Originally Published In
The Journal of Applied Instructional Design
Unlike theoretical scholars who seek knowledge to expand humanity’s (or their) understanding of a topic, scholar practitioners seek knowledge that can be applied to understand change or create change in a specific phenomenon. Although many of the same research methods can be used by both groups of educational scholars, and although research designs are determined in large part by the research questions being asked, several research methods can prove most useful for scholar practitioners examining learning environments. One, the case study, stands out as perhaps the most versatile and researcher-friendly, though. A case study, bounded by specific location and topic parameters, can allow solid evaluation of the workings of a program or teaching method. It can also allow consideration of specific needs to address an educational situation. This article briefly discusses the nature and purpose of different types of research, then focuses on the nature and usefulness of the case study methodology.