Case study evaluations, using one or more qualitative methods, have been used to investigate important practical and policy questions in health care. This paper describes the features of a well designed case study and gives examples showing how qualitative methods are used in evaluations of health services and health policy.
The medical approach to understanding disease has traditionally drawn heavily on qualitative data, and in particular on case studies to illustrate important or interesting phenomena. The tradition continues today, not least in regular case reports in this and other medical journals. Moreover, much of the everyday work of doctors and other health professionals still involves decisions that are qualitative rather than quantitative in nature.
This paper discusses the use of qualitative research methods, not in clinical care but in case study evaluations of health service interventions. It is useful for doctors to understand the principles guiding the design and conduct of these evaluations, because they are frequently used by both researchers and inspectorial agencies (such as the Audit Commission in the United Kingdom and the Office of Technology Assessment in the United States) to investigate the work of doctors and other health professionals.
We briefly discuss the circumstances in which case study research can usefully be undertaken in health service settings and the ways in which qualitative methods are used within case studies. Examples show how qualitative methods are applied, both in purely qualitative studies and alongside quantitative methods.
Case study evaluations
Doctors often find themselves asking important practical questions, such as should we be involved in the management of hospitals and, if so, how? how will new government policies affect the lives of our patients? and how can we cope with changes …
Case study methodology has long been a contested terrain in social sciences research which is characterized by varying, sometimes opposing, approaches espoused by many research methodologists. Despite being one of the most frequently used qualitative research methodologies in educational research, the methodologists do not have a full consensus on the design and implementation of case study, which hampers its full evolution. Focusing on the landmark works of three prominent methodologists, namely Robert Yin, Sharan Merriam, Robert Stake, I attempt to scrutinize the areas where their perspectives diverge, converge and complement one another in varying dimensions of case study research. I aim to help the emerging researchers in the field of education familiarize themselves with the diverse views regarding case study that lead to a vast array of techniques and strategies, out of which they can come up with a combined perspective which best serves their research purpose.
Qualitative Research, Case Study Methods, Epistemological Foundations.
Bedrettin Yazan is an assistant professor at the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. His research interests include language teacher identity, case study methodology, English as an international language, collaboration between ESL and mainstream teachers, and sociocultural theories in second language acquisition. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Bedrettin Yazan at, 223B Graves Hall, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487 or via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am grateful to my dear professor, Dr. Betty Malen, for her comments on an earlier draft of this paper and for her invaluable support throughout the process. I am also thankful to the TQR Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Ronald Chenail, for this review and constructive feedback, which led this paper to become much stronger.
Recommended APA Citation
Yazan, B. (2015). Three Approaches to Case Study Methods in Education: Yin, Merriam, and Stake. The Qualitative Report, 20(2), 134-152. Retrieved from http://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol20/iss2/12