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Keywords:

  • case study research;
  • health promotion;
  • nursing;
  • palliative care;
  • research design;
  • research methods;
  • schematics

Abstract

Title. Schematic representation of case study research designs

Aim.  The paper is a report of a study to demonstrate how the use of schematics can provide procedural clarity and promote rigour in the conduct of case study research.

Background.  Case study research is a methodologically flexible approach to research design that focuses on a particular case – whether an individual, a collective or a phenomenon of interest. It is known as the ‘study of the particular’ for its thorough investigation of particular, real-life situations and is gaining increased attention in nursing and social research. However, the methodological flexibility it offers can leave the novice researcher uncertain of suitable procedural steps required to ensure methodological rigour.

Method.  This article provides a real example of a case study research design that utilizes schematic representation drawn from a doctoral study of the integration of health promotion principles and practices into a palliative care organization.

Discussion.  The issues discussed are: (1) the definition and application of case study research design; (2) the application of schematics in research; (3) the procedural steps and their contribution to the maintenance of rigour; and (4) the benefits and risks of schematics in case study research.

Conclusion.  The inclusion of visual representations of design with accompanying explanatory text is recommended in reporting case study research methods.