Case studies allow a researcher to investigate a topic in far more detail than might be possible if they were trying to deal with a large number of research participants (nomothetic approach) with the aim of ‘averaging’.
Because of their in-depth, multi-sided approach case studies often shed light on aspects of human thinking and behavior that would be unethical or impractical to study in other ways.
descriptive) data a lot depends on the interpretation the psychologist places on the information she has acquired. In The Pelican Freud Library (1977), Vol 8, Case Histories 1, pages 169-306 Freud, S. Bemerkungen über einen Fall von Zwangsneurose (Der "Rattenmann").
This means that there is a lot of scope for observer bias and it could be that the subjective opinions of the psychologist intrude in the assessment of what the data means.
Typically, data are gathered from a variety of sources and by using several different methods (e.g. The case study research method originated in clinical medicine (the case history, i.e. In psychology, case studies are often confined to the study of a particular individual.
The information is mainly biographical and relates to events in the individual's past (i.e.
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Interpreting the information means the researcher decides what to include or leave out.
A good case study should always make clear which information is the factual description and which is an inference or the opinion of the researcher.