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Five misunderstandings about case study research, corrected

Bent Flyvbjerg

In Maggi Savin-Baden and Claire Howell Major, eds., Qualitative Research: The Essential Guide to Theory and Practice. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 165-166

Bent Flyvbjerg is author of Making social science matter: Why social inquiry fails and how it can succeed again, which explains the importance of the ‘power of example’ and of narrative, that is, of case study research, to the health and impact of social science in the academy and society. The following five misunderstandings about the case study systematically undermine the credibility and use of the method.

The five misunderstandings constitute the conventional view, or orthodoxy, of the case study. As can be seen, theory, reliability, and validity are at issue: in other words, the very status of the case study as a research method.

The five misunderstandings are corrected one by one in order to clear the ground for a use of case study research in the social sciences that is based on understanding instead of misunderstanding.

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