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The Anatomy of the Case Study

The Anatomy of the Case Study

September 2015 | 160 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This sharp, stimulating title provides a structure for thinking about, analysing and designing case study. It explores the historical, theoretical and practical bones of modern case study research, offering to social scientists a framework for understanding and working with this form of inquiry.  Using detailed analysis of examples taken from across the social sciences Thomas and Myers set out, and then work through, an intricate typology of case study design to answer questions such as:

  • How is a case study constructed?
  • What are the required, inherent components of case study?
  • Can a coherent structure be applied to this form of inquiry?

The book grounds complex theoretical insights in real world research and includes an extended example that has been annotated line by line to take the reader through each step of understanding and conducting research using case study.


Chapter 1: What is case study?
Chapter 2: The history of case study and its epistemological status
Chapter 3: Generalisation, phronesis and the case study
Chapter 4: Induction and the case study
Chapter 5: A typology for case study
Chapter 6: Working through the typology
Chapter 7: An example in depth: Contesting Certification
Chapter 8: Conclusion: drawing from the anatomy and constructing the study

This will become the new bible for serious case study inquiry.

Norman K. Denzin
Research Professor of Communications and Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois

This is a systematic and inspiring book to draw on when organising your research around a case study, because it strikes a fine balance between epistemological eloquence and methodological practicalities. The book manages to clarify a general anatomy of case studies, while at the same time demonstrating and exemplifying a large variety of ways of doing them.

Bente Halkier
Professor, Roskilde University

Thomas and Myers systematically unpack epistemological and practical issues related to case study as a form of social science inquiry. Their work provides a clear structure for case study in social science inquiry. The authors have done an excellent job tackling the two main issues related to case study – deficiency in generalising power and lack of structure. They provide complex theoretical insights in real world research and I think readers will easily understand the technical concepts in the book because adequate explanation is given. I believe this book achieves its aim in offering a theoretical and practical framework with extended examples for both the experienced researcher and graduate students who choose to use a case study.

Abate Kenna
International Journal of Research & Method in Education

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