Meaning, Types and Steps of Case Study in Education

Meaning, Types and Steps of Case Study 

Meaning of Case Study 

1. Mitchell, 1983: Case study is a detailed examination of an event (or series of related events) which the analyst believes exhibits (or exhibit) the operation of some identified general theoretical principles.

2. Gomm, Hammersley, and Foster (2000): Case study refers to research that investigates a few cases in considerable depth.

3. Stoecker, 1991: A case study is intensive research in which interpretations are given based on observable concrete interconnections between actual properties and people within an actual concrete setting.

4. Walton, 1992: Case studies are used to demonstrate a causal argument about how general social forces take shape and produce results in specific settings. 

5. Eckstein, 2002: A case can be defined technically as a phenomenon for which we report and interpret only a single measure on any pertinent variable.

6. Yin, 2003: A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident.

7. Creswell, 2002: A case study is a problem to be studied, which will reveal an in-depth understanding of a “case” or bounded system, which involves understanding an event, activity, process, or one or more individuals.

8. Merriam, 1988: The case study offers a means of investigating complex social units consisting of multiple variables of potential importance in understanding the phenomenon.

9. Gerring, 2004: Case study is a research design best defined as an intensive study of a single unit (a relatively bounded phenomenon) where the scholar’s aim is to elucidate features of a larger class of similar phenomenon.

10. Stake, 2005: Case study is not a methodological choice but a choice of what is to be studied.

Ragin (1993) states, “Case studies can be seen as studies of empirical units that exist and can be found out, discovered, or delineated in the course of research.” 

Types of Case Study 

1. Descriptive Case Study: It starts with a descriptive theory where the subjects are observed and the information collected is compared to the theory that is pre-existing. 

2. Exploratory Case Study: They can be regarded as a prelude to further research that is in-depth. Researchers can gather more information before they form research questions and hypotheses. 

3. Explanatory Case Study: It is considered to be causal investigations where researchers look into factors that cause the occurrence of certain things.

4. Intrinsic Case Study: In this study, the researcher has a personal interest and it contributes to the research. 

5. Instrumental Case Study: It takes place when a researcher observed an individual or a group to gain more understanding of what is already obvious. 

6. Collective Case Study: It is a study performed upon a group of individuals in a particular setting or an entire community. 

Steps of Case Study 

1. Select a case: Firstly, the researcher must select a case for focus and it should have the potential to: 

a. Facilitate future research 

b. Provide practical actions for problem resolution 

c. Challenge existing assumptions and theories 

d. Provide new insights into a subject matter 

2. Build a theoretical framework: It should aim to: 

a. Exemplify a theory by showing how it explains the case under investigation

b. Expand on a theory by uncovering new concepts and ideas that need to be incorporated

c. Challenge a theory by exploring an outlier case that doesn’t fit with established assumptions

3. Collect the data: Different data collection methods such as methods such as interviews, observations, and analysis of primary and secondary sources can be used by the researcher to collect data. 

4. Describe and analyse the case: All the relevant aspects of the case need to be collected and analysed to produce a complete picture. 

These are the steps that need to be followed while performing a case study.