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Case studies allow a researcher to investigate a topic in far more detail than might be possible if they were trying to deal with a large number of research participants (nomothetic approach) with the aim of ‘averaging’.Because of their in-depth, multi-sided approach case studies often shed light on aspects of human thinking and behavior that would be unethical or impractical to study in other ways.The purpose of these codes of conduct is to protect research participants, the reputation of psychology and psychologists themselves.
grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, text interpretation, e.g. All the approaches mentioned here use preconceived categories in the analysis and they are ideographic in their approach, i.e.
they focus on the individual case without reference to a comparison group.
Typically, data are gathered from a variety of sources and by using several different methods (e.g. The case study research method originated in clinical medicine (the case history, i.e. In psychology, case studies are often confined to the study of a particular individual.
The information is mainly biographical and relates to events in the individual's past (i.e.
The research may also continue for an extended period of time, so processes and developments can be studied as they happen.
Amongst the sources of data the psychologist is likely to turn to when carrying out a case study are observations of a person’s daily routine, unstructured interviews with the participant herself (and with people who know her), diaries, personal notes (e.g.retrospective), as well as to significant events which are currently occurring in his or her everyday life.The case study is not itself a research method, but researchers select methods of data collection and analysis that will generate material suitable for case studies.descriptive) data a lot depends on the interpretation the psychologist places on the information she has acquired. In The Pelican Freud Library (1977), Vol 8, Case Histories 1, pages 169-306 Freud, S. Bemerkungen über einen Fall von Zwangsneurose (Der "Rattenmann"). This means that there is a lot of scope for observer bias and it could be that the subjective opinions of the psychologist intrude in the assessment of what the data means. The client also reports detail of events from his or her point of view.The researcher then writes up the information from both sources above as the case study, and interprets the information.Access to society journal content varies across our titles.If you have access to a journal via a society or association membership, please browse to your society journal, select an article to view, and follow the instructions in this box.Case studies are widely used in psychology and amongst the best known were the ones carried out by Sigmund Freud, including Anna O and Little Hans.Freud (1909a, 1909b) conducted very detailed investigations into the private lives of his patients in an attempt to both understand and help them overcome their illnesses.