Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, eds., The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, 4th edition, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 301-316
16 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 1, 2011
At the same time that case studies are widely used and have produced canonical texts, it may be observed that the case study as a methodology is generally held in low regard, or is simply ignored, within the academy. For example, only 2 of the 30 top-ranked U.S. graduate programs in political science require a dedicated graduate course in case study or qualitative methods, and a full third of these programs do not even offer such a course. In contrast, all of the top 30 programs offer courses in quantitative methods and almost all of them require training in such methods, often several courses. In identifying this paradox of the case study’s wide use and low regard, Gerring rightly remarks that the case study survives in a “curious methodological limbo,” and that the reason is that the method is poorly understood. In what follows, we will try to resolve Gerring’s paradox and help case study research gain wider use and acceptance.
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