One of the approaches to research design is called the case study method. It consists of describing a case, which may be of interest, for instance, because it is very common or highly atypical, and extensively analyzing it to explore, explain, or describing it in detail (Holly, 2014; Polit & Beck, 2017). The studies that use this method may involve one or several cases (Polit & Beck, 2017), and they tend to employ qualitative data with the relevant collection and analysis approaches (Holly, 2014). Case studies can be helpful in multiple fields, including mental health, if their specifics are considered.
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The primary benefit of a case study is its ability to provide an in-depth investigation of the phenomenon studied. As a result, it is especially relevant for researching a particular issue within its context and presenting the data that should assist in understanding complex phenomena with multiple interacting factors at play (Holly, 2014; Polit & Beck, 2017). The approach does not provide generalizable results, though. Consequently, even a good and reliable case study does not offer high-level evidence. In the hierarchy by Polit and Beck (2017), it could be placed at the sixth level out of seven as a qualitative study. A systematic review of such studies would be one level higher. However, Polit and Beck (2017) point out that case studies tend to provide insights that can become the basis of hypotheses tested with quantitative methods.
A mental health specialist can make use of this approach to inquiry. An example is studying the concerns present in working with patients who are a part of jail diversion initiatives. Although staff members are supposed to be educated on how to handle crises with such patients (Watson, Compton, & Draine, 2017), injuries remain a problem, which can be investigated through case studies. Indeed, each such damage is worth considering, and a multi-case study could be developed to find patterns and form hypotheses that should be tested using the methods with higher-level evidence.
Holly, C. (2014). Scholarly inquiry and the DNP capstone. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Polit, D.F., & Beck, C.T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Watson, A., Compton, M., & Draine, J. (2017). The crisis intervention team (CIT) model: An evidence-based policing practice? Behavioral Sciences & The Law, 35(5-6), 431-441. Web.