Maria de Nazaré Castro Trigo Coimbra, Alcina Manuela de Oliveira Martins
American Journal of Educational Research. 2013, 1(9), 391-395DOI:
Abstract: This study has investigated the use of case studies, applied by Master´s students in Educational Sciences. Given the increasing use of case study in educational research, key aspects of its construction were analysed, including literature review, methodological choices, data collection and analysis, the researcher´s positioning and the applicability of the results. The research was predominantly qualitative and category-based, having as sample 42 Master´s dissertations, including single and multiple case studies, from students attending a Portuguese university. The results show that mixed methodology, qualitative and quantitative, is predominant. However, not all students connect theory to their empirical study, nor do they look for the common and the particular. Even though students reveal awareness of the multidimensionality of social phenomena and the researcher´s role, only a minority adds alternative perspectives and control mechanisms, so as to safeguard methodological rigour. Often, it lacks the researcher’s reflexivity, usually implicated in the context research. In addition, the research report does not always present an appealing writing, capable of attracting the reader's attention and enabling forms of generalization, by approximation to similar contexts. Finally, the study shows Master´s students need more training, to strengthen their knowledge of methodological approaches. University courses, about empirical research in education, should prepare students to design and conduct their research project, in order to achieve a new way of looking at educational reality.