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Cast in a narrative format, descriptive case studies can make complex science and technology projects accessible and interesting to a non-scientist audience.The potential scope of the case study format is flexible and broad, ranging from brief descriptive summaries to long, detailed accounts.
He states, “In general, case studies are the preferred strategy when ‘how’ or ‘why’ questions are being posed, when the investigator has little control over events, and when the focus is on a contemporary phenomenon within some real-life context.” (Yin 1994 p.1) One of the biggest disadvantages to using the case study method has to do with external vs. Using the case study method, the researcher often does not have control over certain variables and events and, therefore, cannot control them as the researcher could in a lab experiment Consequently, the researcher using the case study method must be content that his/her findings may only be applicable to similar cases.
What the case study gains in internal validity, it loses in external validity.
In order to demonstrate its application, it indicates its most common advantages and constraints, stressing the important role played by the researcher, who must be careful about generalizations, striving constantly for scientific rigor in the treatment of the subject.
The case study method is considered a kind of qualitative analysis (GOODE, 1962) and has been considered, according to Yin (1994, p.
And, whether qualitative or quantitative, case studies typically relate to single projects, or, at best, small clusters of projects, such that their results usually cannot be generalized to the entire portfolio of projects.
Noting that distinguished scholars frequently use case study as a method of analysis, Yin, in his landmark book on case studies, asks, “If the case study method has serious weaknesses, why do investigators continue to use it?
This work is to present the case study as a research approach, showing that its characterization is not an easy task, due mainly to its many different approaches and applications.
It highlights its increasing importance as a research tool, exploring its origins, meanings and delineation as an investigation methodology.
10): “the weaker brother of the methods of Social Sciences.
But despite the weaknesses and limitations, the case study has had widely use not only in social research, but also as a modality research, with applications in many other areas or in disciplines that has a strong orientation to legal practice and administration, besides being used for the preparation of theses and dissertations.