Case Study Method
The introduction of a new way of thinking, or paradigm, cannot rest squarely on theory alone. The concept also needs to be presented in a manner that brings it to life for the reader. This method of presentation, in addition, cannot emphasize the positives or the rewards without equal consideration of the challenges and consequences often associated with a new idea. Thus, the use of case studies to illustrate practice principles and techniques is not out of the ordinary in the field of social work and human services, and it is often the preferred method for illustrating how practice theory and principles get operationalized in the field. Further, a new perspective related to practice will evolve slowly over time, sometimes for longer than others, while practitioners start reading theoretical papers and books. The material works its way into the curriculum in schools of social work, and practitioners graduate ready to initiate practice interventions based on the concepts. Conversely, the concepts may originate in the field of practice and scholars hear and witness their use and decide to write about them. In essence, new perspectives related to practice may originate in the field or in the minds of scholars; however, regardless of their origins, new concepts require application and scrutiny in the field.
Case studies give practitioners an opportunity to witness an intervention, examine the rewards and challenges, and draw lessons for their prac