Module 6: Case Study
The Case Study Approach in Program Evaluation
The case study approach, with its emphasis on qualitative research methods, has proven particularly valuable for program evaluation.
The case study has been described as a comprehensive research or evaluation strategy with implications for project design, data collection methods, analysis, and write-up.
- The term “case study” is applied to describe both the research process, and the product of that effort, the write-up itself.
- The common element in all case studies is a focus on the particular, i.e., the case, which forms the unit of analysis in the study. A case may be a person, a group, a program, an institution, a political body, or any entity that can be described as having a clearly defined boundary.
- A wide variety of research methods and data sources may be integrated into a single case study, based on the goals of the researcher. The use and triangulation of multiple data sources to develop case descriptions is one of the major strengths of the case study approach.
- The case study is “holistic” and seeks to study people, programs, or phenomena, within the social context in which they are embedded. It is a method that recognizes that the academic issues being studied are complex and contextual.
- The case study also has the advantage of being a very flexible method that can use a variety of qualitative and quantitative data sources to address research questions.