Comparative case studies definition

Also, a research method that involves an in-depth analysis of an individual, group, institution, or other social unit. For material that contains a case study, search for document type: case study. We call your attention to a few examples published as case studies in health sciences librarianship to consider how their characteristics fit with the preceding definitions of case reports or case study research.

All present some characteristics of case study research, but their treatment of the research questions, richness of description, and analytic strategies vary in depth and, therefore, diverge at some level from the qualitative case study research approach. This divergence, particularly in richness of description and analysis, may have been constrained by the publication requirements. As one example, a case study by Janke and Rush documented a time- and context-bound collaboration involving a librarian and a nursing faculty member [ 15 ].


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Three objectives were stated: 1 describing their experience of working together on an interprofessional research team, 2 evaluating the value of the librarian role from librarian and faculty member perspectives, and 3 relating findings to existing literature. This reads like a case study that could have been enriched by including other types of data gathered from others engaging with this team to broaden the understanding of the collaboration.

As another example, the description of the academic context is one of the most salient components of the case study written by Clairoux et al. The authors focus on sharing what the institution has done more than explaining why this institution is an exemplar to explore a focused question or understand the phenomenon of library instruction.

However, like a case study, the analysis brings together several streams of data including course attendance, online material page views, and some discussion of results from surveys. This paper reads somewhat in between an institutional case report and a case study. The final example is a single author reporting on a personal experience of creating and executing the role of research informationist for a National Institutes of Health NIH —funded research team [ 17 ].

There is a thoughtful review of the informationist literature and detailed descriptions of the institutional context and the process of gaining access to and participating in the new role. However, the motivating question in the abstract does not seem to be fully addressed through analysis from either the reflective perspective of the author as the research participant or consideration of other streams of data from those involved in the informationist experience.

All of these publications are well written and useful for their intended audiences, but in general, they are much shorter and much less rich in depth than case studies published in social sciences research. It may be that the authors have been constrained by word counts or page limits.

Edited by Robert E. Goodin

Problem-focused or question-driven case study research would benefit from the space provided for Original Investigations that employ any type of quantitative or qualitative method of analysis. One of the best examples in the JMLA of an in-depth multiple case study that was authored by a librarian who published the findings from her doctoral dissertation represented all the elements of a case study.

In eight pages, she provided a theoretical basis for the research question, a pilot study, and a multiple case design, including integrated data from interviews and focus groups [ 19 ].

We have distinguished between case reports and case studies primarily to assist librarians who are new to research and critical appraisal of case study methodology to recognize the features that authors use to describe and designate the methodological approaches of their publications. For researchers who are new to case research methodology and are interested in learning more, Hancock and Algozzine provide a guide [ 20 ]. We hope that JMLA readers appreciate the rigor of well-executed case study research.

We also hope that authors feel encouraged to pursue submitting relevant case studies or case reports for future publication. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. J Med Libr Assoc. Published online Jan 1.

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Kristine M. Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Received Oct 1; Accepted Oct 1. Articles in this journal are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4. Abstract The purpose of this editorial is to distinguish between case reports and case studies. Leading authors diverge in their definitions of case study, but a qualitative research text introduces case study as follows: Case study research is defined as a qualitative approach in which the investigator explores a real-life, contemporary bounded system a case or multiple bound systems cases over time, through detailed, in-depth data collection involving multiple sources of information, and reports a case description and case themes.

Open in a separate window. Figure 1. References 1. Akers KG, Amos K. Whatever the frame of reference for the choice of the subject of the case study key, outlier, local knowledge , there is a distinction to be made between the subject and the object of the case study. The subject is the "practical, historical unity" through which the theoretical focus of the study is being viewed. Thus, for example, if a researcher were interested in US resistance to communist expansion as a theoretical focus, then the Korean War might be taken to be the subject , the lens, the case study through which the theoretical focus, the object , could be viewed and explicated.

Beyond decisions about case selection and the subject and object of the study, decisions need to be made about purpose, approach and process in the case study. Gary Thomas thus proposes a typology for the case study wherein purposes are first identified evaluative or exploratory , then approaches are delineated theory-testing, theory-building or illustrative , then processes are decided upon, with a principal choice being between whether the study is to be single or multiple, and choices also about whether the study is to be retrospective, snapshot or diachronic, and whether it is nested, parallel or sequential.

Some cases study marketing analysis to ensure a full understanding of the effects on an organization.


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In a case where the market of any organization is in jepoardy, the agency will seek answers and solutions. In order to fulfill this need, the organization must gather pertient information. Case studies can be used to establish where the problem originates by utilizing several research methods. The primary methods used include: interviews, surveys, focus groups, observations and in some cases, field trials. In public-relations research, three types of case studies are used: [21]. Under the more generalized category of case study exist several subdivisions, each of which is custom selected for use depending upon the goals of the investigator.

These types of case study include the following:. At Harvard Law School In , Christopher Langdell departed from the traditional lecture-and-notes approach to teaching contract law and began using cases pled before courts as the basis for class discussions. Research in business disciplines is usually based on a positivist epistemology , [24] namely, that reality is something that is objective and can be discovered and understood by a scientific examination of empirical evidence.

But organizational behavior cannot always be easily reduced to simple tests that prove something to be true or false. Reality may be an objective thing, but it is understood and interpreted by people who, in turn, act upon it, and so critical realism , which addresses the connection between the natural and social worlds, is a useful basis for analyzing the environment of and events within an organization.

Case studies in management are generally used to interpret strategies or relationships, to develop sets of "best practices", or to analyze the external influences or the internal interactions of a firm. Frederic Le Play first introduced the case-study method into social science in as a handmaiden to statistics in his studies of family budgets.

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In all these disciplines, case studies were an occasion for postulating new theories, as in the grounded-theory work of sociologists Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss One of the areas in which case studies have been gaining popularity is education and in particular educational evaluation. Comparative case studies, in social science, policy, and education research; discusses one approach, which encourages researchers to compare horizontally, vertically, and temporally.

Using case studies in research differs from their use in teaching, where they are commonly called case methods and casebook methods. Teaching case studies have been a highly popular pedagogical format in many fields ranging from business education to science education. Harvard Business School has been among the most prominent developers and users of teaching case studies.

Additional relevant documentation, such as financial statements, time-lines, and short biographies, often referred to in the case study as exhibits, and multimedia supplements such as video-recordings of interviews with the case subject often accompany the case studies. Similarly, teaching case studies have become increasingly popular in science education. The National Center for Case Studies in Teaching Science has made a growing body of case studies available for classroom use, for university as well as secondary school coursework.

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Definition of Case Study – PressAcademia

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Not to be confused with case method , used in teaching. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research. Case Study Research: Design and Methods 5th ed. Classic Case Studies in Psychology. Abingdon, England: Hodder Education. Ethnic Groups in Conflict. Johnson Chalmers. Kaufman Herbert. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press. King Gary , Robert O. Keohane , and Sidney Verba.

The Case Study: What it is and What it Does

Kuhn Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Lane Robert. Lazarsfeld Paul F. New York , Columbia Univ.