THEORY NAME: Case Study Method of Instruction
ASSOCIATED LEARNING THEORY / APPROACH
The methodology in the United States was most closely associated with The University of Chicago Department of Sociology. From the early 1900's until 1935, The Chicago School was preeminent in the field and the source of a great deal of the literature. Issues of poverty, unemployment, and other conditions deriving from immigration were ideally suited to the case study methodology. Case study is done in a way that incorporates the views of the "actors" in the case under study.
The field of sociology is associated most strongly with case study research, and during the period leading up to 1935, several problems were raised by researchers in other fields. This coincided with a movement within sociology, to make it more scientific. This meant providing some quantitative measurements to the research design and analysis. Since The Chicago School was most identified with this methodology, there were serious attacks on their primacy. This resulted in the denigration of case study as a methodology. In 1935, there was a public dispute between Columbia University professors, who were championing the scientific method, and The Chicago School and its supporters. The outcome was a victory for Columbia University and the consequent decline in the use of case study as a research methodology.
Case studies have been increasingly used in education. While law and medical schools have been using the technique for an extended period, the technique is being applied in a variety of instructional situations. Schools of business have been most aggressive in the implementation of case based learning, or "active learning"
Cases are often based on actual events which adds a sense of urgency or reality. Case studies have elements of simulations but the students are observers rather than participants. A good case has sufficient detail to necessitate research and to stimulate analysis from a variety of viewpoints or perspectives. They place the learner in the position of problem solver. Students become actively engaged in the materials discovering underlying issues, dilemmas and conflict issues.
Case studies can be either single or multiple-case designs. Single cases are used to confirm or challenge a theory, or to represent a unique or extreme case.
Single-case studies are also ideal for revelatory cases where an observer may have access to a phenomenon that was previously inaccessible. Single-case designs require careful investigation to avoid misrepresentation and to maximize the investigator's access to the evidence. These studies can be holistic or embedded, the latter occurring when the same case study involves more than one unit of analysis.
Multiple-case studies follow a replication logic. This is not to be confused with sampling logic where a selection is made out of a population, for inclusion in the study. This type of sample selection is improper in a case study.
Each individual case study consists of a "whole" study, in
which facts are gathered from various sources and conclusions drawn on
Cases move "much of the responsibility for learning from the teacher on to the student, whose role, as a result, shifts away from passive absorption toward active construction"
CONDITIONS OF LEARNING / APPLICATION
ROLE OF THE FACILITATOR
quality of research
RESEARCH AND APPLICATION
CONSTRUCTS / VARIABLES
RESOURCES (APA Style Citation)
Giddens, A. (1984). In R. Yin (1993). Applications of case study research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing.
Hamel, J., Dufour, S., & Fortin, D. (1993). Case study methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Stake, R. (1995). The art of case research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Yin, R. (1989a). Case study research: Design and methods (Rev. ed.). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing.
Yin, R. (1993). Applications of case study research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing.
Yin, R. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods (2nd ed.). Beverly
Hills, CA: Sage Publishing.
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