ArticlePDF Available

Robert K. Yin. (2014). Case Study Research Design and Methods (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 282 pages.

Journal: CJPE; Volume 30; Issue: 1
DOI: 10.3138/CJPE.BR-240
Page 1 of 5
Robert K. Yin. (2014). Case study research
design and methods (5th ed.). Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage. 282 pages.
ISBN 978-1-4522-4256-9
Reviewed by Trista Hollweck, University of Ottawa.
Corresponding author: Trista Hollweck;
Robert K. Yin’s Case Study Research Design and Methods (2014) is currently in
its fifth edition and continues to be a seminal text for researchers and students engaged in
case study research. Since the book’s first release 30 years ago (1984), case study
research has gained considerable acceptance as a research method, likely a result of Yin’s
unyielding position that case study be considered a separate and all-encompassing
method with its own research design. This current edition of the book is heavily
influenced by the advances in case study research and remains a definitive guide on how
to design more rigorous and methodologically sound case studies that will stand up to
questions of validity and reliability. Importantly, Yin manages to link theory and practice
by presenting the breadth of case study research and its historical significance at a
practical level. It is Yin’s view that, when “the process has been given careful attention,
the potential result is the production of a high-quality case study” (p. 199). Thus, a
comprehensive and systematic outline for undertaking the design and conduct of a case
study is presented in a very straightforward and readable manner throughout the book’s
282 pages. Ultimately, Yin argues that case study research is a challenging endeavour
that hinges upon the researcher’s skills and expertise. As such, this edition includes more
difficult concepts to guide researchers and students in the work of carrying out more
Journal: CJPE; Volume 30; Issue: 1
DOI: 10.3138/CJPE.BR-240
Page 2 of 5
rigorous case study research, thereby retaining Yin’s ultimate goal “to improve our social
science methods and practices over those of previous generations of scholars” (p. xxvi).
Building on the key strengths of earlier editions, the book’s crisp structure has
benefited from numerous editions with reviewer feedback, and it continues to serve as an
exemplar for other methodological guides. The book shows the case study research
process as a “linear but iterative process” (p. xxii) and provides practical and technical
discussions on each of the six elements of case study research: the plan, design,
preparation, data collection, analysis and reporting. Each of these features forms the topic
of the book’s six chapters and together are represented by an overarching six-circled
visual display. For those researchers interested in going a little deeper into some
elements, Yin also provides practical exercises with challenging methodological
questions or situations that can be addressed. Through these structural features, as well as
the book’s enhanced headings and subheadings, numerous supporting resources, and the
excellent cross-referenced index in Appendix C, Yin makes a complex methodology
much more approachable.
Essentially, Yin is a methodologist who states: “Readability, credibility, and
concern with confirmability all matter” (p. 192). The essence of this book can be found in
the first chapter, which not only establishes the basis for case studies as a research
method but also provides a twofold operational definition, covering both its scope and its
features, that clearly distinguishes it from other methods. Most simply, case study is
defined as “an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon (the
‘case’) in depth and within its real-world context” (p. 16). From here, Yin shows how
case study research constitutes an all-encompassing method that covers the logic of
Journal: CJPE; Volume 30; Issue: 1
DOI: 10.3138/CJPE.BR-240
Page 3 of 5
design, data collection techniques, and specific approaches to data analysis, which
ultimately informs the structure of the book. Because this definition has been reworked
over the four previous editions, it is a useful reference for the novice researcher and an
important contribution to the field of research methodology. Throughout the text, Yin
emphasizes the power of high-quality case study research that focuses on rigour, validity,
and reliability. Clearly a proponent for case study research, Yin openly addresses its
enduring criticisms as a methodology and urges the researcher to carefully consider
whether a case study is the most appropriate method for their inquiry project.
As a student of program evaluation, I was extremely pleased to see the addition of
the role of case study in the field of evaluation in this fifth edition. In an attempt to retain
the compactness of the original text, Yin makes scattered reference to evaluation
throughout the book, such as in his discussion of Patton’s (2002) four types of data
triangulation (Chapter 4) and the logic model (illustrated as three types) as an analytic
tool that can use both qualitative and quantitative case study data (Chapter 5). I found
Yin’s definition of the logic model as a tool that “stipulates and operationalizes a
complex chain of occurrences or events over an extended period of time” (p. 155)
particularly useful. Yin posits that the use of logic models in case study research can help
explain the ultimate outcomes because the analysis technique consists of matching
empirically observed events to theoretically predicted events. However, beyond these two
references to evaluation within the framework of case study research, the bulk of Yin’s
focus on the role of case study in evaluation is found in Appendix B. There he states that,
as evaluation textbooks have given case study spotty recognition to date, it is his position
that “case study research has a functional and legitimate role in doing evaluations” (p.
