because you would look for an understanding of how their domain expertise helped them approach challenges that would stop less knowledgeable users. The Finnish study of virtual collaboration in a school setting was conducted in a school that was chosen specifically because “the pedagogical setting had several features that may be described as innovative” ( Lakkala et al., 2007 ). See the Extreme Cases sidebar for a description of a case study that specifically sought out an atypical set of participants in order to get a fresh perspective on an established problem.
Some studies use critical cases —cases that are somehow particularly distinctive or notable with respect to the problem that is being considered ( Flyvbjerg, 2006 ). For example, a case study examining the use of antivirus software by employees of a large company might focus on a firm that required all staff members to complete extensive training in the use of the tools in question. This required training makes the firm a strong candidate for success: if antivirus software isn't used there, it might not be used anywhere. Thus, the company becomes a critical case.
Still other strategies for identifying cases are possible. You might search for cases that are most or least likely to exhibit behavior that you are interested in investigating ( Flyvbjerg, 2006 ).
If you find yourself trying to choose from a large pool of potential cases, consider expanding your research agenda to include a screening survey ( Yin, 2011 ). A carefully constructed survey of potential participants can provide data that informs your selection process. Such surveys might assess both the fit between the participants and your criteria and the willingness of the participants to commit their time and energy to the success of the study. Ideally, screening surveys stand on their own as research results, providing insights into the larger group of respondents not selected for closer examination in your case study ( Yin, 2011 ). See Chapter 5 for advice on conducting surveys.
Nikolai Mansourov , Djenana Campara , in System Assurance , 2011
This chapter uses a single case study to illustrate some of the activities of a system assurance evaluation, highlighting the exchanges of content and managing pieces of cyber-security knowledge in an integrated system model throughout the entire system assurance project. The system Concept of Operations (CONOP) documents are the key inputs to the project definition phase of the system assurance project. The system of interest is called Clicks2Bricks. It is a fictitious system developed by a fictitious company called Cyber Bricks Corporation. Cyber Bricks is a privately owned company whose business is in the area of the innovative devices called cyber bricks. The Clicks2Bricks system allows users to read the online content, allows customers to search for available products and service offerings, allows suppliers to input information about their products and service offerings, and allows service providers to input information about their services. The Object Management Group (OMG) Assurance Ecosystem defines several standard protocols for exchanging knowledge for assurance. The OMG vendor-neutral standards enable machine-readable content that can be unlocked from proprietary tools and can be developed and exchanged independently of its producers and consumers to allow evolution towards the industrialization of cyber-security and taking advantage of the economies of scale.
G.A. Fine , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001
Just as there are significant advantages to this methodology, disadvantages are evident. Problems relate to proof, generalizability, bias, and time commitments.
Participant observation relies upon a single case study : the examination of one place. This raises questions about the nature of proof, or, put another way, about reliability. Will two researchers examining the same or similar social scenes reach the same conclusions? Often because of different perspectives upon entering the field and different experiences within the field, findings are sharply distinct. While the observations and interpretations of those observations may be compelling, one can reasonably wonder whether any set of conclusions is definitive.
Even if we accept the legitimacy of analyzing one scene, on what grounds can we generalize beyond that setting? How far can our conclusions be pushed? Participant observation research has a problem in this regard because of the absence of scientific control that characterizes experimental research and produces confidence in the claim that important variables of social life have been adequately captured. As a result, the extent to which generalizability is legitimate is problematic in participant observation. Participant observers need to present a theoretical model that helps readers to judge the legitimacy of their broader claims in light of the audience's own experiences.
A strength of participant observation methodology is that the researcher's insight and perspective is taken into account, but this strength has a downside. One cannot adequately distinguish between perspective and bias. The background that the researcher brings to a scene can be distinctively different from other researchers, and, for that matter, from the perspectives of the participants in the setting. To the extent that the researcher's perspectives differ significantly from the perspectives of the participants—possible because of the generally progressive values and upper middle class status of academics—the understanding of a particular scene may be systematically biased.
