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❶While over time the contributions of researchers from varied disciplines have helped to develop and strengthen case study research, the variety of disciplinary backgrounds has also added complexity, particularly around how case study research is defined, described, and applied in practice.

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Experimental research , Exploratory research. Research in health care takes place in a variety of areas and has many potential benefits; the areas include professional practice, environmental issues affecting health, vitality, treatments, theory development, health care economics, and many others. Health care research can be conducted by one group of professionals for generation of knowledge specific to that group, or by a diverse group of researchers collaborating on a given health care problem.

These studies are a means of discovering new meaning, describing what exists, determining the frequency with which something occurs, and categorizing information. The organized quest for new knowledge and better understanding, for example, of the natural world, determinants of health and disease. Several types of research are recognized: Fr, rechercher, to investigate.

The organized quest for new knowledge and better understanding e. Five types of research are recognized: Generally a disciplined protocol is followed to ensure objectivity and reproducibility. Most research employs the scientific method or a similar model. Participants are numbered as they enroll, then they are randomly assigned to either the control or experimental group.

Case study designs have been used across a number of disciplines, particularly the social sciences, education, business, law, and health, to address a wide range of research questions. Consequently, over the last 40 years, through the application of a variety of methodological approaches, case study research has undergone substantial development. Change and progress have stemmed from parallel influences from historical approaches to research and individual researcher's preferences, perspectives on, and interpretations of case study research.

Central to these variations is the underpinning ontological and epistemological orientations of those involved in the evolution of case study research. Researchers who have contributed to the development of case study research come from diverse disciplines and their philosophical underpinnings have created variety and diversity in approaches used.

Consequently, various designs have been proposed for preparing, planning, and conducting case study research with advice on key considerations for achieving success.

As a result, while case study research has evolved to be a pragmatic, flexible research approach, the variation in definition, application, validity, and purposefulness can create a confusing platform for its use.

In this article, we examine each of these issues in turn, with the aim of improving our understanding of case study research and clarifying the requisite tenets to consider when designing a case study. We begin with an overview of the history and evolution of case study research, followed by a discussion of the methodological and philosophical variations found within case study designs.

We end with a summary of the common characteristics of case study research and a table that brings together the fundamental elements that we found common in all case study approaches to research. Sociologists and anthropologists investigated people's lives, experiences, and how they understood the social and cultural context of their world, with the aim of gaining insight into how individuals interpreted and attributed meaning to their experiences and constructed their worlds JOHANSSON, ; SIMONS, Such investigations were conducted in the natural setting of those experiences with results presented descriptively or as a narrative MERRIAM, With the emergence and dominance of positivism in science in the late s and s, quantitative methods became a popular focus for the social sciences.

As a result, surveys, experiments, and statistical methods anchored in quantitative approaches were favored and considered more rigorous than qualitative designs JOHANSSON, The dominance of research using experimental designs continued through the s and s with quantitative empirical results considered to be gold standard evidence. Case studies continued to be used during this time, however usually as a method within quantitative studies or referred to as descriptive research to study a specific phenomenon MERRIAM, This context led to a philosophical division in research approaches: Here, anthropologists practiced their methods on university cultures or by conducting lengthy case studies involving field-based observations of groups with the aim of understanding their social and cultural lives CRESWELL et al.

According to JOHANSSON , Robert YIN followed this progress, and drawing on scientific approaches to research gained from his background in the social sciences, applied experimental logic to naturalistic inquiry, and blended this with qualitative methods, further bridging the methodological gap and strengthening the methodological quality of case study research. He presented a structured process for undertaking case study research where formal propositions or theories guide the research process and are tested as part of the outcome, highlighting his realist approach to qualitative case study research.

While still qualitative and inductive, it was deterministic in nature with an emphasis on cause and effect, testing theories, and an apprehension of the truth BROWN, ; YIN, The integration of formal, statistical, and narrative methods in a single study, combined with the use of empirical methods for case selection and causal inference, demonstrated the versatility of case study design and made a significant contribution to its methodological evolution ibid.

The continued use of case study to understand the complexities of institutions, practices, processes, and relations in politics, has demonstrated the utility of case study for researching complex issues, and testing causal mechanisms that can be applied across varied disciplines. Methods were required that could be used to explore factors such as participants' perspectives and the influence of socio-political contexts on curriculum successes and failures SIMONS, Development of case study research in education, focused on the need to determine the impact of educational programs and provide relevant evidence for policy and practice decisions that supported social and educational change in the United Kingdom and the United States ibid.

STAKE , an educational psychologist with an interest in developing program evaluation methods, used a constructivist orientation to case study. This resulted in placing more emphasis on inductive exploration, discovery, and holistic analysis that was presented in thick descriptions of the case.

Similar to STAKE , , MERRIAM , was not as structured in her approach as YIN , but promoted the use of a theoretical framework or research questions to guide the case study and organized, systematic data collection to manage the process of inquiry. Simple in theory yet complex in nature, the planning, preparation and execution of case study research has developed to a point where the continued application of case study research across a number of professions particularly education, health, and social sciences, has provided a unique platform for credible research endeavors.

Key contributors to case study research and major contextual influences on its evolution are included. As the figure highlights, early case studies were conducted in the social sciences.

With the dominance of logical positivism from the 's through to the 's and 's case study methodology was viewed with skepticism and criticism. The development of grounded theory in the 's led to a resurgence in case study research, with its application in the social sciences, education, and the humanities. Over the last 50 years, case study has been re-established as a credible, valid research design that facilitates the exploration of complex issues.

While over time the contributions of researchers from varied disciplines have helped to develop and strengthen case study research, the variety of disciplinary backgrounds has also added complexity, particularly around how case study research is defined, described, and applied in practice.

