Think of our genome as a manual on how to create and operate humans. The human handbook sets a template of our default behaviors and reactions. Through descent with modification, evolution has designed a resilient and intelligent modern man. However, our crafted bodies do not follow factory settings. These medical oddities set the scene for case studies into understanding the human body.
Although a more common research methodology in social sciences, case studies isn’t just a scientific window into human experience in its real-life context. Researchers also use case studies in life sciences. As a matter of fact, this research strategy originated from the medical sciences as a retrospective investigation of the patients’ medical plights. Case studies are an informed plunge into an interesting situation involving a person, group, or community. They can explore and explain correlation and causation between phenomena and theories. They can also offer insights into rooms for improvement with current practice.
Evolution’s faux pas
Despite millions of years of reviews and revisions of the human handbook, our bodies are far from perfect. An example is the engineering nightmare that is our spine, which allowed us to stand on two feet. When one of those vertebrae breaks, it’s just a matter of time until you will be stooping like your grandmother.
Another curious dilemma we are facing is that a lot of people bad eyesight. Believe it or not, our computers and phones aren’t the ones to blame. One theory suggests that visual acuity wasn’t crucial for survival and procreation. Therefore, vision wasn’t as refined as other systems of the body. An inherently bad back and eyes are just two of the glitches of evolution.
The quick fix
We cannot put the full blame on evolution, however. It is not an omnipotent oracle. It is a process wherein function precedes form. When our environment posted a survival requirement, only those with conforming forms were able to dominate. We cannot make a drastic change in our genetic blueprint. However, we can provide remedial measures that will allow us to reinforce our weak spots. That is when we know what to look for.
Since patient case studies are an exploratory investigation, they offer an exhaustive discussion about some perplexing cases. Not all information is out there, and those that are didn’t magically appear. The body of knowledge grows with every new information added. Medical practitioners report about intriguing encounters in case study and case report format. Because of the comprehensive nature, we can use case studies for medical reference.
A rose by any other name smells just as sweet. Case studies are a versatile research method that is useful in multiple domains of research. Its naturalistic design enables researchers to view a subject in its ecosystem, with less disruption, unlike experimental research. To preserve such an asset, case studies follow a general format, although the structure can be subject to modification.
Introduction: This section briefs the reader about the topic of the study. It includes the patient’s profile, medical plight, related literature review, as well as the background of the entire case. Some cases include an abstract in their study. Abstract, on the other hand, is a summary of the research.
Method: This page presents the research design and the approach that the researchers took. The case study approach is often in the form of surveys, interviews, and questionnaires. Data collection is explained in detail here.
Result: This part reports the findings of the study after data analysis. Researchers can illustrate results using non-numerical data representation, like graphs and charts. The researchers will include their discussion of the findings explaining the information that the study yielded.
Recommendation: Case studies are not an instrument for generalizing findings because the data is non-representative of a wider population. Recommendations are suggestions on what can be done about the specific issue alone. Other researchers may look for inspiration in this case study for a solution to similar situations, however.
Advances in science and medicine have allowed us to live longer and better than our ancestors. When you are part of the medical community, you are expected to contribute to its improvement. You don’t have to be a Jenner, Pasteur, or Fleming to do so. Remember, research, revolutionary or not, applies the synthesis of other works and observations.
Your observations matter in solving some of the human body’s greatest mysteries. The following are case study samples that show how you can present your findings to the community. You can do so via journal publications and lectures.
Patient case studies describe situations and conditions that are not common to the field. They can generate new research questions and keep the research vessel anchored to our needs. In preparing your case study, these are a few things that you have to remember.
You can do case studies in an attempt to answer a lot of questions. However, it’s not always the appropriate approach to a problem. Maybe the query is better dealt with with an experimental research design. Do not mistake the versatility of the method as a cure-all alternative that you think will cost you less work.
The decision for a research method comes down to what you want to get from the study. Before proceeding with your investigation, you should establish the objectives of the project. This step will help you from going astray during the conduct. Defining the direction of the study helps save time and resources as well.
Your research questions aren’t just interrogative statements. They are snippets of what the case study is about. At the end of the day, the study will have to go back to these questions. Therefore, it is important that you conduct a thorough literature review regarding your case. You have to be knowledgeable about a problem before you can propose solutions.
But not to the point of exaggeration. Do not forsake credibility for a good story. Telling the story well means that you get your point across in the best way possible. You have to simplify the findings without compromising the substance. Abandon words that only sound sophisticated but does not improve your content. Provide an honest account of the case.
No matter how useful the data would be to science, do not sidestep the ethics of research. You have to obtain an enthusiastic consent from the patient who is not under duress. Inform them about the full extent of their participation and the consequence of which. As researchers, we should respect the autonomy of individuals and the liberty accorded to them by law.
Patient case studies help us learn about the limits of our bodies and discern the intricacies of our own design. The irony is that we set out to understand the mysteries of the universe, but we are yet to fully understand ourselves. One moment, we think we have things figured out, then something comes up that challenges the current theories. With a new mystery, we gain a step forward and two steps back in understanding the human body. Perhaps it is a comfortable illusion that the farther we are in our intergalactic odyssey, the closer we are in understanding our purpose.