Case Study Methodology — Methodspace (2022)

In the first quarter of 2021 we explore design steps, starting with a January focus onresearch questions. We’ll continue to learn about the design stage in February with a focus onChoosing Methodology and Methods.

What iscase study methodology?

Case study methodology is both unique, and uniquely confusing.It is unique given one characteristic: case studies draw from more than one data source. Case study is inherently multimodal or mixed methods because it uses either more than one form of data within a research paradigm, or more than one form of data from different paradigms.

A case study inquiry could include:

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The term case study is confusing because the same term is used multiple ways.

It can refer to the methodology, that is, a system of frameworks used to design a study, or the methods used to conduct it. Or, case study can refer to a type of academic writing that typically delves into a problem, process, or situation.

Case study methodology can entail the study of one or more "cases," that could be described as instances, examples, or settings where the problem or phenomenon can be examined. The researcher is tasked with defining the parameters of the case, that is, what is included and excluded. This process is called bounding the case, or setting boundaries.

Case study can be combined with other methodologies, such as ethnography, grounded theory, or phenomenology. In such studies the research on the case uses another framework to further define the study and refine the approach.

Case study is also described as a method, given particular approaches used to collect and analyze data. Case study research is conducted by almost every social science discipline: business, education, sociology, psychology. Case study research, with its reliance on multiple sources, is also a natural choice for researchers interested in trans-, inter-, or cross-disciplinary studies.

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The Encyclopedia of case study researchprovides an overview:

The purpose of case study research is twofold: (1) to provide descriptive information and (2) to suggest theoretical relevance. Rich description enables an in-depth or sharpened understanding of the case.

Robert Yin, methodologist most associated with case study research, differentiates between descriptive, exploratory and explanatory case studies:

Descriptive: A case study whose purpose is to describe a phenomenon.

Explanatory: A case study whose purpose is to explain how or why some condition came to be, or why some sequence of events occurred or did not occur.

Exploratory: A case study whose purpose is to identify the research questions or procedures to be used in a subsequent study.

You can read the preface and Chapter 1 of Yin's book here. See the open-access articles below for some published examples of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods case study research.

References

(Video) Interview with Dariusz Jemielniak for SAGE MethodSpace

Mills, A. J., Durepos, G., & Wiebe, E. (2010).Encyclopedia of case study research(Vols. 1-0). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412957397

Yin, R. K. (2018). Case study research and applications (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Open Access Articles Using Case Study Methodology

Ang, C.-S., Lee, K.-F., & Dipolog-Ubanan, G. F. (2019). Determinants of First-Year Student Identity and Satisfaction in Higher Education: A Quantitative Case Study. SAGE Open. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244019846689

Abstract. First-year undergraduates’ expectations and experience of university and student engagement variables were investigated to determine how these perceptions influence their student identity and overall course satisfaction. Data collected from 554 first-year undergraduates at a large private university were analyzed. Participants were given the adapted version of the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education Survey to self-report their learning experience and engagement in the university community. The results showed that, in general, the students’ reasons of pursuing tertiary education were to open the door to career opportunities and skill development. Moreover, students’ views on their learning and university engagement were at the moderate level. In relation to student identity and overall student satisfaction, it is encouraging to state that their perceptions of studentship and course satisfaction were rather positive. After controlling for demographics, student engagement appeared to explain more variance in student identity, whereas students’ expectations and experience explained greater variance in students’ overall course satisfaction. Implications for practice, limitations, and recommendation of this study are addressed.

