In 2008, I began a PhD project funded by an Economic and Social Research Council studentship which sought to explore the different institutional contexts for the temporary staffing industry. This research sought to examine who were the key actors in the temporary staffing industry in different countries and the impact of wider national settings. This was part of a larger project contributing to the work of the Geographies of Temporary Staffing Unit at The University of Manchester. The research involved the use of three case studies in the countries, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Czech Republic in order to conduct a cross-national comparison of the temporary staffing industry within a European context.
This methods case provides an overview of the practicalities of carrying out comparative case study research. It documents the different stages of the case study research including document analysis, institutional mapping, and semi-structured interviews. The business-led nature of this research meant that many of the interviewees were considered as “elites,” and so this case will also highlight some of the particular methodological issues involving this type of research participant. Using the experiences from my doctoral research, this case considers the challenges of conducting case study research, but also how research methods can be used in combination to form a clear methodological strategy in your research.