Qualitative studies focus on trends and meanings, opinions, and attitudes. One of the most common and very effective methodologies is the case study. The case study concentrates on the investigation of a phenomenon, including but not confined to an individual, a program, class, a group of people (Lichtman, 2010). The researcher concentrates on the interconnections and interrelated concepts within the area of the study.
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This methodology is applicable when the researcher wants to remain focused on one unit. Thus, the researcher may examine factors affecting people’s behaviors in particular situations. People’s opinions can also be central to the study as attitudes tend to shape the choices people make.
Some of the most common instruments within the case study are interviewing and observations (Merriam, 2009). The choice depends on the goals of the research. If opinions are in the researcher’s lens, the interview is the most appropriate option. However, the researcher may want to describe people’s behaviors in a particular setting (in a classroom, office, campus, and so on). The observation will respond to the researcher’s aims. It is possible to combine the two instruments if the researcher wants to describe certain behaviors and explain them.
The case study is an efficient methodology as it enables the researcher to obtain a significant amount of information. The focus on a particular group provides specific details that cannot be traced in the course of quantitative research characterized by a considerable degree of generalization. In many cases, it is essential to look into details and specific settings rather than try to obtain as general data as possible. This precision can help in the identification of factors that affect people’s decision making and behavior. This method is also instrumental in tracing various links and ties within a system of people’s relationships and interactions.
Faiz (2015) explores the ways Pakistani working females balance their work and family life. The researcher employs the qualitative methodology to identify particular attitudes of women concerning their professional and family lives. The case study helps to narrow down such broad topics as females’ balancing work and family. Females employed in Pakistani banks represent a particular population. Thus, Faiz (2015) focuses on women who have a similar background (some level of education, certain socioeconomic status). This makes the research focused and detailed enough.
Some of the common tools used within the scope of the case study methodology are observations and interviews (Mertens, 2014). Faiz (2015) uses both of these instruments. A combination of observations and interviews enables the researcher to obtain more details concerning the working environment and possible factors affecting females’ attitudes and opinions. The interviews provide insights into the way female workers feel. The researcher managed to elicit women’s ideas on and attitudes towards their work, their family life, and the copings strategies they use to balance their work and family life.
Clearly, like any other qualitative study, the research in question has certain limitations. Thus, the results of the study cannot be generalized and applied to a wide population. Thus, there are high chances that attitudes in the sphere of the public service will differ significantly from the ones described in the study. Nonetheless, the research unveils trends existing in a particular working environment (among employees of a Pakistani bank). The study in question helps understand the factors affecting choices made by women of a particular socioeconomic status.
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Lichtman, M. (2010). Understanding and evaluating qualitative educational research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Merriam, S.B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
Faiz, R. (2015). Work-family conflict: A case study of women in Pakistani banks (Doctoral thesis, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK). Web.
Mertens, D.M. (2014). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.