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The Research Method ‘Case Study’

The method to be used in acquiring the data to be used in making the inferences, analysis, conclusions and recommendations within the field of education in this case; is the research methodology of using case studies to study and learn the area of focus. However other supporting research methods will be used to research and provide supporting facts and information, as a move to ensure that the conclusions arrived at; which are helpful in the process of policymaking and improvement of education programs are as accurate as possible (Bassey, 1996).

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A ‘case study’ is a research method of data collection; which is often used in the field of social science and studies. This research methodology is based on the use of an in-depth exploration of a group, event or individual; in the pursuit to establish the cause-effect relationship in question so as to discover the underlying principles. One advantage of this methodology is that the use of samples that may be misleading is not applied, and no restrictive set of guiding principles or rules is employed.

The rationale behind not using these approaches is that the information recovered will be reflective of only a small proportion of the subjects; a single instance or case. Another strong point of this methodology is that case study methodology provides for a systematic way of collection, perception, analysis and reporting of the research findings. Another strong point of this methodology is that it allows for both generating and testing of the research suppositions; besides allowing for the analysis of the case in its real-life environment (Walker, 1988).

The value of case study methodology as a research methodology to be used in the field of education is that; it gives a good indication and information about the behavior of subjects, which forms a core aspect in the field of education. The other value of this methodology is that it provides for the opportunity to improve on the issues that are perceived to be deficient; as it allows for innovative deliberative examination geared towards the improvement of the case. Another value of this methodology is that it is applicable even for the areas of concern that are rare; especially those that cannot be studied using other methodologies.

The other value of this methodology is that it allows for the testing and challenging of theoretical assumptions; as opposed to ordinary research methodologies. Another value is that this method best complements the results attained from group focus study; in the cases which involve the analysis of the psychology and behavior of subjects. One of the fields that involve this analysis in the field of education; as behavior and psychological settings greatly contribute to the welfare or failure of the practice (Macintyre, 2000).

Some of the limitations of this methodology and whose negative effect will be addressed using supporting methodologies like focus group study; are enumerated below. One of the limitations of this method is that under this method; it is difficult to draw exact cause-effect relations and conclusions. Another limitation in using this methodology is that it is rather hard to generalize the results from one case; therefore for the data to be reliable a number of cases have to be analyzed.

The other limitation in using this methodology is that; the researcher is likely to collect or interpret the information based on biased judgment, as only one individual is involved in the gathering and analysis of data and information (Bassey, 1996).

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The choice of this method for the current application within the field of education is that; the method will allow for the generation of analytical problem-solving proficiencies. The other rationale for the choice of this research methodology was based on that; case studies allow for the exploration of various solutions or approaches to problem-solving skills; especially for complex situations whose cause-effect relation is dependent on different factors. The other rationale behind the choice of this research method is that; this approach allows for the application and usage of new knowledge and skills, based on the independent case under study (Bell, 1993).

From the current case under study; this method allows for the analysis of information and data at the level of an individual or a group; as some statistics can best be achieved from studying the behavior of individuals within a group, while others are best analyzed based on an individual analysis of the case. The techniques of observation will further be applied in the data collection within this study; as the usage of observation skills eliminates the instance of faked behavior among the subjects (Walker, 1988).

Coming to the values of using a mixed research method approach; it is worth noting that different instruments are used in the testing of recovered findings, as opposed to the case when using one methodology. The other value of a mixed methodology is that the justification of data and information from one methodology; is complemented by that from the other approaches. The methodology also allows for the devising and development of presently unavailable research questions; as well as expanding the scale of study. However the use of this approach is that the challenge of regression and discontinuity in the collection of data and observation making is present; which makes the data collected lack reliable internal validity (Punch, 2009).

Some of the ethical issues to consider in carrying out the research include that; the autonomy of the informants should be protected, in that they should be allowed to practice self-determination. Based on this the informants should give information based on their informed understanding of the study; where they should also be assured of their safety. The beneficence of the informants as well as the subjects of the research should be considered; where the study should be in promotion of the welfare of the informants or the study group.

