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Table 8 Potential pitfalls and mitigating actions when undertaking case study research

From: The case study approach

Potential pitfall Mitigating action
Selecting/conceptualising the wrong case(s) resulting in lack of theoretical generalisations Developing in-depth knowledge of theoretical and empirical literature, justifying choices made
Collecting large volumes of data that are not relevant to the case or too little to be of any value Focus data collection in line with research questions, whilst being flexible and allowing different paths to be explored
Defining/bounding the case Focus on related components (either by time and/or space), be clear what is outside the scope of the case
Lack of rigour Triangulation, respondent validation, the use of theoretical sampling, transparency throughout the research process
Ethical issues Anonymise appropriately as cases are often easily identifiable to insiders, informed consent of participants
Integration with theoretical framework Allow for unexpected issues to emerge and do not force fit, test out preliminary explanations, be clear about epistemological positions in advance