Qualitative Case Studies

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Media research indicates that journalistic standards and practices are socially constructed systems, which deal with complex work processes by organising news flow and explicating roles and competencies (Tuchman 1978; Fishman 1980). The case study method is regarded as a valid tool to analyse a complex issue. A case study is defined as "an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context" (Yin 2003: 13). It is best used to understand complex social and organisational issues. Case study evidence to answer research questions and contribute to theory development originates from a variety of sources, such as documentation, archival records, interviews (qualitative or quantitative) and observation. In this…show more content…
Simply put, a case study uses as many data sources as possible to investigate systematically a subject of inquiry. The case study as Stake (quoted in Denzin and Lincoln 1994: 236) noted "is not a methodological choice but a choice of object to be studied". The object can be an individual, a group, an organisation, a community among many other things.
A purpose of the case study as argued by Jensen is "normally to arrive at descriptions and groupings which have implications for other larger social systems" (2002:239).Another view however warns that "the aim of the case study research should be to capture cases in their uniqueness rather than to use them as a basis for wider generalisation or for theoretical reference of some kind" (Gomm et al 2000:3). With other qualitative research methods, case studies share the detailed attention given to phenomena within their everyday contexts and structural interrelations with other phenomena and
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The second is that it is not easily open to generalisation but if it is "contextualised and carefully described then others can consider its usefulness in other contexts and examples" (Wisker 2001:191). Finally, Dominick and Wimmer argue that case studies are likely to be "time consuming and may occasionally produce massive quantities of data that are hard to summarise" (1987: 165). With regard to this study, I would like to argue that the strengths of observations outweigh the weaknesses. In addition, there is simply no other method that applies better to what I want to investigate. The findings are not representative of all newsrooms experimenting with convergence since the research is derived from one case. Therefore I do not wish to generalise any findings from this case study. I tried to "provide readers with good raw material for their own generalising" because "the reader can make his or her own generalisations and interpret it their way" (Stake, 1995:102). However, the findings will offer insights that could be probed for future
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