Case Study Research

Qualitative Research: Design, Methods, & Online Mode

In 2020, there were 14 articles published in Research Design Review. These articles include those qualitative research design, methods, online modepertaining to broad issues in qualitative research design, such as sample size, as well as more narrow topics concerning specific qualitative methods – focus groups, ethnography, in-depth interviews, and case study research – and the online mode. A compilation of these articles is now available here for download.

In addition to these 14 articles, six compilations of earlier RDR articles were released in 2020 for download. These include:

Generalizability in Case Study Research

Portions of the following article are modified excerpts from Applied Qualitative Research Design: A Total Quality Framework Approach (Roller & Lavrakas, 2015, pp. 307-326)

Case study research has been the focus of several articles in Research Design Review. These articles range from discussions on case-centered research (i.e., case study and narrative research) generally — “Multi-method & Case-centered Research: When the Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts,” “Lighting a Path to Guide Case-Centered Research Design: A Six-Step Approach,” and “Ethical Considerations in Case-Centered Qualitative Research” — to articles where the subject matter is specific to case study research — “Case Study Research: An Internal-External Classification.”generalizability

One of the controversies associated with case study research designs centers on “generalization” and the extent to which the data can explain phenomena or situations outside and beyond the specific scope of a particular study. On the one hand, there are researchers such as Yin (2014) who espouse “analytical generalization” whereby the researcher compares (or “generalizes”) case study data to existing theory1. From Yin’s perspective, case study research is driven by the need to develop or test theory, giving single- as well as multiple-case study research explanatory powers — “Some of the best and most famous case studies have been explanatory case studies” (Yin, 2014, p. 7).

Diane Vaughan’s research is a case study referenced by Yin (2014) as an example of a single-case research design that resulted in outcomes that provided broader implications (i.e., “generalized”) to similar contexts outside the case. In both The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA (1996) and “The Trickle-Down Effect: Policy Decisions, Risky Work, and the Challenger Tragedy” (1997), Vaughan describes the findings and conclusions from her study of the circumstances that led to the Challenger disaster in 1986. By way of scrutinizing archival documents and conducting interviews, Vaughan “reconstructed the history of decision making” and ultimately discovered “an incremental descent into poor judgment” (1996, p. xiii). More broadly, Vaughan used this study to Read Full Text

Case Study Research: An Internal-External Classification

The following is a modified excerpt from Applied Qualitative Research Design: A Total Quality Framework Approach (Roller & Lavrakas, 2015, pp. 295-298).

Janet Salmons recently posted an article “Case Studies: What Types Get Published?” in which she discusses her review of over 100 articles published in 2017 with “case study” in the title. She finds that the majority of these articles do “not include any discussion of the type of case study or specific methodological foundations” and indeed “the term ‘case study’ is being used to broadly describe a study that is conducted in a particular setting, such as a school or organization.”

Salmons mentions the work of Robert Yin and Robert Stake. The typologies of Yin (2014) and Stake (1995) are “two key approaches” in case study research that “ensure that the topic of interest is well explored, and that the essence of the phenomenon is revealed” (Baxter & Jack, 2008, p. 545). Yin (2014) outlines four fundamental types of case studies on the basis of the number of cases and units of analysis in the study design. Specifically, Yin’s typology consists of two types of Read Full Text