Chapter 3: Generalising from Qualitative Data

If you are currently planning a study, work out a logic for your choice of the number of cases you plan to study. Alternatively, review any qualitative study with which you are familiar. What is the logic used to select cases? Are you convinced by it?

Imagine that you have the resources to study four cases of the phenomenon in which you are interested. Following my discussion of Stake (Table 3.2), draw up a typology to indicate the universe of cases potentially available. This typology should include between six and 12 possible cases. Now explain why you propose to select your four cases in terms of the logic of purposive sampling.

Either use your own research or a published study to argue for choosing cases as examples of social processes rather than samples of individuals. Describe the nature of these processes.