LC0bO5 Sharing Case Study Details

cameo 5.1 Sharing Case Study Details

Primary Notion: The Case Analyst under Cross Examination
Psychology abounds with “verbal theories”, both implicit and explicit, conjoined with excerpts from more detailed collections of empirical material. These interpretive analyses, the heart and soul of case study, are vulnerable to criticism as untrustworthy for many reasons, among which these three are surely the most important:
– one can’t judge the impact of material selection on interpretation
– one can’t criticize or disconfirm the analyst’s argument in any serious way without risking his “pulling a rabbit out of his hat” to refute criticism with previously unpublished data.
– one can’t use the analyst’s data for other ends if it’s not available.

The Proposed Solution to these problems:
Create a “datacase”, that is, a case-study oriented database which includes the original analyst’s interpretations and also the raw materials of his corpus (with whatever text and graphics are appropriate for each), with information about off-line sources of information too expensive to recast in digital form (such as extensive videotaped collections). Create a software environment that will help permit the second analyst to note, mark, and evaluate the interconnections in the datacase created by the original analyst.

Advantages of the Proposed Solution:
1. By bringing the analyst’s corpus material into a quasi-public form, datacases will make the case study method itself more credible. Protection of the subject’s privacy will be necessary; it will be possible to control exposure by various protection schemes (both social and technical).
2. Other theorists will be better able to use the material collected by their predecessors and colleagues either directly in their own analyses or indirectly, as positive and negative examples, to improve data collection methods generally.
3. The existence of explicit interpretations and archived but accessible corpora, joined with tools for their interrelation, will create a “psychologist’s workbench” useful for the training of future researchers and clinician’s before their exposure to practice with living people.

A Specific Project: The HALE datacase
– Robert White (emeritus, Harvard) was a pioneer in personality psychology in the United States. His classic text “Lives in Progress” is still used throughout the country. That text is based on three case studies archived at the Henry Murray Research Center. The HALE Datacase brings together the text of some text from “Lives in Progress” with the corpus containing the case study of the subject, Hartley Hale.
– The Hale Datacase was created in a prototype form on the Macintosh Hypercard 2 platform. It is NOT publicly available.

Robert W. Lawler
Spring 1992

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