The investigator is left to rely on his or her own instincts and abilities throughout most of this research effort. A concern about case study research--and in particular case evaluation--is what Guba and Lincoln refer to as "unusual problems of ethics. An unethical case writer could so select from among available data that virtually anything he wished could be illustrated" p.
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Both the readers of case studies and the authors themselves need to be aware of biases that can affect the final product. Further limitations involve the issues of reliability, validity, and generalizability. A Hamel , p. This lack of rigor is linked to the problem of bias However, this argument against case study research misses the point of doing this type of research. In a recent presentation critiquing the new "gold standard" of randomized controlled trials in educational research, Shields argues for qualitative case studies: "The strength of qualitative approaches is that they account for and include difference--ideologically, epistemologically, methodologically--and most importantly, humanly.
They do not attempt to eliminate what cannot be discounted. They do not attempt to simplify what cannot be simplified. Thus, it is precisely because case study includes paradoxes and acknowledges that there are no simple answers, that it can and should qualify as the gold standard" p. In an interesting discussion of the value of case study research, Flyvbjerg sets up five "misunderstandings" about case study research, which he then dismantles, substituting a more accurate statement about the issue underlying each misunderstanding.
These misunderstandings and their restatements are displayed in Table 3. The second misunderstanding, for example, "that one cannot generalize on the basis of a single case is usually considered to be devastating to the case study as a scientific method" p. However, citing single cases, experiments, and experiences of Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Bohr, Darwin, Marx, and Freud, Flyvbjerg makes the point that both human and natural sciences can be advanced by a single case.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of case study research? - Social Theory Applied
He also argues that formal generalizations based on large samples are overrated in their contribution to scientific progress for a discussion comparing sampling, representativeness, and generalizability in both quantitative and qualitative research, see Gobo, TABLE 3. Eisner, E. The enlightened eye: Qualitative inquiry and the enhancement of educational practice.
Old Tappan, NJ: Macmillan. Erickson, F.
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Qualitative methods in research on teaching. Whittrock Ed. Flyvberg, B. Five misunderstanding about case-study research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12 2 , Gobo, G. Sampling, representativeness and generalizability.
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Seale, G. Gobo, J.
Silverman Eds. It is important that the upper management too is vested in the field research for its success.
Case Study Method Definition
Recruiting People for the Study: The success of the field research depends on the people that the study is being conducted on. Using sampling methods , it is important to derive the people that will be a part of the study.
Data Collection Methodology: As spoken in length about above, data collection methods for field research are varied. They could be a mix of surveys, interviews, case studies and observation. All these methods have to be chalked out and the milestones for each method too have to be chalked out at the outset.
Case-method teaching: advantages and disadvantages in organizational training
For example, in the case of a survey, the survey design is important that it is created and tested even before the research begins. Hence, planning a site visit alongwith the methods of data collection is important. Communicating Results: Once the data is analyzed, it is important to communicate the results to the stakeholders of the research so that it could be actioned upon. Field Research Notes Keeping an ethnographic record is very important in conducting field research. Types of Field Research Notes The four different kinds of field notes are: Job Notes: This method of taking notes is while the researcher is in the study.
This could be in close proximity and in open sight with the subject in study. The notes here are short, concise and in condensed form that can be built on by the researcher later. Most researchers do not prefer this method though due to the fear of feeling that the respondent may not take them seriously. Field Notes Proper: These notes are to be expanded on immediately after the completion of events. The notes have to be detailed and the words have to be as close to possible as the subject being studied. Methodological Notes: These notes contain methods on the research methods used by the researcher, any new proposed research methods and the way to monitor their progress.
Methodological notes can be kept with field notes or filed separately but they find their way to the end report of a study. Journals and Diaries: This method of field notes is an insight into the life of the researcher. This tracks all aspects of the researchers life and helps eliminate the Halo effect or any bias that may have cropped up during the field research. Reasons to Conduct Field Research Field research has been commonly used in the 20th century in the social sciences.
We look at 4 major reasons: Overcoming lack of data: Field research resolves the major issue of gaps in data. Very often, there is limited to no data about a topic in study, especially in a specific environment. The problem might be known or suspected but there is no way to validate this without primary research and data. Conducting field research helps not only plug-in gaps in data but collect supporting material and hence is a preferred research method of researchers. Understanding context of the study: In many cases, the data collected is adequate but field research is still conducted.
This helps gain insight into the existing data. For example, if the data states that horses from a stable farm generally win races because the horses are pedigreed and the stable owner hires the best jockeys. But conducting field research can throw light into other factors that influence the success like quality of fodder and care provided and conducive weather conditions.
Increasing the quality of data: Since this research method uses more than one tool to collect data, the data is of higher quality. Inferences can be made from the data collected and can be statistically analyzed via the triangulation of data.
Collecting ancillary data: Field research puts the researchers in a position of localized thinking which opens them new lines of thinking. Examples of Field Research Some examples of field research are: Decipher social metrics in a slum Purely by using observational methods and in-depth interviews, researchers can be part of a community to understand the social metrics and social hierarchy of a slum.
This study can also understand the financial independence and day-to-day operational nuances of a slum. The analysis of this data can provide an insight into how different a slum is from structured societies.
Case Study Method
The data analysis of this research provides insights into how the kids of different geographical locations and backgrounds respond to sports and the impact of sports on their all round development. Study animal migration patterns Field research is used extensively to study flora and fauna.
A major use case is scientists monitoring and studying animal migration patterns with the change of seasons. In CMT, participants get involved with real-world challenges from an action perspective instead of analyzing them from a distance. Also, different reactions of the participants to the same challenge aid instructors to identify the individual differences of participants toward the challenge. Although CMT is still not considered as a popular organizational training method, the advantages of CMT may encourage organizational instructors to further apply it. Improving the long-term memory, enhancing the quality of decision making and understanding the individual differences of individuals are the advantages of CMT.
A lack of sufficient empirical researchers and the high cost of conducting this method may prevent practitioners to apply it. The review suggested that CMT is able to bring dilemmas from the real world into training settings. Also, it helps organizations to identify the individual reactions before they make a decision.