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Research Guide

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A (VERY) BRIEF REFRESHER
ON THE CASE STUDY METHOD

The case study method embraces the full set of procedures needed to do case study research. These tasks include designing a case study, collecting the study’s data, analyzing the data, and presenting and reporting the results. (None of the tasks, nor the rest of this book, deals with the development of teaching case studies—frequently also referred to as the “case study method”—the pedagogical goals of which may differ entirely from doing research studies.)
The present chapter introduces and describes these procedures, but only in the most modest manner. The chapter’s goal is to serve as a brief refresher to the case study method. As a refresher, the chapter does not fully cover all the options or nuances that you might encounter when customizing your own case study (refer to
Yin, 2009a, to obtain a full rendition of the entire method).
Besides discussing case study design, data collection, and analysis, the refresher addresses several key features of case study research. First, an abbreviated definition of a “case study” will help identify the circumstances when you might choose to use the case study method instead of (or as a complement to) some other research method.
Second, other features cover the choices you are likely to encounter in doing your own case study. Thus, the refresher discusses the
•• definition of the “case” in case study research,
•• benefits of developing a theoretical perspective in conjunction with your design and analysis tasks,
•• importance of triangulating among data sources,
•• desired vigor in entertaining rival explanations during data collection, and
•• challenge of generalizing from case studies.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This chapter was written expressly for this book but draws from three previous summaries of the case study method (Yin, 2006, 2009b, and 2011a).
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PART I. STARTING...

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