Strategies for Ensuring Case Study Rigor
One of the key challenges in case study research is to properly show rigor in order to avoid the criticism such research is commonly faced with. It is therefore of great benefit to look how Gibbert and Ruigrok uncover three strategies for safeguarding rigor in case study research. Contributing to this ongoing methodological debate, the article also discusses implications for authors, reviewers and editors.
The full paper can be downloaded here.
To provide evidence-based strategies for ensuring rigor of case studies, the authors examine what rigor types authors report and how they report them by content analyzing all case studies published 1995—2000 in 10 management journals. Comparing practices in articles addressing rigor extensively and less extensively, the authors reveal three strategies for insuring rigor. First, very few case study authors explicitly label the rigor criteria in terms of the concepts commonly used in the positivist tradition (construct, internal, and external validity, as well as reliability). Despite this, papers addressing rigor extensively do report concrete research actions taken to ensure methodological rigor. Second, papers addressing rigor extensively prioritized rigor types: more, and more detailed, strategies were reported for ensuring internal and construct validity than for external validity. Third, emergent strategies used in the field were reported, such as setbacks and serendipities, that necessitated changes to the originally planned research procedures. Authors focus squarely on the concrete research actions taken, carefully relaying them to the reader so that the reader may appreciate the logic and purpose of trade-off decisions in the context of the specific case study.