20.1: Case Study: Your Defense System - Biology

20.1: Case Study: Your Defense System - Biology

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Case Study: Defending Your Defenses

Twenty-six-year-old Wei isn’t feeling well. Wei uses he/him/his pronouns. He is more tired than usual, dragging through his workdays despite going to bed earlier and napping on the weekends. He doesn't have much of an appetite and has started losing weight. When he presses on the side of his neck, like the doctor is doing in Figure (PageIndex{1}), he notices an unusual lump.

Wei goes to his doctor, who performs a physical exam and determines that the lump is a swollen lymph node. Lymph nodes are part of the immune system, and they will often become enlarged when the body is fighting off an infection. Dr. Bouazizi thinks that the swollen lymph node and fatigue could be signs of a viral or bacterial infection, or indicate a type of cancer called lymphoma. However, an infection is a more likely cause, particularly in a young person like Wei. Bouazizi prescribes an antibiotic in case Wei has a bacterial infection and advises him to return in a few weeks if his lymph node does not shrink or if he is not feeling better.

Wei returns a few weeks later. He is not feeling better and his lymph node is still enlarged. Bouazizi is concerned and orders a biopsy of the enlarged lymph node. A lymph node biopsy for suspected lymphoma often involves the surgical removal of all or part of a lymph node, to determine whether the tissue contains cancerous cells.

The initial results of the biopsy indicate that Wei does have lymphoma. Although lymphoma is more common in older people, young adults and even children can get this disease. There are many types of lymphoma, with the two main types being Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), in turn, has many subtypes depending on factors such as which cell types are affected. For instance, some subtypes of NHL affect immune system cells called B cells, while others affect different immune system cells called T cells.

Dr. Bouazizi explains to Wei that it is important to determine which type of lymphoma he has, in order to choose the best course of treatment. Wei’s biopsied tissue will be further examined and tested to see which cell types are affected and which specific cell-surface proteins, called antigens, are present. This should help in identifying his specific type of lymphoma.

As you read this chapter, you will learn about the functions of the immune system, and the specific roles that its cells and organs—such as B and T cells and lymph nodes— play in defending the body. At the end of this chapter, you will learn what type of lymphoma Wei has and what some of his treatment options are, including treatments that make use of the biochemistry of the immune system to fight cancer with the immune system itself.

Chapter Overview: Immune System

In this chapter, you will learn about the immune system—the system that defends the body against infections and other causes of disease such as cancerous cells. Specifically, you will learn about:

  • How the immune system identifies normal cells of the body as “self” and pathogens and damaged cells as “non-self.”
  • The two major subsystems of the general immune system: the innate immune system, which provides a quick but non-specific response; and the adaptive immune system, which is slower but provides a specific response that often results in long-lasting immunity.
  • The specialized immune system that protects the brain and spinal cord called the neuroimmune system.
  • The organs, cells, and responses of the innate immune system, which include physical barriers such as skin and mucus, chemical and biological barriers, inflammation, activation of the complement system of molecules, and non-specific cellular responses such as phagocytosis.
  • The lymphatic system—which includes white blood cells called lymphocytes; lymphatic vessels that transport a fluid called lymph; and organs such as the spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes—and its important role in the adaptive immune system.
  • Specific cells of the immune system and their functions, including B cells, T cells, plasma cells, and natural killer cells.
  • How the adaptive immune system can generate specific and often long-lasting immunity against pathogens through the production of antibodies.
  • How vaccines work to generate immunity.
  • How cells in the immune system detect and kill cancerous cells.
  • Some strategies that pathogens employ to evade the immune system.
  • Disorders of the immune system, including allergies, autoimmune diseases (such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis), and immunodeficiency resulting from conditions such as HIV infection.

As you read the chapter, think about the following questions:

  1. What are the functions of lymph nodes?
  2. What are B and T cells and how do they relate to lymph nodes?
  3. What are cell-surface antigens? How do they relate to the immune system and to cancer?



This narrative, non-systematic review provides an update on the genetic aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its interactions with the human genome within the context of COVID-19. Although the main focus is on the etiology of this new disease, the genetics of SARS-CoV-2 impacts prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and the development of therapies.

