Case study Research


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  • The above defends why qualitiative research should be used for a particular piece of research, important to defend this , main reason will be so that the researcher gains a holistic view of the case
  • Exploration – not seeking right answers data can be huge/unwieldy – if you have too many people within case
  • Find your fit
  • Social media (and collaboration, social constructivism) is the phenomena you are investigating, the case=group of academics
  • The cases is the learner or school, first years
  • Stake focuses on a case can be very small,
  • Lack of rigour – this is why you triangulate – Yin and Stake both mention this, most case study literature mentions this Even though only weak generalisations can be made, you can refer to case studies if published works and are deemed to be valid, it just means that you need to always keep in mind that case study data will be different for each case, as basically people could give different data, this is what interpretative research is all about – nothing is black and white
  • In your research methods section you need to acknowledge qualitative research as being interpretative , acknowledge ethics also
  • How could I better understand the students, get them to learn more effectively through reflection How can I better understand this group of academics use of social media (for collaboration)
  • Who are the people/person? Social media (and social collaboration etc) is the phenomena
  • Case – group of academics in Maynooth (that seems big to me , i would refine it) Issue - social media +(collaborations etc) Data – how will you obtain it: survey and interviews Analysis – how will you analyse it, Yin mentions strategies, then you will triangulation to ensure validity Assertion: What findings can you make
  • Rigour – mention interpretative studies data can be partial to person, to combat this, use multiple forms of data collect, then triangulate results , but with findings only weak generalisations can be made, because this is only a study of 1 case (i.e. this group) and with another group different data could occur (that is the nature of interpretative research
  • So if you choose not to use focus groups, use Stake to back up your argument
  • How is your interpretation valid - it will be valid because you have thought about using different data collection means, and triangulation , also taken ethics into account Ethics: so you need to get them to sign ethic consent forms??
  • categorical aggregation - coding
  • Get them to look at photocopy Maybe activity or discussions on advantages /disadvantages of triangulation?
  • Compare the data given by your respondents on survey and interviews Do they give same responses or are they different Be careful , can take long time if you have a lot of people in the case
  • Can be an unplanned
  • This could be part of a thesis, if an interesting event /story occurs. May not be suitable for journal writing as word limit, but could depend on way it is written into text
  • Potential readers of journal, 1 st , 2 nd marker, external examiner
  • Ask what journal have students chosen? Photo copy 3 types of different journal type structure
  • Lisa be strategic: If you don't know what literature you want to use yet Follows this for writing from now 1- write research methods draft 2 - Draft the bibliography/references 3 write literature review 4 analyse your data, write findings as you analyse 5- Finish writing findings 6- Write introduction 7 - Then start your next draft of entire document You will have Lots of drafts
  • Case study Research

    1. 2. <ul><li>Qualitative research denies positivist claim that there is one objective truth to be uncovered through process of research (Cohen et al) </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning is found through engaging with realities in our world (Crotty) </li></ul><ul><li>Case studies used in large number of social science research theses/dissertations </li></ul><ul><li>(Yin) </li></ul>
    2. 3. <ul><li>Because you want to investigate a certain phenomena (learning situation, technology for learning) with a certain group of people/person </li></ul><ul><li>The case = the people/person </li></ul>
    3. 4. <ul><li>Allows for exploration </li></ul><ul><li>Takes a holistic view of a situation </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility/convenience (situations where sampling can be difficult) </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Watch can be huge/unwieldy...... </li></ul>
    4. 5. <ul><li>Case study is among 5 approaches to qualitative enquiry (Creswell) </li></ul><ul><li>Seminal researchers: YIN, STAKE </li></ul><ul><li>Cohen et al also present case study </li></ul><ul><li>Yin more structured approach to research than Stake </li></ul><ul><li>Stake interpretative, brings his own outlook </li></ul><ul><li>*Slightly different approaches among Yin/Stake to structuring of case, but all have similarities , find which model fits your research </li></ul>
    5. 6. <ul><li>Case is within bounded environment </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple forms data collection </li></ul><ul><li>Validity checking </li></ul>
    6. 7. <ul><li>Single organisation - school: what is happening with a particular tool/strategy </li></ul><ul><li>A particular community - rural village ongoing issue/dispute </li></ul><ul><li>On a particular group ......... Issue to a group </li></ul><ul><li>An individual - career criminal - examination designed to understand motivations of a career criminal </li></ul><ul><li>A decision – merging to 2 schools, why was decision taken, how was it implemented , what was outcome </li></ul><ul><li>An event – an election campaign </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Henn et al) </li></ul></ul>
