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Anecdotal approach

Charles Fort, 1920. Fort is perhaps the most widely known collector of paranormal stories.
An anecdotal approach to the paranormal involves the collection of stories told about the
paranormal.
Charles Fort 1!"#$19%2& is perhaps the best known collector of paranormal anecdotes. Fort is
said to have compiled as many as #0,000 notes on une'plained paranormal e'periences, thou(h
there were no doubt many more than these. )hese notes came from what he called *the orthodo'
conventionality of +cience*, which were odd events ori(inally reported in ma(a,ines and
newspapers such as )he )imes and scientific -ournals such as Scientific American, Nature and
Science". From this research Fort wrote seven books, thou(h only four survive. )hese are. The
Book of the Damned 1919&, New Lands 192%&, Lo! 19%1& and Wild Talents 19%2&/ one book
was written between New Lands and Lo! but it was abandoned and absorbed into Lo!.
0eported events that he collected include teleportation a term Fort is (enerally credited with
coinin(&/ polter(eist events, falls of fro(s, fishes, inor(anic materials of an ama,in( ran(e/ crop
circles/ unaccountable noises and e'plosions/ spontaneous fires/ levitation/ ball li(htnin( a term
e'plicitly used by Fort&/ unidentified flyin( ob-ects/ mysterious appearances and disappearances/
(iant wheels of li(ht in the oceans/ and animals found outside their normal ran(es see phantom
cat&. 1e offered many reports of 223Arts, abbreviation for *out of place* artifacts. stran(e items
found in unlikely locations. 1e also is perhaps the first person to e'plain stran(e human
appearances and disappearances by the hypothesis of alien abduction, and was an early
proponent of the e'traterrestrial hypothesis.
Fort is considered by many as the father of modern paranormalism, which is the study of the
paranormal.
)he ma(a,ine Fortean Times continues Charles Fort4s approach, re(ularly reportin( anecdotal
accounts of the paranormal.
+uch anecdotal collections, lackin( the reproducibility of empirical evidence, are not amenable
to scientific investi(ation. )he anecdotal approach is not a scientific approach to the paranormal
because it leaves verification dependent on the credibility of the party presentin( the evidence.
5evertheless, it is a common approach to paranormal phenomena.
Anecdotal Records
Anecdotal records are a (reat way to document student behaviors and academic pro(ress over
time. )hey can be useful in dia(nosin( a student6s difficulty in a particular sub-ect area or simply
to show masterin( of a standard. )raditionally the teacher will take brief notes on a student6s
interactions within the classroom with sub-ect matter and peers. 7y keepin( such notes, the
teacher has a point of reference for the plannin( of how instruction as well as an additional tool
for communication to parents of their child4s pro(ress.
The Case Study as a Research Method
Uses and Users of Information -- LIS 391D.1 -- Spring 1997
Introduction
Case study research excels at bringing us to an understanding of a complex issue or
object and can extend experience or add strength to what is already known through
previous research. Case studies emphasize detailed contextual analysis of a limited
number of events or conditions and their relationships. Researchers have used the
case study research method for many years across a variety of disciplines. Social
scientists, in particular, have made wide use of this ualitative research method to
examine contemporary real!life situations and provide the basis for the application
of ideas and extension of methods. Researcher Robert ". #in de$nes the case study
research method as an empirical inuiry that investigates a contemporary
phenomenon within its real!life context% when the boundaries between phenomenon
and context are not clearly evident% and in which multiple sources of evidence are
used &#in, '()*, p. +,-.
Critics of the case study method believe that the study of a small number of cases can offer no
(rounds for establishin( reliability or (enerality of findin(s. 2thers feel that the intense e'posure
to study of the case biases the findin(s. +ome dismiss case study research as useful only as an
e'ploratory tool. 8et researchers continue to use the case study research method with success in
carefully planned and crafted studies of real9life situations, issues, and problems. 0eports on case
studies from many disciplines are widely available in the literature.
)his paper e'plains how to use the case study method and then applies the method to an e'ample
case study pro-ect desi(ned to e'amine how one set of users, non9profit or(ani,ations, make use
of an electronic community network. )he study e'amines the issue of whether or not the
electronic community network is beneficial in some way to non9profit or(ani,ations and what
those benefits mi(ht be.
:any well9known case study researchers such as 0obert ;. +take, 1elen +imons, and 0obert <.
8in have written about case study research and su((ested techni=ues for or(ani,in( and
conductin( the research successfully. )his introduction to case study research draws upon their
work and proposes si' steps that should be used.