Just as participant observation research is relatively inexpensive, it is also highly labor intensive. This form of research requires that the researcher be present in the observed social scene. One cannot simply fly in and out, but must spend sufficient time so that the fullrange of activities in which participants engage are noted. Much participant observation depends upon chance—what happens to occur at the moment of observation—and, as a result, a significant investment of time is needed. While there is no definitive rule for the proper length of time necessary for observation, most projects require months, if not years, to complete. This, coupled with a modest requirement for capital equipment support means that, as noted, this methodology is particularly appropriate for younger scholars. This reality can mean that participant observation studies often do not have the depth of theoretical understanding that more likely characterizes the work of senior scholars.
Psychotherapy: Case Study
F. Petermann , J.M. Müller , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001
The concepts of single-case or case studies are explained and linked to principles of psychotherapy. Three types of single-case studies—descriptive, exploratory, and explanatory—are distinguished. The historical development of the single-case study is presented reaching from the experimental single-case research at the beginning of the twentieth century to more recent techniques like time series analysis. The importance of this innovation in data analysis for psychotherapy research is demonstrated. Besides its use in research the future importance of the single-case approach may well lie in quality management. In future, the case study may possibly prove useful as a basis for continuous control and optimization of therapeutic work in the sense of controlled practice evaluation. The main function of a single-case study lies with monitoring and controlling of therapeutic work, and its objectives pertain to proving both treatment integrity and efficacy. As single-case studies show critical points which can reduce their validity, hints for evaluating the evidence of single cases are given.
C.C. Ragin , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001
In case-oriented research investigators focus on interconnections among parts and aspects within each case and attempt to make sense of cases as singular, interpretable entities. The single case study is the most basic form of case-oriented research, but researchers may also conduct a series of case studies, each study building on the previous, or conduct simultaneous studies of several instances of the same phenomenon (as in comparative research). The key commonality of these different case-oriented approaches is that the researcher makes an effort to understand each case included in the study separately, as an interpretable entity. The distinctiveness of the case-oriented approach is most apparent when it is contrasted with variable-oriented research, where investigators focus on cross-case patterns and not on each case as a separate entity. The case-oriented approach is distinctive not only in its goals and logic, but also in its ‘practical aspects’—the procedures that case-oriented researchers use to work with evidence and represent what they have learned.
Biographical Methodology: Psychological Perspectives
W. Nasby , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001
When studying an individual life, data often pose the central difficulty. The challenges of data can prevent a biographical investigation from exiting the starting gate. Most agree that the single-case study requires a wealth and variety of data, but investigators must typically confront inaccessibility of subjects. To complete the task, psychobiographers often can only consult archival material; the investigator cannot obtain data through interviews or assessments, essentially reducing the project to psychobiography. Given inadequate data, production of psychobiography almost inevitably falls prey to projection and other varieties of countertransference. The consequences of inadequate data partially explain the multiplicity of embarrassing work that plagues the genre.
Biographies that permit creative investigation in vivo typically include clinical cases that suffer from other limitations, most notably a pathological focus. Furthermore, studying a life ideally means conducting an investigation over time, which poses practical difficulties that intimidate all too many. Often, investigators come no closer to the ideal than studying college sophomores over a semester.
Recent developments, however, illustrate that the task of gathering adequate data, although difficult, need no longer derail a biographical project. For example, personologists have outlined guidelines according to which a biographer can extract case data from narrative sources and reveal the underlying order therein. Personologists have also profitably applied coding schemes to analyze the content of narrative material. For example, personologists have devised coding systems that yield quantitative measures of important motives, including intimacy, as well as achievement, power, and affiliation-intimacy, and the broader concerns of identity, intimacy, and generativity. One may also reliably evaluate affect or affective tone through ratings of narrative material.
Applying each of the aforementioned techniques, Nasby and Read ( 1997 ) reported an integrative case study of the solo circumnavigator, Dodge Morgan. In addition, the investigators applied concomitant time series analysis (CTSA) to the quantitative measures of motives, broader concerns, and affect as well as performance measures of daily progress. CTSA permitted detection, modeling, and removal of statistical artifacts (long-term trends, cycles, and serial dependencies) from each variable over time. Once decomposed, accurate calculation of cross-correlation functions that assessed synchronous and lagged relations between variables occurred, which permitted valid statistical tests of hypotheses about the circumnavigator's functioning throughout the life-defining event of the voyage.
