- Provide a roadmap for building theories from case study research
- Position theory building from case studies into the larger context of social science research
- Grounded theory building, case study research, techniques for analyzing qualitative data
- Case study
- Focuses on understanding the dynamics present within single settings
- Combine archives, interviews, questionnaires, and observations
- Used to achieve various aims.
- There are gaps in how to combine the different processes of theory building, when to conduct the case study and how to evaluate it.
Building theories from case study research
- Getting started: an initial definition of the research questions, a prior specification of constructs, a clean theoretical slate
- Selecting cases: the goal of theoretical sampling is to choose cases which are likely to replicate or extend the emergent theory
- Crafting instruments and protocols: combine multiple data collection methods, qualitative and quantitative evidence, multiple investigators
- Entering the field: overlap of data analysis with data collection, adjustments in data collection
- Analyzing within-case data: be familiar with each case as a stand-alone entity
- Searching for cross-case patterns: look for within-group similarities coupled with intergroup differences; select pairs of cases and list the similarities and differences between each pair; divide the data by data source
- Shaping hypotheses: refining the definition of the construct and building evidence, examining the relationships between constructs
- Enfolding literature: comparing the emergent concepts, theory, or hypotheses with the extant literature to enhances the internal validity, generalizability, and theoretical level of theory building from case study research
- Reaching closure: stop adding cases and iterating between theory and data when theoretical saturation is reached
Evaluation of a case study
- Strengths: a high likelihood of generating novel theory, testability, validity
- Weaknesses: a too rich theory, narrow and idiosyncratic theory
- Applicability: a very new phenomenon
- Evaluation: good theories? strong method and empirical evidence? new insights?
- The author argues that theory-building research, ideally, should begin with “no theory under consideration and no hypotheses to test”. What’s your opinion about it?
- How the current case studies different from case studies in the paper?