.etermine and de$ne the research uestions
Select the cases and determine data gathering and analysis techniues
/repare to collect the data
Collect data in the $eld
0valuate and analyze the data
/repare the report
Step 1. Determine and Defne the Research Questions
)he first step in case study research is to establish a firm research focus to which the researcher
can refer over the course of study of a comple' phenomenon or ob-ect. )he researcher
establishes the focus of the study by formin( =uestions about the situation or problem to be
studied and determinin( a purpose for the study. )he research ob-ect in a case study is often a
pro(ram, an entity, a person, or a (roup of people. ;ach ob-ect is likely to be intricately
connected to political, social, historical, and personal issues, providin( wide ran(in( possibilities
for =uestions and addin( comple'ity to the case study. )he researcher investi(ates the ob-ect of
the case study in depth usin( a variety of data (atherin( methods to produce evidence that leads
to understandin( of the case and answers the research =uestions.
Case study research (enerally answers one or more =uestions which be(in with *how* or *why.*
)he =uestions are tar(eted to a limited number of events or conditions and their inter9
relationships. )o assist in tar(etin( and formulatin( the =uestions, researchers conduct a literature
review. )his review establishes what research has been previously conducted and leads to
refined, insi(htful =uestions about the problem. Careful definition of the =uestions at the start
pinpoints where to look for evidence and helps determine the methods of analysis to be used in
the study. )he literature review, definition of the purpose of the case study, and early
determination of the potential audience for the final report (uide how the study will be desi(ned,
conducted, and publicly reported.
Step . Select the !ases and Determine Data "athering and Anal#sis $echni%ues
>urin( the desi(n phase of case study research, the researcher determines what approaches to
use in selectin( sin(le or multiple real9life cases to e'amine in depth and which instruments and
data (atherin( approaches to use. ?hen usin( multiple cases, each case is treated as a sin(le
case. ;ach case1s conclusions can then be used as information contributin( to the whole study,
but each case remains a sin(le case. ;'emplary case studies carefully select cases and carefully
e'amine the choices available from amon( many research tools available in order to increase the
validity of the study. Careful discrimination at the point of selection also helps erect boundaries
around the case.
)he researcher must determine whether to study cases which are uni=ue in some way or cases
which are considered typical and may also select cases to represent a variety of (eo(raphic
re(ions, a variety of si,e parameters, or other parameters. A useful step in the selection process is
to repeatedly refer back to the purpose of the study in order to focus attention on where to look
for cases and evidence that will satisfy the purpose of the study and answer the research
=uestions posed. +electin( multiple or sin(le cases is a key element, but a case study can include
more than one unit of embedded analysis. For e'ample, a case study may involve study of a
sin(le industry and a firm participatin( in that industry. )his type of case study involves two
levels of analysis and increases the comple'ity and amount of data to be (athered and analy,ed.
A key stren(th of the case study method involves usin( multiple sources and techni=ues in the
data (atherin( process. )he researcher determines in advance what evidence to (ather and what
analysis techni=ues to use with the data to answer the research =uestions. >ata (athered is
normally lar(ely =ualitative, but it may also be =uantitative. )ools to collect data can include
surveys, interviews, documentation review, observation, and even the collection of physical
artifacts.
)he researcher must use the desi(nated data (atherin( tools systematically and properly in
collectin( the evidence. )hrou(hout the desi(n phase, researchers must ensure that the study is
well constructed to ensure construct validity, internal validity, e'ternal validity, and reliability.
Construct validity re=uires the researcher to use the correct measures for the concepts bein(
studied. @nternal validity especially important with e'planatory or causal studies& demonstrates
that certain conditions lead to other conditions and re=uires the use of multiple pieces of
evidence from multiple sources to uncover conver(ent lines of in=uiry. )he researcher strives to
establish a chain of evidence forward and backward. ;'ternal validity reflects whether or not
findin(s are (enerali,able beyond the immediate case or cases/ the more variations in places,
people, and procedures a case study can withstand and still yield the same findin(s, the more
e'ternal validity. )echni=ues such as cross9case e'amination and within9case e'amination alon(
with literature review helps ensure e'ternal validity. 0eliability refers to the stability, accuracy,
and precision of measurement. ;'emplary case study desi(n ensures that the procedures used are
well documented and can be repeated with the same results over and over a(ain.
Step 3. &repare to !ollect the Data
7ecause case study research (enerates a lar(e amount of data from multiple sources, systematic
or(ani,ation of the data is important to prevent the researcher from becomin( overwhelmed by
the amount of data and to prevent the researcher from losin( si(ht of the ori(inal research
purpose and =uestions. Advance preparation assists in handlin( lar(e amounts of data in a
documented and systematic fashion. 0esearchers prepare databases to assist with cate(ori,in(,
sortin(, storin(, and retrievin( data for analysis.
