Case study psychology

Case study psychology is the investigation of the in-depth state of the individual, group of individuals, or certain phenomenon. Numerous methods and approaches can be utilized for investigating psych 1) . The case study psych is significant for psychology because it shows all aspects of the human behavior. The most popular are direct-observation, interviewing, and many types of testing. Basically, psychological case studies are used for examining rare conditions. Psychological case studies are usually based on one case study. However, there are several samples of multiple-case design 2) . Being a part of the methodology, psychological case studies provide useful and reliable information which may contribute to the development of science. Found below are cons and pros of case study, its types, and usage, provided by Custom-Writing service.

Pros and Cons of case study in psychology

The case study definition psychology is connected with a deep investigation of the various behavioral factors that surround individuals or group of individuals. That is why case study definition includes observing what happens around 3) . It enables the scientist conduct the investigation in details rather than deal with a great number of participants.

The biggest advantage is that a case study covers all aspects of individual's life including the behavior 4) . It enables to generalize information and gather general results. Another advantage is that a case study enables researchers to carry on investigations that cannot be conducted in a lab. What is more, it helps create the research of every aspect of the patient’s behavior. This will give an insight into picture of the problem 5) .

Basically, the case study is not a method itself. It means that researchers implement such methods and ways of data collection and relevant analysis that will collect the material relevant to the case study. In most cases, data that the researcher uses include the direct observation of the daily routine of the particular individual, the interviewing with the participant, some personal notes or formal documents 6) . Consequently, the gathered information may be analyzed with the help of many theories. The most widely known are text interpretation, thematic coding, and grounded theory 7) . However, these theories are quite subjective because they analyze only one particular case without providing parallel with the group. It looks like one of the most crucial cons of the psychological case studies 8) . Any scientist does not know for sure whether it is possible to apply the same observation to another patient. One more important fact is that all the research and investigation are formed on the qualitative data. A certain part in the research depends on the researcher's interpretation. It means that a lot of information is quite subjective and may be biased as well 9) .

Types of case study

There are two fundamental types of case study, namely intrinsic and instrumental. The intrinsic case study is chosen by researchers due to the fact that it is rather appealing by its nature. The scientists want to get information about it in particular rather than about a common phenomenon 10) . The instrumental case study investigates a general phenomenon. It enables the scientist to research the phenomenon of interest. The investigation identifies a phenomenon so the case is chosen to research how the phenomenon exists in a certain case. The individuals who undergo the investigation are appropriate cases for analysis 11) .

Usage of the case study

Initially, the psychology case study method presupposes the collection of data which is qualitative in nature. Consequently, it may suggest information about the unique characteristics of a certain individual. One of the bright case study in psychology examples can be clinical psychology. In clinical psychology, the most popular case studies are Freud’s cases 12) .

This approach plays a significant role in planning the treatment or therapy. Moreover, the case studies may be created of the common representatives of groups. The case study method can also be applied for treating people with severe cases. It enables to analyze a possible reason for the illness 13) . Although the results of the investigation are subjective and one-sided to some extent, it will still be real to make suppositions regarding the future development and outburst of the sickness in other people. That is why it is significant to provide case studies in psychology in order to have a better vision of the overall disease 14) .

Famous case studies

One of the most popular psychology case study examples is the case study conducted by Sigmund Freud 15) . His decision was to make a deep investigation of the private lives of his clients. He thought that it would be possible to find the problem and solve it immediately. The greatest interest was a case study called Little Hans and the Rat Man. The results of this research are applied even today in psychiatry and abnormal psychology. Consequently, such studies may provide students with a certain insight what conditions the person who suffers has to endure. However, Freud’s case studies were criticized to some extent. The bright example can be his case study which is called Little Hans 16) . He was criticized for providing distorted information to suit certain behavioral theories. The same thing was with Money's understanding of Bruce/Benda case study. Money avoided the information that was against the theory. That is why he underwent criticism 17) .

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10) 1 Willig, Carla (2001) Introducing qualitative research in psychology. Buckingham: Open University Press, page 73 ff
11) Juliet Kaarbo and Ryan K. Beasley (1999) A Practical Guide to the Comparative Case Study Method in Political Psychology.
12) Five Landmark Psychology Case Studies You Should Know About (2011), retrieved from
13) Kemp, H.( 2009)Teaching Psychology Through the Case Study Method
14) Sjödén PO, (1988) Single Case Study in Psychology and Psychotherapy.
15) Saul McLeod( 2008) Case Study Method.
16) Case Study in Psychology, retrieved from
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