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Demystifying case research: A structured-pragmatic-situational (SPS) approach to conducting case studies

Published on Nov 1, 2011in Information and Organization
· DOI :10.1016/j.infoandorg.2011.07.001
Shan Ling Pan37
Estimated H-index: 37
(NUS: National University of Singapore),
Barney Tan9
Estimated H-index: 9
(USYD: University of Sydney)
Abstract
Despite an abundance of prescriptions and examples for the conduct of case research in the literature, the fact that most prescriptions tend to (1) articulate general principles/guidelines that are difficult to translate into specific, actionable steps, (2) hold only under idealized conditions and may be unworkable in the field, and (3) emphasize the need to be flexible without explaining how flexibility can be achieved, is creating a steep learning curve. To address these gaps, a structured-pragmatic-situational (SPS) approach to conducting case research is proposed with detailed instructions provided for each of its eight steps. The eight steps include (1) access negotiation, (2)conceptualizing the phenomenon,(3) collecting and organizing the initial data, (4) constructing and extending the theoretical lens, (5) confirming and validating data, (6) selective coding, (7) ensuring theory-data-model alignment, and (8) writing the case report. With its prescriptions, the SPS approach introduces a number of conceptual innovations, integrates the different recommendations of some of the most frequently cited works on the case research method into a coherent whole, and suggests resolutions for a number of common issues that confront case researchers.
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