Conducting research can be a daunting task; that’s why there are several different types of research methods available. Case study methods have been widely accepted in the scientific community for decades. This type of paper relies on research design and research methods. While these words sound similar, they refer to different things. In the realm of case study methods, research design is how one approaches the problem and research methods are the practices that the student employs to gather data. Case study research should be highly organized and well-written as it exists as a scientific exploration into a problem. This research can be assigned in a variety of classes for both hard science, such as chemistry and biology, and soft science such as sociology and psychology. Virtually any class can require case study methods to investigate a particular problem. If you’ve been assigned to write a case study, you’ll need to determine the best case study methods to apply while conducting case study research. Not familiar with a case study? Here’s a refresher on case study definition.
Case Study Definition
If your high school teacher never provided you with a case study definition, here you go: it provides a research that is highly detailed regarding a particular issue. This research can focus on a person, a group, or an event. While case study methods can vary, the research design should be clear and concise throughout the case study research. Case study methods can vary widely and appear across disciplines. So here’s a simple case study definition: it entails critical, often original research that focuses on a very specific hypothesis or idea. The research design for case study methods can include a variety of research methods including experimental research methods, opinion based research methods, and observational research methods.
Need a refresher on these different choices? No problem!
Research Design Definition
Research design definition entails matching your case study to the best research design available. There are three main research methods used in case study research: experimental, opinion based, and observational research methods. Factors influencing your case study research will typically include your research question, ethics of the case study methods, allotted budget, and time constraints. All of these factors should be approved by the professor assigning the writing before moving forward in your research design. If you’re not sure what research method is best for your case study research, let’s review each research design definition.
• Experimental Research Methods
This type of research design focuses on the common textbook experiment; it is a scientific inquiry at its best. The researcher(s) conduct the experiment paying close attention to quantitative variables and then analyze data. The data is collected and measured according to acceptable research design definition. The gathered data is then used to support or negate a hypothesis. Of the different kinds of research design, this is the most arduous of research methods for case study research mainly because it takes planning and financing. Additionally, one must take into account how the environment affects research design if the research involves live subjects.
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• Opinion Based Research Methods
This type of method focuses on gathering quantitative data. Of all the case study methods, this is a favorite for the social sciences. This research design definition often relies on questionnaires to quantify data from a specific group of people. This choice is ideal for studying behaviors or emotions of a cohort.
• Observational Research Methods
This research design definition obligates the researcher to observe a situation with as little interference as possible. This is one of the most popular case study methods when researching a hypothesis related to animals (in natural habitats) and people. Disciplines favoring this case study research include the social sciences and behavioral sciences.
Because of the sometimes difficult nature of case study methods, many colleges and universities have online resources to assist students in not only selecting the correct research design, but also selecting the correct research methods as well as understanding both a case study definition and research design definition.
Before beginning any type of case study research, the student should do the following:
• Review the relevant case study methods to explore the hypothesis.
• Review the research design definition of each relevant research method.
• Evaluate factors that influence research design such as time and financing.
• Select the most appropriate research design to obtain data to support or nullify the hypothesis.
• Conduct thorough case study research.
• Evaluate the case study methods and the data they provided.
• Write a readable and grammatically correct paper to present the case study research.
Other websites offer help with writing skills, as well as, the writing process. There of tons of sites out there offering examples of case studies as well as step-by-step guides to help you break apart this demanding process into more manageable steps. So if you’re great at the research part, but not so great at the writing part, there’s help out there! Local, on-campus help is likely available too, if you’d like to hire a writing tutor or visit your campus or university writing center. Just keep in mind that appointments are usually given out on a first-come, first served basis, so reserve a spot early if you think you’ll need help writing this paper.
Remember: case study methods are time intensive. It’s a good idea to start early and avoid procrastination. Use a calendar and set a deadline for yourself based on the many steps involved in writing this kind of paper. Get your research question approved sooner rather than later, and make an appointment to discuss your case study methods with your professor. He or she will be an invaluable resource helping you select the best research design and research methods moving forward with your writing assignment. And don’t be shy about asking your teacher questions — better to do it in the beginning than becoming lost in the middle! Ask for clarification if you need a clearer case study definition or a better research design definition.