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Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research

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  • Bent Flyvbjerg

Abstract

This article examines five common misunderstandings about case-study research: (1) Theoretical knowledge is more valuable than practical knowledge; (2) One cannot generalize from a single case, therefore the single case study cannot contribute to scientific development; (3) The case study is most useful for generating hypotheses, while other methods are more suitable for hypotheses testing and theory building; (4) The case study contains a bias toward verification; and (5) It is often difficult to summarize specific case studies. The article explains and corrects these misunderstandings one by one and concludes with the Kuhnian insight that a scientific discipline without a large number of thoroughly executed case studies is a discipline without systematic production of exemplars, and that a discipline without exemplars is an ineffective one. Social science may be strengthened by the execution of more good case studies.

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  • Bent Flyvbjerg, 2013. "Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research," Papers 1304.1186, arXiv.org.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1304.1186
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    Cited by:

    1. Natasha Evers, 2010. "Factors influencing the internationalisation of new ventures in the Irish aquaculture industry: An exploratory study," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 392-416, December.
    2. Karl Pajo & Louise Lee, 2011. "Corporate-Sponsored Volunteering: A Work Design Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 99(3), pages 467-482, March.

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