• Home   /  
  • Archive by category "1"

Case Study Method In Psychology Examples Of Sensation

Keep up-to-date on these tutorials.


Psychological Tutorials
and Demonstrations

This is a page that will contain links to hypertext tutorials in psychology as they become available. Currently there are links to tutorials in:

Index

What's New

What's New

Artificial Intelligence

  • Eliza.  (Author Unknown)  This is the classic program, with a web interface, that attempts to use basic AI to imitate certain aspects of a therapeutic conversation.

Biopsychology/Physiopsychology

Clinical Psychology

  • Eliza.  (Author Unknown)  This is the classic program, with a web interface, that attempts to use basic AI to imitate certain aspects of a therapeutic conversation.

Cognitive Psychology

Return to index

Developmental Psychology

  • Educational Psychology Tutorials.  by Margaret Anderson. SUNY Cortland.  While the tutorials are aimed at a class in educational psychology the cover several developmental topics.
  • The Visible Embryo.  This site has images for most of the stages of prenatal development.  

General Collections

  • e.psych. by Gary Bradshaw at Mississippi State University.  This site is an educational web site that teaches visitors about psychological concepts, through interactive animations, video, experiment and demonstrations.
  • National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science
  • Online Psychology Laboratory.  Hosted by the APA and sponsored by the APA, NSF and National Science Digital Library (NSDL)
  • POSbase.  A database of powerpoint presentations that describe both classic and recent research in psychology useful for high school and undergraduate teaching.
  • PsychExperiments.  Ken McGraw, Mark D. Tew, and John E. Williams, University of Mississippi.  A nice collection of psychological experiments, both for labs and actual studies, that your students can run in.  It is possible to register your class so that you can segregate your data for your class for download in and Excel file.
  • PsychLabOnline.  A nice collection of interactive demonstrations of many basic concepts.  by John C. Hay

Return to index.

Learning

Research Methods and Statistics

Return to index.

Sensation and Perception

Return to index.

Social Psychology

  • NetLabs.  A collection of interactive exercises to accompany Brehm/Kassin/Fein's text Social Psychology, 5/e.  However, the collection is general enough to work for most people.
  • Online Social Facilitation Demonstration. By Gary McClelland at Colorado University
  • The Prisoner's Dilemma
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment A slideshow with textual narration covering the details of this classic and troubling study. It is put together by Philip Zimbardo.

 

Related Sites:

 

Index

What's New

Austria Information Switchboard's Big Information Value of the Week, 9/27/97

PsychologicalScience.net Cool Site

Maintained by John H. Krantz, Ph.D.

 

Case Study Method

Saul McLeod published 2008


Case studies are in-depth investigations of a single person, group, event or community. Typically, data are gathered from a variety of sources and by using several different methods (e.g. observations & interviews). The research may also continue for an extended period of time, so processes and developments can be studied as they happen.

The case study research method originated in clinical medicine (the case history, i.e. the patient’s personal history).

The case study method often involves simply observing what happens to, or reconstructing ‘the case history’ of a single participant or group of individuals (such as a school class or a specific social group), i.e. the idiographic approach. 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’.

The case study is not itself a research method, but researchers select methods of data collection and analysis that will generate material suitable for case studies. Amongst the sources of data the psychologist is likely to turn to when carrying out a case study are observations of a person’s daily routine, unstructured interviews with the participant herself (and with people who know her), diaries, personal notes (e.g. letters, photographs, notes) or official document (e.g. case notes, clinical notes, appraisal reports). Most of this information is likely to be qualitative (i.e. verbal description rather than measurement) but the psychologist might collect numerical data as well.

The data collected can be analyzed using different theories (e.g. grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, text interpretation, e.g. thematic coding) etc. All the approaches mentioned here use preconceived categories in the analysis and they are ideographic in their approach, i.e. they focus on the individual case without reference to a comparison group.

Case studies are widely used in psychology and amongst the best known were the ones carried out by Sigmund Freud. He conducted very detailed investigations into the private lives of his patients in an attempt to both understand and help them overcome their illnesses. 

Freud's most famous case studies include Little Hans (1909a) and The Rat Man (1909b). Even today case histories are one of the main methods of investigation in abnormal psychology and psychiatry. For students of these disciplines they can give a vivid insight into what those who suffer from mental illness often have to endure.

Case studies are often conducted in clinical medicine and involve collecting and reporting descriptive information about a particular person or specific environment, such as a school. 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. retrospective), as well as to significant events which are currently occurring in his or her everyday life.

In order to produce a fairly detailed and comprehensive profile of the person, the psychologist may use various types of accessible data, such as medical records, employer's reports, school reports or psychological test results. The interview is also an extremely effective procedure for obtaining information about an individual, and it may be used to collect comments from the person's friends, parents, employer, work mates and others who have a good knowledge of the person, as well as to obtain facts from the person him or herself.

This makes it clear that the case study is a method that should only be used by a psychologist, therapist or psychiatrist, i.e. someone with a professional qualification. There is an ethical issue of competence. Only someone qualified to diagnose and treat a person can conduct a formal case study relating to atypical (i.e. abnormal) behavior or atypical development.

The procedure used in a case study means that the researcher provides a description of the behavior. This comes from interviews and other sources, such as observation. The client also reports detail of events from his or her point of view. The researcher then writes up the information from both sources above as the case study, and interprets the information.

Interpreting the information means the researcher decides what to include or leave out. A good case study should always make clear which information is factual description and which is an inference or the opinion of the researcher.


Strengths of Case Studies

  • Provides detailed (rich qualitative) information.
  • Provides insight for further research.
  • Permitting investigation of otherwise impractical (or unethical) situations.

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. Research which only looks into the measurable aspects of human behavior is not likely to give us insights into the subjective dimension to experience which is so important to psychoanalytic and humanistic psychologists.

Case studies are often used in exploratory research. They can help us generate new ideas (that might be tested by other methods). They are an important way of illustrating theories and can help show how different aspects of a person's life are related to each other. The method is therefore important for psychologists who adopt a holistic point of view (i.e. humanistic psychologists).


Limitations of Case Studies

  • Can’t generalize the results to the wider population.
  • Researchers' own subjective feeling may influence the case study (researcher bias).
  • Difficult to replicate.
  • Time consuming.

Because a case study deals with only one person/event/group we can never be sure whether the conclusions drawn from this particular case apply elsewhere. The results of the study are not generalizable because we can never know whether the case we have investigated is representative of the wider body of "similar" instances

Because they are based on the analysis of qualitative (i.e. descriptive) data a lot depends on the interpretation the psychologist places on the information she has acquired. 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.

For example, Freud has been criticized for producing case studies in which the information was sometimes distorted to fit the particular theories about behavior (e.g. Little Hans). This is also true of Money’s interpretation of the Bruce/Brenda case study (Diamond, 1997) when he ignored evidence that went against his theory.

References

Diamond, M., & Sigmundson, K. (1997). Sex Reassignment at Birth: Long-term Review and Clinical Implications. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 151(3), 298-304

Freud, S. (1909a). Analysis of a phobia of a five year old boy. In The Pelican Freud Library (1977), Vol 8, Case Histories 1, pages 169-306

Freud, S. (1909b). Bemerkungen über einen Fall von Zwangsneurose (Der "Rattenmann"). Jb. psychoanal. psychopathol. Forsch., I, p. 357-421; GW, VII, p. 379-463; Notes upon a case of obsessional neurosis, SE, 10: 151-318.


How to reference this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2008). Case study method. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/case-study.html

One thought on “Case Study Method In Psychology Examples Of Sensation

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *