A Case Study of a Case Study: Analysis of a Robust Qualitative Research Methodology

Case Studies

Catherine Snyder

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  • Various scholars have evaluated case-oriented comparative research from the perspective of large-N, variable-oriented research and found it lacking. In this chapter I turn the tables and evaluate large-N, quantitative research relative to the standards of case-oriented work. I focus on practical concerns addressed in case-oriented research which pose serious challenges to large-N, variable-oriented inquiry. The five practical concerns I address are: (1) the problem of constituting cases (defining and delineating the class of cases relevant to a particular investigation), (2) the problem of studying the causes of outcomes which are uniform across selected cases ("positive cases"), (3) the problem of delineating and defining negative cases which can be compared with positive cases, (4) the problem of studying multiple paths to the same outcome (multiple conjunctural causation), and (5) the problem of accounting for nonconforming cases. Case-oriented scholars use flexible analytic frames than can be modified in light of the knowledge of cases that researchers gain in the Course of their research. This aspect of the case-oriented approach makes it especially well-suited for concept formation and theory development.

    A Case Study of a Case Study: Analysis of a Robust Qualitative Research Methodology’, CatherineSnyderThe Qualitative Report, 17(Article 26) (2012): 1–20.

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