Question

Most descriptive research designs gather information from a group of participants. However, the case study design...

Most descriptive research designs gather information from a group of participants. However, the case study design focuses on a single individual. What are the advantages and disadvantages of describing a single individual as compared to describing a group? Which method gives you more information to be able to generalize to a broader population?

Homework Answers

Answer #1
  • Case studies are in-depth investigations of a single person. Typically, data are gathered from a variety of sources and by using several different methods (e.g. observations & interviews). It definitely provides a more comprehensive description of the individual's behaviour. Case study is advantageous because the researcher can study a topic or a person with far more details than when working with a group of participants.
  • 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 procedure used in a case study means that the researcher provides a description of the behavior.
  • 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.
  • Descpritive research design is sometimes used to study behaviour of a group of people. For example,by using participant observation method a researcher can study the behvaiours and lifestyles of a particular race or community. By living with them and interacting with them can help to describe their behaviours. That is why these methods which focus on groups are more advantageous than single person design in terms of applying results to the broader population. Case study method resulta cannot be generalized to a larger population since the focus is only one person whereas studying a group would provide more information to be generalized and provide opinions of a lot of people.
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