SAGE Case Studies

  1. Berlingieri, Adriana. 2017. Conducting an Organizational Ethnography: Researching Links Between Concepts of Workplace Bullying and Organizational Practices. London: Sage. 
    This case is interesting for researchers who want to study an organization. The author clearly argues the benefits of the organizational ethnographic approach. This approach involves the use of participant observation, but also in-depth interview she calls conversations with participants. During these conversations, the researcher shares her impressions and interpretations. This reciprocity validates the knowledge produced.

  2. Betts, Bronwyn. 2014. A Tale of Two Methodologies: The Challenges of Combining Life History and Grounded Theory Research. London: Sage. 
    This case study is interesting for any researcher who decides to opt for Grounded Theory (GT). Written by an experienced researcher who uses it for the first time, it presents a reflection on the contributions and disadvantages of this approach. Good examples of open, axial and selective coding are presented. It is also an example of an analysis inspired by two approaches since the researcher also uses the biographical approach. It highlights the ethical issues related to the anonymity of the participants during the presentation of the narratives.

  3. Catolico, Olivia. 2017. A Grounded Theory Study: Displacement, Migration, and Resettlement of Cambodian Refugee Women. London: Sage. 
    This case is relevant for any researcher who needs to work with communities of which he knows neither the language nor the culture. In this case, the researcher explains how she read about Cambodia's history and how she volunteered in the Cambodian women's community in the United States to gain their trust. For the interviews, she had to use the help of an interpreter. She recounts the importance of doing test interviews with the interpreter so he can understand the importance of conveying all the details of the conversation. This case presents interesting data analysis tables.

  4. Ceatha, Nerilee. 2017. Conducting Insider Ethnography in Under-Researched Communities: The Roles of the Researcher and Gatekeepers. London: Sage. 
    This case illustrates a classical ethnography, that is, the description and analysis of a group’s culture. In this case, it is an LGBT group, and the researcher is part of this community. She recounts how her reflective perspective was essential to advance her analysis and identify the ethical issues related to her insider position.

  5. DeWeese, Anna R., Patricia A. Jennings, Joshua L. Brown, Sebrina L. Doyle, Regin T. Davis, Damira S. Rasheed, Jennifer L. Frank, et Mark T. Greenberg. 2017. Coding Semistructured Interviews: Examining Coaching Calls within the CARE for Teachers Program. London: Sage
    This case study helps to understand the perspective of a young researcher who develops her doctoral project within a larger research project based on quantitative and qualitative methods. This research has several limitations: research questions need to respect other parts of the research project and conversations can’t be recorded. Coding is done from notes. This case is also interesting because the researcher explains her choice to develop a code chart before starting the analysis. She explains how these codes have evolved along the way.

  6. DiCerbo, Patricia Anne, Keira Gebbie Ballantyne, et Charlene Rivera. 2017. Uncovering Student Literacy Needs Through Qualitative Research: A Mixed Methods Ethnographic Study of Teachers in Practice. London: Sage. 
    This case study exemplifies several information-gathering tools used in educational research: participant observation; observations of classrooms, interviews, diary, etc. Above all, researchers demonstrate how they developed data collection tools with participants so that this research helps them in their teaching. The researchers also offered training sessions to the participating professors; this is a good example of partnership research.

  7. Dwyer, Rachael. 2014. Narrative Inquiry in Practice: An Investigation of Music Teachers’ Values and Beliefs. London: Sage. 
    This case presents an interesting reflection on the coherence between the ontological, epistemological and theoretical positions of a research. The researcher conducted an ethnography and took a narrative approach. She explains how she is part of a constructivist epistemology while using Bourdieu's critical theory who opposes certain points of view to constructivist perspective.

  8. Falkenberg, Helene. 2017. Analyzing Field Notes of Fieldwork in Lower Secondary Schools. London: Sage. 
    This case study represents a relevant reflection on an important validity criteria in qualitative research: the coherence of research design. More specifically, the coherence between the ontological and epistemological position and the production of new knowledge. Falkenberg explains how she observed high school classes from a posthumanist epistemo-ontological perspective. In particular, she analyzes how this position leads her to study the relationship between humans and their environment, rather than observing humans in the context of their environment. She presents a reflexive note on the advantages and disadvantages of handwritten notes versus transcribed notes. 

  9. Géring, Zsuzsanna. 2015. Content Analysis Versus Discourse Analysis: Examination of Corporate Social Responsibility in Companies’ Homepage Texts. London: Sage. 
    In this case, the author explains the differences between content analysis and discourse analysis by illustrating with examples from her research. She starts from the sampling stage to that of analysis. She uses a quantitative method of content analysis and qualitative analysis for the discourse. She comments on the difficulties of analyzing web pages since hyperlinks break the continuity of the narrative thread.

  10. Hawk, Jena L. 2017. Examining the Media’s Portrayal of Community College Students: A Qualitative Approach Using Semi-Structured Interviewing. London: Sage. 
    This case study presents the research process in detail from the problem to the presentation of the results. This case is distinguished by the unusual choice of interviews to study a research object traditionally investigated using a content analysis: the portrait of young college students broadcast in popular media culture. In this case, the researcher is more interested in the identity construction of young college students in which television culture participates. She presents video clips to feed the discussion during the interviews.

