Video Case Studies 3Uses of Video Case Studies in an Adolescent Development CourseCase studies are common in developmental psychology courses (Leonard,Mitchell, Meyers, & Love, 2002; McBride-Chang & Chang, 2001; McManus, 2000).
Acase study is "
an in-depth look at an individual ... [providing] informationabout a person's hopes, fears, fantasies, traumatic experiences, familyrelationships, health, or anything that will help ... understand the
" (Santrock, 1993, p. 71). As such, case studiesserve two broad purposes for developmental psychology courses. First, theyenable students to gather information about an individual child oradolescent. Second, students can analyze and interpret this information,drawing upon course materials (e.g., lecture notes, textbook chapters) toachieve an informed understanding of both the case study subject and thecourse contents. Perhaps the main benefit of conducting a case study is thatit makes the subject matter "come alive" in students' minds. Thus, casestudies can promote active, self-directed learning (Perkins, 2000) andpersonalize abstract developmental theories and behavioral concepts, therebymaking these more meaningful. As McManus (2000) notes, case studies havebeen used successfully to improve student learning and motivation. Thisarticle describes my use of video case studies in a course on adolescentdevelopment. The videos were made by high school students, as part of alarger project on adolescents' perspectives for teachers (Author et al., 2005).