10 Case Study Advantages and Disadvantages
A case study in academic research is a detailed and in-depth examination of a specific instance or event, generally conducted through a qualitative approach to data.
The most common case study definition that I come across is is Robert K. Yin’s (2003, p. 13) quote provided below:
“An empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident.”
Researchers conduct case studies for a number of reasons, such as to explore complex phenomena within their real-life context, to look at a particularly interesting instance of a situation, or to dig deeper into something of interest identified in a wider-scale project.
While case studies render extremely interesting data, they have many limitations and are not suitable for all studies. One key limitation is that a case study’s findings are not usually generalizable to broader populations because one instance cannot be used to infer trends across populations.
Case Study Advantages and Disadvantages
1. in-depth analysis of complex phenomena.
Case study design allows researchers to delve deeply into intricate issues and situations.
By focusing on a specific instance or event, researchers can uncover nuanced details and layers of understanding that might be missed with other research methods, especially large-scale survey studies.
As Lee and Saunders (2017) argue,
“It allows that particular event to be studies in detail so that its unique qualities may be identified.”
This depth of analysis can provide rich insights into the underlying factors and dynamics of the studied phenomenon.
2. Holistic Understanding
Building on the above point, case studies can help us to understand a topic holistically and from multiple angles.
This means the researcher isn’t restricted to just examining a topic by using a pre-determined set of questions, as with questionnaires. Instead, researchers can use qualitative methods to delve into the many different angles, perspectives, and contextual factors related to the case study.
We can turn to Lee and Saunders (2017) again, who notes that case study researchers “develop a deep, holistic understanding of a particular phenomenon” with the intent of deeply understanding the phenomenon.
3. Examination of rare and Unusual Phenomena
We need to use case study methods when we stumble upon “rare and unusual” (Lee & Saunders, 2017) phenomena that would tend to be seen as mere outliers in population studies.
Take, for example, a child genius. A population study of all children of that child’s age would merely see this child as an outlier in the dataset, and this child may even be removed in order to predict overall trends.
So, to truly come to an understanding of this child and get insights into the environmental conditions that led to this child’s remarkable cognitive development, we need to do an in-depth study of this child specifically – so, we’d use a case study.
4. Helps Reveal the Experiences of Marginalzied Groups
Just as rare and unsual cases can be overlooked in population studies, so too can the experiences, beliefs, and perspectives of marginalized groups.
As Lee and Saunders (2017) argue, “case studies are also extremely useful in helping the expression of the voices of people whose interests are often ignored.”
Take, for example, the experiences of minority populations as they navigate healthcare systems. This was for many years a “hidden” phenomenon, not examined by researchers. It took case study designs to truly reveal this phenomenon, which helped to raise practitioners’ awareness of the importance of cultural sensitivity in medicine.
5. Ideal in Situations where Researchers cannot Control the Variables
Experimental designs – where a study takes place in a lab or controlled environment – are excellent for determining cause and effect . But not all studies can take place in controlled environments (Tetnowski, 2015).
When we’re out in the field doing observational studies or similar fieldwork, we don’t have the freedom to isolate dependent and independent variables. We need to use alternate methods.
Case studies are ideal in such situations.
A case study design will allow researchers to deeply immerse themselves in a setting (potentially combining it with methods such as ethnography or researcher observation) in order to see how phenomena take place in real-life settings.
6. Supports the generation of new theories or hypotheses
While large-scale quantitative studies such as cross-sectional designs and population surveys are excellent at testing theories and hypotheses on a large scale, they need a hypothesis to start off with!
This is where case studies – in the form of grounded research – come in. Often, a case study doesn’t start with a hypothesis. Instead, it ends with a hypothesis based upon the findings within a singular setting.
The deep analysis allows for hypotheses to emerge, which can then be taken to larger-scale studies in order to conduct further, more generalizable, testing of the hypothesis or theory.
7. Reveals the Unexpected
When a largescale quantitative research project has a clear hypothesis that it will test, it often becomes very rigid and has tunnel-vision on just exploring the hypothesis.
Of course, a structured scientific examination of the effects of specific interventions targeted at specific variables is extermely valuable.
But narrowly-focused studies often fail to shine a spotlight on unexpected and emergent data. Here, case studies come in very useful. Oftentimes, researchers set their eyes on a phenomenon and, when examining it closely with case studies, identify data and come to conclusions that are unprecedented, unforeseen, and outright surprising.
As Lars Meier (2009, p. 975) marvels, “where else can we become a part of foreign social worlds and have the chance to become aware of the unexpected?”
1. not usually generalizable.
Case studies are not generalizable because they tend not to look at a broad enough corpus of data to be able to infer that there is a trend across a population.
As Yang (2022) argues, “by definition, case studies can make no claims to be typical.”
Case studies focus on one specific instance of a phenomenon. They explore the context, nuances, and situational factors that have come to bear on the case study. This is really useful for bringing to light important, new, and surprising information, as I’ve already covered.
But , it’s not often useful for generating data that has validity beyond the specific case study being examined.
2. Subjectivity in interpretation
Case studies usually (but not always) use qualitative data which helps to get deep into a topic and explain it in human terms, finding insights unattainable by quantitative data.
But qualitative data in case studies relies heavily on researcher interpretation. While researchers can be trained and work hard to focus on minimizing subjectivity (through methods like triangulation), it often emerges – some might argue it’s innevitable in qualitative studies.
So, a criticism of case studies could be that they’re more prone to subjectivity – and researchers need to take strides to address this in their studies.
3. Difficulty in replicating results
Case study research is often non-replicable because the study takes place in complex real-world settings where variables are not controlled.
So, when returning to a setting to re-do or attempt to replicate a study, we often find that the variables have changed to such an extent that replication is difficult. Furthermore, new researchers (with new subjective eyes) may catch things that the other readers overlooked.
Replication is even harder when researchers attempt to replicate a case study design in a new setting or with different participants.
Comprehension Quiz for Students
Question 1: What benefit do case studies offer when exploring the experiences of marginalized groups?
a) They provide generalizable data. b) They help express the voices of often-ignored individuals. c) They control all variables for the study. d) They always start with a clear hypothesis.
Question 2: Why might case studies be considered ideal for situations where researchers cannot control all variables?
a) They provide a structured scientific examination. b) They allow for generalizability across populations. c) They focus on one specific instance of a phenomenon. d) They allow for deep immersion in real-life settings.
Question 3: What is a primary disadvantage of case studies in terms of data applicability?
a) They always focus on the unexpected. b) They are not usually generalizable. c) They support the generation of new theories. d) They provide a holistic understanding.
Question 4: Why might case studies be considered more prone to subjectivity?
a) They always use quantitative data. b) They heavily rely on researcher interpretation, especially with qualitative data. c) They are always replicable. d) They look at a broad corpus of data.
Question 5: In what situations are experimental designs, such as those conducted in labs, most valuable?
a) When there’s a need to study rare and unusual phenomena. b) When a holistic understanding is required. c) When determining cause-and-effect relationships. d) When the study focuses on marginalized groups.
Question 6: Why is replication challenging in case study research?
a) Because they always use qualitative data. b) Because they tend to focus on a broad corpus of data. c) Due to the changing variables in complex real-world settings. d) Because they always start with a hypothesis.
Lee, B., & Saunders, M. N. K. (2017). Conducting Case Study Research for Business and Management Students. SAGE Publications.
Meir, L. (2009). Feasting on the Benefits of Case Study Research. In Mills, A. J., Wiebe, E., & Durepos, G. (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Case Study Research (Vol. 2). London: SAGE Publications.
