Wednesday, April 1, 2015

DSDN 481: Project 4

The Case Study Approach

1 - A) What are the central defining features of this approach?
The defining feature of the case study is the fact that the issue is “explored through one or more cases within a bounded system” (Creswell, 2012). The case study can be viewed as a methodology, or as a way of defining what will be studied. Creswell (2012) infers that the key element of the case study is the detailed, in-depth data collection done over time.

1 - B) What forms can a study take within this approach?
Data or material informing the case study can take on a variety of forms; including interviews, direct- and participant-observations, archival records, documents and physical artifacts.

1 - C) What are the procedures for using this approach?
The case study approach initially needs to be ensured as the most viable option for research. In order to define the case study, the researcher must decide on system boundaries as well as the types of data to collect. This data is analysed, and the case and its meaning are interpreted. This research is then considered in relation to the contextual conditions set out in the beginning.

1 - D) What are the benefits and challenges of using this approach?
Identifying the case and the system’s boundaries can be challenging. Creswell (2012) states that the researcher must establish a rationale for the sampling strategy they want to appropriate to the case, as otherwise the research can lack a defined beginning and end. The benefits are in the ability to address a particular issue that spans multiple individuals or groups. If done properly, the case study operates within a well-defined boundary, which helps refine the structure and direction of research.

2 - A) What is the question/problem to which this research approach is applied?
The case study that Kin Wai Michael uses as his approach to his article “Pleasurable Products: Public Space Furniture with Userfitness” explores the notion of public space for older persons in Hong Kong. This approach analysed the way older people used the public outdoor furniture in aspects of routine, social gatherings, exercise, and for various social and personal pleasures.

2 - B) What are the conclusions drawn from this research approach?
Kin Wai Michael and his team realised that due to the diversity of people’s lives, it is very challenging to create products with high levels of “userfitness” without having studied the day-to-day practices of the potential users. Simply making alterations to existing systems is neither sustainable nor worthwhile as a long-term design approach. Change must be made from inception.

2 - C) Based on your understanding of this research approach, how do you know this research is valid?
The research defines a specific area and boundaries, and explores with the intent of understanding an issue, as well as heavily considering the context of the research. Kin Wai Michael develops a conclusion that is adequately constrained and doesn’t try to generalise beyond its boundaries.

Creswell, J. (2012). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. London: Sage.
Kin Wai Michael, S. (2005). Pleasurable products: public space furniture with userfitness. Journal Of Engineering Design, 16(6), 545-555. doi:10.1080/09544820500273383

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