Baker, A. J. (2017). Algorithms to Assess Music Cities: Case Study—Melbourne as a Music Capital. SAGE Open. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244017691801

Abstract. The globalMastering of a Music Cityreport in 2015 notes that the concept of music cities has penetrated the global political vernacular because it delivers “significant economic, employment, cultural and social benefits.” This article highlights that no empirical study has combined all these values and offers a relevant and comprehensive definition of a music city. Drawing on industry research,1the article assesses how mathematical flowcharts, such as Algorithm A (Economics), Algorithm B (Four T’s creative index), and Algorithm C (Heritage), have contributed to the definition of a music city. Taking Melbourne as a case study, it illustrates how Algorithms A and B are used as disputed evidence about whether the city is touted as Australia’s music capital. The article connects the three algorithms to an academic framework from musicology, urban studies, cultural economics, and sociology, and proposes a benchmark Algorithm D (Music Cities definition), which offers a more holistic assessment of music activity in any urban context. The article concludes by arguing that Algorithm D offers a much-needed definition of what comprises a music city because it builds on the popular political economy focus and includes the social importance of space and cultural practices.

Brown, K., & Mondon, A. (2020). Populism, the media, and the mainstreaming of the far right: The Guardian’s coverage of populism as a case study. Politics. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263395720955036

Abstract. Populism seems to define our current political age. The term is splashed across the headlines, brandished in political speeches and commentaries, and applied extensively in numerous academic publications and conferences. This pervasive usage, or populist hype, has serious implications for our understanding of the meaning of populism itself and for our interpretation of the phenomena to which it is applied. In particular, we argue that its common conflation with far-right politics, as well as its breadth of application to other phenomena, has contributed to the mainstreaming of the far right in three main ways: (1) agenda-setting power and deflection, (2) euphemisation and trivialisation, and (3) amplification. Through a mixed-methods approach to discourse analysis, this article usesThe Guardiannewspaper as a case study to explore the development of the populist hype and the detrimental effects of the logics that it has pushed in public discourse.

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Droy, L. T., Goodwin, J., & O’Connor, H. (2020). Methodological Uncertainty and Multi-Strategy Analysis: Case Study of the Long-Term Effects of Government Sponsored Youth Training on Occupational Mobility. Bulletin of Sociological Methodology/Bulletin de Méthodologie Sociologique, 147–148(1–2), 200–230. https://doi.org/10.1177/0759106320939893

Abstract. Sociological practitioners often face considerable methodological uncertainty when undertaking a quantitative analysis. This methodological uncertainty encompasses both data construction (e.g. defining variables) and analysis (e.g. selecting and specifying a modelling procedure). Methodological uncertainty can lead to results that are fragile and arbitrary. Yet, many practitioners may be unaware of the potential scale of methodological uncertainty in quantitative analysis, and the recent emergence of techniques for addressing it. Recent proposals for ‘multi-strategy’ approaches seek to identify and manage methodological uncertainty in quantitative analysis. We present a case-study of a multi-strategy analysis, applied to the problem of estimating the long-term impact of 1980s UK government-sponsored youth training. We use this case study to further highlight the problem of cumulative methodological fragilities in applied quantitative sociology and to discuss and help develop multi-strategy analysis as a tool to address them.

Ebneyamini, S., & Sadeghi Moghadam, M. R. (2018). Toward Developing a Framework for Conducting Case Study Research.International Journal of Qualitative Methods.https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406918817954

Abstract. This article reviews the use of case study research for both practical and theoretical issues especially in management field with the emphasis on management of technology and innovation. Many researchers commented on the methodological issues of the case study research from their point of view thus, presenting a comprehensive framework was missing. We try representing a general framework with methodological and analytical perspective to design, develop, and conduct case study research. To test the coverage of our framework, we have analyzed articles in three major journals related to the management of technology and innovation to approve our framework. This study represents a general structure to guide, design, and fulfill a case study research with levels and steps necessary for researchers to use in their research.