Tetnowski, J. (2015). Qualitative case study research design. Perspectives on fluency and fluency disorders , 25 (1), 39-45. ( Source )
Yang, S. L. (2022). The War on Corruption in China: Local Reform and Innovation . Taylor & Francis.
Yin, R. (2003). Case Study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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Home » Pros and Cons » 12 Case Study Method Advantages and Disadvantages
12 Case Study Method Advantages and Disadvantages
A case study is an investigation into an individual circumstance. The investigation may be of a single person, business, event, or group. The investigation involves collecting in-depth data about the individual entity through the use of several collection methods. Interviews and observation are two of the most common forms of data collection used.
The case study method was originally developed in the field of clinical medicine. It has expanded since to other industries to examine key results, either positive or negative, that were received through a specific set of decisions. This allows for the topic to be researched with great detail, allowing others to glean knowledge from the information presented.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using the case study method.
List of the Advantages of the Case Study Method
1. it turns client observations into useable data..
Case studies offer verifiable data from direct observations of the individual entity involved. These observations provide information about input processes. It can show the path taken which led to specific results being generated. Those observations make it possible for others, in similar circumstances, to potentially replicate the results discovered by the case study method.
2. It turns opinion into fact.
Case studies provide facts to study because you’re looking at data which was generated in real-time. It is a way for researchers to turn their opinions into information that can be verified as fact because there is a proven path of positive or negative development. Singling out a specific incident also provides in-depth details about the path of development, which gives it extra credibility to the outside observer.
3. It is relevant to all parties involved.
Case studies that are chosen well will be relevant to everyone who is participating in the process. Because there is such a high level of relevance involved, researchers are able to stay actively engaged in the data collection process. Participants are able to further their knowledge growth because there is interest in the outcome of the case study. Most importantly, the case study method essentially forces people to make a decision about the question being studied, then defend their position through the use of facts.
4. It uses a number of different research methodologies.
The case study method involves more than just interviews and direct observation. Case histories from a records database can be used with this method. Questionnaires can be distributed to participants in the entity being studies. Individuals who have kept diaries and journals about the entity being studied can be included. Even certain experimental tasks, such as a memory test, can be part of this research process.
5. It can be done remotely.
Researchers do not need to be present at a specific location or facility to utilize the case study method. Research can be obtained over the phone, through email, and other forms of remote communication. Even interviews can be conducted over the phone. That means this method is good for formative research that is exploratory in nature, even if it must be completed from a remote location.
6. It is inexpensive.
Compared to other methods of research, the case study method is rather inexpensive. The costs associated with this method involve accessing data, which can often be done for free. Even when there are in-person interviews or other on-site duties involved, the costs of reviewing the data are minimal.
7. It is very accessible to readers.
The case study method puts data into a usable format for those who read the data and note its outcome. Although there may be perspectives of the researcher included in the outcome, the goal of this method is to help the reader be able to identify specific concepts to which they also relate. That allows them to discover unusual features within the data, examine outliers that may be present, or draw conclusions from their own experiences.
List of the Disadvantages of the Case Study Method
1. it can have influence factors within the data..
Every person has their own unconscious bias. Although the case study method is designed to limit the influence of this bias by collecting fact-based data, it is the collector of the data who gets to define what is a “fact” and what is not. That means the real-time data being collected may be based on the results the researcher wants to see from the entity instead. By controlling how facts are collected, a research can control the results this method generates.
2. It takes longer to analyze the data.
The information collection process through the case study method takes much longer to collect than other research options. That is because there is an enormous amount of data which must be sifted through. It’s not just the researchers who can influence the outcome in this type of research method. Participants can also influence outcomes by given inaccurate or incomplete answers to questions they are asked. Researchers must verify the information presented to ensure its accuracy, and that takes time to complete.
3. It can be an inefficient process.
Case study methods require the participation of the individuals or entities involved for it to be a successful process. That means the skills of the researcher will help to determine the quality of information that is being received. Some participants may be quiet, unwilling to answer even basic questions about what is being studied. Others may be overly talkative, exploring tangents which have nothing to do with the case study at all. If researchers are unsure of how to manage this process, then incomplete data is often collected.
4. It requires a small sample size to be effective.
The case study method requires a small sample size for it to yield an effective amount of data to be analyzed. If there are different demographics involved with the entity, or there are different needs which must be examined, then the case study method becomes very inefficient.
5. It is a labor-intensive method of data collection.
The case study method requires researchers to have a high level of language skills to be successful with data collection. Researchers must be personally involved in every aspect of collecting the data as well. From reviewing files or entries personally to conducting personal interviews, the concepts and themes of this process are heavily reliant on the amount of work each researcher is willing to put into things.
These case study method advantages and disadvantages offer a look at the effectiveness of this research option. With the right skill set, it can be used as an effective tool to gather rich, detailed information about specific entities. Without the right skill set, the case study method becomes inefficient and inaccurate.
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Case Study Method: What are the Advantages and Disadvantages?
by Antony W
January 25, 2023
Case study method employs investigative inquiry to acquire data on certain demographics. The strategy is applicable to individuals, organizations, groups, and events.
Each participant receives an equal amount of engagement, providing data that may help to discover novel insights on particular patterns, ideas, or hypotheses.
In this guide, we look at the advantages and the disadvantages of case stud method as a technique of collecting data.
What is Case Study Method?
The case study method was a technique first established to generate and support hypotheses in clinical medicine. The technique was adapted to other sectors because of the benefits uncovered by these initiatives, allowing for the analysis of results through suggested decisions, procedures, or outcomes.
Its distinctive approach to knowledge enables others to discover special insights that foster development.
What are the Advantages of Case Study Methods?
The following are the advantages of case study methods:
1. It Offers a Detailed Examination of a Particular Unit.
When adopting the case study technique, researchers must document independently verifiable data from firsthand observations. The work provides information on the input mechanisms that contribute to the hypothesis under consideration .
2. Case Study Method is Useful When Creating a Hypothesis
Researchers will use this technique to test a proposed hypothesis. After finishing this effort, it is not unusual for the acquired facts to inspire the formation of new concepts.
This approach fosters more research because it permits notions to change as individuals do in their social and physical settings. This implies that a comprehensive data set may be collected depending on the abilities of the researcher and the candor of the participants in the study.
3. Case Study Method Provide Constant Examination of Facts
Using the case study technique, researchers will examine the social group’s facts in a continuous manner. This indicates there are no disruptions in the process that might compromise the authenticity of the data obtained for this project.
This benefit lowers the need to make assumptions when taking conclusions from the data, hence enhancing the long-term validity of the study’s findings. Thus, the conclusion becomes crucial to both sides of the equation, as it may either confirm certain hypotheses or refute the theory under discussion.
Due to the sheer volume of data being examined by academics, this benefit might result in inefficiency. It is the responsibility of the persons concerned to determine what is helpful and significant and what is not.
4. The Technique Allows for Comparison
Individual insights gleaned from collective settings comprise the human experience.
Certain demographics may think, behave, or respond to stimuli in certain ways, yet each member of that group will contribute a little portion to a whole.
The case study methodology enables researchers to compare information from each demographic group. This information can then lead to ideas that either support or disprove a theory.
5. It Gives an Expansion of Knowledge.
The case study technique equips everyone with the ability to expand his or her knowledge via analysis. This advantage is attainable due to the employment of a range of methods to collect data and evaluate hypotheses.
Researchers prefer to accomplish their job through direct observation and interviews, however surveys can also be beneficial. Participants may be required to record their experiences in a notebook or diary, and the information may help to analyze behaviors or decisions.
