For this theme I prepared by finding two papers of my own, one I felt was relevant as a paper showing qualitative research and one being a case study. The lecture we were supposed to have on this theme was unfortunately cancelled so we had to rely on our discussion in the seminar for learning something new after our first written reflection.
In the seminar we discussed both qualitative research and case studies. Regarding qualitative research we discussed our papers and our view on qualitative research. Most of us had the same definition of qualitative research, and we drew parallells between our papers to try and find out something new about qualitative research. However we felt so sure about of definitions that I at least did not gather anything new from our discussion.
Because we had discussed qualitative research so much before in the 4th seminar we felt more driven to talk about case studies during this seminar. A lot of times in the group, when discussing our papers, went to try to find a clear definition of a case study and a case. When is it a case study and to what extent is it a case? Our definitions of these will be apparent later in the reflection.
In our discussion both in the group and with the whole seminar we gathered that a case study aims to study something small but in depth and focus on what makes it different and special. It wouldn’t make much sense to do a case study where there are many similar instances, then you might gather more from looking at the population of similar instances and what differentiates them as a group.
One interesting thing that came up however was that one might go about doing a case study of one instance among many similar just to gather enough data to know how to research the group. This also came up in our discussion, that a case study can bring about enough understanding of a case (an event, a phenomena, in short a specific context) to bring about some information about it and help us investigate it further. This is in the nature of a case study since they are made to study something new and different in order to understand how it works and if it is relevant.
We also discussed that the nature of case studies is kind of organic, where you from the start might not have a bright idea on how exactly to go about investigating the case, but that you discover things that lead to new understandings and give a hint of how to proceed in the research.
One interesting note the seminar leader made was that a case study is often more interested in generating new theory instead of relying on old theory to prove something. A case study is in this way veered more towards gathering something new about a certain case which in itself does not need to be grounded in a lot of old theory. Instead You attack it from a perspective where you ask yourself “what is this? How can I learn more about it? Is this relevant for the future?”.