APPLYING CASE STUDY METHODOLOGY TO CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATIONS

Authors


fran@childfamilypsyc.co.nz

Abstract

The child custody evaluation (CCE) can play a critical role in the resolution of custody disputes in the Family Court. There have been a number of significant methodological advances made in this field by various researchers over the past 20 years. It is timely that a scientifically-based, integrative, methodological framework be developed within which existing methods might be situated. In this paper, case study methodology is proposed as an appropriate methodological framework for CCEs. The application of this methodology to CCEs is explicated with particular attention being paid to the methodological tasks of data collection and data interpretation. An orienting model is proposed to guide the collection of data, and strategies are described for applying population level research findings to individual cases in the form of risk and resilience models. Finally, coherence, analogy, and making methodology explicit are proposed as evaluation criteria for the CCE process and reports, and suggestions are made about outcome research.

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