As a highly complex and ever-evolving field of study, psychology attributes a good half of its progress and development to the case study practice. This fundamental psychology research method paves the way for revolutionary discoveries and insights into the human mind. Its weighty outcomes enable “psyche explorers” to gain the perception and explanation of any psychology phenomenon, be it erratic behavior among adolescents or euphoria outbreaks in loved ones.
This explains why thousands of applicants worldwide will keep choosing this discipline as their major, just to last a semester and start seeking how to write a case study psychology assignment. If you belong to these young enthusiastic students looking for professional guidance in developing your case study, consider it done right from this minute! Here, we have prepared for you the most comprehensive guide to case studies for anything your supervisor would want from you.
What Is a Case Study, Anyway?
A case study is an intensive and systematic investigation of an individual, group of people, or unit aimed to generalize over a period of time. Within a case study, researchers analyze almost every aspect of the subject’s life in order to seek behavioral patterns and discover the causes of the individual’s behavior.
The information gained from a case study is gathered from different sources and using several methods. The typical methods used for conducting a case study are observations and unstructured interviews. Case studies may feature a real individual, an imagined one, or a movie or book character.
Major Types of Case Studies
Before we plunge into architecting a case study plan, let’s discuss the types of this research method. Case studies fall into the following categories:
- Explanatory case studies
This type is mostly utilized to carry out a casual survey. These case studies are centered around rationalizing any behavioral phenomenon by tracing its trigger or whatever factor that may have caused it.
- Exploratory case studies
These investigation methods are used to probe into the subject of their research. The main aim of these methods is to answer the questions “who” and “what.” This type is frequently used as an overture to a more substantial research.
- Intrinsic case studies
These case studies are characterized by the researcher’s personal interest in investigation. For example, a scientist may carry out an observation of their spouse with the aim of studying their habits and behavior, thus contributing to the general understanding of a certain psychological phenomenon.
- Descriptive case studies
This type is used to analyze existing phenomena and then explain the cause of their emergence. A good example of a descriptive case study may be this sample.
Methods of Conducting a Case Study
All the methods whereby a case study is carried out are divided into four general extensive categories – prospective, retrospective, direct observation, and interview methods. Now, let’s view each of them.
The prospective case study method is a method whereby the subject is observed over an extended period of time, tracking the progression of a particular psychological process.
Retrospective case study method utilizes research by looking backward toward the cause. Here’s how it’s done: a researcher gets to the outcome of any psychological process first, then proceeds all the way through to its cause, determining the risk factors that may have triggered it.
Direct observation method lies in observing an individual or a group in their natural setting. This method is widely recognized for its “ecological validity,” as it allows studies on the subject within their everyday routine and thus the ability to learn about their behavior as much as possible and in the most accurate way.
Interview method involves examining the subject by surveying them. By asking the subject questions directly, the researcher can analyze the subject’s behavior as well as find out the necessary information about the subject firsthand.
Case Study Plan
Normally, a case study plan comprises two major sections with their key points.
Section 1: Case History
- Background info. The opening section must feature the subject’s background. This information should include their age, gender, health status, relationships, mental health history, personal struggles, and other important highlights of their life.
- Problem description. In this part, you should describe the problem that this case study is based on. You have to cover the symptoms the subject is experiencing: their physical and emotional state, feelings, and perceptions connected with the symptoms. You should also consider the diagnoses the subject has been given.
- Your own conclusion. Based on the materials you now have, you can generate your own evaluation of the subject’s problem, giving the appropriate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual code. In your diagnosis, you need to provide an explanation of how you reached it, demonstrating how the subject’s symptoms match the diagnostic criteria.
Section 2: Intervention
This section has to contain the approaches you took to carry out an intervention into the problem. The most common treatment approaches used are provided below.
- Psychoanalytic approach. Describing this approach requires you to explain how it helped you investigate the problem. You should also shed light on how psychoanalytic therapy can treat the malfunction, how the subject may respond to it, and back up the statements as to the effectiveness of this approach.
- Cognitive-behavioral approach. Like with the previous approach, here you have to describe the peculiarities of this treatment technique: include some brief information on this approach, and then recount the treatment sessions with the subject, their response, and ultimately, the outcome of these sessions.
- Humanistic approach. Like the other two approaches, the description of the humanistic approach has to feature the explanation of how it can be applied to the treatment process. Here you have to provide the information about this treatment approach, along with the subject’s response to it and what outcome you reached.
To Wrap Up
Developing a case study is a rigorous yet interesting undertaking. As an alternative to traditional research practices in psychology, doing a case study allows you to have an enthralling and valuable experience as a student. It gives you the priceless opportunity to penetrate an individual’s personal habitat and thus gain a better insight into the deviation. And, if you want to finish your case study with a bang, make sure to take note of the case study keystones we handpicked for you, as they are also the key to how to write a case study in psychology.
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