How to do your case study: A guide for students and researchers offers clear guidance about what to consider when undertaking case studies and includes illustrations and examples of how case studies have been applied in real world settings. The book was written for students and researchers within applied social sciences and humanities, but the methods and techniques within this book are also applicable to other fields of research. The text includes 12 chapters which are separated into three parts.
Part one contains four chapters with chapter one introducing the reader to different descriptions and definitions of a case study and situates the case study historically in relation to how it has been used within academic and non academic settings, as well as, providing a framework for deciding the applicability of the case study to different types of research contexts. Chapter two discusses issues related to the research design of case studies in connection with the main purpose of the inquiry, the development of the research question(s), reviewing of the available literature about the topic and the decision to adopt a case study approach. Chapter three introduces the reader to the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of different ontology, which affect the design and approach of research in relation to how they interact with a case study. Chapter four covers how to introduce quality into case studies with regards to the importance of population selection and sampling in terms of representativeness, the issue of reliability and validity criteria available in the literature and its applicability and relevance to case study research, as well as, questions about research ethics when undertaking case studies.
Part two consists of four chapters with chapter five outlining the different kinds of case studies and how they can be categorised. In this chapter the writer points out the danger of selecting a research design before having carefully considered the research question(s) first, and which research approach and techniques would be best suited to answer the research question(s). In chapter six the author considers the purpose of a case study in terms of its objective being for: intrinsic or extrinsic interest or to explore, evaluate, or explain something or if the case study will include elements of all these approaches. Chapter seven examines different research approaches which can be included in case study research such as: to test a theory, build a theory, draw a picture, or use experimental methods or interpretative techniques. Chapter eight covers what to consider when structuring the case study in reference to the process selected as part of the design route in terms of whether the case study is a single case study (retrospective, snapshot or diachronic) or multiple case studies (nested, parallel or sequential).
Part three consists of four chapters with chapter nine reviewing different methods in which data can be collected and used as evidence. Some of the methods presented and discussed in this chapter are: Interview, accounts, diaries, group interview, focus groups, reviewing documents, questionnaires, observations, image-based methods and more. Chapter 10 provides useful frameworks from which data collected can be analysed with the emphasis being on interpretative methods and techniques. Chapter 11 offers a breakdown of a typical academic report. The chapter provides useful guidance about what should typically be included in each section of an academic report which includes: The introduction, literature review, methods section, research findings, analysis and discussion, and the main conclusion(s). Chapter 12 concludes by outlining the main ethos of the text and provides additional information about generalisation of research findings, abduction, phronesis and theory, as well as the author’s final thoughts.
Reading level of this text is suitable for students and researchers of all levels and experience. This book is essential reading for anyone undertaking research which will involve case study research as it tackles the main issues involved in case study research, as well as providing useful frameworks and guidelines to aid the researcher throughout case study research projects.