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Survey and Research Methods

Session 3: Case Studies

Dr. Gangadhar Mahesh, B. Arch, M. Eng, Ph.D

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Case Study - Introduction

Case study is an intensive study of a single group, incident, or community Are appropriate when there is a unique or interesting story to be told Provide an avenue for investigating details in a specific context and are also often used to provide context to other data Data Collected can vary from first hand (primary) involvement of the researcher to second hand (secondary) data sourced through other research methods inbuilt into the design of the case study methodology such as document reviews, interviews, surveys and so on
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Classification of case studies

Based on Purpose Illustrative Case Studies - to show what a situation is like Exploratory (or pilot) Case Studies - condensed case studies performed before
implementing a large scale investigation

Cumulative Case Studies - serve to aggregate information from several sites

collected at different times

Critical Instance Case Studies - examining a situation of unique interest with

little to no interest in generalizability

Based on Design Transverse a snapshot of the case at a given point of time Longitudinal a complete follow through of the case from initiation to completion Nested
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Case Studies

Provide much more detailed information than what is available through other methods, such as surveys - allow one
to present data collected from multiple methods (i.e., surveys, interviews, document review, and observation) to provide the complete story

Can be lengthy - Because they provide detailed information about the case in narrative

Concern that case studies lack rigor Fears of researchers not being
systematic in their data collection or have allowed bias in their findings

No basis or difficult for scientific generalization - Purpose is to

generalize to theoretical propositions, not to population as in statistical research

Resource Constraints - Take too long ending up with enormous amount of data;
Time and cost considerations do not allow for too many case studies

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Selection of Cases
Cases should be selected in the same way as the topic of an experiment is selected

Brainstorm a case study topic, considering types of cases and why they are unique or of interest
Developed preliminary theory is used as a template with which to compare the characteristics & empirical findings from the case(s) Selected cases should reflect characteristics & problems identified in the underlying theoretical propositions / conceptual framework

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Process for Conducting a Case Study - Plan

Identify stakeholders who will be involved and obtain consent Identify what information is needed and from whom
- Documents (letters, agendas, progress reports, meeting minutes) - Archival records (Service records, organizational charts, budgets etc.) - Interviews (typically open-ended, but also focused, structured & surveys are possible) - Direct observations (formal or casual; useful to have multiple observers) - Participant observation (assuming a role in the situation & getting an inside view of the events) - Physical artefacts

List stakeholders to be interviewed or surveyed


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Process for Conducting a Case Study Develop Instruments Develop interview/survey protocols - the rules that guide the
administration and implementation of the interview/survey; the instructions that are followed to ensure consistency across interviews/surveys, and thus increase the reliability of the findings
- What to say to interviewees when setting up the interview/survey; - What to say to interviewees when beginning the interview/survey, including ensuring informed consent of the respondent - What to say to respondent in concluding the interview; - What to do during the interview (Example: Take notes? Audiotape? Both?); and - What to do following the interview (Example: Fill in notes? Check audiotape for clarity? Summarize key information for each? Submit written findings?) - Develop an interview guide/survey that lists the questions or issues to be explored and includes an informed consent form. Please note that you will likely need interview guides/surveys for each group of stakeholders, as questions may differ - Where necessary, translate guides into local languages and test translation. .

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Process for Conducting a Case Study data Collection

Train Data Collectors
- Identify and train data collectors; Where necessary, use interviewers that speak the local language

Collect Data
- Gather all relevant documents - Set up interviews/surveys with stakeholders (be sure to explain the purpose, why the stakeholder has been chosen, and the expected duration) - Seek informed consent of each respondent (written or documented oral). Re-explain purpose of interview, why the stakeholder has been chosen, expected duration of, whether and how the information will be kept confidential, and the use of a note taker/tape recorder - If the respondent has consented, conduct the interview/survey

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Desired Skills of the Investigator

Good knowledge of the phenomenon Sensitivity for novel & unexpected issues in data collection Asking good questions Being a good listener

Adaptiveness & flexibility

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Process for Conducting a Case Study Data Analysis 1

Pattern Matching (Explanatory / Descriptive)
- Comparing empirically based patterns with predicted one(s)
- Expected outcomes as a pattern: comparing if the initially predicted results have been found and alternative patterns are absent - Rival explanations as patterns: searching if some of the theoretically salient explaining conditions might be articulated in empirical findings; then the presence of certain explanation should exclude the presence of others - Simpler patterns: pattern matching is possible also with only few variables, if the derived patterns are predicted to have enough clear differences

Explanation-building (mainly explanatory)

- Analyzing case study data by building an explanation about the case & identifying a set of causal links
Note: Danger of drifting away from original topic of interest

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Process for Conducting a Case Study Data Analysis 2

Time-series analysis - How and why questions about relationships & changes of events over time
- Identifying theoretically proposed sequences of an event that are expected to lead to a certain outcome; identification of events must be done before the onset of the investigation - Comparing this trend with the trend of empirical data points - Comparing with some rival trend to rule alternatives out

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Case Study Report Writing

Introduction and Justification Methodology
- How was the process carried out? (Describe the process of selecting the case and data collection sources, as well as how data was collected.) - What assumptions are there (if any)? - Are there any limitations with this method? - What instruments were used to collect data? (You may want to include some or all in the appendix.) - What sample(s) is/are being used? - Over which period of time was this data collected?

The Problem The Steps Taken to Address the Problem The Results The Challenges and How They were Met Beyond Results Lessons Learned Conclusion
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