Writing a Case Study: Research Design

Writing a Case Study: Research Design

Anna Pikos (Kozminski University, Poland)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0770-3.ch011


The case method is a pedagogical tool that allows students to achieve their learning objectives through active discussion. A case study presenting a real event also allows students to link the theory to the practice. Readers learn from analysis, discussion, providing solutions, and recommendations. The case study is a form of research. And case writers are much like anthropologists who preserve the event so that others can learn what happened. There are several sources that can be used to write a case. The aim of this chapter is to present various ways of gathering data for case writing. The author also discusses the possibilities of gaining access to companies' data, which is challenge in Central and Eastern Europe.
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There are several definitions of case study. One of them is presented by Herreid (2006), who stated, ‘a case is a description of an actual situation, commonly involving a decision, a challenge, an opportunity, a problem or an issue faced by a person or persons in an organization’. A case study is a description of a business event that happened in a real company in a real industry or in the general business world (Andrews, 1960; Blumenthal, 1991; Blunden & McGuiness, 1993 cited in Mesny 2013; Cellucci, Kerrigan, Peters, 2012). Some definitions stress that a case study is a story. This is in line with what is argued by Lynn (1998, p. 2), ‘teaching case is a story, describing or based on actual events and circumstances, that is told with a definite teaching purpose in mind and that rewards careful study and analysis’. A case study is a story with an educational purpose. It represents a particular type of storytelling. The stories are not spoken, but written, and the ‘narrative’ is interesting to a specific audience. A case study is a puzzle to be solved. Shulman (1992) acknowledged that cases are ‘occasions’ for advancing and testing theories, and, possibly, changing them as more cases presenting altered events and situations are developed.

The case study method allows participants to learn by doing, and is an important pedagogical tool in many fields of study. Case studies should encourage students to critically evaluate stories about science that they hear through the media, to have a more positive attitude about science, to understand the process of science, its imitation, and to be able to ask more critical questions during public debates (Herreid, 2006). Case study requires the reader to take the position of a decision maker and deal with the situation-specific dilemmas described in a given case study. Cases also let students integrate theory with practice (Gorton, 1987; Lipham, Rankin, & Hoeh, 1985).

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