What are Case Studies?
Case studies are common research methods incorporated within the field of social science. Case studies therefore require the exhaustive evaluation and studying of a person, a small group of individuals, a single situation, or a specific case. Case studies are developed to reveal a correlation between two factors; case studies are incorporated into a social phenomenon or a legal matter to reveal whether or not a causal relationship can be proven. For example, a common social case study may reveal that obese people tend to drink a lot of skim milk. This information and subsequent conclusion would reveal that there is a direct correlation or at least an association between being obese and drinking skim milk. Although there is no scientific evidence that links drinking skim milk to obesity, case studies in this example, simply reveal a correlation between the two.
The evaluation of case studies is based on the in-depth investigation of a single individual, a group, or a specific event. As a result of this somewhat broad definition, case studies may be descriptive or explanatory in nature. The latter form is typically used to explore causation in order to find the underlying principles of a particular legal matter or social phenomenon.
As oppose to using samples and following a strict set of rules or a protocol to examine a limited number of variables, case studies will incorporate various methods that involve an in-depth examination of a single incident or a particular case. Case studies provide a systematic method to accurately investigate information, collect data, analyze information and report the results of a particular legal matter. As a result of these characteristics and general benefits, a researcher participating in case studies may gain a sharpened understanding of why the particular instance occurred as it did and what may become critical to further research and review. Case studies, through these benefits, lend themselves to both testing and generating hypotheses.
Case Studies as Research Strategy:
Another common suggestion aligned with case studies is that the method can be regarded as a researched strategy or as an empirical inquiry that investigates an odd occurrence within a real-life context. Case studies, as a research tool, means single and multiple case studies will include quantitative evidence, will rely on multiple sources of evidence and will benefit from any prior research or development of the underlying theoretical propositions.
Case studies are held separate from quantitative research; additionally, case studies can be founded and based on any combination of quantitative or qualitative evidence.
Structure of Case Studies:
A typical case is often not attached to a plethora of information; to clarify lines of causation it is typically more useful to evaluate subjects that offer a revealing set of information aligned with the particular case. As a result, a case selection that is primarily based on representatives or individual subjects will rarely be able to produce particular and exacting bits of insights. When selecting a subject for case studies, a researcher will use information-oriented sampling as oppose to random sampling.