Chapter 8 Qualitative Research Methodology: Case Studies
Terms in this set (15)
What are case studies?
In-depth studies of particular people, organizations, events, or even processes.
1. Found in applied disciplines
2. Offer insight into good and bad practices
3. Helps us understand theory (theory as applied to specific situations)
4. Represents grounded theory (seeks to understand social phenomenon based on patterns, themes, and common categories found in daily interaction. It then attempts to explain everyday activity and may result in theory based in practice, not abstract relationships between concepts and constructs)
Advantages of Case Studies
Provides details in hindsight (in historical case studies, what is being studied has already occurred)
*They also cannot be used to evaluate policy
Disadvantage of Case Studies
Cannot generalize findings because of it's in-depth analysis of a particular phenomenon
Types of Case Studies
Grounded/Business case study and Historical case study
Grounded or Business Case Study
Seeks not to provide a historical review of the case, but instead offers the background of the case - some history, some financial, some communication data in the form of a narrative - and then asks the reader to make decisions based on their analysis of the narrative in the terms of a commentary,
Historical Case Study
Examines the way the problem is stated and in the initial research-gathering stages based on environmental scanning and monitoring; the strategic communication planning based on stated objectives; the communications themselves; the the actual outputs; the evaluation of the entire program or campaign
Two approaches to the Historical Case Study
Linear and Process-oriented approaches
Suggests the case is a unique entity unto itself, i.e. Hendrix's ROPE (Research, Objectives, Programming, Evaluation).
*It is completely historical as the reader is introduced to the problem and then walked through what is being analyzed from the advantage of hindsight
Suggests the case is a snapshot of the larger public relations process
*Center and Jackson's approach
1. They begin with "fact finding and gathering" to define and clearly state the specific problem or opportunity
2. They evaluate the "planning and programming to devise and package a [public relations] strategy
3. The actions and communications employed to execute the campaign strategy are examined
4. The results are evaluated, assessed, and feedback provided as to whether or not the campaign in whole or part has become successful and whether to continue it as is, refine it and continue, or discontinue it.
*They see public relations as on ongoing process and their case analyses reflect that approach. Insertion of feedback into the case moves it from a strictly historical approach to one that also examines the strategic decisions made based on changes in the case's time line.
*As with the linear case study, the process case study can be of an individual, a campaign, an entity, or whatever is of interest.
*Like the linear approach, the researcher has the advantage of hindsight and considerable time to conduct her analyses.
Answering Research Questions
1. Questions of definition
2. Questions of fact
3. Questions of value
4. Questions of policy
Questions of Definition
The process of researching the problem or opportunity and the situation requires both environmental scanning and monitoring. Thus, the public relations researcher employs historical/documentary research in an attempt to see what variables may be influencing or may influence the problem, opportunity, or situation.
*Provide clues to existing research that may be accessible and may help us better understand the problem, opportunity, or situation.
Questions of Fact
Those that have been tested and found to impact on the problem, opportunity, or situation. Case studies report in retrospect what was found, not what might be found, to differ. They serve as a guiding force that may be later evaluated as to their appropriateness or the way they were correctly or incorrectly interpreted.
Questions of Value
The case study allows the researcher to say how well the case was handled. In retrospect, you can evaluate how well campaign objectives were stated and whether they led to strategies and planning that were easily understood and obtainable. At this stage of the research, you can say whether the outcomes were clearly operationalized and how well they were measured throughout the campaign or program.
*The actual outputs (messages) can be evaluated as to their appropriateness and effectiveness based on subjective measures of liking, value, artistry, and the like.
Questions of Policy
ONLY THE CASE STUDY ALLOWS YOU TO ANSWER QUESTIONS OF POLICY! - because you have the advantage of hindsight!
Conducting the Case Study
1. State and define the problem
3. Objectives must be identified and stated
4. Communication Strategy