Fresh, insightful and clear, this exciting textbook provides an engaging introduction to the application of qualitative methodology in the real world. Expert researchers then trace the history and philosophical underpinnings of different methodologies, explore the specific demands each places upon the researcher and robustly set out relevant issues surrounding quality and rigor. Featured methodologies include action research, discourse analysis, ethnography, grounded theory, case studies and narrative inquiry. This practical book provides a helpful guide to the research process - it introduces the relevant methods of generating, collecting and analysing data for each discrete methodology and then looks at best practice for presenting findings. This enables new researchers to compare qualitative methods and to confidently select the approach most appropriate for their own research projects. Key features include: • Summary table for each chapter - allowing quick checks to test knowledge • ‘Window into’ sections - real world examples showing each methodology in action • Student activities • Learning objectives • Full glossary • Annotated suggestions for further reading • Links to downloadable SAGE articles • Links to relevant websites and organizations This is an invaluable resource for students and researchers across the social sciences and a must-have guide for those embarking on a research project. Visit the accompanying companion website for a range of free additional resources.

Case Study

Allison Stewart

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • discuss the background and philosophical foundations of case study research
  • outline the benefits and issues associated with using case study as a methodology
  • describe the key requirements for collecting and analysing case study data
  • demonstrate how case study research can be effectively presented and disseminated


Case studies are a ubiquitous component of qualitative research used in a wide variety of disciplines to answer many different types of questions. In this chapter, the history, philosophy, and practical considerations of case study research are introduced, with the intent of providing an overview of the methodology for new and experienced scholars.

A case study is defined as an intensive study of an individual unit of interest ...

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