Skip to main content

Table 5 Definitions of a case study

From: The case study approach

Author Definition
Stake[8] "A case study is both the process of learning about the case and the product of our learning" (p.237)
Yin[1, 27, 28] "The all-encompassing feature of a case study is its intense focus on a single phenomenon within its real-life context...[Case studies are] research situations where the number of variables of interest far outstrips the number of datapoints" (Yin 1999 p. 1211, Yin 1994 p. 13)
  "A case study is an empirical inquiry that
     • Investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real-life context, especially when
     • The boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident." (Yin 2009 p18)
Miles and Huberman[23] "...a phenomenon of some sort occurring in a bounded context" (p. 25)
Green and Thorogood[29] "In-depth study undertaken of one particular 'case', which could be a site, individual or policy" (p. 284)
George and Bennett[12] " instance of a class of events [where] the term class of events refers to a phenomenon of scientific interest...that the investigator chooses to study with the aim of developing theory regarding causes of similarities or differences among instances (cases) of that class of events" (p. 17)"