Five misunderstandings about case-study research

Flyvbjerg, Bent (2006) Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12 (2). pp. 219-245.

Abstract

This article examines five common misunderstandings about case-study research: (a) theoretical knowledge is more valuable than practical knowledge; (b) one cannot generalize from a single case, therefore, the single-case study cannot contribute to scientific development; (c) the case study is most useful for generating hypotheses, whereas other methods are more suitable for hypotheses testing and theory building; (d) the case study contains a bias toward verification; and (e) it is often difficult to summarize specific case studies. This article explains and corrects these misunderstandings one by one and concludes with the Kuhnian insight that a scientific discipline without a large number of thoroughly executed case studies is a discipline without systematic production of exemplars, and a discipline without exemplars is an ineffective one. Social science may be strengthened by the execution of a greater number of good case studies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Listed as "Most Read" and "Most Cited" paper on the journal's home page.
Keywords: Case study; case selection; critical cases; validity in case studies
Subject(s): Project management
Centre: BT Centre for Major Programme Management
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2011 15:47
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:05
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/725

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