Some researchers use memory tests and experimental activities to predict how social groups would interact with or respond to particular scenarios. All of this information then serves to confirm the hypothesized possibilities.
6. Case Study Method Doesn’t Require Data Sampling
This research technique examines social units holistically as opposed to isolating and analyzing individual data pieces. Therefore, no sample is necessary when employing the case study technique.
The hypothesis under examination is supported because it seeks to transform views into facts by validating or rejecting future ideas that may be used by outside observers.
Although researchers may pay attention to specific incidences or results based on broader behaviors or concepts, the study itself will not sample such instances. Instead, it looks at the “larger picture.”
What are Disadvantages of Case Study Methods?
The following are the disadvantages of case study methods:
1. Case Study Methodology Provides Limited Representation
The use of the case study technique is restricted to a particular subset of representatives.
When selecting this option, researchers are targeting a certain demographic. This indicates that it is impossible to generalize the findings of this study to the rest of society, an organization, or a wider community.
Utilizing the case study technique is advantageous when seeking to determine the particular reasons why some individuals behave in a certain manner. But if researchers want something more generic, they must choose a different technique.
2. Case Study Method Makes Categorization Impossible
This shortcoming is also a result of the case study method’s small sample size.
Because researchers are examining such a small unit, group, or demography, categorization is impossible. Since the abilities of the researcher affect the quality of the data obtained to evaluate the validity of a hypothesis, the procedure might be inefficient.
Some individuals may be hesitant to answer or participate, while others may make educated guesses to support the conclusion.
3. It Doesn’t Exclude the Possibility of Errors
Individuals have an unconscious bias that shapes their actions and decisions.
Due to its emphasis on uncovering facts, the case study technique may quickly identify outliers that contradict a theory, but it is up to the researchers to choose what material counts as such.
If the outcomes of the case study technique are unexpected or contradict the opinions of the participants, it is still possible that the information is not 100 percent correct.
Researchers must have rules in place that regulate the process of data collection. The outcomes of the study cannot be reliable in the absence of this restriction due to the presence of bias.
4. Case Study Method is a Subjective Research Methodology
Although the goal of the case study research technique is to collect data, the information acquired is but opinion. It employs the subjective technique as opposed to the objective method for analyzing data, which implies that the information considered may have an additional layer of mistakes.
Imagine that a researcher undertaking direct observation misinterprets a participant’s answer as “anger” when the subject was actually experiencing “shame” due to a decision they made.
The gap between these two emotions is substantial, and it might lead to information disturbances that could be detrimental for the final proof of the hypothesis.
About the author
Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Case Studies
Reading different blogs it has come to my attention that case studies are getting quite a bad reputation. They are being deemed non-scientific and of questionable usefulness. In this blog I will look at both sides of the argument for case studies and see whether as a design it is still useful for the field of psychology.
- Case studies allow a lot of detail to be collected that would not normally be easily obtained by other research designs. The data collected is normally a lot richer and of greater depth than can be found through other experimental designs.
- Case studies tend to be conducted on rare cases where large samples of similar participants are not available. An example of this is the study of Phineas Gage by Harlow, J.M. This example also connects with the point above with the depth of data obtained. Cases of brain damage are quite minimal and it is extremely rare to find people with the exact same parts of the brain affected. To be able to gain knowledge of brain functions the damage between people have to be exact to ensure you are testing the right thing, this can generally only be done through case studies.
- Within the case study, scientific experiments can be conducted.
- Case studies can help experimenters adapt ideas and produce novel hypotheses which can be used for later testing.
- Knowledge! Again to Phineas Gage, his contributions to neuropsychology and the workings of the brain are invaluable.
- One of the main criticisms is that the data collected cannot necessarily be generalised to the wider population. This leads to data being collected over longitudinal case studies not always being relevant or particularly useful.
- Some case studies are not scientific. Freud used case studies for many of his theories or studies. Such examples are that of Anna O and Little Hans. Both of these are not scientific nor are they able to be generalised. This can be attributed to them being case studies, but also Freudian theory in general.
- Case studies are generally on one person, but there also tends to only be one experimenter collecting the data. This can lead to bias in data collection, which can influence results more than in different designs.
- It is also very difficult to draw a definite cause/effect from case studies.
Case studies also tend to collect mainly qualitative data. I have put this as neither an advantage or disadvantage of case studies, as this depends on your stance on qualitative data. If you look back a few blogs I have summarised my view of qualitative data. Mainly positive!
Overall, I think that case studies are an important and useful method of data collection, especially in cases of rare phenomena. It would be extremely unethical to go taking parts of peoples brains out just to make a larger sample size to use a different experimental design method. However, as data is collected on new cases I think it is important to always refer back to previous data in order to build on existing knowledge and ensure findings are as applicable to real life as possible.
39 responses to “advantages and disadvantages of case studies”.
i like the insight into case studies you have given but i picked up that you missed out one vital problem with them which is attrition. People are more likely to leave studies if longlitudinal (which case studies usually are), which leaves the study incomplete and can be frustrating for the researcher.
You also mentioned on qualitative data, which i agree is rich and indepth however hard to operationalise which can affect the validity of the study. Another problem with qualitative data is that like in Little Han’s experiment, Freud wrote it up from memory after the sessions which can mean vital parts are left out but also its his own interpretation resulting in experimenter bias and once again affecting reliability and validity. On the other hand though, cause studies allow a relationship to build between participant and researcher, which can result in the participant being more honest and opening up- increasing validity of results.
In conclusion I do not think case studies are bad, as i feel they have given us an insight into some of the most complicated people/illnesses/cases. For example Thigpen and Cleckly’s, (1954) who studied a 25year old woman with Multiple Personality disorder. “They used self report with the patient and her family, hypnosis, observation, EEG tests and a number of psychometric and projective tests including, memory tests, ink blot tests and intelligence tests” which resulted in both qualitative and quantitative data. However like many studies, they are reterospective aspects where the participant is asked to recall past events which may result into the participant leaving parts out or forgetting things affecting reliability of study.
An important point relating to case studies I think is important to mention is that they apply a range of different research methods within the research procedure. For example; observations, interviews and questionnaires are all used as was seen in the case of David Reimer into gender development (Money & Ehrhardt, 1972)*. This range of different research methods can be seen as a strength as this particular case study, using methods such as detailed descriptions, observations and interviews longitudinally strongly contradicted the idea of gender being shaped by the environment which in turn led to an increase in psychological knowledge about gender. However, each method hosts its own advantages and disadvantages. Observations are subjective and are flawed by demand characteristics if the participant knows they are being watched (covert observation). Demand characteristics and in particular social desirability bias are severe limitations in self-report measures and interviews as participants wish to look good in front of the experimenter.
However, there are also many more limitations specific to the case study method. Case studies simply describe the behaviours observed in the cases but fail to explain the underlying mechanisms of behaviours. Usually, researchers list detailed information about the participant such as age, gender and background but offer little or in most case no explanation of these variables.