Lynch, R., Young, J. C., Boakye-Achampong, S., Jowaisas, C., Sam, J., & Norlander, B. (2020). Benefits of crowdsourcing for libraries: A case study from Africa. IFLA Journal. https://doi.org/10.1177/0340035220944940

Abstract. Many libraries in the Global South do not collect comprehensive data about themselves, which creates challenges in terms of local and international visibility. Crowdsourcing is an effective tool that engages the public to collect missing data, and it has proven to be particularly valuable in countries where governments collect little public data. Whereas crowdsourcing is often used within fields that have high levels of development funding, such as health, the authors believe that this approach would have many benefits for the library field as well. They present qualitative and quantitative evidence from 23 African countries involved in a crowdsourcing project to map libraries. The authors find benefits in terms of increased connections between stakeholders, capacity-building, and increased local visibility. These findings demonstrate the potential of crowdsourced approaches for tasks such as mapping to benefit libraries and similarly positioned institutions in the Global South in multifaceted ways.

Rashid, Y., Rashid, A., Warraich, M. A., Sabir, S. S., & Waseem, A. (2019). Case Study Method: A Step-by-Step Guide for Business Researchers.International Journal of Qualitative Methods.https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406919862424

Abstract. Qualitative case study methodology enables researchers to conduct an in-depth exploration of intricate phenomena within some specific context. By keeping in mind research students, this article presents a systematic step-by-step guide to conduct a case study in the business discipline. Research students belonging to said discipline face issues in terms of clarity, selection, and operationalization of qualitative case study while doing their final dissertation. These issues often lead to confusion, wastage of valuable time, and wrong decisions that affect the overall outcome of the research. This article presents a checklist comprised of four phases, that is, foundation phase, prefield phase, field phase, and reporting phase. The objective of this article is to provide novice researchers with practical application of this checklist by linking all its four phases with the authors’ experiences and learning from recently conducted in-depth multiple case studies in the organizations of New Zealand. Rather than discussing case study in general, a targeted step-by-step plan with real-time research examples to conduct a case study is given.

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VanWynsberghe, R., & Khan, S. (2007). Redefining Case Study. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 80–94. https://doi.org/10.1177/160940690700600208

Abstract. In this paper the authors propose a more precise and encompassing definition of case study than is usually found. They support their definition by clarifying that case study is neither a method nor a methodology nor a research design as suggested by others. They use a case study prototype of their own design to propose common properties of case study and demonstrate how these properties support their definition. Next, they present several living myths about case study and refute them in relation to their definition. Finally, they discuss the interplay between the terms case study and unit of analysis to further delineate their definition of case study. The target audiences for this paper include case study researchers, research design and methods instructors, and graduate students interested in case study research.

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FAQs

What is the methodology in case study? ›

Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews, observations, and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g. newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data.

What are the 6 parts of case study in order? ›

6 parts of a case analysis
  • Preparation. Just like with any study, it's important to first prepare to conduct the case analysis. ...
  • Introduction. ...
  • Background information. ...
  • Proposed solutions. ...
  • Recommendations. ...
  • Review.

What are the 3 methodologies? ›

The three types of methodology used by researchers are qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods.

What are the 5 steps of methodology? ›

  • Step 1 – Locating and Defining Issues or Problems. This step focuses on uncovering the nature and boundaries of a situation or question that needs to be answered or studied. ...
  • Step 2 – Designing the Research Project. ...
  • Step 3 – Collecting Data. ...
  • Step 4 – Interpreting Research Data. ...
  • Step 5 – Report Research Findings.
21 Jun 2022

What are the 4 types of research methodology? ›

Data may be grouped into four main types based on methods for collection: observational, experimental, simulation, and derived.

What is qualitative case study methodology? ›

Qualitative case study is a research methodology that helps in exploration of a phenomenon within some particular context through various data sources, and it undertakes the exploration through variety of lenses in order to reveal multiple facets of the phenomenon (Baxter & Jack, 2008).

What is methodology example? ›

For example, a quantitative methodology might be used to measure the relationship between two variables (e.g. personality type and likelihood to commit a crime) or to test a set of hypotheses.

