Doing Case Study: Abduction Not Induction, Phronesis Not Theory

Gary Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Citations (Scopus)


Distinctions between abduction and induction, and between phronesis and theory, are often elided in methodological discussion about case study. Making these distinctions clear offers a pathway for the better conduct of case study and for a less apologetic stance in its use. Owing its legitimacy to the experiential knowledge of phronesis rather than the generalizing power of induction and theory in explanation and prediction, case study can more unselfconsciously look to the anatomy of narrative for the justification of its processes and its conclusions. A look at this anatomy reveals a number of ways in which the valency of case study may be constructed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-582
Number of pages8
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2010


  • Case study
  • abduction
  • theory
  • phronesis


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