Data source

A literature search was conducted on MEDLINE, BioRxiv, and SciELO, as well as a manual search on the internet (mainly in 2019 and 2020) using the keywords “COVID-19,” “SARS-CoV-2,” “coronavirus,” “genetics,” “molecular,” “mutation,” “vaccine,” “Brazil,” “Brasil,” and combinations of these terms. The keywords “Brazil” and “Brasil” were used to find publications that were specific to the Brazilian population’s molecular epidemiology data. Articles most relevant to the scope were selected non-systematically.

Data synthesis

A number of publications illustrate an expanding knowledge on the genetics and genomics of SARS-CoV-2 and its implications for understanding COVID-19.


Knowledge of the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence permits an in-depth investigation of the role its proteins play in the pathophysiology of COVID-19, which in turn will be enormously valuable for understanding the evolutionary, clinical, and epidemiological aspects of this disease and focusing on prevention and treatment.


There are multiple definitions of case studies, which may emphasize the number of observations (a small N), the method (qualitative), the thickness of the research (a comprehensive examination of a phenomenon and its context), and the naturalism (a "real-life context" is being examined) involved in the research. [12] There is general agreement among scholars that a case study does not necessarily have to entail one observation (N=1), but can include many observations within a single case or across numerous cases. [3] [4] [5] [6] For example, a case study of the French Revolution would at the bare minimum be an observation of two observations: France before and after a revolution. [13] John Gerring writes that the N=1 research design is so rare in practice that it amounts to a "myth." [13]

The term cross-case research is frequently used for studies of multiple cases, whereas within-case research is frequently used for a single case study. [5] [7]

John Gerring defines the case study approach as an "intensive study of a single unit or a small number of units (the cases), for the purpose of understanding a larger class of similar units (a population of cases)." [14] According to Gerring, case studies lend themselves to an idiographic style of analysis, whereas quantitative work lends itself to a nomothetic style of analysis. [15] He adds that "that the defining feature of qualitative work is its use of noncomparable observations—observations that pertain to different aspects of a causal or descriptive question", whereas quantitative observations are comparable. [15]

According to John Gerring, the key characteristic that distinguishes case studies from all other methods is the "reliance on evidence drawn from a single case and its attempts, at the same time, to illuminate features of a broader set of cases." [13] Scholars use case studies to shed light on a "class" of phenomena.

As with other social science methods, no single research design dominates case study research. Case studies can use at least four types of designs. First, there may be a "no theory first" type of case study design, which is closely connected to Kathleen M. Eisenhardt's methodological work. [16] [17] A second type of research design highlights the distinction between single- and multiple-case studies, following Robert K. Yin's guidelines and extensive examples. [16] [9] A third design deals with a "social construction of reality", represented by the work of Robert E. Stake. [16] [18] Finally, the design rationale for a case study may be to identify "anomalies". A representative scholar of this design is Michael Burawoy. [16] [19] Each of these four designs may lead to different applications, and understanding their sometimes unique ontological and epistemological assumptions becomes important. However, although the designs can have substantial methodological differences, the designs also can be used in explicitly acknowledged combinations with each other.

While case studies can be intended to provide bounded explanations of single cases or phenomena, they are often intended to theoretical insights about the features of a broader population. [20]

Case Selection and Structure Edit

Case selection in case study research is generally intended to both find cases that are a representative sample and which have variations on the dimensions of theoretical interest. [20] Using that is solely representative, such as an average or typical case is often not the richest in information. In clarifying lines of history and causation it is more useful to select subjects that offer an interesting, unusual or particularly revealing set of circumstances. A case selection that is based on representativeness will seldom be able to produce these kinds of insights.

While random selection of cases is a valid case selection strategy in large-N research, there is a consensus among scholars that it risks generating serious biases in small-N research. [21] [22] [20] [23] [24] Random selection of cases may produce unrepresentative cases, as well as uninformative cases. [24] Cases should generally be chosen that have a high expected information gain. [25] [20] [26] For example, outlier cases (those which are extreme, deviant or atypical) can reveal more information than the potentially representative case. [26] [27] [28] A case may also be chosen because of the inherent interest of the case or the circumstances surrounding it. Alternatively it may be chosen because of researchers' in-depth local knowledge where researchers have this local knowledge they are in a position to "soak and poke" as Richard Fenno put it, [29] and thereby to offer reasoned lines of explanation based on this rich knowledge of setting and circumstances.

