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IHTE-1800 Research methods: Case and action research

Sari Kujala, spring 2007

http://www.cs.tut.fi/ihte

Contents
• Introduction • Case study research
- What it is? When to apply? - Process - Improving the quality • Action study - What it is? When to apply? - Process • Literature

fi/ihte Introduction • Case and action research strategies are among the best in human-centered design research .http://www.tut.Investigating holistic and meaningful characteristics of real-life events Makes the research practical and ensures that the developed methods and processes are usable in practice .cs.

http://www.cs. economics) . particularly when the boundaries between phenomena and context are not clearly evident (Yin.fi/ihte What is case study research? • A case study is an empirical inquiry within its real-life context. 1994) • A common research strategy in different disciplines (social and organizational sciences.tut.

fi/ihte Case study research in practice • The researcher has a role of detached observer • Small sample • Data gathering methods can be both quantitative and qualitative .tut.cs.http://www.

cs.tut.fi/ihte Case studies -when to apply? • Answering to “how” or “why” questions • Broad and complex phenomenon • A phenomenon cannot be studied outside the context in which it occurs • To find relevant issues for theory • To capture process. time related data .http://www.

fi/ihte Single-case design (Yin. unique. representative. revelatory (phenomenon previously inaccessible) or longitudinal case • Holistic vs. embedded case design (more than one unit of analysis) .Are a theory’s propositions correct or are alternative explanations more relevant • Extreme.cs.tut. typical.http://www. 2003) • Critical test of existing theory .

http://www.tut.fi/ihte Multiple-case designs (Yin.cs. 2003) • Each case either (a) predicts similar results (a literal replication) • Or (b) predicts contrasting results but for predictable reasons (a theoretical replication) .

http://www.tut.fi/ihte Multiple case studies (Dubé and Paré. 2003) • Helps to understand the influence of variability of context and to gain more general research results • Within-case analysis: individual cases are analyzed .cs. which accelerates cross-case comparison • Cross-case analysis: the results of multiple cases are compared and combined .Gives a rich familiarity with each case.

fi/ihte Investigator skills (Yin. 2003) • • • • Asks good questions Is a good listener Is adaptive and flexible Has a firm grasp of the issues being studied • Is unbiased by preconceived notions (sensitive and responsive to contradictory evidence) .cs.http://www.tut.

Goals. 2003) • Prepare a case study protocol .fi/ihte Preparing for data collection (Yin.tut. procedures. questions and instructions for the case • Select case study “sites” or individuals • Pilot case study and refine your data collection plans .cs.http://www.

tut.g.Testing the resulting product .cs.Existing measures and evaluations • Statistics • Interviews and surveys • Direct or participant-observation (e. meetings) • Physical artifacts .http://www.fi/ihte Collecting data: sources • Documentation .

fi/ihte Example of measured attributes (Kujala.cs. … … … … Quality of Completeness requirements Correctness Usability Ease of use .http://www. 2002) Factors Product development performance Attributes Development time Costs Expl..tut. of attributes ..

Case study notes (incl.fi/ihte Three principles of data collection (Yin) 1. methodological) 2.Documents 3.tut. investigator. Maintaining a chain of evidence . exact phrases) .http://www.cs. theory.Called triangulation (data sources. Use multiple sources of evidence . Create a case study database .

tut.cs.fi/ihte Data analysis strategies (Yin.http://www. 2003) • Relaying on theoretical propositions • Thinking about rival explanations • Developing a case description .

tut. 2003) • Pattern matching .Comparing empirical pattern with a predicted • Explanation building • Time-series analysis • Logic models • Cross-case synthesis .http://www.fi/ihte Data analysis techniques (Yin.cs.

tut. method bias • Use all data.cs. anchor into theory Use within and between case analysis Be clear about sampling Validate/test your instruments Identify natural controls Use multiple sources of data for triangulation Search for alternative explanations Report your data collection process. including field notes • User study protocol and methods to map data to constructs • Use quotes or other field data .http://www. threats to reliability.fi/ihte Improving the quality of case studies (Kalle Lyytinen) • • • • • • • • Define research questions.

Includes intervention and investigating its effects .cs. participatory and selfevaluative • Researcher actively involved and collaborating with practitioners • Roots on educational. social and organizational sciences .fi/ihte Action research • Combines practical problem-solving and scientific research . collaborative.http://www.Situational.tut.

training .tut.cs. 1980) • To enhance the competence of the respective actors.http://www.fi/ihte Action research – when to apply? • To address complex real-life problems • To understand social practices and the change processes in social systems (Hult and Lennung.

tut.fi/ihte Action research process Problem diagnosing (identifying and defining problems) Action planning Specifying learning Action intervention Evaluating .cs.http://www.

http://www. 2002) • Situation specific.fi/ihte Criticism of action research (Tuomi & Sarajärvi. no equal dialog between the researcher and the object • Researchers may search solutions to their own problems in which practitioners are not interested .tut.cs. no control of experiments • Goals and methods can be unclear • Difficult to keep distant and neutral. sample not representative.

fi/ihte Case study research • Yin.) Sage Publications. 14. and recommendations. trends. Rigor in information systems positivist case research: Current practices. (1989) Building theories from case study research. 4. 27. (2003).http://www. MIS Quarterly. • Eisenhardt. 4. G. Academy of Management Review. 597-636. M.cs. . • Dubé and Paré.tut.K. 532-550. K. R. (2002) Case study research: Design and Methods (3rd ed.

(1999) Action • • • • • research. 37-54. and Lennung. 1.cs. M. second edition. F. Tammer-paino. Quality & Quantity. (1980) Towards a definition of action research: An note and bibliography. 94-97.http://www.T. Stringer. 42. (1997) Distinguishing action research from participative case studies. and Nielsen. Communications of the ACM. (1999) Kenttätyötä ja muutospyrkimyksiä. Thousand Oaks. Myers. P. A. R. Journal of Systems and Information Technology.. (1999) Action Research. Lau. Hult. . M. 241-250. 41.. 1. Baskerville. E. P.fi/ihte Action research literature • Avison. (2007). Kuula. Järvinen. Tampere. 17. Action research is similar to design science.tut. Journal of Management Studies. CA: Sage Publications. A. 1. S. 25-45. D.