Evaluation of Research Methods

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Case Studies

A research method that involves a detailed study of a single individual, institution or event. Case studies provide a rich record of human experience but are hard to generalise from.


  • Gives rich, in-depth data so information overlooked by other methods is identified
  • Can investigate human behaviour/experiences that are rare and would be unethical to generate such conditions experimentally
  • The complex interaction of many factors can be studied


  • It is difficult to generalise from individuals as they have unique characteristics
  • Often necessary to use recollection of past events and this evidence may be unreliable
  • Researchers may lack objectivity as they become involved/ theoretical bias may cause findings to be overlooked
  • Important ethical issues such as confidentiality, many cases are indentifiable by characteristics even if the name is not given


An interview involves a researcher speaking directly to the participant and recording their responses. There are 3 types; structured, semi-structured and unstructured.

A structured interview will have the same set of questions for each participant.

An unstructured one will be more like a conversation.

A semi-structured one will have a set of questions, but if one answer interests them they will explore that area more rather than sticking to the questions.


  • Collection of primary information
  • In depth analysis, can explore questions more than a questionnaire
  • Can produce rich/personal information
  • Good reliability
  • Should be able to replicate findings if the same questions are asked
  • Fairly easy to analyse the data obtained…


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