Case studies involve a particular method of research. Rather than using large samples and following a rigid protocol to examine a limited number of variables, case study methods involve an in-depth, longitudinal examination of a single instance or event. They provide a systematic way of looking at events, collecting data, analyzing information, and reporting the results. As a result the researcher may gain a sharpened understanding of why the instance happened as it did, and what might become important to look at more extensively in future research.
Case study is a form of qualitative descriptive research that is used to look at individuals, a small group of participants, or a group as a whole. Researchers collect data about participants using participant and direct observations, interviews, protocols, tests, examinations of records, and collections of writing samples.
According to H. Odum, The case study method is a technique by which individual factor whether it be an institution or just an episode in the life of an individual or a group is analysed in its relationship to any other in group. Thus, a fairly exhaustive study of a person (as to what he does and has done, what he thinks he does and had done and what he expects to do and says he ought to do ) or group is called is called a life or case history. Burgers has used the words “the social microscope” for the case study method.
Case study method is a form of qualitative analysis wherein careful and complete observation of an individual or a situation or an institution is done ; efforts are made to study each and every aspect of the concerning unit in minute details and then from case data generalizations and inferences are drawn.
Under this system the researcher can take one single social unit or more of such unit for his study purpose, he may even take a situation to study the same comprehensively. Here the selected unit is studied intensively i.e., it is studied in minute details. Generally, the study extends over a long period of time to ascertain the natural history of the unit so as to obtain enough information for drawing correct inferences.
Through this method we try to understand the complex of factors that are operative within a social unit as an integrated totality (complete study of the social unit covering all facilities.) Under this method the approach happens to be qualitative and not quantitative. In respect of the case study method an effort is made to know the mutual inter-relationship of causal factors. Under this method pattern of the concerning unit is studied directly.
Case study method is a very popular form of qualitative analysis.It results in fruitful hypotheses along with the data which may be helpful in testing them, and thus it enables the generalized knowledge to get richer and richer.