When applying this particular research procedure it is extremely important for the researcher’s to consider the well fair of the individual being studied and therefore case studies are regulated by ethical guidelines. Participants are very likely to experience negative feelings of upset and anxiety when discussing and reflecting upon sensitive aspects of their life in an interview procedure. Similarly, psychological distress may arise from self-report measures such as questionnaires and reflective journals and diary entries. In order to protect participants against psychological harm researchers need to adopt a sensitive manner when dealing with participants. Researchers also need to abide by the other ethical principles of confidentiality, anonymity and debriefing. If the researchers remain sensitive and professional throughout the case by offering debriefing and psychological help throughout then ethics should not cause too much of an issue.
i think one of the main disadvantages of case studies which you haven’t mentioned is that they’re all retrospective and rely on the word of the patient. for example, if someone suffers a brain injury which results in them losing a certain ability (maybe a change in personality), you have to rely on them (or people close to them) to tell you what their personality was like before the injury. This isn’t very scientific and possibly unreliable (if they were a horrible person, are they likely to say that, or is their family likely to say that about them?). This puts researchers in a very uncertain situation, before they have even started to study the individual. however, if the case is novel and unheard of, it can be a really good starting point for further research – like the case of phineas gage, who was possibly the first to show a personality change after a brain injury. Still, this case is in no way better than any others, but it gave researchers the idea to study this in more detail, in better controlled environments which then leads to the progress of research in a a particular area.
I think that case studies are a great way into developing a research question for future research that could then be generalised. For example, say you are a clinical psychologist and one of your patients displays interesting symptoms- this could then be further explored through a case study and then from this further research with others could be conducted and with this being a scientific and include a large sample of participant could then have much higher generalisablilty.
yeah i agree with you…nice one
I think we spend far to much time looking at Case studies when we are being taught psychology. Even though case studies do have their advantages particularly in Neuro-psychology where we study people with lesions on their brain, Psychology should always focus on having a large group of participants as possible to make sure your results are as reliable as possible. Case studies can be used to draw up research questions, however if psychology insist on calling itself a science it should be as scientific as possible in its methodology.
I agree that Case studies do indeed have their place within Pscyhological research. They provdie a great deal of information about the participant or the area in which the psychologist was interested in dealing with.
However one point, that seems to be a recurring comment, that you breifly mentioned is the fact that case studies are greatly opened to interpretation/observer bias. Psychologists who are exploring the effects trying to prove their theories are correct, are unfortunately more likely to interpret results so that they prove their theories are correct. Especially when its easy to interpret things one way and many others would interpret it another.
So in conclusion to this brief comment; case studies are important and provide excellant detail, howerver their main flaw which makes them undesirable to many researchers is the potential bias from the researchers as you covered in your blog.
Nice blog, well summarised with giving both sides to an obviously popular subject. I would say I definatly believe case studies are essential to creating theory and crossing new boundries. They are predominatly qualitative but can lead on to quantative studies once a hypothesis has been formed, these sorts of hybrid studies are the future in my opinion. But of course some case studies are very rare and hard to generalise, but lets not forget how ground breaking they can be aswell. Think of Broca’s patient Leborgne (Tan) if it werent for his very rare lession we would probably wouldnt have the vast array of information on speech production we have today, it would be safe to say we might still be some years behind on what we are now. So yes in some cases case studies are hard to generalise but others open up new insight. I enjoyed the way you managed to put your own opinion on the matter in aswell:) good work!
Another downside of case studies is that there will only ever be one datapoint which makes statistical analysis basically impossible. Since case studies are generally used on a single specific behaviour, they are not repeatable and as such are not reliable.
You have pointed out lots of advantages and disadvantages of case studies, there are also ethical issues, observations and interviews are typically used in case study research to gather data, so the ethical issues are broadly the same (e.g. privacy, consent, risk of harm, etc). In addition, the researcher needs to take care that the level of intrusion that may occur when carrying out detailed research on a single individual or small group does not render the study unethical.
Beside the above point, I would also like to state that sometimes several case studies are studies which may referred as multiple case studies. Freud, for example, created his theory of the unconscious in the basis of studying multiple cases of patients he labelled as ‘hysterical’. Each case study is selected on the basis of what it might contribute to a developing pool of data, so that patterns may emerge over time.
Case study are a good study.
It was a good finding to speak, and applicable to knowledge
i totally agree with u…bigtime…
am in love with a case study
My P.O. think im in the house
Hv’ realy liked this page coz t is simplified
Actualy we dont need 2 waste our time going 4 lectures esp’ wn dea’ teaching on case studie coz u hv’ provided the needed information. contact me by sending an e-mail to [email protected]
luv dem case studies……………..
case studies do very well when mixed methods of data collection are used. Triangulation of data from mixed methods enhance the validity of case studies. Their major blow is that they are beset by researcher bias.
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wel writen n vry aplicable in ma assignment thnx a bunch
Thank you! This helped me a lot.
yes it does but i need help
Thank you so much. It was very helpful indeed.
Reference is is needed as to make easy citation program
Where you able to find anything on that? Writing a paper on case studies for a class-if not, any good websites I could visit?
Tank u for such a rich blog. Well explained and simplified in a comprehensive manner. I also feel that doing observation for case studies, the researcher at times tend to risk their integrity and personalities.
Who is the author of this article?
love dem case studies
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Case Study Method in Psychology Advantages and Disadvantages
Case Study Method in Psychology Advantages and Disadvantages.
The case study method is a research technique used in psychology and other social sciences to study an individual or a group of individuals in great detail. The advantages and disadvantages of the case study method are discussed below:
Advantages of Case Study Method in Psychology :
1) In-depth analysis:
The case study method allows researchers to gather detailed information about the subject of study, which can be difficult to obtain through other research methods. Researchers can obtain a deep understanding of the subject’s experiences, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and this information can be used to develop theories and hypotheses.
2) Flexibility: The case study method is a flexible research method that can be used to study a wide range of phenomena, including rare and unusual conditions. Researchers can adapt the method to fit the unique needs of the study, and this can lead to new insights and discoveries.
3) Source of hypotheses: Case studies can be used to generate new hypotheses or to test existing ones. Researchers can use the information gathered from the case study to develop hypotheses, which can then be tested using other research methods.
4) Validity: The case study method allows for the collection of rich, detailed data that is often more valid than data obtained through other research methods. This is because the researcher is able to gather data directly from the subject, rather than relying on second-hand accounts or self-report measures.
Read Also : Mind-blowing Psychological Facts about Studying
Disadvantages of Case Study Method in Psychology :
1) Limited generalizability:
The findings from a case study cannot be generalized to other individuals or groups. The unique nature of the subject and the specific context in which the study was conducted make it difficult to apply the findings to other situations.
The case study method is subject to the biases and preconceptions of the researcher. The researcher’s own beliefs, values, and experiences can influence the way in which they interpret the data.
The case study method is a time-consuming research method that requires a significant investment of time and resources. It can take months or even years to collect and analyze the data.
4) Ethical issues:
The case study method can raise ethical issues, particularly when studying vulnerable populations. Researchers must take steps to ensure that the study does not harm the subject or infringe upon their rights and privacy.
Case study method is a valuable research method that can provide rich, detailed data that is often difficult to obtain through other research methods.
Benefits of Case Study for Students
There are several benefits of case studies for students, including:
- Real-world application: Case studies provide students with an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world situations. This can help students better understand how concepts and theories can be applied in practice.
- Problem-solving skills: Case studies often present complex and challenging problems, which can help students develop their problem-solving skills. By analyzing the case and identifying potential solutions, students can learn to think critically and creatively.
- Active learning: Case studies are an interactive form of learning that requires students to actively engage with the material. This can help students retain information more effectively than passive forms of learning.
- Collaborative learning: Case studies often require students to work in groups, which can help them develop collaboration and teamwork skills.
- Exposure to different perspectives: Case studies often present multiple perspectives on a problem or situation, which can help students understand different viewpoints and develop empathy and cultural competence.
- Preparation for the workforce: Case studies can help prepare students for the workforce by providing them with experience analyzing real-world problems and developing solutions.
Case studies can be a valuable tool for students to develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and prepare for their future careers.
