Case studies and
The case-study approach
Case-study research techniques
Ethical aspects of case-study research
Case studies are an approach to psychological research which don't try to gather information from large numbers of research participants. Instead, they focus on single cases and explore them, often using more than one research method. Case studies allow a researcher to investigate a topic in far more detail than might be possible if they were trying to deal with a large number of research participants, and they can often provide the theoretical insights which stimulate other types of research.
What do these threeterms mean?case studyclinical neuropsychologyanecdotal evidence
Psychology has always used information from case studies. The earliest psychologists recognised their value, as they drew on single cases to develop insights into psychological mechanisms. Many major theoretical perspectives in psychology derived from case studies, such as the Piagetian model of child development. And they form the main part of research into topics such as clinical neuropsychology and other areas of physiological psychology. Since these are the most 'scientific' areas of psychology, it is a little ironic that a culture began to develop in mainstream psychology in the middle and later part of the twentieth century wherein case studies were regarded with slight suspicion, as being 'unscientific'.
These reservations had two sources. The first was a rather narrow perception of the nature of scientific research, which led to the assumption that only nomothetic approaches to research (see Chapter 1) were valid in psychology. That perception originated with the behaviourist school of thought, which asserted that the purpose of psychological research was to identify general laws of behaviour. This, in turn, led to the belief that only research conducted on large numbers