Similarly, Simonton ( 1998 ) investigated ‘Mad’ King George of England, first performing content analyses of the historical record to obtain quantitative measures of stress and health, and then decomposing each series before finally calculating the cross-correlations (synchronous and lagged) between the multiple indices of stress and health. Of considerable importance, the ‘historiometric’ approach illustrates that a biographer can often derive quantitative indices from the qualitative or narrative sources of information that dominate historical records, and then apply sophisticated statistical techniques, including but not restricted to CTSA, to test explicit hypotheses about historical figures.
Jack Glazier , in Encyclopedia of Social Measurement , 2005
Cultural Similarities or Cultural Differences
Studies that effectively contribute to culture theory and the associated construction of generalizations are necessarily comparative, because theory entails an explanation of multiple cases of cultural regularity. But in extending the reach of the single case study , theory and generalization almost exist at cross-purposes with the ethnography of the single case. On the one hand, the case study stays very faithful to detail, to native perspectives, to the subtleties of the vernacular language of the community, and to the context of events considered in holistic fashion. That fidelity to detail inevitably gives each case study a very distinct character, because the particular content and concatenation of events, activities, personalities, informant statements, and the like are singular. The detailed ethnography deriving from fieldwork may well restrict theory development and broad comparisons, if one is bent on maintaining the integrity and holism of the data. For example, anthropological accounts of peoples as diverse as Cantonese villagers, Mundurucu or Yanomamo horticulturists in Brazil and Venezuela, Mbeere farmer/herders on the Mt. Kenya periphery, and Tikopia Islanders in Polynesia characterize them as “patrilineal.” This designation refers to their mode of reckoning descent through the male line, ascending to father, grandfather, and so on, to an apical ancestor. Men and women descended from that ancestor through male links belong to a patrilineal group—a lineage, a clan, or a moiety. In this respect, the five peoples cited as well as many others appear similar in regard to their construction of critical descent groups. The particular native designations of these male-descended kin groups are vastly different and the connotations of the various terms as well as the particular role the kin groups play are different in each case.
Differences between the Cantonese and the Mbeere amid the common theme of patrilineal descent are illustrative. The Cantonese lineage, a corporate patrilineal group of considerable genealogical depth, is extremely important in the death rituals of its members. The lineage represents a kind of kin-based religious congregation charged with venerating male ancestors of the lineage. By contrast, the Mbeere patrilineage in no sense constitutes a religious congregation responsible for either collective ritual at the death of a member or, subsequently, collective commemorative rites. Compared to the Cantonese, it is weakly corporate and genealogically shallow. Yet both represent examples of patrilineal descent groups organized by common principles. The Cantonese and the Mbeere are two examples among hundreds of societies that anthropologists classify as “patrilineal.” Some anthropologists are, accordingly, very interested in the comparative problem of explaining the social circumstances promoting the widespread development of patrilineal descent, as documented in large cross-cultural samples. What is at play here is the chronic tension between the ethnographic case study and comparative analysis aiming for a theoretical explanation of multiple occurrences. The decision to remain close to the ethnographic facts or to integrate them into a more generalized explanation simply depends on the anthropologist's intention. A cultural system is unique and at the same time similar to other cultural systems, however self- contradictory this may seem. It all depends on the level of abstraction at which the anthropologist chooses to work. For example, the Mbeere and the Cantonese are unique among the world's cultures, because no other communities reproduce the distinct configuration of customary practices and organizational features defining each case. Indeed, even distinct Cantonese villages or Mbeere local communities assume their own individuality in the finest grained ethnographic descriptions of each people. The area inhabited by the Mbeere people is, for example, characterized by variation in local ecology based on elevation and rainfall. The arid plains constitute an ecological zone distinct from the much better watered upland areas, and these in turn lead to important internal differences in patrilineal organization.
Richard John Anthony , in Systems Programming , 2016
A main theme running throughout the book is to bring the technical content to life through a variety of practical activities, programming exercises and case studies, numerous examples, and analogies. In particular, a single case study runs through the first four “viewpoint” chapters, putting the material into an application context and cross-linking the many themes within and across the chapters.