Case Study Strengths And Weaknesses
Case studies are a research method that involves in-depth analysis of a particular case or phenomenon. Like any research method, case studies have both strengths and weaknesses.
Case Study Strengths:
- In-depth analysis: Case studies allow for a thorough and detailed analysis of a particular case or phenomenon. This can provide a rich and nuanced understanding of the topic.
- Real-world context: Case studies are often conducted in real-world settings, which allows for a more accurate representation of the phenomena being studied.
- Multiple sources of data: Case studies often involve multiple sources of data, including interviews, observations, and documents. This can help to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the case.
- Unique cases: Case studies often focus on unique cases that are not easily replicable in a laboratory setting. This can provide valuable insights that may not be obtained through other research methods.
Case Study Weaknesses:
- Limited generalizability: The findings from a case study may not be generalizable to other cases or populations. This is because case studies often focus on a specific case or phenomenon, which may not be representative of other cases or phenomena.
- Bias: The researcher conducting the case study may have preconceived notions or biases that can affect the interpretation of the data.
- Subjectivity: Case studies often involve subjective interpretation of data, which can lead to differing conclusions depending on the researcher's perspective.
- Time-consuming: Case studies can be very time-consuming and resource-intensive, which can limit the number of cases that can be studied.
Overall, case studies can be a valuable research method for gaining a detailed understanding of a particular case or phenomenon. However, researchers should be aware of the potential limitations of this method and take steps to minimize bias and subjectivity.
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Case Study Method – 18 Advantages and Disadvantages
The case study method uses investigatory research as a way to collect data about specific demographics. This approach can apply to individuals, businesses, groups, or events. Each participant receives an equal amount of participation, offering information for collection that can then find new insights into specific trends, ideas, of hypotheses.
Interviews and research observation are the two standard methods of data collection used when following the case study method.
Researchers initially developed the case study method to develop and support hypotheses in clinical medicine. The benefits found in these efforts led the approach to transition to other industries, allowing for the examination of results through proposed decisions, processes, or outcomes. Its unique approach to information makes it possible for others to glean specific points of wisdom that encourage growth.
Several case study method advantages and disadvantages can appear when researchers take this approach.
List of the Advantages of the Case Study Method
1. It requires an intensive study of a specific unit. Researchers must document verifiable data from direct observations when using the case study method. This work offers information about the input processes that go into the hypothesis under consideration. A casual approach to data-gathering work is not effective if a definitive outcome is desired. Each behavior, choice, or comment is a critical component that can verify or dispute the ideas being considered.
Intensive programs can require a significant amount of work for researchers, but it can also promote an improvement in the data collected. That means a hypothesis can receive immediate verification in some situations.
2. No sampling is required when following the case study method. This research method studies social units in their entire perspective instead of pulling individual data points out to analyze them. That means there is no sampling work required when using the case study method. The hypothesis under consideration receives support because it works to turn opinions into facts, verifying or denying the proposals that outside observers can use in the future.
Although researchers might pay attention to specific incidents or outcomes based on generalized behaviors or ideas, the study itself won’t sample those situations. It takes a look at the “bigger vision” instead.
3. This method offers a continuous analysis of the facts. The case study method will look at the facts continuously for the social group being studied by researchers. That means there aren’t interruptions in the process that could limit the validity of the data being collected through this work. This advantage reduces the need to use assumptions when drawing conclusions from the information, adding validity to the outcome of the study over time. That means the outcome becomes relevant to both sides of the equation as it can prove specific suppositions or invalidate a hypothesis under consideration.
This advantage can lead to inefficiencies because of the amount of data being studied by researchers. It is up to the individuals involved in the process to sort out what is useful and meaningful and what is not.
4. It is a useful approach to take when formulating a hypothesis. Researchers will use the case study method advantages to verify a hypothesis under consideration. It is not unusual for the collected data to lead people toward the formulation of new ideas after completing this work. This process encourages further study because it allows concepts to evolve as people do in social or physical environments. That means a complete data set can be gathered based on the skills of the researcher and the honesty of the individuals involved in the study itself.
Although this approach won’t develop a societal-level evaluation of a hypothesis, it can look at how specific groups will react in various circumstances. That information can lead to a better decision-making process in the future for everyone involved.
5. It provides an increase in knowledge. The case study method provides everyone with analytical power to increase knowledge. This advantage is possible because it uses a variety of methodologies to collect information while evaluating a hypothesis. Researchers prefer to use direct observation and interviews to complete their work, but it can also advantage through the use of questionnaires. Participants might need to fill out a journal or diary about their experiences that can be used to study behaviors or choices.
Some researchers incorporate memory tests and experimental tasks to determine how social groups will interact or respond in specific situations. All of this data then works to verify the possibilities that a hypothesis proposes.
6. The case study method allows for comparisons. The human experience is one that is built on individual observations from group situations. Specific demographics might think, act, or respond in particular ways to stimuli, but each person in that group will also contribute a small part to the whole. You could say that people are sponges that collect data from one another every day to create individual outcomes.
The case study method allows researchers to take the information from each demographic for comparison purposes. This information can then lead to proposals that support a hypothesis or lead to its disruption.
7. Data generalization is possible using the case study method. The case study method provides a foundation for data generalization, allowing researches to illustrate their statistical findings in meaningful ways. It puts the information into a usable format that almost anyone can use if they have the need to evaluate the hypothesis under consideration. This process makes it easier to discover unusual features, unique outcomes, or find conclusions that wouldn’t be available without this method. It does an excellent job of identifying specific concepts that relate to the proposed ideas that researchers were verifying through their work.
Generalization does not apply to a larger population group with the case study method. What researchers can do with this information is to suggest a predictable outcome when similar groups are placed in an equal situation.
8. It offers a comprehensive approach to research. Nothing gets ignored when using the case study method to collect information. Every person, place, or thing involved in the research receives the complete attention of those seeking data. The interactions are equal, which means the data is comprehensive and directly reflective of the group being observed.
This advantage means that there are fewer outliers to worry about when researching an idea, leading to a higher level of accuracy in the conclusions drawn by the researchers.
9. The identification of deviant cases is possible with this method. The case study method of research makes it easier to identify deviant cases that occur in each social group. These incidents are units (people) that behave in ways that go against the hypothesis under consideration. Instead of ignoring them like other options do when collecting data, this approach incorporates the “rogue” behavior to understand why it exists in the first place.
This advantage makes the eventual data and conclusions gathered more reliable because it incorporates the “alternative opinion” that exists. One might say that the case study method places as much emphasis on the yin as it does the yang so that the whole picture becomes available to the outside observer.
10. Questionnaire development is possible with the case study method. Interviews and direct observation are the preferred methods of implementing the case study method because it is cheap and done remotely. The information gathered by researchers can also lead to farming questionnaires that can farm additional data from those being studied. When all of the data resources come together, it is easier to formulate a conclusion that accurately reflects the demographics.
Some people in the case study method may try to manipulate the results for personal reasons, but this advantage makes it possible to identify this information readily. Then researchers can look into the thinking that goes into the dishonest behaviors observed.
List of the Disadvantages of the Case Study Method
1. The case study method offers limited representation. The usefulness of the case study method is limited to a specific group of representatives. Researchers are looking at a specific demographic when using this option. That means it is impossible to create any generalization that applies to the rest of society, an organization, or a larger community with this work. The findings can only apply to other groups caught in similar circumstances with the same experiences.
It is useful to use the case study method when attempting to discover the specific reasons why some people behave in a specific way. If researchers need something more generalized, then a different method must be used.
