What this definition usefully captures is that case studies are intended – unlike more superficial and generalising methods – to provide a level of detail and understanding, similar to the ethnographer Clifford Geertz’s (1973) notion of ‘thick description’, that allows for the thorough analysis of the complex and particularistic nature of distinct phenomena.
Another frequently cited proponent of the approach, Robert Stake, notes that as a form of research the case study “is defined by interest in an individual case, not by the methods of inquiry used”, and that “the object of study is a specific, unique, bounded system” (2008: 443, 445).
E-IR publishes student essays & dissertations to allow our readers to broaden their understanding of what is possible when answering similar questions in their own studies.
Define the Main Principles, and Analyse the Advantages and Limitations of One of the Following Research Methods: (i) Single Case Study Analysis.
As Gerring puts it, a case study should be “an intensive study of a single unit… a nation-state, revolution, political party, election, or person – observed at a single point in time or over some delimited period of time” (2004: 342).
It is important to note, however, that – whereas Gerring refers to a single unit of analysis – it may be that attention also necessarily be given to particular sub-units.
Principles The term ‘case study’, John Gerring has suggested, is “a definitional morass…
Evidently, researchers have many different things in mind when they talk about case study research” (2006a: 17).
many social scientists still deeply believe that case studies are only appropriate for the exploratory phase of an investigation” (Yin, 2009: 6).
If case studies can reliably perform any or all three of these roles – and given that their in-depth approach may also require multiple sources of data and the within-case triangulation of methods – then it becomes readily apparent that they should not be limited to only one research paradigm.