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The general public has little interest in pages of statistical calculations but some well placed case studies can have a strong impact.The advantage of the case study research design is that you can focus on specific and interesting cases.
You may come out with a great computer model for describing how the ecosystem of a rock pool works but it is only by trying it out on a real life pool that you can see if it is a realistic simulation.
For psychologists, anthropologists and social scientists they have been regarded as a valid method of research for many years.
The first foundation of the case study is the subject and relevance.
In a case study, you are deliberately trying to isolate a small study group, one individual case or one particular population.
Basically, a case study is an in depth study of a particular situation rather than a sweeping statistical survey.
It is a method used to narrow down a very broad field of research into one easily researchable topic.The argument between case study and statistical method also appears to be one of scale.Whilst many 'physical' scientists avoid case studies, for psychology, anthropology and ecology they are an essential tool.In the design of a case study, it is important to plan and design how you are going to address the study and make sure that all collected data is relevant.Unlike a scientific report, there is no strict set of rules so the most important part is making sure that the study is focused and concise; otherwise you will end up having to wade through a lot of irrelevant information.With a case study, even more than a questionnaire or survey, it is important to be passive in your research.You are much more of an observer than an experimenter and you must remember that, even in a multi-subject case, each case must be treated individually and then cross case conclusions can be drawn.This method of study is especially useful for trying to test theoretical models by using them in real world situations.For example, if an anthropologist were to live amongst a remote tribe, whilst their observations might produce no quantitative data, they are still useful to science.For example, statistical analysis may have shown that birthrates in African countries are increasing.A case study on one or two specific countries becomes a powerful and focused tool for determining the social and economic pressures driving this.