    7. 8. <ul><li>“ A case study is an empirical study that investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and with its real-life context ” (Yin, 2009, p18) </li></ul><ul><li>Case is a bounded system, i.e. learning situation/group = case (Stake) </li></ul><ul><li>Cases are units of investigation ..individuals..communities..groups (Henn et al) </li></ul><ul><li>(A case can be a group of students, a group of teachers, 1 teacher, 1 student) </li></ul>
    8. 9. <ul><li>Develop holistic and meaningful characteristics of real life event </li></ul><ul><li>Investigate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Small group behaviour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managerial cycles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neighbourhood change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School performance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Yin 2009) </li></ul>
    9. 10. <ul><li>Stake does not see the case study as a method, but suggests that mixed methods inform the case </li></ul><ul><li>Case is not the method, It is the object of study (Stake, 1995) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(ie the group or the individual) </li></ul></ul>
    10. 11. <ul><li>Read case study examples </li></ul><ul><li>What is the case? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the research question? </li></ul><ul><li>Single or multiple case? </li></ul><ul><li>How was data collected? </li></ul><ul><li>........................................... </li></ul>
    11. 12. <ul><li>No minimum size for case study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(can be 1 person to lots of people!) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sometimes research is small </li></ul><ul><li>Much of action research is case study </li></ul><ul><li>(Henn et al: research can be small) </li></ul>
    12. 13. <ul><li>Case study is not sampling , can’t understand other cases from it </li></ul><ul><li>Often only weak generalisations made (however sometimes generalisations inevitable) </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of rigour can be problematic </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes too long, massive unreadable documents! </li></ul>
    13. 14. <ul><li>Qualitative - emphasis on interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>All researchers are influenced by their experience (Stake) </li></ul><ul><li>For assertions we draw on understandings deep within us </li></ul><ul><li>Good case study is reflective , patient, willing to see other views...triangulation </li></ul>
    14. 15. <ul><li>Research comes from looking for a problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify a case study </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify an issue in the case study </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How can we better understand the case – this needs to overarching approach for the case </li></ul>
    15. 16. <ul><li>What is your suggested case? </li></ul><ul><li>(sometimes it is easier to define what your case is not!) </li></ul>
    16. 17. <ul><li>Case – Issue –Data – Analysis – Assertion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This could lead to thinking that data could solve an issue, not really </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assertion really initiates further work </li></ul></ul>
    17. 18. <ul><li>Rigorous methodological approach </li></ul><ul><li>Thorough literature review </li></ul><ul><li>Posing research questions </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit procedures of doing research </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge strengths/ limitations of case study research </li></ul><ul><li>(Yin) </li></ul>
    18. 19. <ul><li>6 common sources evidence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Documents, archival records, interviews, direct observation, participant observation, physical artefacts, video... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Need to master different data collection procedures (Yin) </li></ul>
    19. 20. <ul><li>Main methods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Observation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Document review </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Survey </li></ul><ul><li>Focus groups (Stake not a fan! Prefers interviews) </li></ul>
    20. 21. <ul><li>Use multiple sources of evidence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Triangulation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Create a case study database </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep your data organised </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maintain chain of evidence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clear line of discovery, time line, transparent processes to outside reader of case study </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Yin 2009) </li></ul>
    21. 22. <ul><li>What kind of validity are you aiming for? </li></ul><ul><li>How can you say something is valid? </li></ul><ul><li>Case study – no right or wrong (Cohen et al) </li></ul><ul><li>Confirmed by multiple sources/participant evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence is: trustworthy, credible, confirmable </li></ul>
