The goal of case study research is to understand the complexity of a case in the most complete way possible. For this reason, case study research often involves the use of multiple methods for collecting data. By using multiple sources of data (and both qualitative and quantitative data) researchers may attain the richest possible understanding of a case. The qualitative methods described below are all likely to be used in case study research.
. This involves the researcher immersing him or herself in the daily lives and routines of those being studied. This often requires extensive work in the setting being studied. This is called fieldwork. Observation provides insight into the behavior patterns and social organizations that operate and constitute a particular bounded system or case.
. Researchers may also learn about a bounded system by collecting and studying artifacts (e.g. written protocols, charts, flowsheets, educational handouts) - materials used by members of the system or case being studied.
. Researchers will learn about the person or persons that are part of the case by speaking with these people. Talking with informants is called interviewing. The types of interviews conducted by researchers vary in degree of formality (informal interview to semi-structured to structured interviews).
Crabtree, BF & Miller, WL. (1999). "Researching practice settings: A case study approach." In BF Crabtree and WL Miller (Eds.) (2nd edition, pp. 293-312). Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage Publications.
Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can create an unpleasant or uncomfortable work environment, which in turn can affect morale, productivity, and employee well-being. In more serious situations, employees health can be at stake. It is important to address all IAQ concerns seriously and without delay. Even situations which at first appear to be trivial can lead to more severe problems if left unchecked.
Unlike the other approaches we discuss, case study research does not emerge from a particular social scientific tradition. Additionally, case studies can be qualitative and/or quantitative. It is quite likely, as Stake (1994) points out, that researchers doing case study research are calling it by another name. Case studies, as a research design, are also being conducted across disciplines and research traditions.
Researchers may study a single case or mutiple cases. In multiple case studies, researchers study cases in depth individually as well as look across cases for similarities and differences.