What are the 3 types of case studies? ›

Types of Case Studies
  • Collective case studies: These involve studying a group of individuals. ...
  • Descriptive case studies: These involve starting with a descriptive theory. ...
  • Explanatory case studies: These are often used to do causal investigations.
7 Nov 2022

What are the 5 essential elements of a great case study? ›

The Elements of a Great Case Study
  • (1) A time- and issue-bounded dilemma.
  • (2) Explanations of issues and concepts.
  • (3) A story, with vivid characters and moments.
  • (4) Data and other information.
  • (5) Scenarios that lead in different directions.
26 Feb 2019

What is the structure of case study? ›

Structure of A Case Study Report

Cover page including basic student and class information. Table of contents showing where key parts of the report can be found. Executive summary of the key recommendations and points of the report. Introduction to the report and identification of the focal problem being faced.

What are the 8 sections of a case study? ›

In a previous issue, I discussed the need to include the following components in an effective case study: Introduction/context, Goals, Obstacles, Solution, Results, Benefits and Call to action.

What are the three characteristics of case study? ›

Characteristics of Case Study

It is qualitative as well as quantitative. It covers sufficient wide cycle of time. It has continuity in nature.

What are methodology methods? ›

Methods are just behavior or tools used to select a research technique. Methodology is analysis of all the methods and procedures of the investigation. Methods are applied during the later stage of the research study. Methodologies are applied during the initial stage of the research process.

Which research methodology is best? ›

You should select a quantitative research methodology because:
  • It uses a deductive approach and objective approach. ...
  • Quantitative research tests theories.
  • Numeric data can be collected via surveys or laboratory instrumentational experiments.
  • It draws on large sample sizes and uses statistical data analysis techniques.

What are the 2 major methodological approaches? ›

There are two general research methodology approaches when collecting and analyzing data; these approaches are quantitative and qualitative.

What are the 7 components of research methodology? ›

A research report has seven components:
  • Abstract or Summary.
  • Introduction.
  • Review of Literature.
  • Methods.
  • Results.
  • Conclusions and Discussion.
  • References.

What is the 6 parts of methodology? ›

Identify the key components of the methodology chapter: (a) Introduction and overview,(b) research sample, (c) overview of information needed, (d) research design, (e) methods of data collection, (f) methods for data analysis and synthesis, (g) ethical considerations, (h) issues of trustworthiness, (i) limitations of ...

What is methodology and its types? ›

Researchers use three primary methodology types: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. Within these broad categories, more specific methods include an array of options, such as case studies, self-reporting and surveys.

How do you write a research methodology example? ›

How to write a methodology
  1. Restate your thesis or research problem. ...
  2. Explain the approach you chose. ...
  3. Explain any uncommon methodology you use. ...
  4. Describe how you collected the data you used. ...
  5. Explain the methods you used to analyze the data you collected. ...
  6. Evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made.

What are the 3 methods used in qualitative approach? ›

What are some qualitative research methods? The three most common qualitative methods, explained in detail in their respective modules, are participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. Each method is particularly suited for obtaining a specific type of data.

What are the six methodologies of qualitative research? ›

The six main forms are:
  • Phenomenological Method (deriving from phenomena)
  • Ethnographic Model.
  • Grounded Theory Method.
  • Case Study Model.
  • Historical Model.
  • Narrative Model.

What are the 4 types of qualitative research? ›

Qualitative research focuses on gaining insight and understanding about an individual's perception of events and circumstances. Six common types of qualitative research are phenomenological, ethnographic, grounded theory, historical, case study, and action research.

What is methodology format? ›

The methodology section of your paper describes how your research was conducted. This information allows readers to check whether your approach is accurate and dependable. A good methodology can help increase the reader's trust in your findings.

What is a methodology plan? ›

A research methodology plan is a written detailed explanation and description of what the researcher plans to do to attain their objective. The plan consists of steps and procedures that the researcher needs to undertake as well as content related to the topic to be researched.

Why do we use methodology? ›

A methodology will give you that path. And choosing a wholly suitable and sound method that is right for your research project will give you the path to help you succeed. A methodology will give you the guidelines to make your project manageable, smooth and effective.

