Schools especially those that offers degree in medicine, law, public policy and public health teaches students to learn how to conduct a case study. Some students say they love case studies. For what reason? Case studies offer real world challenges. They help in preparing the students how to deal with their future careers. They are considered to be the vehicle for theories and concepts that enables you to be good at giving detailed discussions and even debates. Case studies are useful not just in the field of education, but also in adhering to the arising issues in business, politics and other organizations.
A case study is defined as a research methodology that allows you to conduct an intensive study about a particular person, group of people, community, or some unit in which the researcher could provide an in-depth data in relation to the variables. Case studies can examine a phenomena in the natural setting. This increases your ability to understand why the subjects act such. You may be able to describe how this method allows every researcher to take a specific topic to narrow it down making it into a manageable research question. The researcher gain an in-depth understanding about the subject matter through collecting qualitative and quantitative datasets about the phenomenon.
If a researcher is interested to study about a phenomenon, he or she will be assigned to a single-case study that will allow him or her to gain an understanding about the phenomenon. Multiple-case study would allow a researcher to understand the case as a group through comparing them based on the embedded similarities and differences. However, the volume of data in case studies will be difficult to organize and the process of analysis and strategies needs to be carefully decided upon. Reporting of findings could also be challenging at times especially when you are ought to follow for word limits.
Nurses’ Pediatric Pain Management Practices
One of the authors of this paper (AT) has used a case study approach to explore nurses’ pediatric pain management practices. This involved collecting several datasets:
Observational data to gain a picture about actual pain management practices.
Questionnaire data about nurses’ knowledge about pediatric pain management practices and how well they felt they managed pain in children.
Questionnaire data about how critical nurses perceived pain management tasks to be.
These datasets were analyzed separately and then compared and demonstrated that nurses’ level of theoretical did not impact on the quality of their pain management practices. Nor did individual nurse’s perceptions of how critical a task was effect the likelihood of them carrying out this task in practice. There was also a difference in self-reported and observed practices; actual (observed) practices did not confirm to best practice guidelines, whereas self-reported practices tended to.
The elements of case studies include a time and issue bounded dilemma, explanations of issue and concepts, a story with characters and moments, data and other relevant information and scenarios that may lead into different directions.
A case study would normally have 500 to 1,500 words in length and can even still be exceeded.
There is no right answer when talking about the size of a case study. The recommended number of pages would normally be between five to fifteen pages depending on the guidelines.
Case studies bring people into the real world to allow themselves engage in different fields such as in business, politics, health related aspect where each individuals could find an avenue to make difficult decisions. It serves to provide framework for analysis and evaluation of the different societal issues. This is one of the best way to focus on what really matters, to discuss about issues and to know what can we do about it.