Elliot Mishler coined the term “case-centered research” to refer to the research approach that preserves the “unity and coherence” of research participants through the data collection and analysis process. Fundamental to case-centered research is its focus on complex social units (or “cases”) in their entirety as well as the emphasis on maintaining the cohesiveness of the social unit(s) throughout the research process. As discussed in Research Design Review back in 2013, two important examples of case-centered approaches are case study research and narrative research.
The complexity and need for cohesion in case-centered research present unique design challenges. Indeed, quality outcomes from case study and narrative research are the result of a well-defined process that guides the researcher from the initial conceptualization phase to data collecting in the field. Although the specifics within the process will vary from study to study, there exists an optimal design flow when implementing the case-centered research approach.
The appropriate path in case-centered designs, leading to data collection, involves the following six Read Full Text
Case-centered qualitative research is discussed elsewhere in this blog (in particular, see “Multi-method & Case-centered Research: When the Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts”). It is generally defined as multiple-method research that focuses on complex social units or entities (or “cases”) in their entirety, while maintaining the cohesiveness of the entity throughout the research process rather than reducing the outcomes to categorical data. Two examples of case-centered research are: case studies – e.g., an examination of a city social program – and narrative research – e.g., a study of chronic illness among sufferers.
Ethical considerations are important in every research method involving human subjects but they take on added significance in case-centered research where researchers often work closely with research participants over a period of time and frequently in the face-to-face mode (where researcher-participant relationships play an important role in the research outcomes). Both case study and narrative research gather a great deal of highly Read Full Text
These five articles have been compiled into one pdf document that can be accessed here. Anyone who has read this blog since its inception in 2009 knows that a recurring theme revolves around research design issues that impact how well (or not) researchers gain an understanding of how people think. There is no reason to believe that the tradition won’t continue in 2014.