Beyond decisions about case selection and the subject and object of the study, decisions need to be made about purpose, approach and process in the case study. Gary Thomas thus proposes a typology for the case study wherein purposes are first identified (evaluative or exploratory), then approaches are delineated (theory-testing, theory-building or illustrative), then processes are decided upon, with a principal choice being between whether the study is to be single or multiple, and choices also about whether the study is to be retrospective, snapshot or diachronic, and whether it is nested, parallel or sequential. [30]

In a 2015 article, John Gerring and Jason Seawright list seven case selection strategies: [20]

  1. Typical cases are cases that exemplify a stable cross-case relationship. These cases are representative of the larger population of cases, and the purpose of the study is to look within the case rather than compare it with other cases.
  2. Diverse cases are cases that have variation on the relevant X and Y variables. Due to the range of variation on the relevant variables, these cases are representative of the full population of cases.
  3. Extreme cases are cases that have an extreme value on the X or Y variable relative to other cases.
  4. Deviant cases are cases that defy existing theories and common sense. They not only have extreme values on X or Y (like extreme cases), but defy existing knowledge about causal relations.
  5. Influential cases are cases that are central to a model or theory (for example, Nazi Germany in theories of fascism and the far-right).
  6. Most similar cases are cases that are similar on all the independent variables, except the one of interest to the researcher.
  7. Most different cases are cases that are different on all the independent variables, except the one of interest to the researcher.

For theoretical discovery, Jason Seawright recommends using deviant cases or extreme cases that have an extreme value on the X variable. [26]

Arend Lijphart, and Harry Eckstein identified five types of case study research designs (depending on the research objectives), Alexander George and Andrew Bennett added a sixth category: [31]

  1. In atheoretical (or configurative idiographic) case studies the goal is to describe a case very well, but not to contribute to a theory.
  2. In interpretative (or disciplined configurative) case studies the goal is to use established theories to explain a specific case.
  3. In hypothesis-generating (or heuristic) case studies the goal is to inductively identify new variables, hypotheses, causal mechanisms and causal paths.
  4. In theory testing case studies the goal is to assess the validity and scope conditions of existing theories.
  5. In plausibility probes the goal is to assess the plausibility of new hypotheses and theories.
  6. In building block studies of types or subtypes the goal is to identify common patterns across cases.

In terms of case selection, Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba warn against "selecting on the dependent variable". They argue for example that researchers cannot make valid causal inferences about war outbreak by only looking at instances where war did happen (the researcher should also look at cases where war did not happen). [22] Scholars of qualitative methods have disputed this claim, however. They argue that selecting on the dependent variable can be useful depending on the purposes of the research. [25] [32] [33] Barbara Geddes shares KKV's concerns with selecting on the dependent variable (she argues that it cannot be used for theory testing purposes), but she argues that selecting on the dependent variable can be useful for the purposes of theory creation and theory modification. [34]

King, Keohane and Verba argue that there is no methodological problem in selecting on the explanatory variable, however. They do warn about multicollinearity (choosing two or more explanatory variables that perfectly correlate with each other). [22]

Uses Edit

Case studies have commonly been seen as a fruitful way to come up with hypotheses and generate theories. [21] [22] [35] [25] [36] [15] Classic examples of case studies that generated theories includes Darwin's theory of evolution (derived from his travels to the Easter Island), and Douglass North's theories of economic development (derived from case studies of early developing states, such as England). [36]

Case studies are also useful for formulating concepts, which are an important aspect of theory construction. [37] The concepts used in qualitative research will tend to have higher conceptual validity than concepts used in quantitative research (due to conceptual stretching: the unintentional comparison of dissimilar cases). [25] Case studies add descriptive richness, [38] [33] and can have greater internal validity than quantitative studies. [39] Case studies are suited to explain outcomes in individual cases, which is something that quantitative methods are less equipped to do. [32]

Through fine-gained knowledge and description, case studies can fully specify the causal mechanisms in a way that may be harder in a large-N study. [40] [38] [41] [21] [42] In terms of identifying "causal mechanisms", some scholars distinguish between "weak" and "strong chains". Strong chains actively connect elements of the causal chain to produce an outcome whereas weak chains are just intervening variables. [43]

