There not any doubt that case studies are very important methods of writing researches. These case studies could be used for determining real problems and proposing solutions for them. There are two types of case studies which are the qualitative and quantitative types.
Definition of Case Study:
The case study can be defined as the deep study of a phenomenon or something happening. Case studies could be defined as the observations of the information or facts of something. Case studies can be individual and they can be collective. Individual case studies are the case studies which study information or facts about a person or an individual. Collective case studies can be defined as the study of the information of the facts about a group of people. In case studies, all the fields of the life matters or the history would be widely analyzed in order to know the real reasons of a certain behavior. Knowing the causes and patterns of behaviors would be very beneficial as it would be like a reference for all the future studies and researches.
Moreover, the studies case would be generalized for all the future cases and this is a cornerstone for all he researchers that aim at developing their countries and the individual circumstances. It is known that all studies are more subjective than to be objective. Thus generalizing information and data to other cases would be very difficult and hard in the light of the subjectivity of case studies. Through the previous definitions one could say that case studies are the studies of some behaviors or situations in which there are many people or countries suffering from obstacles and hardships.
Case studies can be for example about companies that have some issues either legal, administrative or even marketing related issues. If the problem were in the past, the company and its behavior would be either a negative or a positive example to be compared to similar cases. If this problem were in the present time, the case study would present more recommendations and solutions for the decision makers about the best ways of behaving in the situation and the method of solving the problem. Thus in all cases, case studies are related to problems or good examples (Flyvbjerg, 2006).
Behaviors Analysis in Case Studies:
Analyzing the behaviors is very important and significant for many reasons. The first reason is knowing the facts about a behavior. This includes knowing the motives and the methods of controlling a behavior. Secondly, this matter would help in predicting the behaviors or the things that would happen in the future about a certain fact. Thirdly, if the potential behavior is bad, this would help in putting solutions for the matters in the future. Fourthly, if the subject of the case study or its behavior is good, this would help in enhancing this behavior and promoting it. Fifthly, this would be an example of the good and bad behaviors in order to raise the awareness of both individuals and countries. Sixthly, the matter would enhance the individuals' life through knowing and identifying their problems then solving these problems. This point is the most important point in all case studies because most of case studies aim at discovering and analyzing a certain problem then solving this problem. (Frey, 2010).
Steps of Case Study:
Any case study should pass through many steps through which it could be performed effectively. These steps should be followed and practiced through a scientific way. Steps of writing a case study could be as follow:
1- Determining the format through which the case study would be made. This would be through knowing the shape or the format in which the case study would be made such as the audio clips, the slideshows, the written documents, or the videos. All these shapes or formats could be shapes of case studies. The researchers or the performers of the case study would be aware of the shape of the case study that they would perform.
2- Defining the parameters of it. This would be like knowing the importance of the case study, the content of the case study, how it shall meet the needs and objectives of the case study and the type of findings it tries to reach to.
3- Determining the core issues of the case study. This would include writing the first draft about the case study. This first draft would be a preliminary step towards achieving the objectives of the case study. Moreover, this step includes knowing the methodology that would be followed in the case study. The methodology of the case study would be various and it would not be limited to certain methods. This methodology would be collecting data from books or journals, making interviews with people, making a survey, or performing some experiments. All these could be methodology that are used in the case study.
4- Getting permissions if the matter requires so. If the case study would be through a survey mad in a university or through an interview with an important officials and the matter requires a permission, the performers of the case study should get these permissions from the concerned authorities or the governmental bodies. Therefore getting the permits and permissions is a significant matter.
5- Analyzing all the collected data and information in order to get the best solutions about the problem discussed in the case study. Analyzing data and information would be through either individuals or programs. Using programs in analyzing data and information is a good thing because it is faster and it takes less time. However, not all cases would allow the usage of programs or software because these programs are only used for analyzing the statistical data and information. Analyzing data is the most crucial step because it would either lead to the success of solving the problem or the failure in solving this problem.
6- Getting rid of all the unneeded information. Any collected data or information would include important information and unneeded information. This is a very normal thing and this requires the performer of the case study to be aware of the important data and the less important data.
7- Offering a background about the previous cases and literature review. This would be very important in knowing the similar cases that have been in the past or a literature review that would help in solving the problem.
8- Offering all the findings and the recommendations of the case study in a brief way.
9- Writing a conclusion about it that includes all the important issues of the case study to help the reader of the case study to understand all the information that are in the case study and too be aware of all the facts and statistics on it in addition to the recommendations provided by the performer of the case study (Smith, 2013).
Case Study Methods:
There are many methods for case studies and these methods are used in all kinds of case studies in order to achieve the objectives of the case studies. The first method that could be used in case studies is the method of making surveys. Surveys are very important in case studies and they are the indicators that show a very useful sample for the future usage. There are many ways through which surveys could be made such as the program or the website of Survey Monkey. Survey Monkey is the best and the easiest way through which a survey could be made. Surveys are made on this website through paying the fees of the survey and then the website starts to collect data and analyze it in many ways or methods. The website of Survey Monkey has been used in many countries and through many researchers and it has been proved to be so efficient.
