Case Study Approach In Case Studies

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Dr.Soumya Kanti Sinha Department of Philosophy, P.K.College,Contai, Purba Midnapore,West Bengal, India

Miles and Huberman (1994) present a graphic meaning of a case study by suggesting that it is like a circle with a heart in the middle (see Figure 5.1). The heart is the focus of the study, while the circle defines the edge or boundary of the case. What is beyond the edge or boundary will not be studied. In other words, to qualify as a case study, you have to state the boundary or delimit what you want to study. For example, you have to limit the number of people you intend to interview, you have to limit the amount of time you intend to spend. “If there is no end, actually or theoretically, to the number of people who could be interviewed or to observations that could be conducted, then the phenomenon is not bounded enough to qualify as a case (Merriam, 1998, p.28).

Figure1. Graphical representation of a case study
Adelman, Jenkins & Kemmis (1993) describe the case study as an “instance drawn from a class” (p.3) while Macdonald & Walker (1977) defines it as an “the examination of an instance in action” (p.181). Note that the key word is “instance” which could a individual child in the classroom, a classroom of preschool children, a low achieving high school or a specific remedial programme in reading. An “instance” of the case is selected to study in depth because it is intrinsically interesting and the researcher who studies it seeks to get \a full understanding of the phenomenon as possible (Merriam, 1998). By concentrating on a single entity or case (i.e. one child, one classroom, specific programme), the researcher is able to uncover the distinct characteristics of the phenomenon (for example, the behavior of that one child when interacting with other children in the playground). Yin (1994) states that the case study design is most appropriate in situations in which it is impossible to separate the phenomenon studied from its context (i.e. the child’s behavior in relation to other children in the playground). Note that the case study method is adopted both in quantitative and qualitative
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