Case studies of cases that defy existing theoretical expectations may contribute knowledge by delineating why the cases violate theoretical predictions and specifying the scope conditions of the theory. [21] Case studies are useful in situations of causal complexity where there may be equifinality, complex interaction effects and path dependency. [25] [44] Case studies can identify necessary and insufficient conditions, as well as complex combinations of necessary and sufficient conditions. [25] [32] [45] They argue that case studies may also be useful in identifying the scope conditions of a theory: whether variables are sufficient or necessary to bring about an outcome. [25] [32]

Qualitative research may be necessary to determine whether a treatment is as-if random or not. As a consequence, good quantitative observational research often entails a qualitative component. [15]

Limitations Edit

Designing Social Inquiry (also called "KKV"), an influential 1994 book written by Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba, primarily applies lessons from regression-oriented analysis to qualitative research, arguing that the same logics of causal inference can be used in both types of research. [22] [46] [37] The authors' recommendation is to increase the number of observations (a recommendation that Barbara Geddes also makes in Paradigms and Sand Castles), [34] because few observations make it harder to estimate multiple causal effects, as well as increase the risk that there is measurement error, and that an event in a single case was caused by random error or unobservable factors. [22] KKV sees process-tracing and qualitative research as being "unable to yield strong causal inference" due to the fact that qualitative scholars would struggle with determining which of many intervening variables truly links the independent variable with a dependent variable. The primary problem is that qualitative research lacks a sufficient number of observations to properly estimate the effects of an independent variable. They write that the number of observations could be increased through various means, but that would simultaneously lead to another problem: that the number of variables would increase and thus reduce degrees of freedom. [37]

The purported "degrees of freedom" problem that KKV identify is widely considered flawed while quantitative scholars try to aggregate variables to reduce the number of variables and thus increase the degrees of freedom, qualitative scholars intentionally want their variables to have many different attributes and complexity. [47] [25] For example, James Mahoney writes, "the Bayesian nature of process tracing explains why it is inappropriate to view qualitative research as suffering from a small-N problem and certain standard causal identification problems." [48] By using Bayesian probability, it may be possible to makes strong causal inferences from a small sliver of data. [49]

A commonly described limit of case studies is that they do not lend themselves to generalizability. [22] Due to the small number of cases, it may be harder to ensure that the chosen cases are representative of the larger population. [39] Some scholars, such as Bent Flyvbjerg, have pushed back on that notion. [35]

As small-N research should not rely on random sampling, scholars must be careful in avoiding selection bias when picking suitable cases. [21] A common criticism of qualitative scholarship is that cases are chosen because they are consistent with the scholar's preconceived notions, resulting in biased research. [21] [35]

Alexander George and Andrew Bennett note that a common problem in case study research is that of reconciling conflicting interpretations of the same data. [25]

One limit of case study research is that it can be hard to estimate the magnitude of a causal effect. [50]

Teachers may prepare a case study that will then be used in classrooms in the form of a "teaching" case study (also see case method and casebook method). For instance, as early as 1870 at Harvard Law School, Christopher Langdell departed from the traditional lecture-and-notes approach to teaching contract law and began using cases pled before courts as the basis for class discussions. [51] By 1920, this practice had become the dominant pedagogical approach used by law schools in the United States. [52]

Outside of law, teaching case studies have become popular in many different fields and professions, ranging from business education to science education. The Harvard Business School has been among the most prominent developers and users of teaching case studies. [53] [54] Teachers develop case studies with particular learning objectives in mind. Additional relevant documentation, such as financial statements, time-lines, short biographies, and multimedia supplements (such as video-recordings of interviews) often accompany the case studies. Similarly, teaching case studies have become increasingly popular in science education, covering different biological and physical sciences. The National Center for Case Studies in Teaching Science has made a growing body of teaching case studies available for classroom use, for university as well as secondary school coursework. [55] [56]

Azle's Anatomy and Physiology

First I would make sure there are only first and second degree burns. I would make sure there was no exposed tissues. I would first administer some morphine intravenously for pain because the patient will more than likely be hurting. I would then apply burn cream to the affected areas. If it was an older or younger patient I would treat it a little differently because their skin is easier to damage. Also, their immune systems are not as good so they would be more susceptible to infection if any of the burn was open. The parts of the skin that are second degree burns might now leave scar tissue and become white where the blisters were. If a skin graft were to be taken, the burned skin would then be covered but you're adding the possibility of another wound opening up and becoming infected. The most important part of healing for the first week would be to not irritate the blisters so they don't pop. Also to keep the area moisturized with a burn cream or Neosporin. If I were first on scene to a burn victim I would try to keep them as calm as possible. I would assess the burns to see how major they are and call 911. I would then tell the dispatcher whether or not I could see blisters or any white tissues so that the paramedics can alert the hospital and are aware of what they are dealing with. The patients medical team would consist of the doctor, many nurses, and any staff member in the burn unit if necessary.

