Different Types of Case Studies

Different Types of Case Studies

Case study as a research method is used for qualitative researches and is most suitable if your research question bears the following characteristics:

  1. There is a need to address the question how
  2. It is impossible to manipulate the behavior of the study subjects or phenomenon
  3. There is a need to cover contextual condition because they are relevant to the research subject
  4. There is not a clear-cut distinction between the study subject and the contextual conditions

The overall determinant of the type of case study that will be used in writing a case study is the overall purpose of the research that is to explore, describe or compare. Below are different types of case studies that can be used when writing a case study:

a)     Descriptive case study

It describes a certain phenomenon in its natural setting or describes an intervention that that was put in place to counter a certain challenge.

b)     Exploratory case study

This type is most suitable in investigating situations where the phenomenon under investigation does not have clearly defined outcomes. The objective of conducting the research is to get more information on the subject of study.

c)      Multiple-case studies

It incorporates different cases and the purpose is to explore differences between cases or within cases. The researcher must select related cases in order to get similar results.

d)     Instrumental case study

It is most applicable when the researcher wants to have a better understanding of the situation at hand or desires to refine a theory. A researcher will focus on this approach if he/she desires to help the reader have a better understanding on a certain topic.

e)     Intrinsic case study

In this type of case study, the researcher desires to understand and shed more light on a specific trait of a research subject by trying to unearth the uniqueness of a particular phenomenon.