Case Study – Week 5Liberty UniversityRyan HerrigesDesign MethodologyThe case study research method is commonly used in social science and life sciences, but can be constructed to study topics discussed in business studies. This study tends to be a thorough investigation in regards to a group or specific individuals to gather in-depth information about specific variables (Heale, 2017). In this type of study it follows many of the same steps as with the methods previously discussed in the course and the aim is to find qualitative data to answer the selected research question.
The specific type of case study will depend on the overall goal of the research but the main categories are: explanatory, descriptive, and exploratory case studies.Exploratory case studies will attempt to break open a specific topic, circumstances, or social structure. The data found during an exploratory case study is meant to provoke discussion and potentially open the door to further research. Descriptive case studies examine the natural phenomena centered on the data which is to be researched. In this type of study the challenge is to create a detailed theory in order to support the phenomenon or the study could potentially produce data that is not entirely useful (Edward, 1998). An explanatory case study will investigate the information at face value and at the deeper level to best explain the phenomena in question.
However, it can be appropriate for studies which attempt to find a link between an event or situations implementation and its eventual outcome. If the desired outcome would be to bring insight to a topic or to bring awareness for the proficiency for a specific topic or situation then a case study is appropriate (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2015). Another useful situation where a case study would be appropriate is to document the outcomes for individuals in a program such as a doctoral degree to analyze their persistence rates and variables impact on those individuals. Gathering the real life experiences and information during a case study can give a wealth of knowledge beyond what is found in survey research or experiment. The researcher can gain information that potentially could illuminate the intricacies of those real life situations.
A case study design can be singe-case or multiple-case design which will depend on the topic being researched. If there are no other instances which can be simulated then the single-case design would be advantageous. The multiple-case design is more applicable to real-life situations which offer the researcher a greater pool of participants and the ability to repeat the scenario if needed. In the case of doctoral persistence the multiple-case design is the most practical for studying distance learning students and to gather the necessary data. Challenges of Using Case StudyThere are many useful situations for case study research but it is important to also discuss when the case study approach is disadvantageous to utilize. Since the selection of a suitable research method is important to make sure that the selected research questions about Doctoral Persistence are analyzed in such a way that it addresses the key aspects of the selected topic.
Case study will not be helpful as a research method if the overarching goal of the study is to look outside of a single person or a small group. In regards, to program evaluation it may be costly and time consuming. It is unlikely to result in simple quantitative data for the study and it is more time consuming to analyze the qualitative information over the quantitative information. The case study has been criticized for relying too heavily on anecdotal success stories and for a general lack of rigorous methodology, and because it provides “little basis for scientific generalization” (Yin, 1994, p. 10).
To combat the challenges of case study the researcher will be exploring the strategies that the students utilize in order to examine the data in the context that it is being used (Yin, 1994). Even though the case study can become time consuming it is beneficial for a researcher to observe students within the environment that they will be operating in. Conducting research in this way is in contrast to that of an experiment that would intentionally attempt to isolate a phenomenon from its context to concentration on a limited amount of variables (Zainal, 2007). Case study have been criticized for a lack of rigorous methodology, however the comprehensive accounts produce extensive amounts of qualitative data that allows the researcher to illuminate a scenarios complexities which would not be captured in an experiment. This intimate detail offers detail about why a student uses a particular strategy, numerical information on the students’ strategy, and how that educational strategy is used in relation to another.Problem StatementEducation is a major aspect of the social structure within American society and over time higher education has become more critical for success within the job marketplace. Only one out five graduate students who decide to attain a doctoral degree and of this number only forty to sixty percent will not complete their program (Ivankova ; Stick, 2006). A case study is a useful tool to evaluate doctoral persistence because it allows the researcher to target a specific group or individuals for detailed real- life analysis into the topic.
Conducting research using the case study method will allow for considerable insight, interpretation, and analysis in order to allow for recommendations to improve the strategies for persistence rates. The Sage Journal case study by Lewis Madhlangobe offers a great deal of data on how motivational factors impact graduation rates and looks into which variables have the most weight. It reviews the developing market and technological capabilities to optimize the distance learning platform to make sure the students are learning and that they are offering the necessary services to meet the students’ needs.
“As college education plays a cooperative role with, and in conjunction to a number of other social and educational arenas—, high school education, civic education, correctional education, workforce training, and social services— policy connected to higher education should impact how college capabilities and resources are managed and developed (Smith, 2006, p. 178).”Outside of those motivational factors are personality types and characteristics that make educational programs easier or harder depending on their psychological make-up. An individual’s psychological make-up influences many other areas of one’s life and it would not be a far stretch that it would have an effect on educational program performance.
This research will build upon the study completed by Falconer who attempted to, “address the gap in research on personality types and doctoral student retention because of the high attrition rates in doctoral students (Falconer, 2017, p. 1).” The topic of personality types is not something that has been widely explored, but with case study research it might shed light on this area by gathering real life data on those students within the context of our study which could improve the effectiveness of distance learning programs. These factors in conjunction with the social and academic support services offered by a university are believed to be an essential aspect of the student’s success (Greene, 2015). Support services along with the students’ level of involvement with the university and social integration are found to be influential on rates of persistence.
Environmental factors, such as family ties and work obligations add strains on to the student that will also be a factor that influences persistence rates.The problem statement for this Case Study is to find the quintessence heart as to what environmental factors and support services impact the students overall experience in a distance learning environment and to gather qualitative data to determine which factors will influence doctoral persistence rates. Qualitative Research QuestionsQualitative Case Study research questions are as follows:How do external motivational strategies impact the adult students distance learning experience in doctoral programs?How do environmental factors impact the students of distance learning programs in doctoral programs? Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of this Exploratory Case Studies research is to discover the central issue about how the pupils involved in the doctoral business administration program benefit from school sponsored programs and how their environmental factors in an online setting impact the overall completion rates. Exploratory Case Studies go deep into the experiences of the small case study group should offer useful qualitative evidence into what benefits students the most. It is important for educational institutions to examine these persistence levels in order to find ways to improve services that the school can offer to its students and teach students strategies that work best for their environmental factors.
It is theorized that faculty, finances, support and cognitive load will all play a factor in a student sticking with a program or dropping out. It has also being theorized that personality types can have a significant correlation in the student’s doctoral persistence. The overall goal for educational institutions is to have students succeed while maintaining the schools core values and principles. This study potentially could give insight into student programs such as tutoring which is a constantly changing arena as technology improves and its costs go down. New technologies allow for the influencing of support services and positively impacting students within case study research of distance learning students (Madhlangobe, Chikasha, Kurasha, ; Mafa, 2014). “In the qualitative follow up multiple case study analysis four major themes emerged: (1) quality of academic experiences; (2) online learning environment; (3) support and assistance; and (4) student self-motivation (Ivankova, 2007, p.1).
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