Case Studies

Share exemplary case studies from your own educational settings, or from other sources, that demonstrate in different ways how inclusive educational practices can be successful in various educational environments and at different levels of education.

Describing the Case Studies Method

Note: the description below was contributed by Linda Plantin Ewe, a lecturer at Kristianstad University in Sweden.

According to Merriam (1988), a qualitatively focused case study constitutes ‘an intensive, holistic description and analysis of a single phenomenon or unit’ (p. 34), which is in line with Rumrill, Cook and Wiley (2011) who believe that ‘Case studies are in-depth explorations of a single subject or setting, a particular event or circumstance… ‘(p. 158). Case studies are preferred when the researcher intends to systematically investigate a specific phenomenon in order to reach an in-depth understanding (Bell, 2006; Cousin, 2009; Denscombe, 2018). One strength of the method is that the researcher can observe naturally occurring effects in real contexts (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2011; Denscombe, 2018; Rumrill et al., 2011). Case studies focus on relationships and social processes (Denscombe, 2018). Disadvantages discussed regarding case studies include the lack of representativeness of the results as well as the impossibility of generalizations (Denscombe, 2018). Characteristic of case studies is that they are particularistic, heuristic and descriptive, which makes them suitable for studying practical problems in everyday life (Merriam, 1988). Being particularistic means that it focuses and describes in detail an event or person in order to be able to draw general conclusions. The fact that the case study is heuristic means that it aims to improve understanding and create new meanings in order to broaden the reader’s understanding. A case study is descriptive and ‘dense’, which means that it should describe as many variables as possible and the interaction between them without interpreting. Knowledge from case studies is thus concrete and practical instead of abstract and theoretical. A case study is inductive in that it is based on inductive reasoning based on the context that forms the framework for the investigation. Generalizations and hypotheses are thus based on the information that the researcher has access to in the given context (Merriam, 1988).


Case Studies