  11. Higashida, Masateru. 2017. Dilemmas and Challenges in Participant Observation: Lessons From Research on Community-Based Rehabilitation in Rural Sri Lanka. London: Sage. 
    This case is interesting for researchers: 1) who wish to make their fieldwork abroad; 2) who enter their field through professional functions (nurses, social or humanitarian workers, etc.). The author is a Japanese-born researcher who spent two years in Sri Lanka in a non-profit organization. Her study focused on the religious and cultural practices of an NGO specialized for people with disabilities. She held a social worker position. Her thinking particularly concerns the balance to maintain between the research and intervention. It also recounts the difficulties of her health and her emotional balance during her stay. She explains how her relationship with the field evolves. While she has an outsider relationship in the first six months, she quietly becomes an insider.

  12. Köker, Philipp. 2014. Semi-Structured Elite Interviews in a Nested-Analysis Framework: Studying Presidential Activism in Central and Eastern Europe. London: Sage. 
    This case is a must for researchers who want to interview elites, that is to say, people occupying positions of power in their community. This type of interview is very difficult to do because the elites have little time for this type of activity. There is also important issues surrounding the anonymity these interviewees. The author tells how he developed a typology of the elites he wanted to meet and how he adapted three interview guides based on it. According to him, the best method of recruiting interviewees is email, since it give the opportunity for the elites to investigate the researcher's background before accepting the interview. Finally, he explained he respected the anonymity of the interviewees as follow: he presents a list of known personalities interviewed for his research, but he does not associate any quote to a specific person.

  13. LaVoulle, Crystal. 2015. Above the Drum: A Study of Visual Imagery Used to Represent the Changes in Hip-Hop. London: Sage
    This case is of interest for researchers who want to work from interviews and visual documents. To understand how hip-hop changed from a cultural expression to a music industry, the researcher explains that the first selection criterion was to choose competent interviewees in the field. When making telephone contact, the researcher asked the interviewee to find a visual document explaining this change. At the time of the interview, which the researcher named 'Conversational Partnership,' the visual element served as a trigger for the interview.

  14. Maguire, Kath. 2017. Talking About Research Using Games, Models, Maps, and Stories. London: Sage. 
    This research is part of a partnership model involving the public and patients. It is a project that uses games, visual maps and stories to convey theoretical information to patients and the public, such as Bourdieu's social reproduction or Lévi-Strauss's structuralism. The author explains how she uses these games, maps, and stories to engage the different actors, to collect information and to make scientific dissemination.

  15. O’Mahony, Joyce. 2017. Critical Ethnography: A Pragmatic Research Methodology to Explore Experiences of Immigrant Women Seeking Help for Postpartum Depression. London: Sage. 
    This case is particularly relevant to illustrate the construction of a semi-structured interview guide. The author illustrates with a chart the links between the research objectives, research question and the questions of the interview guide. In explaining the application of a critical ethnography perspective, O'Mahony illustrates the coherence between its epistemological perspective and research design. It presents clear arguments to justify the choice to focus on the qualitative method to study immigrant women who receive postpartum care. The description of the sampling is well done, and it aptly describes the difficulties in recruiting a vulnerable population.

  16. Raaper, Rille. 2017. Discourse Analysis of Assessment Policies in Higher Education: A Foucauldian Approach. London: Sage. 
    When developing a research project, most young researchers wonder whether they will choose a theoretical framework or a conceptual framework. This case illustrates how, in some research, it is necessary to position one's theoretical framework, especially in discourse analysis.

  17. Stich, Amy E. 2017. In and Through Lincoln High School: Longitudinal Ethnography in an Era of Education’s “Reform Churn”. London: Sage. 
    Ethnography is used to study synchronic situations. In this case, the author demonstrates how this approach can be used in a longitudinal perspective. It presents the results of an ethnographic research that took place over a period of three years in a school.

  18. Stitt, Rashunda L., et Denise L. Winsor. 2014. A Narrative Inquiry: The Experience of First-Generation College Students. London: Sage. 
    This case illustrates the different analytical tools developed by the researcher: the interview guide, the procedural and analytical memos, as well as a thematic analysis grid. The authors clearly argue the advantage of qualitative methods, in contrast to quantitative questionnaires, to understand the experiences of college students who represent the first-generation family to attend post-secondary institutions. The authors demonstrate the benefits of narrative interviewing to study vulnerable populations.

  19. Taylor, Emily. 2014. The Performance of Identities in an International Non-Governmental Organisation in Child Welfare in China: An Ethnographic Study Using Discourse and Narrative Analysis. London: Sage. 
    This case exemplifies the iterative process of research. The author explains how the objectives and research question evolved over the course of her research process. The author chooses an ethnographic approach to study the social practices of different actors. To do this, she chooses discourse analysis and narrative analysis. 

  20. Wigginton, Britta, et Michelle N. Lafrance. 2017. Researching Stigma in Online and Offline Spaces: Methodological Lessons and Challenges. London: Sage
    In this case, the authors explain how they had to change their research methods to adapt to stigmatized population: pregnant women who smoke. The first phase of the research consisted of conducting telephone interviews online. However, by surveying the interviewees, the researchers found that the interviewees would prefer to answer this type of question in a more distanced way. Researchers, therefore, developed an online recruitment campaign, an online open questionnaire and analyzed online discussion forums for pregnant women.