What Is A Case Study? An Example Of A Case Study With A Challenge And Strategy

What is a case study? A case study is a detailed examination of one person, group, or event. A case study examines nearly every aspect of the subject’s life and history to look for patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies have applications in many fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

What Is A Case Study?

The hope is that the knowledge gained from studying one case will be applicable to many others. Unfortunately, case studies are highly subjective, making it difficult to generalize findings to a larger population.

A male corporate executive was alleged to have been sending anonymous harassing and inappropriate emails to various females employed by the company and other companies. The corporation’s IT department could not find conclusive evidence that the anonymous e-mail messages were being sent by the suspected executive.

The Challenge

A laptop belonging to the corporation was found outside one of the corporation’s buildings. The corporation suspected that this device was assigned or loaned to the executive in question. Avalon had to conduct a forensic analysis on a formatted computer system to determine prior users and evidence of inappropriate activity.

The Strategy 

Avalon performed a forensic analysis on the computer system to recover any information on the disk to determine whether this machine had been involved with the aforementioned harassing emails. Avalon recovered data, such as social media conversations, that indicated that the computer’s primary user appeared to be the executive in question. According to the recovered Internet history and browser cache, the accounts used to send the anonymous harassing emails were activated and then deactivated from the relevant e-mail provider while using this computing device.

The dates of the account creation and deletion were consistent with the dates and times of the e-mail threads provided by the corporation. A review of the data also determined that the system had been connected to various domains from an IP address. Through a legal subpoena, Avalon confirmed that the IP address was assigned to the Internet-facing router of the executive’s residence. 

Avalon issued a formal forensic findings report based on the investigation to be used in expert affidavits or as the basis for courtroom testimony if needed. 

The Results

As a result of the forensic investigation, termination proceedings were initiated, and the executive was removed from the company without further legal proceedings.

Benefits And Limitations Of A Case Study

A case study can have both advantages and disadvantages. Before deciding whether or not to conduct this type of study, researchers must weigh the benefits and drawbacks.

One of the most significant advantages of a case study is that it allows researchers to investigate phenomena that are frequently difficult or impossible to replicate in a laboratory.

Other advantages of conducting a case study include:

Allows researchers to collect a large amount of data

Allow researchers to gather information on rare or unusual cases.

Allows researchers to create hypotheses that can be tested through experimental research.

On the negative side, consider the following case study:

Cannot always be applied to a larger population.

Cause and effect cannot be demonstrated

It is possible that it is not scientifically rigorous.

Can result in bias

If researchers want to investigate a novel or recently discovered phenomenon, they may conduct a case study. The insights gained from such research can then be used to help researchers develop additional ideas and research questions that can then be investigated in future studies.

Final Thoughts

Case studies can be an effective research tool, but they must be used with caution. They are most useful in situations where conducting an experiment would be difficult or impossible. They are useful for examining unusual situations and allowing researchers to learn a lot about a specific person or group of people.

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