Core Study: Diamond & Sigmundson

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Limitations of Diamond & Sigmundson

Case studies rely on small samples, so it is difficult to generalise. The sample was only 1 individual so Bruce may have been the exception to the rule.

The evidence used in case studies is often retrospective. Some information may have been misinterpreted or even lost.

Case studies are very thorough investigations, so researchers may become too involved in what they are studying. When this happens researchers may stop being objective. Money was accused of interpreting Brenda’s behaviour to suit his approach. Diamond and Sigmundson may have lost their objectivity as they wanted to provide evidence for their own ideas.  

Case studies are based on naturally occurring situations, so it is not possible to control all the key variables.The case of Bruce was complicated by a number of factors:

  • He had a twin brother who looked just like him. This gave him a masculine role model that he could easily imitate.
  • Bruce was raised as a boy for over a year and a half. Ideally, he should have been socialised as a girl from birth.
  • His parents knew he was a boy so they may not have treated him exactly as they would have done if he was truly their daughter.
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