2. No classification is possible with the case study method. This disadvantage is also due to the sample size in the case study method. No classification is possible because researchers are studying such a small unit, group, or demographic. It can be an inefficient process since the skills of the researcher help to determine the quality of the data being collected to verify the validity of a hypothesis. Some participants may be unwilling to answer or participate, while others might try to guess at the outcome to support it.
Researchers can get trapped in a place where they explore more tangents than the actual hypothesis with this option. Classification can occur within the units being studied, but this data cannot extrapolate to other demographics.
3. The case study method still offers the possibility of errors. Each person has an unconscious bias that influences their behaviors and choices. The case study method can find outliers that oppose a hypothesis fairly easily thanks to its emphasis on finding facts, but it is up to the researchers to determine what information qualifies for this designation. If the results from the case study method are surprising or go against the opinion of participating individuals, then there is still the possibility that the information will not be 100% accurate.
Researchers must have controls in place that dictate how data gathering work occurs. Without this limitation in place, the results of the study cannot be guaranteed because of the presence of bias.
4. It is a subjective method to use for research. Although the purpose of the case study method of research is to gather facts, the foundation of what gets gathered is still based on opinion. It uses the subjective method instead of the objective one when evaluating data, which means there can be another layer of errors in the information to consider.
Imagine that a researcher interprets someone’s response as “angry” when performing direct observation, but the individual was feeling “shame” because of a decision they made. The difference between those two emotions is profound, and it could lead to information disruptions that could be problematic to the eventual work of hypothesis verification.
5. The processes required by the case study method are not useful for everyone. The case study method uses a person’s memories, explanations, and records from photographs and diaries to identify interactions on influences on psychological processes. People are given the chance to describe what happens in the world around them as a way for researchers to gather data. This process can be an advantage in some industries, but it can also be a worthless approach to some groups.
If the social group under study doesn’t have the information, knowledge, or wisdom to provide meaningful data, then the processes are no longer useful. Researchers must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the case study method before starting their work to determine if the possibility of value exists. If it does not, then a different method may be necessary.
6. It is possible for bias to form in the data. It’s not just an unconscious bias that can form in the data when using the case study method. The narrow study approach can lead to outright discrimination in the data. Researchers can decide to ignore outliers or any other information that doesn’t support their hypothesis when using this method. The subjective nature of this approach makes it difficult to challenge the conclusions that get drawn from this work, and the limited pool of units (people) means that duplication is almost impossible.
That means unethical people can manipulate the results gathered by the case study method to their own advantage without much accountability in the process.
7. This method has no fixed limits to it. This method of research is highly dependent on situational circumstances rather than overarching societal or corporate truths. That means the researcher has no fixed limits of investigation. Even when controls are in place to limit bias or recommend specific activities, the case study method has enough flexibility built into its structures to allow for additional exploration. That means it is possible for this work to continue indefinitely, gathering data that never becomes useful.
Scientists began to track the health of 268 sophomores at Harvard in 1938. The Great Depression was in its final years at that point, so the study hoped to reveal clues that lead to happy and healthy lives. It continues still today, now incorporating the children of the original participants, providing over 80 years of information to sort through for conclusions.
8. The case study method is time-consuming and expensive. The case study method can be affordable in some situations, but the lack of fixed limits and the ability to pursue tangents can make it a costly process in most situations. It takes time to gather the data in the first place, and then researchers must interpret the information received so that they can use it for hypothesis evaluation. There are other methods of data collection that can be less expensive and provide results faster.
That doesn’t mean the case study method is useless. The individualization of results can help the decision-making process advance in a variety of industries successfully. It just takes more time to reach the appropriate conclusion, and that might be a resource that isn’t available.
The advantages and disadvantages of the case study method suggest that the helpfulness of this research option depends on the specific hypothesis under consideration. When researchers have the correct skills and mindset to gather data accurately, then it can lead to supportive data that can verify ideas with tremendous accuracy.
This research method can also be used unethically to produce specific results that can be difficult to challenge.
When bias enters into the structure of the case study method, the processes become inefficient, inaccurate, and harmful to the hypothesis. That’s why great care must be taken when designing a study with this approach. It might be a labor-intensive way to develop conclusions, but the outcomes are often worth the investments needed.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the quantitative case study method?
The case study method has advantages and disadvantages in quantitative research. On the one hand, case studies are criticized for generating less generalizable results compared to large-sample, quantitative methods . This limitation is mainly observed in within-population generalization. However, case studies have merits in terms of theoretical generalization, identifying disconfirming cases, and providing useful information for assessing empirical generalizability . Additionally, case study analysis is advantageous in illustrating the connection between theory and practice . It allows for a deeper understanding of complex phenomena and can explore problems that traditional quantitative methodologies may not address effectively . On the other hand, case studies may be limited in terms of sample size and representativeness, which can affect the external validity of the findings . Furthermore, case studies require careful consideration of the quality of the research and the role of theory in the analysis .
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Strengths and Weaknesses of Case Studies
There is no doubt that case studies are a valuable and important form of research for all of the industries and fields that use them. However, along with all their advantages, they also have some disadvantages. In this article we are going to look at both.
Advantages of Case Studies
Case study method is responsible for intensive study of a unit. It is the investigation and exploration of an event thoroughly and deeply. You get a very detailed and in-depth study of a person or event. This is especially the case with subjects that cannot be physically or ethically recreated.
This is one of the biggest advantages of the Genie case. You cannot lock up a child for 13 years and deprive them of everything. That would be morally and ethically wrong in every single way. So when the opportunity presented itself, researchers could not look away. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about feral children.
Genie was a feral child. She was raised in completed isolation, with little human contact. Because of the abuse she withstood, she was unable to develop cognitively. From infancy she was strapped to a potty chair, and therefore never acquired the physicality needed for walking, running and jumping.
If Genie made a noise, her father beat her. Therefore, she learned to not make a noise. Once she was found, researchers studied her language skills, and attempted to find ways to get her to communicate. They were successful. While she never gained the ability to speak, she did develop other ways to communicate. However, the public soon lost interest in her case, and with that, the funds to conduct the study.
However, her case was extremely important to child development psychology and linguistic theory. Because of her, we know that mental stimulation is needed for proper development. We also now know that there is a "critical period" for the learning of language.
Developing New Research
Case studies are one of the best ways to stimulate new research. A case study can be completed, and if the findings are valuable, they can lead to new and advanced research in the field. There has been a great deal of research done that wouldn't have been possible without case studies.
An example of this is the sociological study Nickel and Dimed. Nickel and Dimed is a book and study done by Barbara Ehrenreich. She wanted to study poverty in America, and did so by living and working as a person living on minimum wage.
Through her experiment, she discovered that poverty was almost inescapable. As soon as she saved a little money, she was hit with a crisis. She might get sick, or her car might break down, all occurrences that can be destructive when a person doesn't have a safety net to fall back on.
It didn't matter where she lived or what she did. Working a minimum wage job gave her no chances for advancement or improvement whatsoever. And she did the experiment as a woman with no children to support.
This study opened a lot of eyes to the problem of the working poor in America. By living and working as the experiment, Ehrenreich was able to show first-hand data regarding the issues surrounding poverty. The book didn't end with any solutions, just suggestions for the reader and points for them to think about.
Using this case study information, new studies could be organized to learn better ways to help people who are fighting poverty, or better ways to help the working poor.
Contradicting Established Ideas or Theories
Oftentimes there are theories that may be questioned with case studies. For example, in the John/John case study, it was believed that gender and sexual identity were a construct of nurture, not nature.
