Case study and historical research
DOI link for Case study and historical research
Case study and historical research book
It is arguable, of course, that the concept of case study is inappropriate in historical work. It might be suggested, for example, that all historical writing is case study, in the sense that all historical narrative, description and analysis concerns single and particular cases, events, instances - but indicative always of that small number of dichotomies which are the permanent concern of historians - tradition and change, stability and instability, continuity and discontinuity. If all historical work is part of such an endless tapestry, then the concept of case study loses any real meaning. Alternatively, it might be suggested that history never produces 'cases' because of the ultimate uniqueness of all historical events. Although these may be cumulative, they do not produce any sense of historical pattern. In such a view, the only history is detailed narrative and biography - indicating the unpredictability of human action, and the inapplicable, unrepeatable nature of the historical event. Whilst both of these arguments may caricature what historians actually do, they indicate real obstacles to bringing together meaningfully the work of historians of education and those forms of educational research which have attempted to use and to elucidate the case study approach.