Meaning: The case study method is a very popular form of qualitative analysis and involves a careful and complete observation of a social unit, be that unit a person, a family, an institution, a cultural group or even the entire community. It is a method of study in depth rather than breadth. The case study places more emphasis on the full analysis of a limited number of events or conditions and their interrelations. The case study deals with the processes that take place and their interrelationship. Thus, case study is essentially an intensive investigation of the particular unit under consideration. The object of the case study method is to locate the factors that account for the behaviour-patterns of the given unit as an integrated totality.
According to H. Odum, “The case study method of data collection is a technique by which individual factor whether it be an institution or just an episode in the life of an individual or a group is analysed in its relationship to any other in the group.” Thus, a fairly exhaustive study of a person (as to what he does and has done, what he thinks he does and had done and what he expects to do and says he ought to do) or group is called a life or case history. Burgess has used the words “the social microscope” for the case study method.” Pauline V. Young describes case study as “a comprehensive study of a social unit be that unit a person, a group, a social institution, a district or a community.” In brief, we can say that case study method is a form of qualitative analysis where in careful and complete observation of an individual or a situation or an institution is done; efforts are made to study each and every aspect of the concerning unit in minute details and then from case data generalisations and inferences are drawn.
The important characteristics of the case study method are as under:
Evolution and scope: The case study method is a widely used systematic field research technique in sociology these days. The credit for introducing this method to the field of social investigation goes to Frederic Le Play who used it as a hand-maiden to statistics in his studies of family budgets. Herbert Spencer was the first to use case material in his comparative study of different cultures. Dr. William Healy resorted to this method in his study of juvenile delinquency, and considered it as a better method over and above the mere use of statistical data. Similarly, anthropologists, historians, novelists and dramatists have used this method concerning problems pertaining to their areas of interests. Even management experts use case study methods for getting clues to several management problems. In brief, case study method is being used in several disciplines. Not only this, its use is increasing day by day.
Assumptions: The case study method is based on several assumptions. The important assumptions may be listed as follows:
Major phases involved: Major phases involved in case study are as follows:
Advantages: There are several advantages of the case study method that follow from the various characteristics outlined above. Mention may be made here of the important advantages.
Limitations: Important limitations of the case study method may as well be highlighted.
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Research Methodology Tutorial
Research Methodology: An Introduction
Defining The Research Problem
Measurement And Scaling Techniques
Methods Of Data Collection
Processing And Analysis Of Data
Testing Of Hypotheses I (parametric Or Standard Tests Of Hypotheses)
Analysis Of Variance And Co-variance
Testing Of Hypotheses-ii (nonparametric Or Distribution-free Tests)
Multivariate Analysis Techniques
Interpretation And Report Writing
The Computer: Its Role In Research
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