The multiplayer network game case study was selected because it has a useful set of characteristics that make it ideal as a basis to discuss structure, function, and behavior. However, the documentation for that case study has been dispersed across several chapters with the primary goal of reinforcing the material of those chapters and placing it into perspective; the focus has not been on the presentation of the case study itself.
This chapter provides two additional self-contained case studies. These have been chosen such that they are well differentiated in terms of their structure and behavior and therefore are collectively representative of a wide space of distributed applications. Here, the focus is on the case studies in their entirety. The case studies are presented with detailed design documentation, from requirements analysis to complete working applications with annotated sections of codes presented and discussed.
Also included is a discussion of good design and development practices for distributed applications. Aspects discussed include requirements analysis, architectural considerations, communication, code reuse and code libraries, and testing.
Mathematical and Logical Abilities, Neural Basis of
J. Whalen , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001
A number of findings from studies of groups of impaired-brain damaged patients suggest that posterior cortical regions, particularly parietal regions, may play a role in arithmetic fact retrieval (Butterworth 1999 ). Impairment in calculation after brain damage, termed acalculia , occurs much more frequently after injury of the parietal lobes than to damage in other centers. Damage to left posterior brain regions impair numerical tasks, including those involving arithmetic, more so than damage elsewhere. However, these studies generally do not distinguish between the multiple components of complex calculation, including arithmetic fact retrieval, calculation procedures, and numeral comprehension and production.
Several single case studies have also implicated left parietal regions as a center for arithmetic fact retrieval, including the previously described patient ‘DRC,’ and multiple cases studied by Takayama et al. ( 1994 ). The application of electrical stimulation to the left parietal lobe (prior to neurosurgery) has also resulted in transient impairment to arithmetic fact retrieval during stimulation when the subject is otherwise completely capable of recalling arithmetic facts. Thus it appears that the left parietal lobe, and perhaps both parietal lobes, play a major role in the retrieval of arithmetic facts from memory.
Parietal cortex may not be the only region involved in retrieving arithmetic facts from memory. Calculation impairments have also been found after damage to frontal lobes and subcortical structures including the basal ganglia (Dehaene 1997 ). Some of these areas may be involved in processes other than arithmetic fact retrieval. For example, evidence from single case studies suggest that damage to the frontal lobes may produce impairment and an inability to produce multi-digit calculation procedures (rather than impairing arithmetic fact retrieval). The hypothesis that frontal lobes play a role in calculation procedures is consistent with the finding from multiple brain imaging studies that complex calculation such as repeated subtractions activate not only parietal centers (thought to be involved in arithmetic fact retrieval) but also other centers such as the frontal area, which maybe involved in holding answers in memory, and performing multi-digit calculation procedures.
Patients who have little or no communication between their cerebral hemispheres also provide some evidence as to the localization of arithmetic fact retrieval. When each hemisphere is given a calculation task, only the left hemisphere can retrieve arithmetic facts, and the right hemisphere produces very high error rates (80 percent) (Dehaene 1997 ). The right hemisphere's inability to perform the arithmetic task cannot be attributed to numeral comprehension or response production impairments. As was discussed earlier, these patients reveal the ability in each hemisphere to perform number comparison, suggesting that both hemispheres can both represent numerical magnitudes and comprehend arabic numerals.
In summary, current evidence indicates that the parietal lobe plays a major role in simple arithmetic fact retrieval. Other subcortical regions such as the basal ganglia may also be involved. It is currently thought that frontal areas are involved in multidigit calculation procedures, and the working memory demands of complex calculation. These conclusions are somewhat at odds with the assumptions made by the Triple Code Model presented above. Dehaene suggests that the most frequent lesion sites which result in acalculia are in the left inferior parietal region, because this area provides semantic relations between numbers, and can inform fact retrieval. Thus lesions in this area might affect access to arithmetic memory without destroying the rote facts themselves. However, several cases do report specific fact retrieval deficits as a result of parietal lesions.