John-John focused on a set of twin boys, both of whom were circumcised at the age of 6 months. One of the twin's circumcisions failed, causing irreparable damage to the penis. His parents were concerned about the sexual health of their son, so they contacted Dr. John Money for a solution.
Dr. Money believed that sexuality came from nurture, not nature, and that the injured baby, Bruce, could be raised as a girl. His penis was removed and he was sexually reassigned to become a girl. Bruce's name was changed to Brenda, and his parents decided to raise him as a girl.
In this case, Dr. Money was dishonest. He believed that gender could be changed, which has since been proven false. Brenda's parents were also dishonest, stating that the surgery was a success, when in fact that wasn't the case.
As Brenda grew up, she always acted masculine and was teased for it at school. She did not socialize as a girl, and did not identify as a female. When Brenda was 13 she learned the truth, and was incredibly relieved. She changed her name to David, and lived the rest of her life as a male.
This case proved that the general theory was wrong, and is still valuable, even though the study author was dishonest.
Giving New Insight
Case studies have the ability to give insight into phenomena that cannot be learned in any other way. An example of this is the case study about Sidney Bradford. Bradford was blind from the age of 10 months old, and regained his sight at the age of 52 from a corneal transplant.
This unique situation allowed researchers to better learn how perception and motion changes when suddenly given sight. They were able to better understand how colors and dimensions affect the human process. For what it is worth, Bradford continued to live and work with his eyes closed, as he found sight too stimulating.
Another famous study was the sociological study of Milgram.
Stanley Milgram did a study from 1960 to 1974 in which he studied the effects of social pressure. The study was set up as an independent laboratory. A random person would walk in, and agree to be a part of the study. He was told to act as a teacher, and ask questions to another volunteer, who was the learner.
The teacher would ask the learner questions, and whenever he answered incorrectly, the teacher was instructed to give the learner an electric shock. Each time the learner was wrong, the shock would be increased by 15 volts. What the teacher didn't know was that the learner was a part of the experiment, and that no shocks were being given. However, the learner did act as if they were being shocked.
If the teachers tried to quit, they were strongly pushed to continue. The goal of the experiment was to see whether or not any of the teachers would go up to the highest voltage. As it turned out, 65% of the teachers did.
This study opened eyes when it comes to social pressure. If someone tells you it is okay to hurt someone, at what point will the person back off and say "this is not ok!" And in this study, the results were the same, regardless of income, race, gender or ethnicity.
This study opened up the sociological world of understanding the divide between social pressure and morality.
Disadvantages of Case Studies
Inability to Replicate
As demonstrated with the Genie case study, many studies cannot be replicated, and therefore, cannot be corroborated. Because the studies cannot be replicated, it means the data and results are only valid for that one person. Now, one could infer that that results of the Genie study would be the same with other feral children, without additional studies we can never be 100% certain.
Also, Genie was a white, American female. We do not know whether someone with a different gender, race or ethnicity would have a different result.
Key Term! Hawthorne Effect
The effect in which people change their behavior when they are aware they are being observed.
When conducting a case study, it is very possible for the author to form a bias. This bias can be for the subject; the form of data collection, or the way the data is interpreted. This is very common, since it is normal for humans to be subjective. It is well known that Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology, was often biased in his case histories and interpretations.
The researcher can become close to a study participant, or may learn to identify with the subject. When this happens the researcher loses their perspective as an outsider.
Any classification is not possible due to studying a small unit. This generalization of results is limited, since the study is only focusing on one small group. However, this isn't always a problem, especially if generalization is not one of the study's goals.
Case studies can be very time consuming. The data collection process can be very intensive and long, and this is something new researchers are not familiar with. It takes a long period of time to develop a case study, and develop a detailed analysis.
Many studies also require the authors to immerse themselves in the case. For example, in the Genie case, the lead researchers spent an abnormal amount of time with Genie, since so few people knew how to handle her. David Rigler, one of the lead researchers, actually had Genie live with him and his family for years. Because of this attachment, many questioned the veracity of the study data.
Possibility of Errors
Case study method may have errors of memory or judgment. Since reconstructing case history is based on memory, this can lead to errors. Also, how one person perceived the past could be different for another person, and this can and does lead to errors.
When considering various aspects of their lives, people tend to focus on issues that they find most important. This allows them to form a prejudice and can make them unaware of other possible options.
With small studies, there is always the question of ethics. At what point does a study become unethical? The Genie case was riddled with accusations of being unethical, and people still debate about it today.
Was it ethical to study Genie as deeply as she was studied?
Did Genie deserve to live out her life unbothered by researchers and academics trying to use her case to potentially further their careers?
At what point does the pursuit of scientific knowledge outweigh the right to a life free from research?
Also, because the researchers became so invested in the study, people questioned whether a researcher would report unethical behavior if they witnessed it.
Advantages and Disadvantages in Real-Life Studies
Two of these case studies are the Tylenol Scandal and the Genie language study.
Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of these two studies.
Genie – Advantages
Uniqueness of study – Being able to study a feral child is a rare occurrence.
Genie – Disadvantages
Ethics - The lead researcher David Rigler provided a home for Genie, and was paid for being a foster parent. This is often seen as unethical, since Rigler had a financial interest in Genie and her case.
Tylenol – Advantages
Uniqueness of study – What happened to Tylenol was very unique and rare. While companies face crisis all the time, a public health crisis of this magnitude is very unique.
Tylenol – Disadvantages
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This describes several advantages and disadvantages of the case...
This describes several advantages and disadvantages of the case study research method, which are listed below:
A Source of Ideas about Behavior
An Opportunity for Clinical Innovation
A Method to Study Rare Phenomena
A Method for Challenging to Theoretical Assumptions
A Method for Providing Tentative Support for a Psychological Theory
Difficulty of Drawing Cause-Effect Conclusions
Potential Sources of Bias
Problems of Generalizing from a Single Individual
explain one (1) advantage and (1) disadvantage of case study research that you found in this particular case. In your future career, if you were going to conduct a case study in psychology, what would your topic be and who would you study? Explain the use of self-management training (SMT), a therapeutic strategy which capi- talizes on the advantages of brief therapies, while at the same time reducing the danger of leaving too many tasks not fully accomplished. . . . The essence of this approach involves teaching the client how to be his or her own behavior therapist. The client is taught how to assess problems along behavioral dimensions and to develop speciic tactics, based on existing treatment techniques, for overcoming problems. As this process occurs, the traditional client-therapist relationship is al- tered considerably. The client takes on the dual role of client and therapist, while the therapist takes on the role of supervisor. The case of Susan:
Susan, a 28-year-old married woman, entered therapy complaining that she suffered from a deicient memory, low intelligence, and lack of self-conidence. The presumed deiciencies "caused" her to be inhibited in a number of so- cial situations. She was unable to engage in dis- cussions about ilms, plays, books, or magazine articles "because" she could not remember them well enough. She often felt that she could not understand what was being said in a conversa- tion and that this was due to her low intelligence. She attempted to hide her lack of comprehen- sion by adopting a passive role in these interac- tions and was fearful lest she be discovered by being asked for more of a response. She did not trust her own opinions and, indeed, sometimes doubted whether she had any. She felt depen- dent on others to provide opinions for her to adopt. Administering a Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), I found her to have a verbal IQ of about 120, hardly a subnormal score. Her digit span indicated that at least her short-term memory was not deicient. The test conirmed what I had already surmised from talking with her: that there was nothing wrong with her level of intelligence or her memory. After discussing this conclusion, I suggested that we investigate in greater detail what kinds of things she would be able to do if she felt that her memory, intel- ligence, and level of self-conidence were sufi- ciently high. In this way, we were able to agree upon a list of behavioral goals, which included such tasks as stating an opinion, asking for clari- ication, admitting ignorance of certain facts, etc. During therapy sessions, I guided Susan through overt and covert rehearsals of anxiety-arousing situations . . . structured homework assignments which constituted successive approximations of her behavioral goals, and had her keep records of her progress. In addition, we discussed negative statements which she was making to herself and which were not warranted by the available data (e.g., "I'm stupid"). I suggested that whenever she noticed herself making a statement of this sort, she counter it by intentionally saying more appro- priate, positive statements to herself (e.g., "I'm not stupid—there is no logical reason to think that I am"). During the ifth session of therapy, Susan re- ported the successful completion of a presum- ably dificult homework assignment. Not only had she found it easy to accomplish, but, she reported, it had not aroused any anxiety, even on the irst trial. . . . It was at this point that the nature of the therapeutic relationship was altered. During future sessions, Susan rated her progress during the week, determined what the next step should be, and devised her own homework as- signments. My role became that of a supervisor of a student therapist, reinforcing her successes and drawing attention to factors which she might be overlooking. After the ninth therapy session, direct treat- ment was discontinued. During the following month, I contacted Susan twice by phone. She reported feeling conident in her ability to achieve her goals. In particular, she reported feeling a new sense of control over her life. My own impressions are that she had successfully adopted a behav- ioral problem-solving method of assessment and had become fairly adept at devising strategies for accomplishing her goals.
