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Different Types of Case Study

05 Dec 2017Case Study Writing Guides

This type of academic work can be a very useful tool in the educational process. If students have real-life examples, they can learn more effectively, and synthesize information on a new level, which makes such projects one of the best ways to learn in a classroom. So what is it? It is a case study!

There are lots of examples in history when this type of assignment was used in different types of schools such as law schools, sociology, and medical schools. A case study comes in different forms. As a rule, all of them require giving the answer to the main question that assumes giving a detailed answer based on a thorough data analysis.

What can be more interesting than a long term detailed research of a case? While many freshmen will not agree, many people believe that such tasks are interesting enough, so here we are going to share some information about different types of case studies with you.

What Is The Case Study Research Method?

As a rule, a paper of this kind uses a research method that relies on a single case more than on a few different samples. Such projects are quite popular in different educational institutions. Also, case studies are good for beginners and freshmen, who have never done any serious research in the past. Focusing on only one specific object is a good method to explore ideas letting researchers prepare materials for future larger projects.

Despite the common belief, the case study research method isn’t popular only in sociology, but can be also applied in clinical or administrative science, psychology, anthropology, education, social work, political science, etc.

This project is perfect for social sciences! In such sciences, this project can be focused on aspects of a single entity, like a situation, person, group or organization, thus, allowing a student to dig deeper and disclose the given matter fully. In performing such assignments, students are able to test the validity of social theories and even create their own theories. Credit is given to such projects as students learn the basic rules of conducting research, and collecting and analyzing data.

When did it appear? Pierre Guillaume Frédéric Le Play, a 19th-century French sociologist and economist who studied family budgets was the first person who used the case study method in social science. Since the 20th century this method was widely used in anthropology, sociology, and psychology.

Types Of Case Studies

There are several categories of this work and each is different. Some variations of this paper have to be based on the hypothesis or thesis which has to be proven while others are focused at only providing more information on a specific subject, while some investigate causal relationships.

There are three main types of such projects:

  • Key cases are based on the subjects that were chosen because the researcher had an interest  or a circumstance related to them;
  • Outlier cases are the ones that investigate matters that stand out from the other situations, events or organizations; social scientists think that we can learn lots of useful information from those things that differ from the norm;
  • And the last in the list, but not by the interest – the knowledge case study is used when a researcher has enough information about the particular situation, event or organization, and is ready to conduct an investigation of it.

However, this is not all. Within these 3 types, we can also pick out 4 different forms:

  • Illustrative

These are primarily descriptive and aim to explain to the reader a particular situation, phenomenon or event, describe the problem, and provide an existing solution – in other words, provide enough details on a given topic in a common language.

  • Exploratory

This form is used to prepare information before the main investigation. Its main goal is to help identify the main research questions and choose types of measurements to start conducting the investigation itself.

  • Cumulative

This type serves to summarize the information collected from different sources in different periods of time. What is its goal? The main objective (as well as the main distinctive feature) of this form is that it is used to analyze previously collected information to generalize past investigations in order to avoid spending time and costs to repeat the investigation over and over again. 

  • Critical

This method is useful for determining causes and consequences. Its main idea is to investigate one or more sources to investigate a situation with unique interest and with almost no interest to generalizability. It is also good for questioning a universal assertion.

Hopefully, you now have a clear understanding of what the main types of this assignment.

Conclusion

To summarize everything that we have mentioned earlier, it is worth noting that unlike most of the statistically based studies, the main goal of creating a case study is to look for some new variables while you are conducting each new research task. It is a good educational tool. With its history, rich in amazing breakthroughs, this type of study can be easily called the most exciting and sometimes (it depends on its topic and the subject that you study) the hardest tasks that students get in college or university. The case study writing process can take lots of your time and nerves when collecting information, cooperating with different researchers, analyzing data, and writing the text of your paper.  However, it can be quite interesting! The main advice is – whatever type of case study you have to complete, you need to identify the purpose and goals and only then start conducting your research.

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