Knowing the deapth of the burn will help you determine how you would need to go about treating the burns. If you are first on the scene you need to call 911 as soon as you see that the person is burned. After you do this you need to take the clothes that are burned on the person off very carefully, be careful that you dont tesr anything off that is stuck on the victim. Next you need to get a damp cloth or towel and place them over the sreas that have been burned if you can. You need to sepearate the victimd fingers and toes so they do not stick together. Place a dry towel ir something that isnt sticky and wrap the fingers and toes. Do not put any ointments on the burns at all and be very careful that you do not pop the blisters. On the staff for s burn victim you have the dr, surgeon,EMT, nurse and paramedics. To avoid shock you need to lay the person flat on there back. A skin graft could get infected if it is not monitered carefully. There is a posibility that itnwill not heal either. After the skin grows back you have a risk of infection while it is growing. Since you have a very thin layer of skin you can get cuts eaier than if you had all three layers. After the first week you need to moniter the pulse,B/P and breathing of the person. Depending on the age of a person like a kid it could be harder to treat there burn due to how little they are. They could have more problems or complications rather than a 30 year old person. The same thing goes for older people. Kids and older people have very low immune systems so that fcators into things as well.


[note 1] Nagin, Daniel S., "Deterrence in the Twenty-First Century," in Crime and Justice in America: 1975-2025, ed. M. Tonry, Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 2013: 199-264. View an abstract.

Opinions or points of view expressed on this site represent a consensus of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. The content on this page is not intended to create, does not create, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any matter civil or criminal.

[note 3] Mulvey, Edward P., Highlights from Pathways to Desistance: A Longitudinal Study of Serious Adolescent Offenders (pdf, 4 pages), Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, March 2011, NCJ 230971.

[note 4] Nagin, Daniel S., Francis T. Cullen and Cheryl Lero Johnson, “Imprisonment and Reoffending,” Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, vol. 38, ed. Michael Tonry, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009: 115-200.

Occidental Engineering Case Study: Part 1

Wayne Davidson is a software engineer in the aerospace division of Occidental Engineering, a large engineering firm. For the past two years he has been working as a test engineer for Operation Safe Skies, a project to build a prototype of the next generation air traffic control system. This project, which is funded by a contract from the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), is a very important one for Occidental. With all the cutbacks in defense spending, the aerospace division has been losing business. The Safe Skies project has provided much needed business, and could lead to a much larger contract if successful. Mindful of its strategic importance, the company had bid very aggressively for the original contract. In fact they had "low-balled" it, bidding less than it would take to do the work properly. They felt that was the only way they could beat out their competitors, who were just as hungry for the work. Because of their somewhat shaky financial position, the company was not willing to take a loss on the project, so the project has been underfunded and understaffed. Nevertheless those working on the project have made a heroic effort, working eighteen hour days seven days a week to meet the deadline, because they know how much it means to the company, not to mention their own jobs. They are now very close to success.

A version of the prototype has been completed and turned over to Wayne for testing. He has run extensive simulations on it and found that it works as it should except for one little problem. When there are too many aircraft in the system, it will sometimes lose track of one or more of them. The "forgotten" aircraft will simply disappear from the screen, there will be no trace of it anywhere, and it will be ignored by all of the collision avoidance and other safety tests. Wayne has been working with the software designers to identify the cause of the problem, and they have traced it to a subtle error in memory allocation and reuse. They are confident that they can fix it, but it will take a month or more to do the redesign, coding and testing.

Wayne meets with his boss, Deborah Shepherd, the project manager, to discuss the implications. She tells him that what he is asking for is impossible. The contract requires that the company deliver a fully certified, working version of the software in three days for system integration and test. The government has developed a new, get-tough policy on missed deadlines and cost overruns, and Occidental is afraid that if they miss this deadline, the government will make an example of them. They would be subject to fines and the loss of the remainder of the prototype contract and they might not be allowed to bid on the contract for the full system. This would have a devastating effect on the aerospace division, resulting in thousands of lost jobs.

