The Case Survey Method

Aggregating Case Experience

by William A. Lucas

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Treats the case survey method, an inexpensive way to aggregate the qualitative and descriptive information in an existing case study literature and make it susceptible to quantitative analysis. Structured and tightly defined questions and answers permit the ascertaining of information about outcomes and their alternative determinants. The answers are determined in the same manner for each of the cases and the resulting data are put in machine-readable form. In selecting case studies, the reviewer should develop consistent and explicit rules to judge the substantive relevance of cases, guide the search, and determine whether cases meet methodological standards. The literature should be considered a nonrandom sample of observations and the cases chosen tested for sampling bias. For the checklist, theory should guide the selection of variables and their levels of abstraction. Reliability measures are developed through multiple coding of single cases, comparative coding of two cases on the same activity, and field research.

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