Theory-Building with Cases
Rotterdam School of Management, Department of Management of Technology and Innovation
Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Management of Technology and Innovation
19 2009 6,
ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2009-036-ORG
Theory-building with cases is (a) formulating new propositions that emerge from the empirical evidence in a sample of cases and (b) testing them in the same sample. The main difference with most other forms of generating new propositions (such as analyzing the theoretical literature, brainstorming, etc.) is its empirical character. The main difference with other forms of discovering new propositions in empirical evidence (such as in ‘exploratory’ research) is that only those theoretical formulations are accepted as a result of the theory-building study that are confirmed in a test in the sample from which the proposition was built. It is possible that a proposition about a relationship between two variables emerges from an exploratory single case study (e.g., when both variables have extreme values in that case), but it is not possible to test that new proposition in the same study because this would require a comparison in a sample of cases. The term theory-building study (as distinct from an exploratory study) is used here only for studies in which a proper test of the new proposition has been conducted.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: sufficient condition, necessary condition, case study research, theory-building, HG4015.5
JEL Classification: M13, O32, M, B41working papers series
Date posted: July 15, 2009
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