Stake Case Researcher Roles in Case Study

Stake, R. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Chapter 6: Case Researcher Roles


  • "Although the rules of research oftentimes seem prescribed and restrictive, the styles researchers follow in designing, studying, writing, and consulting vary considerably (p. 91)."
  • "Each researcher consciously or unconsciously makes continuous decisions about how much emphasis to give each role (p. 91)."
  • The researcher determines which role s/he will play.
  • The Case Researcher as Teacher

    • "The intention of research is to inform, to sophisticate, to assist the increase of competence and maturity, to socialize, and to liberate (pp. 91 - 92)."
    • "Teaching is not just lecturing, not just delivering information; more, it is the arrangement of opportunities for learners to follow a natural human inclination to become educated (p. 92)."
    • Stake refers us to Cronbach & Associates (1980) for a more defined role of teacher as researcher.
  • The Case Researcher as Advocate

    • "Phenomena need accurate description, but even observational interpretation of those phenomena will be shaped by the mood, the experience, the intention of the researcher (p. 95)."
    • "Qualitative research does not dismiss invalidity of description and encourage advocacy. It recognizes that invalidities and advocacies are ever present and turns away from the goal as well as the presumption of sanitization (p. 95)."
  • The Case Researcher as Evaluator
  • The Case Researcher as Biographer

    • The biographer recognizes that life occurs against changing times, that it is beset with problems, that it has patterns and phases, that is has uniqueness, yet holds much in common with the lives around it (p. 97)."
  • The Case Researcher as Interpreter

    • "The researcher is the agent of new interpretation, new knowledge, but also new illusion. Sometimes, the researcher points to what to believe, sometimes facilitating reader understandings that exceed the comprehension of the researcher. The researcher helps extend the elegant intricacy of understanding but meticulous readers find the infinite void still lying just beyond (p. 99)."
  • Constructivism

    • "No aspects of knowledge are purely of the external world, devoid of human construction (p. 100)."
  • Relativity

    • The researcher also choices the extent of participation, his/her role, whether or not to appear as expert, how much to reveal, the extent of meeting the reader's needs, the amount of interpretations, the extent of advocacy, and the presentation of the case.


  • Cronbach, L., & Associates. (1980). Toward reform of program evaluation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.