The second method of case studies is making interviews. Making interviews is a very essential method that is used through direct interviews with some researchers, experts or important persons. Interviews include some questions that are posed on the guest to know his point of view. Then these questions are answered by this guest. In some case these interviews could be face to face, through telephone or via internet applications and programs such as Skype. The most important point in interviews is that they let the asker or the performer of the interview know the essence of the experience and knowledge of the interviewed person. There are two types of questions which are the open questions and the Wh questions. The open questions are the questions that give the interviewed person the chance to answer the question as he wants. This type of questions are not restricting and they are very useful. The second type of questions is the Wh questions. This type of questions are very restricting and they are aiming knowing the opinion or the point of view of the interviewed person about a certain point.
The third method of case studies is questionnaires. The method of the questionnaire is very important because it gives a bigger chance to know the answer of many people in regard of some points. The questionnaire is a form or a document that is consisting of many questions with multiple choices to choose in between. After that these questionnaire are distributed to many people in order to know their opinions about the written questions. This method is very effective and it helps the performers or the researchers of the case study to be aware of the people knowledge and opinions about a certain subject.
The fourth method that is used in case studies is the literature review method. This method would be achieved and followed through gathering all the information and scientific facts of journals, magazine and researches. Then organizing all this information in a scientific way and providing it to the reader. This method is very important because it includes many resources that would help in the case study's solution. This way would include much information and data and this makes the content of the case study very rich.
The fifth method of case studies is the field studies. Field studies are very important because they include external data collection away from any internal settings. Field studies have many ways and disciplines. It is known that all field studies cost much money and take more time. However, not all the collected data of field studies would not be very valuable and important.
The last method of data collection is the method of direct observations. Direct observation is the most common used method in case studies. It includes observing the behavior of an individual or a group of people for some time in order to know facts and collect some data about them. This matter is not easy and it takes much time to know and identify the required information. In fact, direct observation depend on the awareness of the case study performer to discover all the facts and collect all the needed and required data. In additions to that, the matter also takes much time because observations should be over a long period of time to collect precise information. This is beside the effort that would be exerted in observing an individual or many persons for a long period of time. Direct observation is not suitable for all cases because in some case studies, there is a need for asking direct questions to know the opinions and the attitudes of the people that are indulged in the case study (Zainal, 2007).
Persons who Use the Case Study:
Many persons and organizations can use the case studies. The first type of people that would use the case study are the researchers and the students. This category of people are the persons who are interested in studying the behavior or the circumstances in a case study in order to get benefit for the similar cases that would happen in the future.
The second category that would use the cases study are the governments and their experts. In any government, there are many experts and advisors. These experts and advisors should plan for the government, solve its problem and make recommendations for it. Based on this point, these experts and advisors use case studies of similar governments and countries that had the same circumstances to solve the several problems.
The third category that use case studies are the individuals in the problem itself. This would help them in solving the problem and make recommendations for the future in order to not repeat such problem again.
The fourth category that use the case study are the journal and academic magazines that would save such case studies it their databases to be used as references in the future.
On the other side, not all people are eligible for writing a case study. The case study should be performed through researchers and experts. There are many traits and attributes that should be existent in the performers of the case study. The first trait is being very objective. The person who makes the case study should be very fair and objective in addition to following the academic norms in regard to performing case studies. Being objective is against being subjective. This is the first and the most important trait in the performer of the case study. The second trait that should be existent in the performers of the case study is to be academically qualified to make the case study. The performer of the case study should have some academic qualifications to perform the case study. The third attribute that should be existent in the performers of the case studies is that they should have high awareness of all the variables that are in the case study. This awareness would be through the scientific abilities (Yin, 2009).
Aims of A Case Study:
There are many aims of for any cases study. These aims differ from a case study to another and from a place to another place. Knowing the aim of the case study would make it easy to analyze the facts and opinions used in the case study and to follow the best methods in order to achieve the case study objectives. Thus, case studies have many aims that would be identified and illustrated hereinafter. The first aim of case studies is identifying the problems. This is very important because knowing a problem would be the first step of searching for a suitable solution for it. In additions, knowing and identifying a problem would help in a better analyzing of this problem. The second aim of case studies is to solve the problems of either individuals or countries. Solving problems is not an easy matter and it requires many efforts. In these efforts are not in the right direction, the problem would not be solved. The aim of the case study is to predict all the scenarios and to search for the best solutions for the problem. For this reason, people and countries depend on the case studies as strategies of solving their problems and removing the hardships in their way. The third aim of case studies is creating a model and sample for all the coming cases about the problems that they would meet in their ways and that would be similar to the current case study. The fourth aim of case studies is that they are used in conferences and seminars as models of either failure or success of certain individuals, group of people or countries about solving a certain problem. Therefore, there are many aims for case studies. In addition to that, case studies aim at helping the decision makers to make the best and the most suitable decisions. All problems could be solved through a decision. This decision could be either slow or fast to save the time and not to let the problem to expand. Case studies are the best solutions for decision makers because they are very inclusive. This is through discussing the problems from different sides. This is very useful for decision makers as this helps them in solving the problem through fast and wise decisions (GERRING, 2004).