They consider whether they can do a quick patch to the software before turning it over, but Wayne adamantly refuses to release any code that has not been tested thoroughly. There is always a chance that the patch would interact with some other part of the program to create a new bug.

"Then we'll have to deliver the software as is," Deborah says. "I can't jeopardize this project or the jobs of my people by missing that deadline."

"We can't do that!" exclaims Wayne. "That's like delivering a car with defective brakes."

"Don't worry," Deborah reassures him. "We have contacts in the FAA, so we know their testing plans. They will do a lot of simulations to make sure the software works with the hardware and has all the functionality in the specs. Then they will do live tests, but only at a small airport, with a backup system active at all times. There is no way they will overload the system in any of this. After that they will have some change requests. Even if they don't, we can give them an updated version of the program. We can slip the bug fix in there. They will never see the problem. Even if they do, we can claim it was a random occurrence that would not necessarily show up in our tests. The important thing is no one is in any danger."

"Maybe they won't find the bug, but I know it's there. I would be lying if I said the system passed all the necessary tests. I can't do that. Anyway, it would be illegal and unprofessional."

"You can certify that it is safe, because it is, the way they are going to use it."

And so he does. In the end Wayne signs off on the software. It is delivered to the FAA and makes it through all the preliminary tests, including live tests at a small airport in the Midwest. As a result of these tests, the FAA requests some changes in the user interface, and when Occidental delivers the new software it includes a robust solution to the problem of the disappearing aircraft. No one outside of Deborah's group ever learns of the problem. In fact Occidental's success with the prototype leads to major contracts for air traffic control software, giving much-needed business to the aerospace division. This saves hundreds of jobs, and allows the company to add hundreds more.

Wayne Davidson, however, takes early retirement once the prototype project is finished, in order to write a book on software testing. He feels that the book should have a chapter on ethics, but he can never bring himself to write it.

Case Study Method

Case studies are in-depth investigations of a single person, group, event or community. Typically, data are gathered from a variety of sources and by using several different methods (e.g. observations & interviews).

The case study research method originated in clinical medicine (the case history, i.e. the patient’s personal history). In psychology, case studies are often confined to the study of a particular individual.

The information is mainly biographical and relates to events in the individual's past (i.e. retrospective), as well as to significant events which are currently occurring in his or her everyday life.

The case study is not itself a research method, but researchers select methods of data collection and analysis that will generate material suitable for case studies.

What is an example of a case study in psychology?

Case studies are widely used in psychology and amongst the best known were the ones carried out by Sigmund Freud, including Anna O and Little Hans.

Freud (1909a, 1909b) conducted very detailed investigations into the private lives of his patients in an attempt to both understand and help them overcome their illnesses. Even today case histories are one of the main methods of investigation in abnormal psychology and psychiatry.

This makes it clear that the case study is a method that should only be used by a psychologist, therapist or psychiatrist, i.e. someone with a professional qualification.

There is an ethical issue of competence. Only someone qualified to diagnose and treat a person can conduct a formal case study relating to atypical (i.e. abnormal) behavior or atypical development.

How is a case study conducted?

The procedure used in a case study means that the researcher provides a description of the behavior. This comes from interviews and other sources, such as observation.

The client also reports detail of events from his or her point of view. The researcher then writes up the information from both sources above as the case study, and interprets the information.

The research may also continue for an extended period of time, so processes and developments can be studied as they happen.

Amongst the sources of data the psychologist is likely to turn to when carrying out a case study are observations of a person’s daily routine, unstructured interviews with the participant herself (and with people who know her), diaries, personal notes (e.g. letters, photographs, notes) or official document (e.g. case notes, clinical notes, appraisal reports).

The case study method often involves simply observing what happens to, or reconstructing ‘the case history’ of a single participant or group of individuals (such as a school class or a specific social group), i.e. the idiographic approach.

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, workmates and others who have a good knowledge of the person, as well as to obtain facts from the person him or herself.

Most of this information is likely to be qualitative (i.e. verbal description rather than measurement) but the psychologist might collect numerical data as well.

How to analyze case study data

The data collected can be analyzed using different theories (e.g. grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, text interpretation, e.g. thematic coding).

