A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in a variety of fields including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work. The hope is that learning gained from studying one case can be generalized to many others. Unfortunately, case studies tend to be highly subjective and it is sometimes difficult to generalize results to a larger population.
There are several different types of case studies, as well as several types of subjects of case studies. We will investigate each type in this article. It is also possible for types of case studies to overlap each other. Each of the following types of cases can be used in any field or discipline.
A case study involves an up-close, in-depth, and detailed examination of a particular case or cases, within a real-world context. Generally, a case study can highlight nearly any individual, group, organization, event, belief system, or action. Case study research has been extensively practiced in both the social and natural sciences.
C ase studies are powerful teaching tools. Yet, for many educators who want to pen their own case, the act of writing a great business case seldom comes easily or naturally. Case writers can spend substantial time visiting companies, securing a willing site, conducting interviews, observing operations, collecting data, reviewing notes, writing the case, revising the narrative, ensuring that teaching points come through, and then getting executives to approve the finished product.
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