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Table 5 Overview of Robert Yin’s and Robert Stake’s work on case study research

From: Evaluating complex interventions in context: systematic, meta-narrative review of case study approaches

Yin’s Case study research: design and methods was first published in 1984 [30]. It provides a step-by-step guide to conducting a case study and has been cited in scholarly literature over 44,000 times. His largely positivist approach emphasises a priori design and theoretical frameworks, and a drive to examine causality through analytic generalisation and naturalistic inquiry. Linked to a renewed interest in case study in health services research from the 1990’s onwards, Yin’s work has been taken up by different research traditions in health care (e.g. nursing). His approach has attracted interest for the evaluation of health interventions in instances where experimental design have been seen as unfeasible or unethical.
Stake’s 1995 book on The Art of Case Study Research [72] focuses on qualitative case study methodology underpinned by a constructivist standpoint in which ‘knowledge is constructed rather than discovered’ (p.99). Stake’s focus is on the particular, understood in context with case study enabling researchers to study, in detail, the particularity and complexity of a single case and ‘coming to understand its activity within important circumstances’ (p.xi) According to Stake, multiple interpretations, including those of the researcher/s, are involved in the construction of knowledge about the case.