Case Study Approach

The case study approach in human geography is useful in both research and teaching, particularly when an in depth investigation is needed. The study of a single place, a particular group, or a specific issue in one location is helpful in narrowing down research topics. Such topics are often more manageable and meaningful for both early career geographers and more experienced scholars. This approach tends to be selective, with an emphasis on one or two issues that are fundamental to understanding larger research questions. Case studies are most appropriate when a researcher wishes to utilize a set of mixed methods of data collection and analysis in order to bring out the viewpoints of multiple participants in the study.

However, what criteria should be used to define and delimit a particular case study and how are research and teaching questions best framed when applying the case study approach in human geography? Answers to these and other related questions about the usefulness and the limitations of using case studies for research and teaching in geography provide the overarching structure for this article.

Types of Case Studies

Methods Useful in Case Study Research

Using the Case Study Approach to Teach Human Geography

Issues and Challenges of the Case Study Approach