Types of Case Studies:
There are many types of case studies. Each type is used for some objectives and purposes. This makes each type of case studies different form the other types of case studies. Many researches have been made in order to identify these type and determine their categorization. The main and principal types of case studies could be six types. These types are explanatory, exploratory, descriptive, intrinsic, collective and instrumental.
1- Explanatory Type: This type is related to the causal investigations. From the name of the type, it could be expected that this type is related to explaining all the reasons and causes of each phenomenon or behavior that is has happened in the past to know its reasons and details, or that is happening in the present time in order to provide recommendations to solve all the problems of the case study.
2- Exploratory Type: This type is very common and it includes identifying the preludes of something in order to perform an in-depth study or research. Therefore, the exploratory kind would be known as a preamble of a certain study. Through the exploratory case studies, all the researchers would gather much data and information about a certain case to develop all the methods and questions of the research.
3- Descriptive Type: The descriptive type is that type which depends on the descriptive theory. This would include describing all the information in detail. Therefore, the researchers observe all the subjects and they gather information to compare them to a pre-existing theory.
4- Intrinsic Type: This type is very personal and it includes knowing the information and data for private aims. The intrinsic type is not related to many domains but it is the type in which researchers would have some personal interests about the case.
5- Collective Type: This type is not individual or personal. The collective type is more related to study the behaviors of a group of people. Thus, the behavior of this group would be observed in order to know the characteristics or the attributes of this group. This would happen through the taking a random sample of a group of people and then generalizing the results of this sample to be as a model for the studied group of people.
6- Instrumental Type: This type is very deep. The instrumental type happens when a group of researchers want to know more information than the known instinctively between people. Therefore, the instrumental type would be discovering information that are not commonly observed by people
7- Prospective Type: In this type, a group of people or individuals are noticed or observed so that the outcomes would be determined. For instance, a group of people would be noticed for a certain period to know the effect of diseases or illnesses on some patients. This method is more used in the scientific researches and case studies.
8- Retrospective Type: This type includes the knowing the historical background. For instance, examining the history of a certain disease through the historical background of patients is a retrospective type (Universalclass, 2017).
Strengths of Writing A Case Study:
Case studies is the best way of data collection. Case studies have many advantages and these advantages could be achieved through following some certain techniques. The first strength of case studies is that they become as models for all the similar cases. For example, the economic crisis of 2008 and all the performed researches and case studies has become a model for all the future economic crisis that would happen in the future. Another example can be the decreased prices of petrol and the effect of this decrease on the countries of the gulf regions. All the performed case studies would be providers of information and data for solving similar problems that are expected to happen in the future.
1- Case studies are models for solving the potential problems of the future.
2- Being objective in analyzing the data. This would make people and researchers trust the information provided in the case study and raise the level of dependability on this study. The performers of the case study should be very objective in collecting data, analyzing the information and taking samples. This is the most important strength of any case study.
3- Case studies are inclusive and they have many methods of collecting data. This point is very important because a good case study is the one that has many methods of data collection such as questionnaires, interviews, and reviewing the previous studies and books in the same field. This helps in getting much information about the same subject and getting much data and opinions from the different opinions that are used in the case study.
4- A case study is a brief ways of knowing the behaviors or the data of a certain case that happened either to a country or to a group of people or even to individuals. Therefore, case studies should be clear and inclusive to know the details of the case.
5- There are many other strengths of case studies such as providing detailed qualitative information about a certain subject, providing an inclusive insight for researching and permitting all kinds of investigations for the situations that are not ethical nor practical. (Psud43, 2012)
Limitations of Writing A Case Study:
There are many limitations for the case study. These limitations could be not generalizing the case study results for a bigger population. The second limitation of the case study is that the researchers could be subjective and not objective. This would be through their personal feelings that affect them. The third limitation of the case is the hardship to replicate as each case study has its circumstances. The last limitation of case studies is that they consume much time. It is known that each case study has a certain group, event or person and this makes the circumstances of a certain case could not be applied to another case. The matter of subjectivity is because of the interpretations of the researches performers that would be based on personal opinions and desires. This would lead to a wrong or biased assessment of a situation. All these limitations show that case studies are subject to many variables and restrictions that could not be avoided. To create a good case study, one should discover all these limitations and try to minimize them in order to achieve the best results in his performed case studies (Zucker, 2009).
To sum up, case studies are very essential for solving the problems and analyzing the behaviors of both individuals and groups. Many types of case studies could be observed such as explanatory, exploratory, descriptive, intrinsic, collective, instrumental, prospective, and retrospective. There are also many types of information to make a case study such as observation, interviews, documents, archival records, physical artifacts and participants observation. Case studies have many strengths and limitations.
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