Definition of a Case Study - Paper Example

3 pages
590 words
George Washington University
Type of paper: 
Dissertation methodology
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Case study refers to the study of a particular unit with the primary focus getting based on developmental concerns and drawing their relationship with the environment. The study is also usually aimed at comparing a larger group to one unit. In most scenarios case studies can be conducted by a person, family or a particular social group with the primary aim of drawing comparisons as noted earlier.

Advantages of the Case Study

Equally notable, case studies usually have distinct advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include facilitating the collection of detailed information which would not be easily derived by other methods. The information or data which is usually collected is often rich and detailed as compared to those that may have been obtained by other experimental methods. Another advantage gets drawn on its ability to encompass other scientific experiments (GRAMATIKOV, 2010). Unlike other experimental designs, case studies are the only ones which could include one or more experimental procedures during research. The next advantage gets drawn on helping experiments in taking to account various useful ideas and creating novel hypotheses that can be kept for future testing. Case studies also serve the role of simplifying concepts and also presenting the participants with real-life concerns. Lastly, it should get noted that it assists in making better one's communication, analytical thinking and the ability to put a defense on a particular point of view with logics.

Disadvantages of the Case Study

On the other hand, there also exist various disadvantage which comes as a result of using a case study. The main disadvantage is that the data collected may not be assumed for a larger population. The result gets depicted on data collected over the longitudinal case studies lacking relevance or usefulness. There also exist case studies which may not be scientific hence may be limited regarding use. In many occasions, they are limited to one person with one experimenter who facilitates the process of data collection (GRAMATIKOV, 2010). Researchers argue that there exist a possibility of bias in the course of collecting data which may have a long term influence on the results in more than one design. The method also presents difficulties especially when it comes to drawing definite cause and effects in a particular study. Lastly, case studies consume much time in training programs and facilitating other activities as compared to other instruments.

Comparison of Case Study with Primary and Secondary Data Collection

Finally, case studies also compare to a particular extent with primary and secondary data collection. The first comparison is that all the three methods are research oriented with a specific objective or purpose thereby reducing chances of wasting resources. The next comparison is of the reliability. In many circumstances, the data collected by the three methods have been noted by researchers to be statistically reliable (GRANT, 2011). They also operate on trusted grounds with strict adherence to the various ethical practices in supporting or organizing research. The depicted do not out rule the existence of contrasts between the three methods. They differ on numerous grounds with some ranging from cost, time consumption, the level of bias among others.

In summary, case studies are significant and useful in data collection especially in the event of rare phenomena. They ensure that the data collected is simpler and easier to synthesize. They, therefore, serves a critical role in matters research collection and should be considered in processes involving data collection.


GRAMATIKOV, M. (2010). A handbook for measuring the costs and quality of access to justice. Apeldoorn, Maklu.

GRANT, K. (2011). Case studies in knowledge management. Reading, Academic Bookshops.

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