Journal: CJPE; Volume 30; Issue: 1
DOI: 10.3138/CJPE.BR-240
Page 4 of 5
219). In evaluation, case studies can be used to capture the complexity of a case,
including temporal changes, as well as explore the contextual conditions of a case. In
addition, Yin presents three major applications for case studies and describes them in
detail, showing how they can apply to a variety of situations. These applications are (a) as
part of a larger evaluation with the case study portion viewed as complementary and
providing explanatory information, (b) as the primary evaluation method where the
initiative being evaluated becomes the main case, or (c) as part of a dual-level evaluation
arrangement in which a single evaluation consists of one or more subevaluations with the
potential of case study playing various roles to inform the program evaluation as a whole.
Most usefully, Yin provides key examples of each application in the boxes at the end of
each description. Ultimately, Yin presents case study research as an integral method for
program evaluators to consider, but its usefulness, relevance, and quality depend on the
evaluation situation and their skills and expertise. Like social science researchers, Yin
urges evaluators to become familiar with case study design as outlined in this book and
carefully consider whether it is an appropriate method before using it in their evaluations.
In reviewing each chapter in depth, I gained the knowledge needed to not only
understand the complex methodological process of case study research, but also to feel
comfortable using it for my own inquiry projects. Throughout this latest edition, Yin
continues to defend case study research as an integral and rigorous methodology, and he
presents this argument through a very practical and readable structure. While retaining
the strength of earlier editions, this book is an excellent update that adds further depth to
the methodology, a refined definition, and more detailed coverage of certain topics. With
Yin’s unequivocal emphasis on the quality of the case study research method being
Journal: CJPE; Volume 30; Issue: 1
DOI: 10.3138/CJPE.BR-240
Page 5 of 5
directly linked to the researcher’s ability, I would highly recommend this text to anyone
engaged in social science methodologies, especially the novice researcher and student of
program evaluation. By carefully adopting this book’s techniques and guidance, it is my
view that not only will Yin’s ultimate goal “that case study research will be better than in
the past” come to fruition, but new exemplary case studies characterized by “engagement,
enticement, and seduction” (p. 206) may be “enthusiastically” produced. Perhaps, some
of these case studies may even find their way into future editions.
Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
... The study used an exploratory single-case study design (Yin, 2003). The intention was to conduct a strengths-based evaluation of the specialist setting for the purpose of understanding which elements were valued by students. ...
Full-text available
“Emotionally based school avoidance” (EBSA) is a term used to describe young people who have difficulty attending school due to emotional needs. In comparison to previously favoured terms such as “school refuser”, EBSA highlights the impact of unmet emotional needs over school non-attendance, which then informs the intervention offered for students struggling to attend school. This paper presents an exploratory single-case study undertaken at a specialist GCSE setting (School X) for students experiencing EBSA. The work was commissioned by the programme following three consecutive years in which all students completing their GCSEs (national curriculum) showed improvement in attendance and 85% achieved above their predicted grade. In addition, 95% of students were still in post-16 study after leaving the school. The study, therefore, aimed to explore students’ views of protective factors in a setting where they have previously made progress in terms of attendance and achievement. Qualitative data were gathered using semi-structured questions with students in a group setting, delivered online using an anonymised computer software system. Quantitative data were gathered with students in a one-to-one situation using an adaption of the Q-sort technique, a self-contained “qualiquantilogical” methodology that aims to explore human subjectivity. Findings were collectively analysed using thematic analysis, which produced two over-arching themes: interconnectivity and psychological safety. Findings from this study are considered alongside research about interventions suggested to be effective for supporting students experiencing EBSA to re-engage with school and education.
... This study largely used case study leading quantitative analysis. Hollweck [27] proclaimed that a case study strategy was adopted when the researcher has no control over the conditions, contextual factors, and outcomes of an intervention. This study also attempted to outline the qualitative traits of farmer behavior in farming. ...
