I have often tried to go through expansive data tables; I find them intriguing, but cannot make much progress understanding them. Finally, I end up skipping the data and moving to the results section or conclusion in a research paper or article. This brings to mind the efficacy of case studies vis. a vis. statistical data and its analysis. As a person involved in the perusal and development of education techniques, I frequently use case studies to test my ideas and theories. The results that I get from these studies are interesting. In the last few decades, case studies have emerged as a popular method of research. While I agree that there are a few drawbacks of case studies, the benefits cannot be overlooked.
The biggest allegation against this technique is that since a case study focuses on a specific ‘case’ or situation, the results cannot be generalized to the entire population. Also, there can be some degree of bias in choosing the case, since it is not random selection. The validity of results can be questioned in case the condition of participant group changes during the study.
When it comes to presentation of research and results thereof, case studies score higher than other methods. This is because a case study tells a story about a particular person or group or event, providing small details. This attracts interest of the readers as opposed to a long data table or complex modules, which can be difficult to comprehend.
Case studies are more flexible in their design and execution, as the course that they take often depends upon the actions of the ‘case’ under observation. Also, it helps researchers to understand the fine elements of the problem in question by focusing on one specimen. This can also lead to findings which are unexpected and provide a new direction to research in the field.
If you have decided to conduct a case study, be cautious while choosing your ‘case’ and consider the variables associated with it. Close observation and careful recording of facts will lead you to meaningful results.
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