Illustrative Case StudiesThese are primarily descriptive studies. They typically utilize one or two instances of an event to show what a situation is like. Illustrative case studies serve primarily to make the unfamiliar familiar and to give readers a common language about the topic in question.
Exploratory (or pilot) Case StudiesThese are condensed case studies performed before implementing a large scale investigation. Their basic function is to help identify questions and select types of measurement prior to the main investigation. The primary pitfall of this type of study is that initial findings may seem convincing enough to be released prematurely as conclusions.
Cumulative Case StudiesThese serve to aggregate information from several sites collected at different times. The idea behind these studies is the collection of past studies will allow for greater generalization without additional cost or time being expended on new, possibly repetitive studies.
Critical Instance Case StudiesThese examine one or more sites for either the purpose of examining a situation of unique interest with little to no interest in generalizability, or to call into question or challenge a highly generalized or universal assertion. This method is useful for answering cause and effect questions.
Case study method no narration
Background and Assignment Guidelines*
◦ Compared to Quantitative
◦ Learn from existing events
Primary purpose is not offer definitive
answers but to raise critical questions.
Older than you might think.
Started in “naturalistic” social sciences
◦ Journalism Background
◦ Not generalizable
Each case study is to be typed, double-spaced, in a legible
font, and at least 1,000 words in length (not to exceed
◦ Summary. This is a concisely written statement, placed at the front of
the report. It briefly summarizes the major points of the case. It should
describe the relevant facts, key figures, and context in which it
◦ Problem statement. Present the central issue(s) or major problem(s) in
the case here. Do not rehash the facts of the case; lay the groundwork
for your analysis.
◦ Analysis. Discuss the major issues. Present relevant alternatives or
solutions. Briefly present the major arguments for and against each.
Be sure to state your assumptions, the potential impact of, and
constraints on each alternative.
◦ Conclusion. Sum up your analysis and the logic that led you to
recommend specific action(s). Briefly address the reasons you rejected