VCSEwiki:Criticism of the case study method
According to (Flyvbjerg, 2004), criticism of case study method in research is based on five principles that he calles misunderstandings. The critique is concentrated at the theory, reliability, and validity that are at issue; in other words, the very status of the case study as a scientific method
General, theoretical (context-independent) knowledge is more valuable than concrete, practical (context-dependent) knowledge
One cannot generalize on the basis of an individual case; therefore, the case study cannot contribute to scientific development
The case study is most useful for generating hypotheses; that is, in the first stage of a total research process, whereas other methods are more suitable for hypotheses testing and theory building.
The case study contains a bias toward verification, that is, a tendency to confirm the researcher’s preconceived notions.
It is often difficult to summarize and develop general propositions and theories on the basis of specific case studies. It is often difficult to summarize and develop general propositions and theories on the basis of specific case studies.
- Flyvbjerg, B. (2004). Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative research practice, 420–434.