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Qualitative Reserach - Book Report/Review Example

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1. The authors fail to provide their own definition of case study research, but this can hardly be considered a weakness: suggesting a comprehensive definition of case study research is not listed as one of the purposes. Instead, Darke and colleagues present a detailed account of the most important aspects of case study found in the literature…
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Qualitative Reserach
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Download file to see previous pages They summarize several distinguishing characteristics of this enquiry:
The authors draw a highly useful distinction between the case studies used as teaching devices and case studies which aim to develop or test theory or hypothesis. However, the choice of sources used to illustrate this difference might have been different: Darke et al seem to rely exclusively upon Yin (1994), while this distinction is perfectly highlighted by many other authorities in the field of qualitative research. Thus, Stake (1994) also distinguishes between the same two types of case study, but does it in a more clear way and employs much better terminology, namely: the instrumental case study and the intrinsic case study.
The instrumental study is defined as an attempt "to provide insight into an issue or refine the theory, while the case [itself] is of secondary interest; it plays a supportive role, facilitating our understanding of something else." (Stake 1994: 237). The intrinsic case study is, on the contrary, defined as: "...not undertaken primarily because the case represents other cases or because it illustrates a particular theory or problem, but because in all its particularity and ordinariness, [the] case itself is of interest The purpose is not to come to understand some abstract concept or generic phenomena...The researcher temporarily subordinates other curiosities so that the case may reveal its story (p.237). Apparently, Drake's et al attempt to distinguish between the two types of case study research lacks such clarity, while the terminology adopted by the authors seems to be less suitable then the terminology employed by Stake (1994).
The authors also identify the key differences and similarities between the method of case study and another popular method of qualitative enquiry, namely the field study. The similarity is that both methods make the researcher deal with the phenomenon in its natural context. The difference is that the level of knowledge the research has prior to the research: Darke et al admit that the case study research implies less prior knowledge of the variables and constructs than the field study (p.275). The authors also note that the difference is slight: sometimes a case study researcher may also have much knowledge about the variables to be studied.
Darke et all do not mention that the concept of field research (also termed 'fieldwork') is not fully comparable to the concept of case study. The issue is that field research stands as the opposite to laboratory research that is conducted in an artificial setting. Therefore, the examples of field research may be participant ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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