Follow-up Five months after termination of treatment, I con- tacted Susan and requested information on her progress. She reported that she talked more than she used to in social situations, was feeling more comfortable doing things on her own (i.e., without her husband), and that, in general, she no longer felt that she was stupid. She summarized by say- ing: "I feel that I'm a whole step or level above where I was." I also asked her which, if any, of the tech- niques we had used in therapy she was continu- ing to use on her own. . . . Finally, she reported that on at least three separate occasions during the 5-month period following termination of treat- ment, she had told another person: "I don't un- derstand that—will you explain it to me?" This was a response which she had previously felt she was not capable of making, as it might expose her "stupidity" to the other person. Three months after the follow-up interview, I received an unsolicited letter from Susan (I had moved out of state during that time), in which she reminded me that "one of [her] imaginary exer- cises was walking into a folk dancing class and feeling comfortable; well, it inally worked."
Answer & Explanation
Advantage: A case study in psychology can provide a great source of ideas about behavior, an opportunity for clinical innovation, a method to study rare phenomena, and a method for challenging theoretical assumptions.
Disadvantage: The main disadvantage of case study research is difficulty of drawing cause-effect conclusions and potential sources of bias, as well as problems of generalizing from a single individual.
If I were to conduct a case study in psychology, my topic would be the use of self-management training (SMT) to help individuals with low self-confidence. I would study a single individual, Susan, who entered therapy complaining of a deficient memory, low intelligence, and lack of self-confidence.
Through observing her progress over the course of the study, I would be able to assess the effectiveness of SMT as a therapeutic strategy for individuals with similar issues.
Case Study Research in Psychology
Case study research is an important component of psychological research. It allows researchers to gain an in-depth understanding of individual behavior, psychological processes, and potential treatment strategies.
This type of research is often used to explore rare phenomena, challenge existing theoretical assumptions, and provide tentative support for psychological theories. In order to better understand the advantages and disadvantages of conducting a case study, it is helpful to take a closer look at the case of Susan.
Advantages of the Case Study
The case of Susan highlights several advantages of case study research. First and foremost, the case study provides a source of ideas about behavior. In the case of Susan, the researcher was able to gain insight into the causes of her low self-confidence, as well as potential strategies for improving it. The case study also provides an opportunity for clinical innovation. In this case, the researcher was able to develop a new therapeutic strategy, self-management training (SMT), which capitalizes on the advantages of brief therapies while avoiding the risks of leaving too many tasks unaccomplished.
Finally, the case study can be used to study rare phenomena, such as Susan's specific problem. The case study also gives the researcher an opportunity to challenge theoretical assumptions. For example, the researcher in this case was able to disprove the assumption that Susan's problems were due to a deficient memory or low intelligence.
Disadvantages of the Case Study
The case of Susan also highlights several disadvantages of case study research. First and foremost, it can be difficult to draw cause-effect conclusions from a single individual. This is because a single case study cannot provide insight into the causes of a behavior or the effects of a treatment.
The case study also has the potential to be biased. For example, the researcher in this case was likely biased in their assessment of Susan's intelligence and memory due to their prior assumptions about her. Furthermore, it can be difficult to generalize from a single individual. This is because the findings from a single case study may not be representative of an entire population.
In conclusion, case study research is an important component of psychological research. It can provide a great source of ideas about behavior, an opportunity for clinical innovation, a method to study rare phenomena, and a method for challenging theoretical assumptions. However, it is important to keep in mind the potential disadvantages of case study research, such as difficulty of drawing cause-effect conclusions, potential sources of bias, and problems of generalizing from a single individual.
If I were to conduct a case study in psychology, my topic would be the use of self-management training (SMT) to help individuals with low self-confidence. I would study a single individual, Susan, who entered therapy complaining of a deficient memory, low intelligence, and lack of self-confidence. Through observing her progress over the course of the study, I would be able to assess the effectiveness of SMT as a therapeutic strategy for individuals with similar issues.
By conducting a case study of Susan, I would be able to gain an in-depth understanding of how SMT can be used to help individuals with low self-confidence. Through our observations, we would be able to identify the specific techniques that Susan employed to improve her self-confidence, as well as the strategies that were most effective.
This information could then be used to develop a treatment plan that could be used to help other individuals with similar issues. Additionally, by studying Susan's progress over the course of the study, we would be able to identify any potential sources of bias or problems of generalization. In doing so, we could ensure that our conclusions are accurate and reliable.
case study research can be a powerful tool for gaining an in-depth understanding of individual behavior, psychological processes, and potential treatment strategies. By conducting a case study of Susan, I would be able to gain valuable insight into the use of self-management training (SMT) as a therapeutic strategy for individuals with low self-confidence. In doing so, I would also be able to identify potential sources of bias and problems of generalization, ensuring that my findings are accurate and reliable.
Case study research is a valuable tool for gaining an in-depth understanding of individual behavior, psychological processes, and potential treatment strategies. In the case of Susan, the researcher was able to gain insight into the causes of her low self-confidence and develop a new therapeutic strategy, self-management training (SMT), which capitalizes on the advantages of brief therapies while avoiding the risks of leaving too many tasks unaccomplished. By observing Susan's progress over the course of the study, the researcher was able to assess the effectiveness of SMT as a therapeutic strategy for individuals with similar issues.
However, it is important to keep in mind the potential disadvantages of case study research. For example, it can be difficult to draw cause-effect conclusions from a single individual, and there is the potential for bias and problems of generalization. In order to ensure that the findings from a case study are reliable and accurate, the researcher must take steps to minimize these potential sources of error. This can include collecting data from multiple sources, such as interviews and surveys, and gathering information from other people who know the individual. Additionally, the researcher must be mindful of potential sources of bias and take steps to minimize them.
In conclusion, case study research is a valuable tool for gaining an in-depth understanding of individual behavior, psychological processes, and potential treatment strategies. However, it is important to keep in mind the potential sources of error, such as difficulty of drawing cause-effect conclusions, potential sources of bias, and problems of generalizing from a single individual. By taking steps to minimize these potential sources of error, the researcher can ensure that the findings from their case study are reliable and accurate.
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