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So What Exactly Is A Case Study and Why Do I Need To Know?


This is a great question for many reasons. I am going to start with a cardinal sin in the business world. I am going to assume you already know what a Case Study is. (I am not brave enough yet to let you assume why you definitely need them for your successful business).
So let’s test your savvy business knowledge, shall we? Take a moment right here – right now to define a case study. You may do this mentally. Better yet, write it down. We will come back to this later.

Ok, now let’s look at common definitions found by performing a simple online search.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Rather than using large samples and following a rigid protocol to examine a limited number of variables, case study methods involve an in-depth, longitudinal examination of a single instance or event: a case. They provide a systematic way of looking at events, collecting data, analyzing information, and reporting the results. As a result the researcher may gain a sharpened understanding of why the instance happened as it did, and what might become important to look at more extensively in future research. Case studies lend themselves to both generating and testing hypotheses (Flyvbjerg, 2006).

Yin, on the other hand, suggests that case study should be defined as a research strategy, an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon within its real-life context. Case study research means single and multiple case studies, can include quantitative evidence, relies on multiple sources of evidence and benefits from the prior development of theoretical propositions. He notes that case studies should not be confused with qualitative research and points out that they can be based on any mix of quantitative and qualitative evidence (Yin, 2002). This is also supported and well-formulated in (Lamnek, 2005): “The case study is a research approach, situated between concrete data taking techniques and methodologic paradigms”.

Case Study: Introduction and Definition,

Colorado State University (online writing guides)

Case study refers to the collection and presentation of detailed information about a particular participant or small group, frequently including the accounts of subjects themselves. A form of qualitative descriptive research, the case study looks intensely at an individual or small participant pool, drawing conclusions only about that participant or group and only in that specific context. Researchers do not focus on the discovery of a universal, generalizable truth, nor do they typically look for cause-effect relationships; instead, emphasis is placed on exploration and description.

WOW! Trying to define what a case study is (in relation to your business) is extremely difficult, since definitions vary based on the context. No wonder businesses fail to use case studies effectively. Only an academic can even attempt to understand these definitions let alone define and adapt them to a successful business plan.
However, reading more and more case studies will not harm your business, but rather help you understand what others with similar businesses are doing to achieve success. May be you will get a starting point for yourself to explore possible options to drive your business upwards in an intense competitive market.

At Casestudyguru.com we intend to be a one stop solution for all your case study needs.

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