    22. 23. <ul><li>How is your interpretation valid? </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers role is to interpret events </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretation is subjective </li></ul><ul><li>In methodology acknowledge that a limitation of case study research is that it is Interpretative and subject to researcher </li></ul>
    23. 24. <ul><li>How do you analyse data generated? </li></ul><ul><li>What does data tell you? </li></ul><ul><li>Stake, Yin: strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Read your data </li></ul><ul><li>Perform categorical aggregation (Stake) </li></ul><ul><li>Find instances of themes, subthemes, major themes </li></ul><ul><li>Perform constant comparison </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reading your data and trying to find contradictory evidence </li></ul></ul>
    24. 25. <ul><li>Member-checking, Keeps validity </li></ul><ul><li>Redundancy, question is asked in various ways </li></ul><ul><li>Effort to assure that right information and interpretation obtained </li></ul><ul><li>Does phenomenon remain the same at other times? </li></ul><ul><li>(Case study can be informed from quantitative or qualitative data alone) </li></ul>
    25. 26. <ul><li>Cases using multiple sources of evidence rated more highly (Yin) </li></ul><ul><li>Validity </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher gains more skills in data collection techniques </li></ul>
    26. 27. <ul><li>Takes more time (more expense) </li></ul><ul><li>Greater expertise in data collection techniques, more work needed </li></ul>
    27. 28. <ul><li>How will you perform triangulation? </li></ul>
    28. 29. <ul><li>Weak generalisations made (however sometimes generalisations inevitable) </li></ul><ul><li>Petite generalisations (Stake) </li></ul>
    29. 30. <ul><li>Stake: ‘ethical side of case studies is mainly a privacy business’ </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t invite over exposure- (falling cup of coffee story!) </li></ul><ul><li>Anonymity of participants </li></ul><ul><li>Are there other ethical issues? </li></ul>
    30. 31. <ul><li>‘ The Quintain ’ – issue common across all multiple case studies </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple case studies don't have to be comparative </li></ul><ul><li>[Stake - example of education (pre-school) case studies across Europe] </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes intent of multiple case study is to seek generalisability – however generalisability is weak with any case study </li></ul>
    31. 32. <ul><li>May/may not be in final report </li></ul><ul><li>Once off unusual event (unplanned data that occurs from a particular event) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Telephone interview... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General chat </li></ul></ul>
    32. 33. <ul><li>Stake recommends vignettes </li></ul><ul><li>A brief description/story </li></ul><ul><li>Episode to illustrate an aspect of the case </li></ul><ul><li>Gives audience a story that they recognise </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogic, experiential </li></ul><ul><li>We should not have too much of contrast between case study and vignette </li></ul>
    33. 34. <ul><li>Know your audience – who are your audience? </li></ul><ul><li>What will audience look for? </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple types of audience need multiple types written report (Yin) </li></ul><ul><li>1 st write-up MSc </li></ul><ul><li>2 nd write-up more journal focussed </li></ul>
    34. 35. <ul><li>Design for audience – readers of your proposed journal </li></ul><ul><li>MSc – important to know style/formatting of your chosen journal </li></ul><ul><li>Word limit, referencing styles, Structure – abstract, introduction, methodology, findings from data, conclusions, further work.... </li></ul><ul><li>ALT-J (Research in Learning Technology) style: </li></ul>
    35. 36. <ul><li>You cannot begin writing early enough </li></ul><ul><li>After literature review </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Draft the bibliography/references </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Draft the methodology (how data will be collected) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Writing means rewriting! (Yin) </li></ul>
    36. 37. <ul><li>The case study must </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be significant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be complete </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider alternative perspectives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Display sufficient evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be composed in engaging manner </li></ul></ul>
    37. 38. <ul><li>Cohen, Manion, Morrison (2007) Research methods in education London; New York: Routledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Creswell, J.W. (2007) Qualitative inquiry and research design : choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks : Sage Publications, 2007. </li></ul><ul><li>Crotty, M (1998) The foundations of social research : meaning and perspective in the research process London: SAGE. </li></ul><ul><li>Henn, M; Foard, N; Weinstein, M (2010) A Critical Introduction to Social Research 2 nd Ed SAGE Publications Ltd. </li></ul><ul><li>Stake, R.E. (1995) The art of case study research, Thousand Oaks, Calif.; London: Sage. </li></ul><ul><li>Yin, R.K. (2009) Case study research : design and methods, Thousand Oaks, Calif. Sage Publications. </li></ul>