Meaning of Case Study (What it is, Concept and Definition)

What is Case Study:

Case study is a research tool and a learning technique that can be applied in any area of ​​knowledge.

The fundamental objective of case studies is to know and understand the particularity of a situation to distinguish how the parts and relationships with the whole work.

The objectives of a case study can be classified into:

Exploratory objectives: whose results are used to formulate a question to start an investigation,
Descriptive objectives: help to better describe and understand a particular case,
Explanatory objectives: they guide to facilitate the interpretation of the case.

The case studies are characterized by being:

Particularist: studies intensively and deeply a phenomenon.
Descriptive: differentiates the parts that make up the whole.
Heuristic: Creates new meanings to expand experiences.
Inductive: discovers relationships and generates hypotheses.

See also Hypotheses.

Types of case studies

Case study typologies are classified by objective (Stake) or by their functions in education (Merriam).

The types of case studies by objectives are classified as:

Intrinsic case study: provides a greater understanding of the phenomenon.
instrumental case study: provides greater clarity in the theoretical aspect.
Collective case study: investigates the phenomena through the deepening of multiple cases.

The types of case studies in education are:

Descriptive: cases that describe a situation or phenomenon.
Interpretative: cases that reinforce the theoretical side or help theorize.
Evaluative: cases that guide and help make a decision or formulate a program.

Phases and example of a case study

The case studies focus on the following phases:

Case selection and definition: “María is an exemplary student but her grades have dropped in the last quarter.”
List of questions: Why have María’s grades dropped? What is the direct cause? What is her family situation? Have other unusual behaviors occurred in María?, etc.
Location of the data source: family, relatives, friends, teachers, bibliography.
Analysis and interpretation: María has felt unmotivated since her brother was admitted to the hospital. Maria is the older sister and was very close to her brother. The family works all day and María must take care of herself.
Preparation of a report: describes the processes, details, conclusions of the case. Case studies in research projects usually follow the structure of a research protocol.

See also

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