Case Study Research in Educational Settings

By Michael Bassey | Go to book overview

7 Methods of enquiry and the
conduct of case study research

Introduction
Case study research, as described in Chapter 6, needs to be conducted in such a way that sufficient data are collected for the researcher to be able:
(a) to explore significant features of the case;
(b) to create plausible interpretations of what is found;
(c) to test for the trustworthiness of these interpretations;
(d) to construct a worthwhile argument or story;
(e) to relate the argument or story to any relevant research in the literature;
(f) to convey convincingly to an audience this argument or story;
(g) to provide an audit trail by which other researchers may validate or challenge the findings, or construct alternative arguments.

This chapter suggests some of the ways in which these may be achieved. It starts with suggesting one way of dividing the enquiry into stages, and gives an illustration of what these stages may mean. This leads to a discussion of research ethics, which in turn opens up the issue of trustworthiness (arising from the ethic of respect for truth) and ethical guidelines (arising from the ethic of respect for persons). This provides a starting point for discussion of data collecting methods, data analysis and different styles of writing.


Stages in conducting case study research

In order to write about methods of enquiry and the conduct of case study research, it simplifies matters to divide the process into a number of stages. But the reader must recognize that the procedures described here will only rarely be in accord with the processes of actual studies. Research is a creative activity and every enquiry has its own unique character; it is also a systematic activity and so the idea that it goes through stages, whether or not the

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