Case study

intensive analysis of an individual unit stressing developmental factors in relation to context

A case study a type of research whereby a particular person, group, or situation is studied over time. If the case study for instance, is about a group, it describes the behavior of the group as a whole, not behavior of each individual in the group.


  • The search for original cases and the "superior" rules that would emerge from them spread far outside legal practice. Wallace Donham, dean of the Harvard Business School from 1919 to 1942, was trained at the law school in the heady days of the case system's early and enthusiastic reception. Where law and business parted ways was in the contingent matter of the availability of ready- made cases — law faculty simply reached for their shelves, while professors of business needed to create a new literary species — the business case book.
    • Peter Galison. Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics. University of Chicago Press, 1 okt. 1997. p. 57
  • To Donham, the case study stood squarely in the legal and cultural tradition of Anglo-American thought. Unlike French or Spanish law. Donham emphasized, English law was grounded on the doctrine of stare decisis, in which the written case decisions of the past shape, and instantiate, the law. Just as the recording of cases allowed English common law to break the arbitrariness of local law. Donham argued in 1925, business needed to universalize its procedures by itself adopting the case system. The chaos of local law that ruled in England before the common law. Donham contended, "is exactly the same situation that we have [in the world of business] where practically every large corporation is tightly hound by traditions which are precedents in its particular narrow field and narrow held only The recording of decisions from industry to industry [enables] us to start from facts and draw inferences from those facts; [it] will introduce principle... in the field of business to such an extent that it will control executive action in the field where executive action is haphazard or unprincipled or bound by narrow, instead of broad precedent and decision" ( W. Donham, transcript of talk to the Association of Coll. School of Business Committee Reports and Other Literature, 5-7 May 1925. Harvard Business School, box 17, folder 10. 62).
    • Peter Galison. Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics. University of Chicago Press, 1 okt. 1997. p. 57, footnote 66
  • Case studies are analyses of persons, events, decisions, periods, projects, policies, institutions, or other systems that are studied holistically by one or more method. The case that is the subject of the inquiry will be an instance of a class of phenomena that provides an analytical frame — an object — within which the study is conducted and which the case illuminates and explicates.
    • Gary Thomas. "A typology for the case study in social science following a review of definition, discourse, and structure." Qualitative inquiry 17.6 (2011): 511-521.

See also

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