Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Case Study in Contemporary Educational Research: Conceptualization and Critique/ETUDES DE CAS DANS LA RECHERCHE PEDAGOGIQUE CONTEMPORAINE : CONCEPTUALISATION ET CRITIQUE

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Case Study in Contemporary Educational Research: Conceptualization and Critique/ETUDES DE CAS DANS LA RECHERCHE PEDAGOGIQUE CONTEMPORAINE : CONCEPTUALISATION ET CRITIQUE

Article excerpt

Abstract:

As one of important research methods, case study research has been used for many years across a variety of disciplines. This paper tries to review the principles and processes of case study. First, I would like to define case study according to its principles. Second, attentions will be put to the features and classification of the research of case study. Third, I intend to explain the process of case studies and case study methods. Fourth, I would review the strengths and weaknesses of case study research. Last, I shall summarize and critique a case study of language learning.

Key words: Case Study; Research Methods; Educational Research

Résumé: Comme l'une des méthodes de recherche importante, la recherche d'études de cas a été utilisée pendant de nombreuses années à travers une variété de disciplines. Le présent article tente d'examiner les principes et les processus d'études de cas. D'abord, je tiens à définir la notaion d'études de cas selon ses principes. Deuxièmement, les attentions seront mises aux caractéristiques et à la classification de la recherche d'études de cas. Troisièmement, j'ai l'intention d'expliquer le processus et des méthodes d'études de cas. Quatrièmement, je voudrais passer en revue les forces et les faiblesses de la recherche d'études de cas. Enfin, je vais faire un résumé et des critiques d'une étude de cas sur l'apprentissage des langues.

Mots-clés : études de cas; méthodes de recherche; recherche pédagogique

INTRODUCTION

As one of important research methods, case study research has been used for many years across a variety of disciplines. In education research, case study, labeled as one of the three approaches to the problem of verification and accumulation of educational knowledge, seeks to understand and interpret the world in terms of its actors and may be finally described as interpretative and subjective. (Cohen et al., 2000, p. 1 8 1) Case study research can bring us to an understanding of a complex issue or object and can extend experience or add strength to what is already known through previous research. Case studies emphasize detailed contextual analysis of a limited number of events or conditions and their relationships. Education researchers, in particular, have made wide use of this qualitative research method to examine contemporary situations in education and provide the basis for the application of ideas and extension of methods. Researcher Robert K. Yin defines the case study research method as an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context; when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident; and in which multiple sources of evidence are used (Yin, 1984, p. 23).

Critics of the case study methodology point out that the study of a small number of cases can offer no grounds for establishing reliability or generality of findings. Others feel that the intense exposure to study of the case biases the findings. Case studies have much potential in research areas, but it is somewhat problematic in principle and practice, especially from the point of view of the single case and the wider use of such a study. (McDonough and McDonough, 1997, p.203)

This paper tries to review the principles and processes of case study. First, I would like to define case studies according to its principles. Second, attentions will be put to the features and classification of the research of case study. Third, I intend to explain the process of case studies and case study methods. Fourth, I would review the strengths and weaknesses of case study research. Last, I shall summarize and critique a case study of language learning.

THE PURPOSE OF CASE STUDY

The purpose of case study is not to represent the world, but to represent the case. Case study has been one of important research methodologies in the category of empirical inquiry. (Yin, 1984, p. 23) One of the crucial contributions of research to language teaching theory has been that it has introduced empirical procedures into the study of language education. …

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