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The paradox of case study

The paradox of case study
The paradox of case study
One of the advantages cited for case study research is its uniqueness, its capacity for understanding complexity in particular contexts. A corresponding disadvantage often cited is the difficulty of generalising from the single case. Such an observation assumes a polarity and stems from a particular view of research. Looked at differently, from within a holistic perspective and direct perception, there is no disjunction. What we have is a paradox, which if acknowledged and explored in depth, yields both unique and universal understanding. This paper revisits this problem in case study research. It argues that, with the pressure for quantification and the growth of multi?site case study design in policy research, the original vision and utility of case study for understanding complex educational phenomena has been clouded and thereby an opportunity diminished for new ways of knowing.
0305-764X
225-240
Simons, Helen
3f029b50-c852-4ba6-9cbf-2a3b6e2a5c33
Simons, Helen
3f029b50-c852-4ba6-9cbf-2a3b6e2a5c33

Simons, Helen (1996) The paradox of case study. Cambridge Journal of Education, 26 (2), 225-240. (doi:10.1080/0305764960260206).

Record type: Article

Abstract

One of the advantages cited for case study research is its uniqueness, its capacity for understanding complexity in particular contexts. A corresponding disadvantage often cited is the difficulty of generalising from the single case. Such an observation assumes a polarity and stems from a particular view of research. Looked at differently, from within a holistic perspective and direct perception, there is no disjunction. What we have is a paradox, which if acknowledged and explored in depth, yields both unique and universal understanding. This paper revisits this problem in case study research. It argues that, with the pressure for quantification and the growth of multi?site case study design in policy research, the original vision and utility of case study for understanding complex educational phenomena has been clouded and thereby an opportunity diminished for new ways of knowing.

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Published date: 1996
Organisations: Southampton Education School

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 388363
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/388363
ISSN: 0305-764X
PURE UUID: 0ca56b78-b27e-4d8c-9479-fab18b4f4ae7

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Date deposited: 24 Feb 2016 11:18
Last modified: 16 May 2019 16:31

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