All the approaches mentioned here use preconceived categories in the analysis and they are ideographic in their approach, i.e. they focus on the individual case without reference to a comparison group.

Interpreting the information means the researcher decides what to include or leave out. A good case study should always make clear which information is the factual description and which is an inference or the opinion of the researcher.

Strengths of Case Studies

Strengths of Case Studies

Case studies allow a researcher to investigate a topic in far more detail than might be possible if they were trying to deal with a large number of research participants (nomothetic approach) with the aim of ‘averaging’.

Because of their in-depth, multi-sided approach case studies often shed light on aspects of human thinking and behavior that would be unethical or impractical to study in other ways.

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.

Case studies are often used in exploratory research. They can help us generate new ideas (that might be tested by other methods). They are an important way of illustrating theories and can help show how different aspects of a person's life are related to each other.

The method is therefore important for psychologists who adopt a holistic point of view (i.e. humanistic psychologists).

Limitations of Case Studies

Limitations of Case Studies

Because a case study deals with only one person/event/group we can never be sure if the case study investigated is representative of the wider body of "similar" instances. This means the the conclusions drawn from a particular case may not be transferable to other settings.

Because case studies are based on the analysis of qualitative (i.e. descriptive) data a lot depends on the interpretation the psychologist places on the information she has acquired.

This means that there is a lot of scope for observer bias and it could be that the subjective opinions of the psychologist intrude in the assessment of what the data means.

For example, Freud has been criticized for producing case studies in which the information was sometimes distorted to fit the particular theories about behavior (e.g. Little Hans).

This is also true of Money’s interpretation of the Bruce/Brenda case study (Diamond, 1997) when he ignored evidence that went against his theory.

How to reference this article:

How to reference this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2019, August 03). Case study method. Simply Psychology.

APA Style References

Diamond, M., & Sigmundson, K. (1997). Sex Reassignment at Birth: Long-term Review and Clinical Implications. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 151(3), 298-304

Freud, S. (1909a). Analysis of a phobia of a five year old boy. In The Pelican Freud Library (1977), Vol 8, Case Histories 1, pages 169-306

Freud, S. (1909b). Bemerkungen über einen Fall von Zwangsneurose (Der "Rattenmann"). Jb. psychoanal. psychopathol. Forsch., I, p. 357-421 GW, VII, p. 379-463 Notes upon a case of obsessional neurosis, SE, 10: 151-318.

CASE ANALYSIS: LOCKHEED MARTIN Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Lockheed martin is an aeronautical company which deals in different segments of the same industry. The company came into existence following a merger of $ 10 billion among Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta. However, this merger was done in 1995 and it is known as merger of equals.

However, these business segments make this company a complete aerospace, defense and information security company.

In addition, the company is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. On the other hand, the company is the world’s largest defense company and its CEO is the 28 th highest paid CEO among the world’s 50 top most paid CEOs. In 1996,the company did a merger with Northrop Grumman due to the government’s control and rights which should be given to the company.

Furthermore, a major chunk of the company’s revenue is coming from the military arm and equipment since in 2009, 74% of the revenue was accounted for the military arms and equipment.

On the other hand, the company also makes billion of revenue through government contracts as, the company has the most innovative and cost efficient solutions which makes it the government’s choice. The company sellsnumerous types of missiles, helicopters, jet fighters, and radar and space satellites to the government of America.

Moreover, the merger of equals the company is working in the industry for many years. The company also bought Loral corporation defense electronic and system integration business in 1996. However, the company won collier trophy a couple of times but recently the company has started to lay off its employees due to the cut in defense budget.

2 Problem Statement and Pre-mortem

The company is working in a good position in both terms i.e. strategically and competitively however, there are some potential threat and problems which are causing hurdles to the company’s business plan. The major problem is that the government is declining the defense budget and due to this, the company has to pay close attention to its cost structure.

Furthermore, the American government is trying to stop military operations and to call back their army from where they are working and due to this the military budget will also decrease which will ultimately hit the revenue of the company. However, there are very few contracts and so many companies are competing to gain those contract from the US government which is also causing trouble to the company.

Moreover, according to the Pre-mortem analysis, the analyst is assuming that the issues have lead the company towards failure and therefore, all the things will be discussed in a manner that the company will be able to revive from the situation

In addition, the controlling cost of the company is rising, while the company is facing intense competition and the international market risk is also rising due to changing technology and regulations across the world. In this study, the investigator will try to suggest the recommended actions and initiatives for the described problem and the study will also enable the reader to find out the final recommended strategy for the aforesaid problems.

