As a result, case studies can be extremely valuable for both researchers and practitioners involved in clinical research. It is often the case that there is a need to follow up with the same individual in order to establish what works best, and one of the easiest ways to do this is by using a carefully written case study.
One of the first things that you need to do when looking into employing a case study method for clinical research is to think about the type of information that you need to include in your research. For example, you may need to track changes over time in how people perceive their health and well-being, and you will need to know why these changes have taken place. If you want to provide clear guidance as to whether particular practices or treatments are helping or harming the patients, you will also need to consider whether the case study should examine these issues.
Your next step will be to find a person who is capable of writing a case study and then writing an accurate account of their experiences. There is no point in hiring a person who cannot accurately and honestly describe their own experiences, as this will leave you vulnerable to accusations of bias. This is particularly important if you are interviewing individuals for a review, where there are many individuals whose opinion you are likely to be looking for. You also need to be sure that the writer can write in a clear and straightforward style so that it can easily be understood by the reader.
Once you have found a good writer, you should look to establish whether they can work with you as a research project manager. In general, a good writer will not only write and edit the research report for you, but will also be responsible for getting the researcher into contact with the individual in question, taking charge of any follow up activities that occur after the interview. If you are unable to provide this level of responsibility yourself, you should look to find a consultant who can help you out, because it will enable you to avoid any unnecessary delays and to ensure that you get your money’s worth.
Once the writer has provided an account of their own experiences, the next step will be to ask them to give you a more specific question, such as ‘What questions did you find most interesting and how did you resolve them?’. This will provide you with some sort of direction in terms of the focus of your research, as it gives you a clear picture of what type of research you should conduct, but also helps you to understand whether the situation demands the more specific type of research. When you ask the writer to provide the questions, it is essential that they write clearly and confidently, as too little detail can make it impossible to interpret what is being asked and what the answers will be.
Finally, you will need to ensure that you do not just give them a vague or overly detailed description of what they did not like. In fact, by giving the writer too detailed information, you may well end up confusing your reader and confusing your findings and results. Instead, give them a very detailed description of how they felt about their case, but at the same time make sure that you explain why they believe the way they do, and why their case was so strong.
The best thing that you can do is make sure that you have a solid understanding of the role that a case study plays in research. Once you have established that you have a working relationship with your consultant, you will be able to make better use of their services, and you may even be able to persuade them to provide more specific examples of their own case studies in the future.