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Research Methods

Lesson 13

Introduction to Case Studies Methods & Techniques Produced by

Laboratory Field Experimental Quantitative Natural Research Method

Non-experimental Qualitative

Observations Correlation Surveys Surveysand andInterviews Interviews Case Studies

Key Terms Idiographic • Relating to individual cases or events.

Introduction to Case Studies • A case study is essentially the gathering of detailed information about an individual or group of people. • Because case studies can focus on individuals we can say that case studies are idiographic by nature. • Typically a case study involves the production of a case history which could include relevant details about the individual, for example: history of family or relationships, medical history and details of ones socioeconomic status.

• A case study can be longitudinal or retrospective. • Additional information can also be gathered using a range of other research methods including interviews, surveys and questionnaires. • Case studies vary, however you will find that most share the following common features:  The method is descriptive. The method allows for the collection of qualitative data that is rich in detail. The research is often focussed on particular aspects of behaviour. This is known to be a narrow focus approach in psychology.

• Case studies provide an effective way of gaining insight into the personal experiences of the person under study and for suggesting new avenues for research. • Some scientist reject the case study as a scientific method, it is a rich method that has been known to challenge established thinking in psychology.

Advantages of Case Studies • Produces rich meaningful data. • Offers high levels of ecological validity – realism is high. • Can challenge established thinking and lead to new psychological insights.

Disadvantages of Case Studies •

Difficult therefore difficult to establish the reliability of data.

Because of its ideographic nature it is difficult to generalise the results beyond the individual or group being investigated.

There is low population validity.

The possibility of researcher bias is high, which further calls into question its scientific credibility.

Key Points • A case study is an in-depth study of one individual or a group of people. • Case studies are an example of an idiographic approach. • Case studies can challenge established knowledge and suggest other avenues of research.

Research Methods - Case Studies  

Research Methods - Methods and Techniques - Case Studies

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