Friday, 15 July 2011

Case study research

I was quite pleased to hear about the new edition of The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. In particular, there is a chapter in there by Bent Flyvberg on Case Study research, which should be quite helpful, as it dispels many myths about case study research:

  1. First misunderstanding: General, theoretical knowledge is more valuable than concrete case knowledge.
  2. Second misunderstanding: One cannot generalize on the basis of an individual case; therefore, the case study cannot contribute to scientific development.
  3. Third misunderstanding: The case study is most useful for generating hypotheses; that is, in the first stage of a total research process,
  4. while other methods are more suitable for hypotheses testing and theory building.
  5. Fourth misunderstanding: The case study contains a bias toward verification, that is, a tendency to confirm the researcher’s preconceived notions.
  6. Fifth misunderstanding: It is often difficult to summarize and develop general propositions and theories on the basis of specific case studies.

If you are contemplating research that might benefit from a case study approach, then I recommend this book most strongly. Further details by clicking on the link:
The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research

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