Full-text available
The Farmer Field School is a season-long training for farmers involving participatory activities and interactive learning with the doctrine of integrated pest management and agroecosystem analysis. It has become a popular education and extension approach worldwide. This study tried to evaluate the FFS as a vehicle for sustainable agriculture which has economic viability, ecological soundness, and social acceptability. The study aimed to analyze the impact of the FFS on crop income, agroecology, and farmers’ behavior in farming. The empirical models, such as propensity score matching, Mahalanobis distance matching, and difference in differences, were applied for estimating the impact of FFS on crop income, more specifically, real income from brinjal. The environmental impact quotient was used to assess the agroecological impact of using pesticide, and a graded response model was used to investigate farmer behavioral changes in farming. The treatment effect based on the empirical models has shown a positive, significant effect on crop income. The findings also revealed that FFS farmers had a lower agroecological impact from pesticide use, and their behavior in farming practices was improved. Therefore, FFS was demonstrated to be a key strategy in strengthening agricultural extension services, which will contribute to promoting sustainable agriculture.
... For this study, the authors focused on the three days of class vignettes related to the discussion on the given word problem. A descriptive case study design (Yin, 2003) was used to examine student challenges during word-problem solving, and how students resolved those challenges through a series of small group discussions. ...
Word problems are frequently used in school mathematics to offer students the opportunity to explore mathematical relationships and structure. However, previous studies have reported that word problems are misused or abused in ways that overlook the original intent of exploring mathematical structure and relationship. This study aims to share a series of a small group of third-grade students’ explorations while debating the mathematical relationships in solving a word problem with representations over several days. Although the exploration took longer than planned, it was worthwhile. It offered students a space to express confusion, showcase their knowledge, test conjectures, and imagine alternative contexts. Ultimately, these explorations helped students recognize multiple relationships within the context of specific problems while bringing their attention to real-world related applications. The retrospective analysis of class episodes offers insight into learning opportunities to support students in exploring mathematical structure and relationships while discussing and debating the word problem context.
... This empirical study depended on survey design and a standard questionnaire was used to collect the data to assess the level of basic financial literacy among high school teenagers in Ethiopia. The subject of the study is a recent phenomenon making the utilization of an exploratory, descriptive approach an appropriate choice (Patton, 2002;Thomlison, 2001;Yin, 2003). In other words, this exploratory, descriptive approach is useful to 'gain familiarity with this contemporary phenomenon and portray the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or a group' (Kothari, 2004, p. 2) accurately. ...
Full-text available
This study examines how local agents (non-profit-seeking actors and residents of Pa-hawang Island) developed empowering methods to address ecological problems during the island’s transformation from a small, secluded island to a tourist destination. Building capacity through grassroots initiatives, bottom-linked collaboration, and improved political bargaining power were critical components, constituting the conceptual framework to analyse the data. The socio-spatial shift in Pahawang Island reflects the nature, degree of involvement, and participation of multiple stakeholders. Slowly and gradually, bottom-up and later bottom-linked institutional efforts were implemented to lay the groundwork for a more sustainable ecology, social economy, and political transformation. Capacity building was dynamized by including it in a social innovation process, bottom-linked governance, and stimulated empowerment, which altered the governance, political bargaining power and policymaking power balance. Under these conditions, collaborative grassroots learning and action efforts can be a virtuous panacea for improving the sustainable governance of small islands, which is frequently disregarded in a neoliberal society.
The sustainability in local management depends not only on the condition of the environment but also on the complex interrelationships of stakeholders. This paper employed the stakeholder theory (ST) and social network analysis (SNA) to identify the most influential actors. Based on text analysis of meeting minutes from the public hearings in Cozumel, Mexico, actors are considered interlocutors who transmit or receive messages related to political action. SNA has been used to calculate interest and influence scores for each stakeholder in promoting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was found that stakeholders with higher centrality levels are directly related to SDG 11, encouraging Sustainable Cities; and the public sector is the one who dominates the decision-making process in the local management. These results helped to elucidate the structure of the networks and the stakeholders’ roles, highlighting that the exercise of governance and democratic governability are scarce and far from reaching heterogeneous practices in the decision-making process.
Nowadays, we live in the age of Marketing 4.0. Historically, marketing has often depended on changing consumer habits and needs. Thus, it is necessary to understand the new habits and needs of the consumer to make companies more and more effective. Currently, social media marketing (SMM) is ubiquitous in organizations, and is seen as a tool to achieve strategic goals. Therefore, SMM is important for companies to adapt their approach to customer relationship management and advance new marketing competencies to enable customer satisfaction. To drive customer satisfaction and improve customer experience, managers are loading social media applications into their current customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This study seeks to understand the feasibility of implementing SMM in business to business (B2B) companies and how this affects CRM and customer knowledge management (CKM). For this study, data were collected from two Portuguese micro-companies. The methodology used was exploratory qualitative in nature through a multiple case study, wherein semi-structured interviews were applied. It was found that SMM cannot be used in the B2B companies under investigation because CRM needs are much more dependent on CKM than on the mass interactions and indirect communication with the customer that can potentially exist in SMM. In these companies, communication with the client can be adjusted on a case-by-case basis through SMM, without the need for mass communication with all clients. This paper provides implications for the management of micro-enterprises regarding social media marketing. It also contributes to the development of the literature on SMM, CRM and CKM.