3 Generic Environment

The company is operating in defense industry and many large and established players are already operating in the industry with having significant market share. Therefore, the company is operating in a more competitive environment which could affect the future goals and strategies of the organization.

The company is operating in such an industry, which demands greater technological advancements and chances of obsolescence of technology are also high as compared to the other industry, which could also affect the future decision of the company regarding organic and strategic growth,

In addition to this, the largest buyer of the products of the company is the US government and US government is planning to cut down its defense budget, which creates further threats for the organization regarding future business and corporate objectives.

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Targeting target with a 100 million dollar data breach Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

If I was in the CEO’s shoes I would have immediately taken action on uncovering the cause of the breach and would have addressed the breach and contact to the IT support. I would have gotten more involved in the breach response as well as preparedness due to the financial implications that the incident could have been blamed on the firm. Additionally, I would have made the customers informed as soon as possible to protect the company from the consequences or the risk of the data breach, such as: damage to the brand’s reputation etc.

What lessons should a CEO learn from Target?

As previously discussed that the company had made several mistakes including: improper network segmentation, avoiding critical security alters and insecure POS data handling the CEO should make sure to make processes in place with core consideration on dealing with the breach in an effective way. Furthermore, the CEO had informed customers about data breach after various days had passed whereas in the event of the data breach the customer should be communicated and informed as soon as possible, as it is a good way to save the reputation of the company. The incident provides a solid foundation for the CEOs to make huge amount of investment in the cyber security programs. Additionally, the CEO should ensure that there is a comprehensive security approach and the well communicated and solid guidelines about how to access the data of the company, how to enable the devices to securely access it and what to do in case of event. Furthermore, the company should developed the well tested business continuity and disaster recovery plan to effectively deal with the issue. The CEO should also ensure that the company compliance with the Payment card industry data standards.

What lessons should a CIO learn?

The CIO is recommended to develop the security alert system effectively, with the design of the Fire-Eye Alerts as it helps in preventing the threats. The security alter system is another effective mean of cyber defense, which helps in detecting, preventing and stopping the attacks. On the basis that the human analysts are tend to be undertrained and are error-prone.The CIO should make alert systems more intelligent and usable. The CIO should design effective security warnings, which should be intelligent and adaptive. The CIO should also put in place the zero trust strategy as it helps in protectingthe company from the external attacks and likewiseprotects against the attacks from inside,due to the fact thatthe entire traffic is analyzed as well asmonitored.

What should Target do next?

The company should attempt to protect the network and system against the cyber-attacks, such as: data exfiltration and malware and develop reputable and well known intrusion as well as malware detection service and investigate into the security warnings and take correct measurements to placetheir segment. The company should improve the security and try to win back the lost customer through enhancing its security and technology. The improvements include logging and monitoring, limiting and reviewing vendor access as well as improving the security of accounts.

Additionally, the company should ensure that the password at POS is strong enough and meets the payment card industry data security standards. Another recommended strategy to secure the credit card transaction is the EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) which helps in addressing the security issue in the credit cards through encrypting the data on the card’s chip, due to which the attacker would find it challenging to commit a fraud.

Do you believe consumers are becoming tolerant of breeches?

To some extent, the consumers tend to ignore and avoid or minimize the implications and consequences of having information or data compromised. Some of the customers ignore the data breaches notices. However, some the customers read the data breaches notices but do not take even a single action to protect themselves. The customers demand more security, protection and privacy but at the same time they are not willing to make a use of the privacyenhancing system or the basic security software.

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How to Analyze the Results

Analyzing results for a case study tends to be more opinion based than statistical methods. The usual idea is to try and collate your data into a manageable form and construct a narrative around it.

Use examples in your narrative whilst keeping things concise and interesting. It is useful to show some numerical data but remember that you are only trying to judge trends and not analyze every last piece of data. Constantly refer back to your bullet points so that you do not lose focus.

It is always a good idea to assume that a person reading your research may not possess a lot of knowledge of the subject so try to write accordingly.

In addition, unlike a scientific study which deals with facts, a case study is based on opinion and is very much designed to provoke reasoned debate. There really is no right or wrong answer in a case study.

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