Case Study: the Most Significant Items

16th April 2018
case study design

The last decade had changed a lot in science, especially in its methods and approaches. In order to get better results, it is becoming more and more popular to use new ways of researching. Case study is one of these new researching types that became popular only a few years ago. It has its own development history, features, pros and cons. This article aims to assist you to get correct understanding and application of this instrument of gaining the successful final result.

What is a Case Study

There is no strict answer to the question ‘What is a case study?’ because of its wide range of application. Firstly appeared only a few years ago, it has become a standard and favorite research tool for social sciences, psychology, anthropology, and ecology. Researchers in all these fields felt the barest necessity to develop new ways of converting their theoretical knowledge into practical. Since that time, the case study has become the example of individual exploration, which concerns a particular issue. Such a definition is somewhat simplistic but it reflects the main idea of the case study, which is to validate the effectiveness of the theoretical models on straightforward and often narrow real examples. Of course, this research tool aims to demonstrate only some part of the big problem and through its realization to find the answer to the entire issue.

Pros & Cons

There are various views on the case study among scientists. All of them can be divided into two groups. The first one argues that the case study is insufficient because it deals with a specific problem in a very narrow context, which does not allow obtaining final objective results for the problem in general. Others state that thanks to choosing a small problem and paying attention to the practical measurement in each issue, this tool can provide us with a real picture that can say much more than just statistical and theoretical surveys.

We have compared these two approaches and here are some results.

  1. The best way to use the case study is to use it with statistical data of the general problem. Such a combination will allow you to build a better understanding of interrelations of a specific case with a problem in general. Thus, there will be more chances to get such an answer that you may apply to solve the entire issue.For instance, exploring the particular case of mobile addiction in a small town or district, you may get the key to explaining its features that will supplement the info about this problem and may bring a new way of its solving.
  2. The case study is much more flexible and practical than other surveys. This type of explorations can deal with various issues and provide you with instant results. Thus, you may be sure you will get relevant information concerning a particular issue.
  3. The case study is unexpected. Even when you do not get the answer to your question, you may always use this knowledge to understand and clarify other directions of your issue. Thus, you may be sure of the effectiveness and efficiency of each case study you run. Moreover, case study results are popular and highly appreciated in society.

Case Study Design Tips

Despite the fact that there are no strict rules of conducting the case study, there are some tips, which you may use to make your case study the best one.

  1. Topicality

    The theme of your case study should be topical and appealing to people since case studies have a secure connection with society.

  2. Aims

    Each case study has its prior aims and goals. You may conduct the case study to validate the existent theoretical model or to choose one specific and unique issue that is out the general picture and try to explain this phenomenon.

  3. Information

    It is necessary to base your case study only on the relevant information since just in this way it will bring proper results.

  4. Query sheet

    Make up the list of at least five questions you want to find answers to and edit them in the process.

  5. Be passive

    Remember that you cannot interfere with your case study or influence it in any way. Organize the structure of your case study and be passive to get the best results.

What to do with the case study results

The last but not the least is your case study outcome. There are many well-structured and well-conducted case studies that did not become wide known because of lousy interpretation and representation of their results. There are some useful and straightforward tips you should use.

  1. Critical thinking

    Be critical when you are analyzing your case study results. Remember that each case study is often only a part of a big issue. Try to compare your results with statistical surveys; find out whether they confirm or refute them.

  2. Narration

    It is necessary to remember that the way of presenting case study results plays the crucial role. Make your speech short, exciting and full of essential examples. Do not try to retell all the information and statistical data. You should use your case study results to show the tendency and try to explain its features and consequences.

  3. Explanation references

    Be ready to perform in front of people who know little about your case study. It will be useful to make a few explanation references, which you may use during your speech. Thus, it will be more accessible to wide range of different people to familiarize with your case study.

  4. Discussion

    Do not be afraid of questions, discussions, and disagreements. You should realize that each case study is enormously subjective and frequently aims to involve people in the dialog and to express their thoughts and views. There are no correct or wrong answers. A case study is just a small step on the way to solving a more significant problem.

To sum up, we should realize that the case study is a useful research tool with its advantages and disadvantages. It allows us to see the practical side of each issue, as well as to confirm or refute theories. Using this approach may become a valuable addition to each research paper.

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