Case Study Research

By js, 19 March, 2008, No Comment

Used for empirical research projects

  • useful for areas which haven't yet received much attention
  • Advantages
    • holistic view
    • rich detail
    • info that connect otherwise; otherwise be collected
    • precise definition of research question
  • Subjects
    • they are typical of a certain group or unique in some way


  • systematically collect information
  • about
    • events
    • situation
    • small group of
      • persons
      • objects
  • purpose
    • explore
    • describe
    • explain
      • aspects not previously known or considered
  • purpose is
    • to develop new insights
    • new knowledge
  • strategies which can be used
    • interviews
    • questionnaire
    • examination of artifacts
  • narrow focus
    • investigate one event
    • or very small number of people
    • learn how readers read
    • learn practicular rhetorical strategies used

1. Define the problem that needs attention

  • identify read world problem
  • define it carefully
  • careful definition of a problem often points the way to the appropriate research methodology

relevance to tasks technical communicators face in daily work

2.  Select the subjects to be studied with care.

  • unique subject or situation
  • OR
  • typical of some area of interest to begin to collect insights

3. Plan and test procedures in advance of data collection.

  • key to success; advance planning and testing

4.  Be systematic about data collection

  • multiple interviews
  • prepare interview questions in advance

5. Collect data that can be examined by others to allow verification of findings.

  • reduce researcher bias

6.  Use triangulation so that more than one measure will converge on an issue

  • use of converging measures to gain separate veiws of an issue

7.  Verify concusions by asking an outside rater to examine the collected materials.

  • gather transcripts
  • look for patterns
  • provide categories and descriptions for classifying data
  • give to other rater to see if they match

8. Present conclusions as tentative

  • qualify the claims; the data indicate rather than "the data prove"

CHOICE of TOOLS depends on what questions the researcher is hoping to answer


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