Case studies

Here is the syllabus for Qualitative Research (Paper 3)

Theory and practice in qualitative research

Distinguish between qualitative and quantitative data.
Explain strengths and limitations of a qualitative approach to research.
To what extent can findings be generalised from qualitative studies?
Discuss ethical considerations in qualitative research.
Discuss sampling techniques appropriate to qualitative research (for example, purposive sampling, snowballing sampling).
Explain effects of participant expectations and researcher bias in qualitative research.
Explain the importance of credibility in qualitative research.
Explain the effect of triangulation on the credibility / trustworthiness of qualitative research.
Explain reflexivity in qualitative research.


Evaluate semi-structured, focus group and narrative interviews.
Discuss considerations involved before, during and after an interview (e.g. sampling method, data recording, traditional versus postmodern transcription, debriefing).
Explain how researcher use inductive content analysis (thematic analysis) on interview transcripts.


Evaluate participant, non-participant, naturalistic, overt and covert observations.
Discuss considerations involved in setting up and carrying out an observation (for example, audience effect, Hawthorne effect, disclosure).
Discuss how researchers analyse data obtained in observational research.

Case studies

Evaluate the use of case studies in research.
Explain how a case study could be used to investigate a problem in an organisation or group (for example, a football team, a school, a family).
Discuss the extent to which findings can be generalised from a single case study.