What is the purpose of a psychological case study?

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Meg Hayes answered
The main purpose of a psychological case study is that it provides a descriptive method of research and can be used to obtain an in-depth analysis of the subject that is being studied.

  • Advantages to the practice
The main advantage of conducting a psychological case study is that is aids the researcher to develop a novel hypotheses; which can later be tested.

  • Drawbacks to the technique
Conducting case studies has at least one major disadvantage, experts argue that it has an inability to establish a cause and effect relationship or actually test the hypotheses.

Also, conducting a case study makes it impossible to generalize the findings that you have made to a wider population outside the study group.

  • Types of case studies
To make things a little bit more complex, there is more than one type of case study that a psychologist can use. Below is more information on these different types:

  • Exploratory: This type of case study usually comes before more in-depth research is conducted. Doing this allows the researcher to obtain more information before they further develop their hypotheses and research questions.
  • Descriptive: Using this type of case study requires the research to begin with a descriptive theory. The subjects up for study are then put into observation in order to gather information to support a pre-existing theory.
  • Intrinsic: Ideal when the student has developed a special interest in the case being conducted.
  • Instrumental: Used by researchers when the individual or group being studied allows them to understand a lot more than what they have originally observed.

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