During the past 12 years, on six occasions I have ventured away from my world as a graduate school professor to serve on undergraduate thesis committees. In these instances, the students were intellectually curious, knowledgeable and passionate about their research topic, carefully supervised and mentored by their thesis advisors, and committed to producing high quality work as they prepared to conduct their first original research study. These students shared three additional commonalities: they all expressed a desire to conduct qualitative research; they all aspired to present their findings as a case study; and they all lacked formal training in qualitative research in general and case study research in particular. As the designated research methodologist on these thesis committees, I struggled to recommend accessible primer texts about qualitative case study research that might quickly AND thoroughly orient students to this seductively appealing, complex, and often over-simplified strand of qualitative research.
I had high hopes as I began reading Dawson Hancock and Bob Algozzine's Doing Case Study Research: A Practical Guide for Beginning Researchers. I wanted this 13-chapter self-described "how to" text to be both reader-friendly and thorough, thus filling this void in the professional literature. The good news is that Doing Case Study Research is a highly accessible introductory text and a very quick read. The bad news is that it lacks depth and a theoretical foundation. The authors privilege breadth and simplicity rather than depth and complexity. Complexities and dilemmas that are inevitable in every qualitative case study are neither acknowledged nor discussed.
Despite this tepid endorsement, Doing Case Study Research has numerous assets. First, the book's focus is novel. It augments the over-abundance of qualitative inquiry texts that at best offer brief, perfunctory discussions about case study research. The practice-oriented book also supplements specialty inquiry texts that focus exclusively on case study research that favor theory.
Chapters 1 and 2 provide basic background information about scientific inquiry and qualitative and quantitative research. Chapters 3 through 11, which embrace an action-orientated agenda, introduce readers to numerous stages of case study research. Topics include (a) becoming familiar with different kinds of case study research; (b) conducting literature reviews; (c) selecting a case study research design and method; (d) gathering information from interviews, observations, and documents; (e) summarizing and interpreting data; (f) synthesizing and reporting findings; and (g) confirming case study findings. Chapters 12 and 13 provide readers helpful tips for preparing case study research proposals and organizing and disseminating case study findings. This niche book complements generic qualitative inquiry texts as well as theoretically oriented case study texts currently on the market.
In addition to the book's unique focus, Hancock and Algozzine are pedagogically savvy when introducing readers to case study research. They offer alternative ways to learn about case study research beyond complicated theoretical overviews or step-by-step guides (e.g., recommending design, implementation, and write up strategies). The authors intuit the kinds of questions first-time case study researchers might pose and directly answer them (although not as thoroughly as I had hoped. I return to this concern later in this review). [End Page 123]
Within each chapter the authors introduce an eclectic array of techniques aimed at helping students understand and appreciate case study research. Specifically, they carefully define key terms (and even include a mini-glossary); offer numerous concrete examples from their own case study research to bring to life abstract concepts; include annotated bibliographies of published "best practices" case studies; synthesize complex data into condensed tables, making essential information readily available for comparison; pose thought-provoking questions for readers to ponder; and introduce activities and applications aimed at honing readers' research skills after they finish reading the book. The authors—who are knowledgeable scholars, practitioners, and teachers—use these innovative pedagogies to distill complex ideas into cogent and readable primers that demystify the case study research process.
For example, in chapter 3, the authors include annotated bibliographies of published "best practices" case...
Лестничная площадка, на которой они стояли, была совсем крохотной. Они сцепились. Перила были невысокими. Как это странно, подумал Стратмор, что насчет вируса Чатрукьян был прав с самого начала.