Method in the madness?

So today I had a very useful (as always) meeting with my mentor, and we used most of the time to discuss issues surrounding the fact that my PhD topic sits within the social sciences, and I don’t have a social sciences background. Whilst this isn’t a problem in itself, it does present some extra challenges around getting to grips with methodologies and research design.

Due to the focus of my research being on an approach tailored to different subject areas, I have naturally inclined towards a case study approach to ensure my work is both tailored and tried and tested. My mentor explained that there are several different routes to take with a case study approach, and that I will need to understand and back up my choice to make sure I can justify it in the long run.

Up to now, because I felt my method was fairly straight forward, my focus has been solely on subject area research, rather than any research around methodology and design. I think in order to feel fully prepared for January, when this begins in earnest, I need to split my time into two streams and make sure I am covering both how I am going to carry out my work, and what my work will be. Hopefully, doing some reading around the theory behind different methodologies will allow me to back up my decision on a case study methodology.

Christine Meyer talks about how case study methodology can be seen as inherently flawed:

“… there are virtually no specific requirements guiding case research. This is both the strength & the weakness of this approach. It is a strength because it allows tailoring the design & data collection procedures to the research questions. On the other hand, this approach has resulted in many poor case studies, leaving it open to criticism, especially from the quantitative field of research. ”

My immediate feelings around this are that it is most likely still the right choice for me, I just need to be rock solid on why it is the right choice.

If anyone reading this has experience of using a case study approach and would like to share their opinions, that would be great.

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2 thoughts on “Method in the madness?

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