Similarly, psychological distress may arise from self-report measures such as questionnaires and reflective journals and diary entries.

Case Studies

Nice blog, well summarised with giving both sides to an obviously popular subject. It was very helpful indeed. You have pointed out lots of advantages and disadvantages of case studies, there are also ethical issues, observations and interviews are typically used in case study research to gather data, so the ethical issues are broadly the same e.

I think that case studies are a great way into developing a research question for future research that could then be generalised.

Case Study Method in Psychology | Simply Psychology

The information from cas case study cannot be applied to anyone else because it is unique. Each advantabes study is selected on the basis of what it might contribute to a advantages and disadvantages of case study research in psychology pool of data, so that patterns may emerge over time. February 22, at 9: Researchers also need to abide by the other ethical principles of confidentiality, disadvantaegs and debriefing.

Their major blow is that they are beset by researcher bias. Case Study Method Saul McLeodpublished Case studies are in-depth investigations of a single person, group, event or community. Case studies tend to be conducted on rare cases where large samples of similar participants are not available. The method relies on the individual who is being studied remembering events and these memories might not be accurate or reliable. I think we spend far to much time looking at Case studies when we are being taught psychology.


Typically, data are gathered from a variety of sources and by using several different methods e. In order to protect participants against psychological harm researchers need to adopt a sensitive manner when dealing with participants.

Research which only looks into the measurable aspects of human behavior is not likely to give us insights into the subjective dimension to experience which is so important to psychoanalytic and humanistic psychologists. The procedure used in a case study means that disadvantagess researcher provides a description of the behavior.

Since case studies are generally used on a single specific behaviour, they are not repeatable and as such are not reliable.

In psychology, case studies are often confined to the study of a particular individual. Only someone qualified to diagnose and treat a person can conduct a formal case study relating to atypical i.

Case Study Method

There is an ethical issue of competence. The data collected is normally a lot richer and of greater depth than can be found through other experimental designs. Charles Whitman – aggression. Advantages Case studies allow a lot of detail to be collected that researhc not normally be easily obtained by other research designs.

Social Influence, obedience and conformity. The interview is also an extremely effective procedure for obtaining information about an individual, and it may be used to collect comments from the person’s friends, parents, employer, work mates and others who have a good knowledge of the person, as well as to obtain facts from the person him or herself.


Case studies can be used to draw up research questions, however if psychology insist on calling itself a science it should be as scientific as possible in its methodology.

Sex Reassignment at Birth: Some case studies are not scientific. For example, Freud has been criticized for producing case studies in which the information was sometimes distorted to fit the particular theories annd behavior e.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Case Studies | psud43

Within the case study, scientific experiments can be conducted. Notify me of new posts via email. This means that there is a lot of scope for observer bias and it could be that the subjective opinions of the psychologist psycbology in the assessment of what the data means.

However like many studies, they are reterospective aspects where the participant is asked to recall past events which may result into the participant leaving parts out or forgetting things affecting reliability of study.

February 22, at This can be attributed to them being case studies, but also Freudian theory in general.