Case Study Research in Educational Settings

By Michael Bassey | Go to book overview

6 Educational case study as a
prime strategy for developing
educational theory which
illuminates educational policy
and enhances educational
practice

A conceptual reconstruction of educational case study

My justification for suggesting a reconstruction of educational case study is that not only has the clarity of purpose of the case study researchers of the 1980s got lost as more and more researchers have come to perceive their small-scale studies as 'case studies', but the political world has come to recognize the potential of educational research and at the same time found its plethora of offerings often confusing and incoherent. The proposals which I am making about educational case study are set out in the box on page 58.

Inevitably there is a creative leap in putting forward a reconstruction, with some of the steps being perhaps less self-evident than others, and so I propose to take the box line-by-line and try to give a rationale for each. But first it may be helpful to the reader to recap on the previous chapters.

Chapter 1 is a personal account of concerns about some current educational research, particularly in relation to small-scale studies conceived as 'case study', and indicates the direction that the book takes. Reference is made to three major categories of case study: theory-seeking and theory-testing case studies, evaluative case studies and story-telling and picture-drawing case studies. Chapter 2 jumps straight into an example of a theory-seeking case study because this is possibly the most controversial idea. It is explored in Chapter 5, which suggests that the concept of 'fuzzy generalization', coupled with coherent case study reports, is a valuable way of bringing educational research findings into professional discourse, which in turn can influence the practice of teaching and the formation of educational policy.

-57-

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