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When selecting a case for a case study, researchers will therefore use information-oriented sampling, as opposed to random sampling.
In doing case study research, the "case" being studied may be an individual, organization, event, or action, existing in a specific time and place.
For instance, clinical science has produced both well-known case studies of individuals and also case studies of clinical practices.
However, when "case" is used in an abstract sense, as in a claim, a proposition, or an argument, such a case can be the subject of many research methods, not just case study research.
Another suggestion is that case study should be defined as a research strategy, an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon within its real-life context.
These case studies are likely to appear in formal research venues, as journals and professional conferences, rather than popular works.
The resulting body of 'case study research' has long had a prominent place in many disciplines and professions, ranging from psychology, anthropology, sociology, and political science to education, clinical science, social work, and administrative science.The subject is the "practical, historical unity" through which the theoretical focus of the study is being viewed.The object is that theoretical focus – the analytical frame.Single-subject research provides the statistical framework for making inferences from quantitative case-study data.Each of these four approaches has its areas of application, but it is important to understand their unique ontological and epistomological assumptions.Using case studies in research differs from their use in teaching, where they are commonly called case methods and casebook methods.Teaching case studies have been a highly popular pedagogical format in many fields ranging from business education to science education.Thus, for example, if a researcher were interested in US resistance to communist expansion as a theoretical focus, then the Korean War might be taken to be the subject, the lens, the case study through which the theoretical focus, the object, could be viewed and explicated.Beyond decisions about case selection and the subject and object of the study, decisions need to be made about purpose, approach and process in the case study.Case study research can mean single and multiple case studies, can include quantitative evidence, relies on multiple sources of evidence, and benefits from the prior development of theoretical propositions.Case studies should not be confused with qualitative research and they can be based on any mix of quantitative and qualitative evidence.