The other ethical considerations to be put into consideration are that the subjects of the study and the informants should not be harmed; that their privacy should be promoted and that their safety after giving the information be assured. The other ethical consideration to be put into consideration is that; the informants should be involved in the study through informed consent, and that the negative results likely to occur in the process of pursuing the common benefit should be considered (Macintyre, 2000).

The selection of the case to be studied was based on information-inclined sampling; as often if not always the average school environment cannot provide reliable information. Based on this principle; several schools where the teachers to be studied are hosted will be studied, as there is the possibility that the usage of one school environment may give extreme or typical information; as opposed to the reliable data the study was to achieve.

Further, from both an ‘understanding as well as an action-oriented perspective’; the various areas of cause-effect relatedness will be explored, rather than explaining the symptoms of the cause-effect relationship. The selection of case was based on pattern matching; generalization only touched groups addressed; conclusions were based on model elimination and the evaluation of data was verified under the usage of other methodologies (Creswell, 2005).

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The case under study will involve the ‘exploration of teachers’ perceptions’; with regard to web-based learning programs and objects. Based on methodological literature it is clear that over the past close to 10 years; web-based tools of learning have been appraised and assessed as capable of posing positive impacts on learning, especially those of higher education level students. However based on these studies; it is notable that the impact of these educational programs on secondary and middle levels of learning has not been addressed (Blaxter, Hughes & Tight, 1996).

From the study, it was evident that the perception of teachers regarding the usage of these study tools within these lower levels of study; as a program was perceived to possess moderate to significantly reliable importance of the rare study objects. However, from the perception, views and preference of these programs among teachers was that; it could amount to a significant level of validity and constructive improvement. From the study it was clear that many of the teachers involved in the study perceived the usage of these tools as being easy to use on students; as well as capable of attaining the involvement of the learners.

Another perception that was clear from the teachers addressed by the study was that; the usage of these learning tools would promote the administration of more successful learning. However there was the common consideration among a significant number of teachers that; the usage of these tools would lead to the wastage of time, attention and resources. This was argued as the case in the process of choosing or searching for an appropriate web-based learning object, for different types and coverage of classrooms.

From the study, it should also be noted that one of the highly expected complain or area of concern of the technical difficulties involved in the program were not raised; except for the cases of deficient internet speeds that deterred the administration (Black, 1999).

From the research study, it was clear that the recommended approach of each teacher who formed the informants and subjects of the study was that; there was the need to employ more efforts in the selection, testing, and the grounding of materials; in order to ensure that these study tools and programs were well administered (Bell, 1993).

From research, it was evident that case study research methodologies have been used in the field of education in the past. One of these cases includes the case reported from a seminar carried out in Singapore in the year 1995, which formed a localized technical aid grant for the ‘Education Research Support Program’. The coverage of this study was wide involving the areas of Aids awareness, education and the relevance of these to the labor environment.

The application of this study that is appealing is that; it covered and addressed the areas of where and what the balance should be; between academic and operational research. Other areas of interest from the study were how research precedence should be established; and who should play this role between policymakers and researchers (Bassey, 1996).

Reference list

Bassey, M., 1999. Case Study Research in Educational Settings. Buckingham: Open University Press.

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Bell, J., 1993. Doing Your Research project. A Guide for First Time Researchers in Education and Social Science. Buckingham: Open University.

Black, T., 1999. Doing Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences: An integrated Approach to research design, measurement and statistics. London: Sage Publishers.

Blaxter, L., Hughes, C. & Tight, M., 1996. How to Research. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Creswell, J., 2005. Educational Research. Pearson Education Press.

Macintyre, H. 2000. The Art of Action Research in the Classroom. London: David Fulton Publishers.

Punch, K., 2009. Introduction to Research Methods in Education. London: Sage.

Walker, R., 1988. Applied Qualitative Research. Aldershot: Gower Publishers.

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