Notion of a case study

Case study is a deep study of an individual, group, event, or community. Data are usually collected from various sources using different methods (eg, observations, or interviews). Work with the results can continue only after the experiment is completed.

A case method is a method that arose in clinical medicine (for example, a case history, that is, a patient`s personal history). The method of case study often involves a simple study of what happened, sometimes it also includes the reconstruction of the history of the case of an individual, or a group (such as a school class, or other specific social group). This approach allows the researcher to study the topic in much more detail than in the case of a large set of cases, as the case in experiments that operate on result arrays (nomothetic approach) and averaged data.

How to write a case study in psychology?

The method of case study by itself is not a research method, but experimenters select one or another method of data collection, or an analytical tool that allows receiving materials suitable for this type of study. Psychologists turn to this method, when they deal with certain data sources, for example, with unstructured information, such as everyday life, promiscuous interviews, personal diaries, notes, or official documents. In general, such information usually determines a qualitative parameter of the study, but psychologists should also collect numerical data. The collected data can be analyzed using various theories, for example, grounded theory, interpretation – phenomenological analysis, text interpretation and so on. All the approaches mentioned above use predicted hypotheses, are ideographic in nature, that is, they are aimed at a specific case, without reference to the comparison group.


Case methods are widespread in psychology, and the most famous among them are the methods of Sigmund Freud. He carried out extremely highly detailed investigations of the privacy of his patients in an attempt to help them overcome the ailment and understand its causes. The most famous examples of Freud`s application of case study are “Little Hans” and “Rat Man”. And today, medical records are one of the main methods of investigation in clinical psychology and psychiatry. It is important that the students, who study these disciplines, these stories can give a clear understanding, of what people subject to mental illness experience.


Case methods are often used in clinical medicine, they include the collection and compilation of reports from descriptive data devoted to one case, or a specific environment, such as a school group. In psychology, the method of case study is often used in a limited way, as applied to an individual. Information is used, mainly biographical, which is of great importance in his past and everyday life. In order to obtain a highly detailed dossier, psychologists use a variety of sources, such as a case history, data from employers, data from educational institutions, the results of psychological tests and so on. The interview in this context is also a highly effective procedure for collecting information, it can also be applied, either directly to the individual, or to receive characteristics from his friends or family members.

Why to order a case study in psychology?

Are you a student and your prfesssor gave you the task of writing a case study in psychology? Do not panic, contact a specialist. And here is why:

  • Proceeding from the foregoing, it becomes clear that the method of case study can only be used by specialists with the highest qualifications.
  • In addition, the ethical side of this context is obvious. Only someone, who is highly qualified to make a diagnosis, can conduct such a detailed study concerning the patient and various aspects of his personal life and behavior.
  • An important factor here is the fact that a specialist using this methodology describes the patient`s behavior. Such a description is based on the results obtained from all sources mentioned above.
  • Obviously, the report obtained as a result unequivocally contains the interpretation of the author. The interpretation is that the author decides, what information to include in the report, and which should not be mentioned at all.
  • A good case study should always contain indications of the parts that are factual information obtained during the investigation and the parts that were developed under the influence of the researcher`s personal attitude. It all requires deep knowledge of psychology.

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Defense is the main test to which a diploma is subjected. Training for the student was to protect the coursework in previous courses. To defend the thesis work, an opponent is appointed (a teacher or a graduate student who passed the candidate’s minimum in the specialty), a reviewer (graduate student). Their names you will know in advance. If are not notified, do not be lazy and find out for yourself – it will be useful. Opponents should receive the text of the diploma for review at least a week before the defense.

On the defense, you will be asked various questions, which are often associated with a misunderstanding of the text. It is necessary to show calmness and clearly answer all possible claims. Sharp answers on the iron defense are not welcome, but to conduct an active “defense” is necessary.

It is highly desirable to have a scientific leader as not an opponent, but an ally. This is determined by the nature of the previous communication with the scientific adviser.

Therefore, real communication with the leader should be optimally efficient, then he will not be able to impose his concept on you, spoiling the relationship at the same time. More over, he must be absolutely sure that you need it not as a bureaucratic cover (although this too), but as a scientific authority and an experienced methodologist.

Thus, the qualification work (diploma) is a student’s own education and research development reflecting the result of the theoretical and practical training received for individual academic disciplines. Performance of the qualification work assumes a wide use of cultural-historical and modern scientific literature, reference materials, statistical data, advanced foreign and domestic experience with a view to consolidating and further deepening the theoretical and practical knowledge obtained.

When writing a thesis, students must realize the inadequacy of knowledge of one compulsory educational material; therefore, they should familiarize themselves with a wide range of both general and specialized literature on the subject, be able to relate theory questions to practice, draw appropriate conclusions and give recommendations.

In the process of researching the problem, the students’ abilities to independently carry out search and research activities, analyze and generalize theoretical and practical material, draw reasoned conclusions, make recommendations on the topic being developed. When doing a thesis, modern research methods should be used.