Case study method in psychology research

There are substantial methodological differences between these approaches. Case selection and structure[ edit ] An average, or typical case, is often not the richest in information.

Case study method in psychology research

Saul McLeodpublished Case studies are in-depth investigations of a single person, group, event or community.

Typically, data are gathered from a variety of sources and by using several different methods e. The research may also continue for an extended period of time, so processes and developments can be studied as they happen. The case study research method originated in clinical medicine the case history, i.

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science (NCCSTS)

The case study is not itself a research method, but researchers select methods of data collection and analysis that will generate material suitable for case studies. Most of this information is likely to be qualitative i.

The data collected can be analyzed using different theories e. All the approaches mentioned here use preconceived categories in the analysis and they are ideographic in their approach, i. Case studies are widely used in psychology and amongst the best known were the ones carried out by Sigmund Freud.

He conducted very detailed investigations into the private lives of his patients in an attempt to both understand and help them overcome their illnesses. Even today case histories are one of the main methods of investigation in abnormal psychology and psychiatry.

For students of these disciplines they can give a vivid insight into what those who suffer from mental illness often have to endure.

Case studies are often conducted in clinical medicine and involve collecting and reporting descriptive information about a particular person or specific environment, such as a school. In psychology, case studies are often confined to the study of a particular individual. The information is mainly biographical and relates to events in the individual's past i.

In order to produce a fairly detailed and comprehensive profile of the person, the psychologist may use various types of accessible data, such as medical records, employer's reports, school reports or psychological test results.

The interview is also an extremely effective procedure for obtaining information about an individual, and it may be used to collect comments from the person's friends, parents, employer, work mates and others who have a good knowledge of the person, as well as to obtain facts from the person him or herself.

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This makes it clear that the case study is a method that should only be used by a psychologist, therapist or psychiatrist, i. There is an ethical issue of competence.

Only someone qualified to diagnose and treat a person can conduct a formal case study relating to atypical i.

The procedure used in a case study means that the researcher provides a description of the behavior. This comes from interviews and other sources, such as observation. The client also reports detail of events from his or her point of view. The researcher then writes up the information from both sources above as the case study, and interprets the information.

Interpreting the information means the researcher decides what to include or leave out. A good case study should always make clear which information is factual description and which is an inference or the opinion of the researcher.

Strengths of Case Studies Provides detailed rich qualitative information. Provides insight for further research.

Permitting investigation of otherwise impractical or unethical situations. Because of their in-depth, multi-sided approach case studies often shed light on aspects of human thinking and behavior that would be unethical or impractical to study in other ways.

Case study method in psychology research

Research which only looks into the measurable aspects of human behavior is not likely to give us insights into the subjective dimension to experience which is so important to psychoanalytic and humanistic psychologists.

Case studies are often used in exploratory research. They can help us generate new ideas that might be tested by other methods. They are an important way of illustrating theories and can help show how different aspects of a person's life are related to each other. The method is therefore important for psychologists who adopt a holistic point of view i.

Researchers' own subjective feeling may influence the case study researcher bias. The results of the study are not generalizable because we can never know whether the case we have investigated is representative of the wider body of "similar" instances Because they are based on the analysis of qualitative i.

This means that there is a lot of scope for observer bias and it could be that the subjective opinions of the psychologist intrude in the assessment of what the data means.

Research Methods in Developmental Psychology | Noba

For example, Freud has been criticized for producing case studies in which the information was sometimes distorted to fit the particular theories about behavior e. Sex Reassignment at Birth: Long-term Review and Clinical Implications.Case study methodology has long been a contested terrain in social sciences research which is characterized by varying, sometimes opposing, approaches espoused by many research methodologists.

Despite being one of the most frequently used qualitative research methodologies in educational research, the methodologists do not have a full consensus on the design and implementation of case study.

The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use historical sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. There are various history guidelines that are commonly used by historians in their work, under the headings of external criticism, internal criticism, and synthesis.

Research Methods In Psychology. The study of psychology tends to be diverse, and draws out knowledge from other fields so as to completely understand the psychological phenomena.

Child development is a fascinating field of study – but care must be taken to ensure that researchers use appropriate methods to examine infant and child behavior, use the correct experimental design to answer their questions, and be aware of the special challenges that are part-and-parcel of developmental research.

Case study method definition is - a method of research used especially in sociology by which accumulated case histories are analyzed with a view toward formulating general principles.

a method of research used especially in sociology by which accumulated case histories are analyzed with a view toward formulating general. I. RESEARCH IN ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY A. Research is the systematic search for facts through the use of careful observations and in-vestigations 1.

It is particularly important (and challenging) in the field of abnormal psychology The Case Study (b) The Correlational Method (c) The Experimental Method III. THE CASE STUDY A. The case study.

The use of case studies in Psychology | Psychology Blog