Qualitative Case Study Methods

Home/ Qualitative Case Study Methods
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSES3012062

Semester and Year Offered: Semester 1/2

Course Coordinator and Team: Monimalika Day (C)

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: Pre-doctoral


  • Become familiar with the rationale, theory, and uses of case study research that draws descriptive or causal inference
  • Identify different perspectives on and conceptualizations of case study research
  • Understand the advantages, challenges, and limitations of case study research
  • Critically analyse case study design based on quality criteria
  • Examine ethical and political issues involved in doing social science research

Course Outcomes:

By the end of the course the participants will be able to:

  • Understand the assumptions embodied in the major approaches to qualitative case study research, and the implications of these for conducting and evaluating qualitative case studies.
  • Understand the characteristics of qualitative case study research and the key ways in which this approach differs from other research strategies. and analysis, depending on purpose and design of a qualitative case study research project.
  • Design and conduct a qualitative case study.
  • Communicate (both verbally and in writing) the design and process, and critique the process of the study.
  • Critique case study reports, their own and their peers’ research projects, and suggest areas for improvement.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module I: Perspectives in Case Studies

This module focuses on the epistemological question on what can be learned from a single case. It explores the theoretical perspectives related to this process of inquiry and introduces students to the complexities related to selecting and defining the boundaries of a case. It introduces the different types of case studies and its relationship to the research question.

  • Purpose of case study research
  • Principles of case study research
  • Philosophy and design of qualitative case study
  • Types of case studies
  • Approaches to case selection

Module II: Design of Case Studies

Case studies are often used in the field of education for different purposes. This module allows students to become familiar with the process of planning and conducting case studies including making decisions regarding the nature of evidence to be collected, analyzing the data and developing a research report.

  • Posing a research question
  • Collecting evidence for a case study(interviews, observations, documents)
  • Analysis: Thematic Techniques, Theorizing techniques
  • Writing up a case study

Module III: Case Studies of Children and Education (integrated with module I and II)

Students will be required to read and critique one book on a case study to begin to appreciate the depth of information in a qualitative case study and begin to engage with the methodological and ethical dilemmas of engaging in such research.

Assessment Details with weights:

Students will be required to complete four major assignments for this class.

  1. Reading Response (15%+15%)
  2. Critique of a Case Study (30%)
  3. Short Case Study Research (40%)

Reading List:

  • Bennett, A., & Elman, C. (2006). Qualitative research: Recent developments in case study methods. Annual Review of Political Science, 9, 455-476.
  • Bent Flyvbjerg, "Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research," Qualitative Inquiry, vol. 12, no. 2, April 2006, pp. 219-245.
  • Drake, C. (2006). Turning points: Using teachers’ mathematics life stories to understand the implementation of mathematics education reform. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 9(6), 579-608.
  • Lam, W. S. E. (2000). L2 Literacy and the Design of the Self: A Case Study of a Teenager Writing on the Internet. TESOL Quarterly, 34(3), 457-482.
  • Mills, J., Harrison, H., Franklin, R., & Birks, M. (2017).Case study research: foundations and methodological orientations.In Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research (Vol. 18, No. 1, p. 17).DEU.
  • Prochner, L., Cleghorn, A., & Green, N. (2008).Space considerations: materials in the learning environment in three majority world preschool settings. International Journal Of Early Years Education, 16(3), 189-201. doi:10.1080/09669760802343857
  • Seawright, J. &Gerring, J. (2008). Case-selection techniques in case study research: A menu of qualitative and quantitative options. Political Research Quarterly, 61(2), 294-308.
  • Small, M.L. (2009). How many cases do I need? On science and the logic of case selection in field-based research. Ethnography, 10(1), 5-38.
  • Stake, R.E. (1988).Case study methods in educational research: Seeking sweet water.In R.M Jaeger (Ed.).Complementary methods for research in education (pp253-278).Washington DC: American Educational Research Association.
  • White, H.C. (1992). Cases are for identity, for explanation or for control. In C.C Ragin &H.S Becker (Eds.), What is a case? Exploring the foundations of social inquiry (pp.83-104).Cambridge,UK: Cambridge University Press
  • Yazan, B. (2015). Three approaches to case study methods in education: Yin, Merriam, and Stake. The Qualitative Report, 20(2), 134-152.
  • Yin, R. K. (2014). Case study research: Design and methods (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Ghaffar-Kucher, A. (2014). Writing Culture; Inscribing Lives: A Reflective Treatise on the Burden of Representation in Native Research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education,1-17.
  • Khaparde.M.S., Srivastava, A.K., Meganathan,R. (2004). Educational Policy for Practice and Research, 243-265.
  • McCormick, S. (1994). A nonreader becomes a reader: A case study of literacy acquisition by a severely disabled reader. Reading Research Quarterly, 29(2), 156-176
  • Dreze, J. and Saran, M. (1993), "Primary Education and Economic Development in China and India: Overview and Two Case Studies." Discussion Paper, Development Economics Research Programme, London School of Economics.
  • Fadiman, Anne. (1998) The spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures. New York: Noonday Press
  • Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi (1998), "Education of Females in India: Determinants and Economic Consequences: A Case Study of Urban Uttar Pradesh", Mimeo, Mc Namara Fellowships, Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, Washington DC.
  • Kozol, J. Kozol, Jonathan. Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools. New York: Crown Pub, 1991. Print.
  • Govinda, R. & Varghese, N.V. (1993): Quality of Primary Schooling in India: A Case Study of Madhya Pradesh, India. Paris: UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning.
  • Sachchidananda .(1989), "Disparities in Elementary Education", A Case Study of Bihar, Independent Study Patna: A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Science.
  • Tobin. J. (1989).Preschool in three cultures. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press