Stake The Art of Case Study Research Personal Reflection

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

When I first read through the storytelling section of this chapter, I thought Stake was implying that case study research is not storytelling. The two are different inherently. However, after reviewing my notes, I think that Stake is not being as black and white as I had originally interpreted. On page 127, Stake says, "Case study reporting is not simply storytelling." It is the word simply that caught my attention. By including that adverb, I think that Stake is implying that storytelling and case study are not two separate entities as I had originally thought, but rather they are connected. Storytelling is a simplified version of case study research. It has a sequential script to which it must adhere, and Stake alludes to this prescription. The characters of a story encounter or possess a problem. When they try to solve it, their initial attempts fail. The problem worsens leading towards the climax. Then, somehow they miraculously solve the problem. Case study research is not about solving problems. It is about illuminating issues. Case study research is much more complex, and its process is more of an art. Stake also mentions how the traditional research report is ill fitting as well. Simply stating the problem, reviewing the literature, discussing the research design, data collection, and analysis, and stating conclusions would not do the case justice. The case must be presented in such a way that the interplay between the author's assertions and the reader's naturalistic generalizations present the case in its entirety.

"A vignette often is an extreme representation, quite atypical (p. 128)."

This sentence really confused me because I had been under the opposite impression. Until I read this statement, I believed that vignettes were used to illustrate assertions that resulted from typical situations. Stake also mentioned that in qualitative research, we can learn just as much from atypical situations as we can from typical situations. I am wondering how such instances contribute to the validity because in quantitative research outliers are often disregarded. It seems that in qualitative research, atypical situations are revered. I need to tease this idea out and am looking for others' thoughts to help me think through this idea.