In the sections that follow, the nature of this complexity in explored. There are a number of definitions and descriptions presented across the literature, which can create confusion when attempting to understand case study research.

YIN's two-part definition focuses on the scope, process, and methodological characteristics of case study research, emphasizing the nature of inquiry as being empirical, and the importance of context to the case. On the other hand, STAKE takes a more flexible stance and while concerned with rigor in the processes, maintains a focus on what is studied the case rather than how it is studied the method. For STAKE case study research is "the study of the particularity and complexity of a single case, coming to understand its activity within important circumstances" p.

These varied definitions stem from the researchers' differing approaches to developing case study methodology and often reflect the elements they emphasize as central to their designs. The diversity of approaches subsequently adds diversity to definition and description. A further challenge to understanding case study research relates to it being referred to and used as both a methodology and a method.

MILLS distinguishes methods as procedures and techniques employed in the study, while methodology is the lens through which the researcher views and makes decisions about the study. The ambiguity about case study being either or both a methodology and method, is compounded by the terminology used in discussions about case study. Often these terms are used interchangeably without definitional clarity. For example, YIN discusses case study research and in the context of presenting case study, refers to it as a research method while emphasizing the procedures used.

He does not use the terms methodology or strategy. This mixed use of terminology is confusing given the definitional separations between methodology and methods and the varied application of case study in research endeavors. This distinction accentuates the need for researchers to describe the particular underpinning methodology adopted and to clarify the alignment of chosen methods used with their philosophical assumptions and their chosen approach.

Exploring the philosophical orientation of case study research and variations in different case study approaches can help to clarify these differences, and promote a better understanding of how to apply these principles in practice. Many methodologies are aligned with specific philosophical positions that guide the research process. Philosophically, case study research can be orientated from a realist or positivist perspective where the researcher holds the view that there is one single reality, which is independent of the individual and can be apprehended, studied and measured, through to a relativist or interpretivist perspective.

In the context of healthcare research and specifically nursing, LUCK et al. Qualitative paradigms are broad and can encompass exploratory, explanatory, interpretive, or descriptive aims.

Each methodology is unique in approach depending on the ontological and epistemological stance, however all stem from the motivation to explore, seek understanding, and establish the meaning of experiences from the perspective of those involved ibid.

These attributes are commonly exemplified in case study research. Like other forms of qualitative research, the researcher will seek to explore, understand and present the participants' perspectives and get close to them in their natural setting CRESWELL, Interaction between participants and the researcher is required to generate data, which is an indication of the researcher's level of connection to and being immersed in the field. Because of this, constructivism and interpretivism commonly permeate the implementation of this research design.

The researcher's perceptions and interpretations become part of the research and as a result, a subjective and interpretive orientation flows throughout the inquiry CRESWELL, In choosing a methodological position, careful consideration of the different case study approaches is required to determine the design that best addresses the aim of the study, and that aligns with the researcher's worldview. Examples are provided of how these researchers' philosophical orientation influences the application of case study in practice.

Knowledge is within the meanings people make of it. We ask open-ended question, wanting to listen to the participants we are studying and shaping the questions after we "explore" and we refrain from assuming the role of the expert researcher with the "best" questions.

The backbone of qualitative research is extensive collection of data, typically from multiple sources of information. At this stage we consciously consider ethical issues. No set format exists for planning a study.

Several writers suggest general topics to be included in a written plan. The complete study contains data findings and a discussion as well as the problem or issue, research questions, methodology, and verification or validity.

Qualitative research is complex, involving fieldwork for prolonged periods of time, collecting words and pictures, analyzing this information inductively while focusing on participant views, and writing about the process using expressive and persuasive language. Moreover, researchers frame this approach within traditions of inquiry, and they engage in research to examine how or what types of questions, to explore a topic, to develop a detailed view, to take advantage of access to information, to write in expressive and persuasive language, to spend time in the field and to reach audiences receptive to qualitative approaches.

In designing a study, one works with broad philosophical assumptions; possible frameworks, problems, and questions; and data collection through techniques such as interviews, observations, documents, and audio-visual materials.

Reducing the data into small categories or themes comes next, as does storing them and representing them for the reader in the narrative. The narrative assumes many forms--a theory, a description, a detailed view, an abstract model--and we know whether the narrative rings true using criteria about rigor, the philosophical assumptions of the design, detailed methods and approaches, and persuasive and engaging writhing.

The narrative will, in the end, reflect the creativity of the writer, although the plan for the study, the proposal, might follow several of the procedures being discussed in the literature.

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DEFINITION Like other words of the same ending, the term creation signifies both an action and the object or effect thereof. William D. Its value is based on the. descriptive research definition by creswell (Latin creatio.) I. An exploratory and descriptive study was .

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Running head: DESCRIPTIVE AND INFERENTIAL STATISTICS 1 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics DESCRIPTIVE AND INFERENTIAL STATISTICS 2 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics Descriptive and inferential statistics are incredibly similar forms of research testing within psychology. Each seeks to analyze, describe, and possibly predict a population’s behavior.

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Descriptive research design is a scientific method which involves observing and describing the behavior of a subject without influencing it in any way. RESEARCH DESIGN Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches JOHN W. CRESWELL UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LlNCOLN Creswell,[ohn W. Research design: Qualítative, quantitative. and mixed methods approaches/john W. • Define mixed methods research by incorporating the definition in.

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Research design INTRODUCTION Descriptive research involves direct exploration, analysis and description of the While Creswell () states that purposive sampling refers to selection of sites or participants that will best help the researcher. Chapter 11 Descriptive and interpretive approaches to qualitative research Robert Elliott and Ladislav Timulak Qualitative research methods today are a diverse set, encompassing approaches such as.