Qualitative case study research has been widely accepted by the USA government and organisations outside the USA for several years now. In the last decade, researchers have been doing this more intensely. The first set of qualitative case studies was carried out within the USA. It focused on juvenile delinquency. Since then, hundreds of thousands of case studies have been done. The most recent studies have been qualitative, because they were done within the context of the academic study of psychological methodologies.
This process was brought to the wider attention of the USA government in the year 2021, when they were asked to review the 2021 Annual Performance Report and the 2021 Annual Performance Review. At this point, the review team identified five key aspects for improving performance. These were using qualitative methods, analysing data that is representative of the target population, ensuring that the data collection and analysis to meet standards set by the research organisation, using appropriate metrics to assess performance, and including case study examples in the final report. The reviewers believe that this will help change the culture of the organisation.
Most case studies are descriptive rather than prescriptive. This means that the texts that they describe do not have prescriptions for behaviour. However, there are some instances where there is a clear instruction. For example, an instruction to perform an action is included. In order to fulfil this instruction, it would be necessary to demonstrate how one can do that action. Therefore, the terms used can provide information about the specific instructions and examples used, which allow readers to follow a linked path throughout the text.
The other four aspects of case studies are not prescriptive but influence how a person thinks or feels about something. Aspects such as analysis, reporting and interpretation should all be grounded in a qualitative research framework. Appropriate research techniques and analysis tools must be used. Finally, the textual materials must be well documented so that they can be accessed and used by others.
Case study design can vary depending on the needs of the research question. For example, an individual study design for a health study may require that the case study contains details about the study group, the intervention process and outcomes. A literature review may also use case selection in order to determine which papers were most relevant. The decision as to what type of case study is best is often made by the researcher since the question or the problem does not have a single solution. Rather, there are multiple possible solutions that must be considered to provide enough information for the reader.
There are many types of case reports and case study reports from the past and present that can be used as references for instruction or research. Some examples include qualitative reviews, manual interpretations and mixed-methodological reviews. In the last few years, the demand for comprehensive case reports has dramatically increased. As such, higher level education and research institutions are now producing more case studies and case report examinations.
Case study documentation is used extensively in both applied research (e.g., the social sciences, business) and theory-based research (e.g., criminology). As such, it is an essential component of qualitative methods journals. As a result, it is increasingly popular approach among qualitative researchers and case study practitioners alike.