;'emplary case studies prepare (ood trainin( pro(rams for investi(ators, establish clear
protocols and procedures in advance of investi(ator field work, and conduct a pilot study in
advance of movin( into the field in order to remove obvious barriers and problems. )he
investi(ator trainin( pro(ram covers the basic concepts of the study, terminolo(y, processes, and
methods, and teaches investi(ators how to properly apply the techni=ues bein( used in the study.
)he pro(ram also trains investi(ators to understand how the (atherin( of data usin( multiple
techni=ues stren(thens the study by providin( opportunities for trian(ulation durin( the analysis
phase of the study. )he pro(ram covers protocols for case study research, includin( time
deadlines, formats for narrative reportin( and field notes, (uidelines for collection of documents,
and (uidelines for field procedures to be used. @nvesti(ators need to be (ood listeners who can
hear e'actly the words bein( used by those interviewed. Aualifications for investi(ators also
include bein( able to ask (ood =uestions and interpret answers. Bood investi(ators review
documents lookin( for facts, but also read between the lines and pursue collaborative evidence
elsewhere when that seems appropriate. @nvesti(ators need to be fle'ible in real9life situations
and not feel threatened by une'pected chan(e, missed appointments, or lack of office space.
@nvesti(ators need to understand the purpose of the study and (rasp the issues and must be open
to contrary findin(s. @nvesti(ators must also be aware that they are (oin( into the world of real
human bein(s who may be threatened or unsure of what the case study will brin(.
After investi(ators are trained, the final advance preparation step is to select a pilot site and
conduct a pilot test usin( each data (atherin( method so that problematic areas can be uncovered
and corrected. 0esearchers need to anticipate key problems and events, identify key people,
prepare letters of introduction, establish rules for confidentiality, and actively seek opportunities
to revisit and revise the research desi(n in order to address and add to the ori(inal set of research
=uestions.
'. !ollect Data in the (ield
)he researcher must collect and store multiple sources of evidence comprehensively and
systematically, in formats that can be referenced and sorted so that conver(in( lines of in=uiry
and patterns can be uncovered. 0esearchers carefully observe the ob-ect of the case study and
identify causal factors associated with the observed phenomenon. 0ene(otiation of arran(ements
with the ob-ects of the study or addition of =uestions to interviews may be necessary as the study
pro(resses. Case study research is fle'ible, but when chan(es are made, they are documented
systematically.
;'emplary case studies use field notes and databases to cate(ori,e and reference data so that it is
readily available for subse=uent reinterpretation. Field notes record feelin(s and intuitive
hunches, pose =uestions, and document the work in pro(ress. )hey record testimonies, stories,
and illustrations which can be used in later reports. )hey may warn of impendin( bias because of
the detailed e'posure of the client to special attention, or (ive an early si(nal that a pattern is
emer(in(. )hey assist in determinin( whether or not the in=uiry needs to be reformulated or
redefined based on what is bein( observed. Field notes should be kept separate from the data
bein( collected and stored for analysis.
:aintainin( the relationship between the issue and the evidence is mandatory. )he researcher
may enter some data into a database and physically store other data, but the researcher
documents, classifies, and cross9references all evidence so that it can be efficiently recalled for
sortin( and e'amination over the course of the study.
Step ). *+aluate and Anal#,e the Data
)he researcher e'amines raw data usin( many interpretations in order to find linka(es between
the research ob-ect and the outcomes with reference to the ori(inal research =uestions.
)hrou(hout the evaluation and analysis process, the researcher remains open to new
opportunities and insi(hts. )he case study method, with its use of multiple data collection
methods and analysis techni=ues, provides researchers with opportunities to trian(ulate data in
order to stren(then the research findin(s and conclusions.
)he tactics used in analysis force researchers to move beyond initial impressions to improve the
likelihood of accurate and reliable findin(s. ;'emplary case studies will deliberately sort the data
in many different ways to e'pose or create new insi(hts and will deliberately look for conflictin(
data to disconfirm the analysis. 0esearchers cate(ori,e, tabulate, and recombine data to address
the initial propositions or purpose of the study, and conduct cross9checks of facts and
discrepancies in accounts. Focused, short, repeat interviews may be necessary to (ather
additional data to verify key observations or check a fact.