What type of analysis is used in a case study? ›

As case study research is a flexible research method, qualitative data analysis methods are commonly used [176]. The basic objective of the analysis is, as in any other analysis, to derive conclusions from the data, keeping a clear chain of evidence.

What are the 4 common techniques used to collect data for case studies? ›

In this article, we will look at four different data collection techniques – observation, questionnaire, interview and focus group discussion – and evaluate their suitability under different circumstances.

How many types are of case study? ›

There are generally five different types of case studies, and the subjects that they address. Every case study, whether explanatory or exploratory, or intrinsic or instrumental, fits into one of these five groups.

What is the criteria of a good case study? ›

Meredith (1998) is very straightforward with the advantages with case studies; relevance, understanding, and exploratory depth. These three characteristics are those that sums up a good case study.

How many steps are in a case study? ›

It discusses the seven steps employed in a case study approach, namely: (1) Justification for the research paradigm and research methodology, (2) Justification for the case study method, (3) Criteria for judging the quality of case study design (4) Designing the case study, (5) Criteria for selecting a case design, (6) ...

How do you write a case study sample? ›

Writing up your case study
  1. Introduce the topic area of the report.
  2. Outline the purpose of the case study.
  3. Outline the key issue(s) and finding(s) without the specific details.
  4. Identify the theory used.
  5. Summarise recommendations.

How do you start a case study introduction? ›

How to write a case study response
  1. Introduction. Introduce the main purpose of the case study and briefly outline the overall problem to be solved.
  2. Description. Write a brief description of the case under discussion giving an outline of the main issues involved. ...
  3. Discussion. ...
  4. Conclusion / Recommendations.
10 Feb 2022

What are the 4 types of cases? ›

The new “Four Types of Cases” encompass the following types of cases:
  • They are major, difficult, complex, or sensitive;
  • They involve mass disputes or cause widespread societal concern, which might affect social stability;
21 Feb 2022

What are the main types of case study? ›

Types of Case Studies
  • Illustrative Case Studies. These are primarily descriptive studies. ...
  • Exploratory (or pilot) Case Studies. ...
  • Cumulative Case Studies. ...
  • Critical Instance Case Studies. ...
  • Individual Theories. ...
  • Organizational Theories. ...
  • Social Theories. ...
  • Strengths.

What do you write in a methodology? ›

Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research.

What do you write in the methodology section? ›

How to write an effective methodology section?
  1. Introduce your methods. ...
  2. Establish methodological connection. ...
  3. Introduce your instruments. ...
  4. Discuss your analysis. ...
  5. Provide background information. ...
  6. Discuss sampling process. ...
  7. Address research limitations.
14 Oct 2022

How do you write a methodology sample? ›

How to write a methodology
  1. Restate your thesis or research problem. ...
  2. Explain the approach you chose. ...
  3. Explain any uncommon methodology you use. ...
  4. Describe how you collected the data you used. ...
  5. Explain the methods you used to analyze the data you collected. ...
  6. Evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made.

How long should a methodology be? ›

Methodology (1,500 to 2,000 words) Research (800 to 1,000 words) Data analysis (2,000 to 2,200 words) Research findings (1,000 to 1,200 words)

How many pages should a methodology be? ›

Dissertation methodology chapter length

You will need to describe them all and justify their usage. The expected length is about 10 pages.

What are the parts included in methodology? ›

Research methodology may vary in form from one project to another, but should always incorporate the following four elements.
  • Measurement Objectives.
  • Data Collection Processes.
  • Recommended Survey.
  • Reporting Plan.
28 Oct 2016

What are the two main types of research methodologies? ›

There are two main categories of research methods: qualitative research methods and quantitative research methods. Quantitative research methods involve using numbers to measure data.

What are the two types of methodologies? ›

Research methodology professors have concluded these methods, and according to them, Qualitative research methodology and Quantitative research methodology are two main types of research methodology.

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