The research design & using a case study design
The research design
Research Designs vs. Research Methods, Page 45
- A Research Design provides a framework for the collection and analysis of data. Choice of research design reflects decisions about priorities given to the dimensions of the research process (see Key concept 3.1)
- A Research Method is simply a procedure for collecting data. Choice of research method reflects decisions about the type of instruments or techniques to be used.
Click here to view and download the checklist in Microsoft Word.
|Is your Research Design:|
|What is your level of analysis?|
|Individual; e.g. manager or employee|
|Department or work group|
|Organization; e.g. structure or culture|
|Market or societal context in which organizations are located|
|Criteria in Business Research|
|Reliability - are your measures consistent?|
|Replication/replicability - is your study repeatable?|
|Validity - are your conclusions well founded?|
|Types of Validity|
|Measurement (or construct) validity - do your measures reflect concepts?|
|Internal validity - are causal relations between your variables real?|
|External validity - can your results be generalized beyond the research setting?|
|Alternative Criteria in Qualitative Research|
|Is your research trustworthy (Lincoln and Guba (1985):|
|Credible - parallels internal validity - i.e. how believable are your findings?|
|Transferable - parallels external validity - i.e. do your findings apply to other contexts?|
|Dependable - parallels reliability - i.e. are your findings likely to apply at other times?|
|Confirmable - parallels objectivity - i.e. have you allowed your values to intrude to a high degree?|
|Is your research relevant (Hammersley 1992):|
|Importance - as a topic in its field|
|Contribution - to the literature in that field|
A case can be about:
- A single organization
- A single location
- A person
- A single event
Yin's (1984) case typology:
- The critical case
- The unique (or extreme) case
- The revelatory case
Whatever the type of case you choose, you will almost certainly need to find out more about the organization that your case investigation is located in:
- What is its financial position?
- Has it been in the news recently?
- Where are its premises?
- What market conditions does it face?
Web sources for background information:
- Newspapers such as the Financial Times (https://www.ft.com)
- www.companies-house.gov.uk (company accounts)
- Here you can access a collection of links to countries and then to newspapers: http://www.onlinenewspapers.com
http://www.qual.auckland.ac.nz/case/ - comprehensive list of References on Case Study Research from the MISQ Discovery Archive maintained by Michael D. Myers at the university of Auckland NZ.
To see video clips of students talking about their research design, click here
Exercise: Research Designs
The Ethiopian Livestock Marketing Board's (LMA) hide quality control division wanted to assess the effect of different salt-level applications and sheep skin putrefaction.
The principle objective of the research was to find out if there was a difference in salt-level application and hide putrefaction in different ecological zones. The research was to be instrumental in informing the decision on the optimum level of salt application in the different ecological zones, hence cutting down on the cost of salt.
|ID||Site||Hairy||Fresh wg't||Salt||Saltwg't||TDays||salted||unsalted||saltrest||saltloss||saltlperc||skinarea||Putrefac||Putperc||Skin shrinkage|
The data was collected from primary sources with a 'before' and 'after' treatment on a three group design. There was no control group used in the study as it was deemed unnecessary and the fact that skins putrefy four hours after removal from the animal. Three tannery locations were used: Debrebirhan (Highlands), Debrezeit (Middle-lands) and Metehara (Lowlands), and salt applications were administered in at the 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60% levels. Skin weights were measured fresh, with salt application and after salt drying. The area of skin putrefaction was then observed over 30, 45 and 60 days. The cases observed were 150 in each location. The design was as follows for each of the three locations. The data was collected between January and March 2005.
Preservation days, salt level, application and number of cases
The research was set up, administered and data collected by a staff member of the LMA, Ethiopia
The results of the experiment were as in the following table (sample data only).
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, (2002)
Exercise: ethnography and participant observation
'Tourism' and the purchase of second homes, especially in Europe, is a rapidly growing pastime of British citizens. Spain, France and Cyprus, followed by Florida and the Balearic Islands, are popular and growing destinations. Serviced by cut-price airline operators such as easyJet and Ryanair, these destinations are accessible even for 'weekend' breaks. Torrevieja, on Spain's Costa Blanca, for example, now has 42,000 foreigners, of which 26% are British, the largest proportion, out of a total population of 91,000. Torrevieja now has a population representing 138 different countries, with Germans, Russians, Colombians, Ukrainians, Norwegians, Argentines, and Belgians joining the locals as growing proportions of the population.
In order to study the effect of local residents attitudes to this influx of 'foreigners', a University Ph.D. student of Spanish origin has decided to conduct a 'longitudinal' study over 3 years on Torrevieja. He is able to visit the town regularly.