+pecific techni=ues include placin( information into arrays, creatin( matrices of cate(ories,
creatin( flow charts or other displays, and tabulatin( fre=uency of events. 0esearchers use the
=uantitative data that has been collected to corroborate and support the =ualitative data which is
most useful for understandin( the rationale or theory underlyin( relationships. Another techni=ue
is to use multiple investi(ators to (ain the advanta(e provided when a variety of perspectives and
insi(hts e'amine the data and the patterns. ?hen the multiple observations conver(e, confidence
in the findin(s increases. Conflictin( perceptions, on the other hand, cause the researchers to pry
more deeply.
Another techni=ue, the cross9case search for patterns, keeps investi(ators from reachin(
premature conclusions by re=uirin( that investi(ators look at the data in many different ways.
Cross9case analysis divides the data by type across all cases investi(ated. 2ne researcher then
e'amines the data of that type thorou(hly. ?hen a pattern from one data type is corroborated by
the evidence from another, the findin( is stron(er. ?hen evidence conflicts, deeper probin( of
the differences is necessary to identify the cause or source of conflict. @n all cases, the researcher
treats the evidence fairly to produce analytic conclusions answerin( the ori(inal *how* and
*why* research =uestions.
Step -. &repare the report
;'emplary case studies report the data in a way that transforms a comple' issue into one that can
be understood, allowin( the reader to =uestion and e'amine the study and reach an understandin(
independent of the researcher. )he (oal of the written report is to portray a comple' problem in a
way that conveys a vicarious e'perience to the reader. Case studies present data in very publicly
accessible ways and may lead the reader to apply the e'perience in his or her own real9life
situation. 0esearchers pay particular attention to displayin( sufficient evidence to (ain the
reader1s confidence that all avenues have been e'plored, clearly communicatin( the boundaries
of the case, and (ivin( special attention to conflictin( propositions.
)echni=ues for composin( the report can include handlin( each case as a separate chapter or
treatin( the case as a chronolo(ical recountin(. +ome researchers report the case study as a story.
>urin( the report preparation process, researchers critically e'amine the document lookin( for
ways the report is incomplete. )he researcher uses representative audience (roups to review and
comment on the draft document. 7ased on the comments, the researcher rewrites and makes
revisions. +ome case study researchers su((est that the document review audience include a
-ournalist and some su((est that the documents should be reviewed by the participants in the
study.
The Purpose of Correlational Studies:
Correlational studies are used to look for relationships between variables. There are three possible
results of a correlational study: a positive correlation, a negative correlation, and no correlation. The
correlation coefficient is a measure of correlation strength and can range from 1.00 to 1.00.
Positive Correlations: !oth variables increase or decrease at the same time. " correlation
coefficient close to 1.00 indicates a strong positive correlation.
Negative Correlations: #ndicates that as the amount of one variable increases, the other
decreases $and vice versa%. " correlation coefficient close to &1.00 indicates a strong negative
correlation.
No Correlation: #ndicates no relationship between the two variables. " correlation coefficient
of 0 indicates no correlation.
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The Purpose of Correlational Studies:
Correlational studies are used to look for relationships between variables. There are three possible
results of a correlational study: a positive correlation, a negative correlation, and no correlation. The
correlation coefficient is a measure of correlation strength and can range from 1.00 to 1.00.
Positive Correlations: !oth variables increase or decrease at the same time. " correlation
coefficient close to 1.00 indicates a strong positive correlation.
Negative Correlations: #ndicates that as the amount of one variable increases, the other
decreases $and vice versa%. " correlation coefficient close to &1.00 indicates a strong negative
correlation.
No Correlation: #ndicates no relationship between the two variables. " correlation coefficient
of 0 indicates no correlation.
Li$itations of Correlational Studies:
?hile correlational studies can suggest that there is a relationship between two variables, they cannot
prove that one variable causes a change in another variable. #n other words, correlation does not
eAual causation. 'or e7ample, a correlational study might suggest that there is a relationship between
academic success and self&esteem, but it cannot show if academic success increases or decreases self&
esteem. 0ther variables might play a role, including social relationships, cognitive abilities, personality,
socio&economic status, and a myriad of other factors. Types of Correlational Studies:
! Naturalistic %bservation
=aturalistic observation involves observing and recording the variables of interest in the
natural environment without interference or manipulation by the e7perimenter.
"dvantages of =aturalistic 0bservation:
& 5ives the e7perimenter the opportunity to view the variable of interest in a natural setting.
' Can offer ideas for further research.
( -ay be the only option if lab e7perimentation is not possible
.isadvantages of =aturalistic 0bservation:
Can be time consuming and e7pensive.
.oes not allow for scientific control of variables.
(7perimenters cannot control e7traneous variables.
)ubBects may be aware of the observer and may act differently as a result.
