Pros and Cons of Using a Case Study in Research Essay

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Case Study Case study research is an investigation of a “bounded system” or a case or multiple cases over time through detailed, in-depth data collection involving multiple sources of information (e.g., observations, audio-visual materials, reports, etc.) (Creswell, 1998). During data collection, Yin (1989) recommended six types of data collection for case studies: 1) documentation; 2) archival records; 3) interviews; 4) direct observations; 5) participant observations; and 6) physical artifacts. Case studies are bounded as they are reflective of a particular program, event, individual, or activity being studied at a particular place and time. Thus, Merriam (1988) described a case study as “an examination of a specific
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Occasionally, the researcher, while knowing the expected results, may unknowingly guide the subject into confirming those results. This is referred to as the Pygmalion effect. Case studies are qualitative and there is debate that qualitative data is unscientific. In addition, there is question that the researchers are not systematic in the data collection and introduce bias into their findings. Case studies are longitudinal, which means they take place over a long period of time. Therefore, using a case study research design is a time consuming process.

Challenges of Case Studies

In conducting qualitative case studies, there are many challenges the inquirer should be aware of and strive to keep in mind such as (Creswell, 1998 p. 64); 1) there is no predetermined solution for the inquirer, thus, they must decide their own cases; 2) the inquirer must decide whether the case study will be single or multiple, if multiple, how many?; 3) the inquirer must decide the rationale for their purposeful sampling strategy; 4) the inquirer must ensure they have collected enough data to present an in-depth description of the case under study (not enough information could limit the study); and 5) the inquirer must decide the boundaries of the case study--as it may or may not be constrained by time, events, and processes (foreseen and