This paper aims to review and reflect upon the built up scientific knowledge on Building Condition Assessment (BCA) using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), supported by Building Information Modelling (BIM), to implement appropriate maintenance and rehabilitation activities. For this purpose, a literature review related to KPIs applied to BCA and using BIM to BCA has been performed. KPIs applied to BCA were studied and their calibration and validation methods were identified, as well as their potential to support BIM in BCA. Furthermore, current researches in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) applied to the optimization of BCA were also presented. This work concludes that despite the studies that have been conducted, only a few focuses on KPIs integration in BIM due to some limitations that still exist. These limitations are related to the application of BIM on building inspections and the limitation of KPIs scope and interoperability with BIM. Considering the identified gaps in the most relevant research trends on the subject, the present study discusses the viability of adjustments on KPIs based on reliable validation and calibration methods and combine them to ML algorithms in order to develop a more robust BIM-BCA strategy, thereby filling in the above-mentioned limitations.
The pharmaceutical industry is critical to a nation’s economic development and welfare. However, most pharmaceutical companies do not have the capabilities to complete clinical trials by themselves and need assistance from the contract/clinical research organization (CRO). Clinical trials are highly knowledge-intensive and include several fields, such as toxicology, statistics, production, biology, health care, pharmacology, trial protocol design, and legal regulation. In academic research, few studies have focused on studying this important area from the perspective of knowledge management. Consequently, this research aims to fill this research gap by investigating knowledge management activities and influencing factors of CRO. A holistic framework was designed for this research, with the former (knowledge management activities) including four major constructs: knowledge creation and absorption, knowledge accumulation and storage, knowledge flow and diffusion, and knowledge protection, and the latter (influencing factors) including strategy and leadership, organizational culture, people, and information technology. Four CROs in Taiwan were selected for in-depth case studies. The research results are expected to contribute to both academia and industry.
Full-text available
Bu çalışmada, özel yetenekli ortaokul öğrencilerinin fen etkinliklerinde organik boya kullanımına yönelik kavramsal değişimleri ile akıl yürütme stilleri incelenmiştir. Çalışma, nitel araştırma yöntemlerinden durum çalışması kullanılarak, 2018-2019 eğitim öğretim yılında Muğla iline bağlı BİLSEM’de öğrenim görmekte olan dört kız ve altı erkek öğrenci ile gerçekleştirilmiştir. Çalışmada; gıdalardan organik boya elde edilmesi, organik boyaların kullanılmasının önemi ve periyodik tablo ile ilgili olarak gerçekleştirilen eğitimin öğrencilerde hangi boyutlarda ve ne düzeyde bir kavramsal değişime yol açtığı, öğrencilerin akıl yürütme stillerinin belirlenmesi ve öğrencilerin gıdalarda organik boya kullanımına ilişkin görüşlerinin anlaşılması amaçlanmıştır. Veriler araştırmacılar tarafından geliştirilen “Özel Yetenekli Öğrenci Görüşme Protokolü” ile toplanarak, “Akıl Yürütme Stili Modeli”ne göre oluşturulan boyutlara yerleştirilmiştir. Çalışmadan elde edilen veriler incelendiğinde kavramsal değişimin en fazla periyodik tablodaki elementlerin sınıflandırmasına yönelik olan sorularda olduğu, organik boyaların gıda üretiminde kullanımı ile ilgili sorularda ise daha az kavramsal değişim gerçekleştiği görülmektedir. Öğrencilerin etkinlik öncesinde sıklıkla nedensel, etkinlik sonrasında ise ereksel akıl yürütme stillerini kullanma yöneliminde oldukları görülmektedir. Özel yetenekli öğrencilerin, organik boya kullanımına yönelik görüşlerinde ise hem ön testte hem de son testte spesifik cevaplar yerine genel cevaplara odaklandıkları, etkinlik sonrasında sağlık ve organik gıda boyası kullanımı hususunda daha net ve doğru cevaplar verdikleri belirlenmiştir. Bu çalışmanın sonucunda özel yetenekli öğrencilere verilecek eğitimde farklı akıl yürütme stillerini kullanabilecekleri, kavramsal değişimlerinin hızlı olmasına yönelik ve öğrencilerin kendilerini geliştirebilecekleri eğitim programlarına ihtiyacı olduğu önerileri getirilebilir.