Case Study Research

Prof. Werner J. Patzelt, Technische Universität Dresden

The goal of this course is to provide participants with a clear understanding of:

  • What case studies are good for (like making inferences on causal mechanisms, finding explanations for specific cases, and improving or constructing theories)
  • The relationships between single case research, small-n comparative research, and large-n variance-oriented research; including an overview of the various forms of case study research
  • The epistemological and methodological challenges of case study research (causality vs. correlation; role of theory; rules for case selection; approaches to data collection; types of data analysis like analysis of covariance, process tracing, and counterfactual analysis)
  • Sound research designs for (small-n comparative) case studies, and of how they can be nested into mixed methods research designs.

After completing this course, participants should be able to develop sound research designs for case studies of their own. Basic knowledge of social science methodology would be helpful, but is not required for taking this course. But participants should come with an emerging or ongoing case study project of their own, such that course teaching and own research experiences can benefit from each other.
Morning sessions will be devoted to lectures and classroom discussions, afternoon sessions to exercises, group work and seminar presentations by participants.