& The Survey )ethod
)urvey and Auestionnaires are one of the most common methods used in psychological research. #n
this method, a random sample of participants completes a survey, test, or Auestionnaire that relates
to the variables of interest. 6andom sampling is a vital part of ensuring the generaliCability of the
survey results.
"dvantages of the )urvey -ethod:
#tDs fast, cheap, and easy. 6esearchers can collect large amount of data in a relatively short
amount of time.
-ore fle7ible than some other methods.
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Study Psychology in USA 'ind and "pply to the !()T *sychology Courses via
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)ystems www.saybrook.edu
Psychology research tools )olutions for psychology and human behavior
research noldus.com1observer
Psychology Ads
*sychology 'orensic *sychology )tudy !ooks in *sychology " +evel *sychology 0pen Clinical
*sychology 2ournals
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@=#T( . www.uniteaccommodation&india.com
The Purpose of Correlational Studies:
Correlational studies are used to look for relationships between variables. There are three possible
results of a correlational study: a positive correlation, a negative correlation, and no correlation. The
correlation coefficient is a measure of correlation strength and can range from 1.00 to 1.00.
Positive Correlations: !oth variables increase or decrease at the same time. " correlation
coefficient close to 1.00 indicates a strong positive correlation.
Negative Correlations: #ndicates that as the amount of one variable increases, the other
decreases $and vice versa%. " correlation coefficient close to &1.00 indicates a strong negative
correlation.
No Correlation: #ndicates no relationship between the two variables. " correlation coefficient
of 0 indicates no correlation.
Li$itations of Correlational Studies:
?hile correlational studies can suggest that there is a relationship between two variables, they cannot
prove that one variable causes a change in another variable. #n other words, correlation does not
eAual causation. 'or e7ample, a correlational study might suggest that there is a relationship between
academic success and self&esteem, but it cannot show if academic success increases or decreases self&
esteem. 0ther variables might play a role, including social relationships, cognitive abilities, personality,
socio&economic status, and a myriad of other factors.
Types of Correlational Studies:
! Naturalistic %bservation
=aturalistic observation involves observing and recording the variables of interest in the natural
environment without interference or manipulation by the e7perimenter.
"dvantages of =aturalistic 0bservation:
5ives the e7perimenter the opportunity to view the variable of interest in a natural setting.
Can offer ideas for further research.
-ay be the only option if lab e7perimentation is not possible.
.isadvantages of =aturalistic 0bservation:
Can be time consuming and e7pensive.
.oes not allow for scientific control of variables.
(7perimenters cannot control e7traneous variables.
)ubBects may be aware of the observer and may act differently as a result.
& The Survey )ethod
)urvey and Auestionnaires are one of the most common methods used in psychological research. #n
this method, a random sample of participants completes a survey, test, or Auestionnaire that relates
to the variables of interest. 6andom sampling is a vital part of ensuring the generaliCability of the
survey results.
"dvantages of the )urvey -ethod:
#tDs fast, cheap, and easy. 6esearchers can collect large amount of data in a relatively short
amount of time.
-ore fle7ible than some other methods.
.isadvantages of the )urvey -ethod:
Can be affected by an unrepresentative sample or poor survey Auestions.
*articipants can affect the outcome. )ome participants try to please the researcher, lie to
make themselves look better, or have mistaken memories.
' Archival *esearch
"rchival research is performed by analyCing studies conducted by other researchers or by looking at
historical patient records. 'or e7ample, researchers recently analyCed the records of soldiers who
served in the Civil ?ar to learn more about *T). $EThe #rritable ,eartE%.
"dvantages of "rchival 6esearch:
The e7perimenter cannot introduce changes in participant behavior.
(normous amounts of data provide a better view of trends, relationships, and outcomes.
0ften less e7pensive than other study methods. 6esearchers can often access data through
free archives or records databases.
.isadvantages of "rchival 6esearch:
The researchers have not control over how data was collected.
#mportant date may be missing from the records.
*revious research may be unreliable.
*.perimental ps#cholog# is a methodolo(ical approach rather than a sub-ect and
encompasses varied fields within psycholo(y. ;'perimental psycholo(ists have
traditionally conducted research, published articles, and tau(ht classes on neuroscience,
developmental psycholo(y, sensation, perception, attention, consciousness, learnin(,
memory, thinkin(, and lan(ua(e. 0ecently, however, the e'perimental approach has
e'tended to motivation, emotion, and social psycholo(y.
;'perimental psycholo(ists conduct research with the help of e'perimental methods. )he
concern of e'perimental psycholo(y is discoverin( the processes underlyin( behavior and
co(nition.
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