Freuds work and researches which clearly indicate that they were developed through researches involving case studies. In a case study every aspect of the subject is researched and analyzed so that obvious and notable patterns and behaviors can be identified so that particular causes for behaviors and psychology in some cases can be identified. The main purpose is to learn what can be learned from one subject and some basic points in this way can be generalized and applied to others as well (Yin. 1984). However case studies happen to be very subjective since they are mostly based on one area of focus, so it makes there points or even them very hard to generalize and apply their results to a larger proportion of subjects.
Types of Case Studies
Explanatory: These types of case studies are used for investigations which are casual in nature.
Exploratory: these types of case studies are normally used as an extension to another, more extensive research. This step basically comes in the developing process of a solid research where researches use the exploratory case study to further build their research on.
Descriptive: this type involves a thorough description of the theory at hand. In this process the subject are deeply examined and the results are compared to the already existing theory and results.
Intrinsic: in this type of case study the researcher conducting the study happens to have a personal interest in the subject of the study.
Collective: normally case studies are based on the study of one subject or person, however in this type of case study, the research of a group of individuals or more than one subjects is conducted
Instrumental: instrumental case studies can also be called personal case studies, not in terms of the researcher himself but the subject. In this type of case study the subject of the study allows the researchers to explore more about the subject than what is obvious to any observing eye.
Case Study Methods
Prospective: in this type of case study a group of people or an individual are observed to examine a particular type of outcome which may or may not be already expected. For instance, a group of people may be researched over a lengthy period of time to see the progressive nature of a disease.
Retrospective: in this method instead of going forward researchers tend to go backwards during the process of their research. For instance, researchers might start with a conclusion regarding a disease and go back into the facts and figures and the study an individual's habits and routine to assess the factors that out him on the risk graph for that illness (Taylor. 1960).
Sources of Information Used in a Case Study
It is obvious that when one is conducting a research of any sort the availability of information is a must. Not just that it is important that the researcher must know how to make use of the information that is at hand with him. After that these sources are used to study the subject at hand which can be an individual or a group of people. The major contribution in this field have been by two notable researchers Yin and stake and according to them the six major sources of information that have been identified by them are as follows (Weiss. 1980).
1. Direct observation: In this strategy the subject of the research is placed in a very natural setting to observe a particular kind of behavior exhibited by the subject. Normally this type of method involves an individual, but sometimes the use of a group of people is also taken into action.
2. Interviews: This is considered one of the most important and easiest methods of gathering information when it comes to doing case studies and researches. Interviews mostly involve structured and to the point questions that are based on the survey template or are more open ended questions.
3. Documents: This method utilizes the information that has already been researched or collected by someone else. For instance letters, magazine and newspaper articles and various administrative records are used in these methods.
4. Archival records: This method utilizes the use of past consensus, past survey records and results and lists of names of subjects.
5. Physical artifacts: In this strategy various objects, instruments, tools and other artifacts are used to conduct a direct observation about the behavior and practices of the subject
6. Participant observation: This method is a very peculiar one, it involves the researchers actually serving as a participant in the research and observing the actions he would have done if he were in the subjects place. This process provides a very in-depth observation on the subject of the case study.
Case study researches mostly work when it comes to bringing to attention various complex subjects or objects and hence offer an extensive research about any subject and offer further knowledge to what has already been researched and concluded. Case studies mostly emphasis on descriptive contextual research of a limited number of events and the observations and conditions pertaining to the events related to them. Researches throughout the world have used case study research methods for various numbers of disciplines. Social and psychology scientists as well as business analaysist have a wide spread reputation of using case study research methodology for their researches and observations. In this way scientists make use to this technique to examine modern real life situations and individual and make observations and analysis-based to the reactions they receive, in this way their researches are more close to human understanding than what can be achieved while sitting in a lab. Researcher and social scientist Robert K. Yin defines the case study research method as a methods which makes use of empirical data while staying in the context of real life, this way the basic boundaries between the actual phenomenon and context and no clearly evident and hence using multiple sources of evidence an observation and subsequently observation are drawn (Yin, 1984, p. 23).
Many critics of case study analysis argue that generalization of any topic or a subject cannot be accounted for the entire research in that particular subject and hence it provides no grounds of reliability. Other suggest that the since the observation of the subject is extremely intense and requires the researcher to be one minded there is a huge possibility that the results can turn out to be biased since there is a possibility that the subject wasn't looked from all points-of-view but only the area which was the keen focus. However, researchers still use case study research methods to conduct researches that are big in proportions, are based on real life incidents. Because of this massive literature and reports are available for people who are in favor of case studies to observe and learn from. Many famous researchers, such as Robert K. Yin, Robert E. Stake and Helen Simons have written extensively about the benefits of case study researches and have discussed various methods and steps that can prove to be helpful in this matter which has been thoroughly discussed above (Swisher. 1984).
Sample Outline of a Case Study
Using a common example we can apply the above mentioned methods and steps regarding case studies into the multiple participants of the electronic community network. All the subjects in this case study will be from nonprofit organizations who have selected the electronic community from the World Wide Web as the key method of delivering important information to the public. This case study can be applicable to a set of users and researchers because it can be closet used to determine whether the electronic network and community provides benefit to organizations and what exactly will those benefits be.
Themes and Issues
Many communities and networks have constructed their network and followers on the World Wide Web. On the outset of things the issues which will be presented in the case study will be the whether there are any boundaries that these organizations need to keep in mind? Or do they keep on exploring and expanding their networks? To attain the answer to these questions the board to director of the organization should always be approached because most of them are open to the idea of case studies. Computerized information is also available for these organization and researchers can go through to formulate any question which might interest them in their case study. Questions regarding the area in which the organization is dealing in should be included in the research as well for instance, religion, environmental and healthcare to name a few. Also if the organization is dealing with the urban and rural population then separate questionnaires and interviews should be drafted (Wholey. 1994).
Why do the non-profit organizations and their participants use the particular network to handle their working and interaction?
How was the decision made to out their important data on the World Wide Web?