D.P. McAdams , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001
2 Perennial Issues and Controversies
In his first textbook, Allport ( 1937 ) foresaw a number of issues that were destined to stimulate recurrent debate in the field of personality psychology. The one that most preoccupied Allport himself was the tension between nomothetic and idiographic approaches to personality inquiry. While nomothetic approaches seek to establish general laws of behavior that apply across persons, idiographic approaches, as embodied in the case study, focus on the unique or characteristic patterning of an individual person. The vast majority of published research in personality psychology is nomothetic, typically involving the testing of hypotheses about personality constructs and processes. But if the field itself is supposed to be concerned with human individuality, Allport argued, then some form of idiographic inquiry must be included. Skeptics have countered that the results of single-case studies cannot be generalized, and thus have little scientific value. But proponents of idiographic approaches maintain that case studies are often excellent arenas for hypothesis discovery, for applying general theories, and for illuminating complex personality organization. Along with Allport and Murray, Robert White ( 1952 ) championed the intensive study of individual lives. Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in idiographic approaches and considerable optimism about integrating them with more conventional nomothetic methods.
A forerunner to the ‘trait versus situation debate’ of the 1970s was Allport's identification of the problem of generality versus specificity in behavior. To what extent is a person's behavior generally consistent across situations, as opposed to being specific to the vagaries of particular situations themselves? Mischel ( 1968 ) argued that Allport and most other personality psychologists overplayed the generality idea, expecting their constructs to predict general trends in behavior across many different situations. In Mischel's ( 1968 ) view, the empirical data were much more supportive of a specificity position. Although trait constructs have regained their currency in recent years, many personality psychologists have retained a healthy skepticism about cross-situational generality, and some have proposed that some personality constructs themselves need to be defined in contingent, situational terms.
A third issue concerns measurement. The most popular personality measures have always been self-report questionnaires. But many critics have argued that such measures are unable to assess especially subtle, implicit, or unconscious aspects of human individuality. As an alternative, some have championed projective techniques, wherein the person responds freely to ambiguous cues (e.g., inkblots, story scenes). For example, David McClelland ( 1961 ) built a highly successful research program around the assessment of achievement motivation in imaginative stories told to picture cues (the Thematic Apperception Test, or TAT). Others, most notably Jack Block ( 1971 ), refined Q-sort rating procedures that bypassed self-report for the evaluations of expert judges. While a plethora of measurement techniques may be seen in the field today, the self-report questionnaire, nonetheless, remains the coin of the realm.
A fourth controversy is the often-observed disconnect between grand personality theories and construct-based personality research. While some argue that a good deal of personality research has been directly or indirectly inspired by the grand theories, others contend that the grand theories should be dismissed as historical artifacts. The controversy is especially acute with respect to psychoanalytic theories. Many Freudian ideas, for example, have proven resistant to empirical scrutiny (e.g., the Oedipus complex) or have been jettisoned as outdated or just plain wrong (e.g., the death instinct). By contrast, some ideas that have traditionally been associated with psychoanalytic approaches have become incorporated into mainstream psychological research. Of most importance in this regard is the now generally accepted notion that a good deal of human information processing occurs in an automatic, implicit, and nonconscious manner. Thus, while psychoanalytic theories have exerted a strong impact on Western thinking more generally, their current and future status in personality psychology appears ambiguous at best.
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 lear...
Case studies are important because they help make something being discussed more realistic for both teachers and learners. Case studies help students to see that what they have learned is not purely theoretical but instead can serve to crea...
Examples of a case study could be anything from researching why a single subject has nightmares when they sleep in their new apartment, to why a group of people feel uncomfortable in heavily populated areas. A case study is an in-depth anal...
of different reasons the case studies can be either single or multiple. This study attempts to answer when to write a single case study and
In a multiple case study design, the researcher studies two or more cases (Yin, 2018). The main difference between single case study designs and multiple case
A difference between a single case study and a multiple case study is that in the last mentioned. the researcher are studying multiple cases
Single case study designs focus on a single individual, group, or site, while multiple case studies involve the study of two or more individuals
There are several different definitions and kinds of case studies. Because of different reasons the case studies can be either single or multiple.
This video explains when you have to choose case study and how many cases you have to choose, single, multiple, retrospective and
(2017). Single case studies vs. multiple case studies: A comparative study. Platt, J. (1992). “Case study” in American methodological thought.
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Other benefits are that single case studies richly can describe the existence of phenomenon and it is better to make a single case study than a multiple case
or multiple cases—what then might be labeled as a single- or a
The single case study is the most basic form of case-oriented research, but researchers may also conduct a series of case studies, each study building on the