The case: generalization, theory and phronesis in case study

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The case: generalization, theory and phronesis in case study. / Thomas, Gary.

In: Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 37, No. 1, 01.02.2011, p. 21-35.

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@article{cc30ab77b27143deb37a3c602b15de31,
title = "The case: generalization, theory and phronesis in case study",
abstract = "Arguments for the value of case study are vitiated by assumptions about the need for generalisation in the warrant of social scientific inquiryand little generalisation is legitimate from case study, although an argument exists for the role of the case in the establishment of a form of generalisation in a certain kind of theory, a line of reasoning that I appraise critically. But outside the discussion of generalisation specifically in case study, commentary has pointed to the failure of social science generally to offer any special kind of generalisation which can be shown to be more reliable and valuable than the everyday generalisation of the layperson. If such critical commentary has validity, the failure, then, is a failure not unique to case study: such failure haunts all kinds of social inquiry. I argue that case study's conspicuous shortcomings in generalisability, far from minimising case study's offer, in fact free it to offer something different and distinctive in social scientific inquiry. Thus, the potential of case study may be realised in developing something rather more nuanced than generalised knowledgein what I call exemplary knowledge. The latter, drawing its legitimacy from phronesis as distinct from theory, I argue to be clearly different from generalisable knowledge.",
author = "Gary Thomas",
year = "2011",
month = feb
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/03054985.2010.521622",
language = "English",
volume = "37",
pages = "21--35",
journal = "Oxford Review of Education",
issn = "0305-4985",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",
number = "1",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The case: generalization, theory and phronesis in case study

AU - Thomas, Gary

PY - 2011/2/1

Y1 - 2011/2/1

N2 - Arguments for the value of case study are vitiated by assumptions about the need for generalisation in the warrant of social scientific inquiryand little generalisation is legitimate from case study, although an argument exists for the role of the case in the establishment of a form of generalisation in a certain kind of theory, a line of reasoning that I appraise critically. But outside the discussion of generalisation specifically in case study, commentary has pointed to the failure of social science generally to offer any special kind of generalisation which can be shown to be more reliable and valuable than the everyday generalisation of the layperson. If such critical commentary has validity, the failure, then, is a failure not unique to case study: such failure haunts all kinds of social inquiry. I argue that case study's conspicuous shortcomings in generalisability, far from minimising case study's offer, in fact free it to offer something different and distinctive in social scientific inquiry. Thus, the potential of case study may be realised in developing something rather more nuanced than generalised knowledgein what I call exemplary knowledge. The latter, drawing its legitimacy from phronesis as distinct from theory, I argue to be clearly different from generalisable knowledge.

AB - Arguments for the value of case study are vitiated by assumptions about the need for generalisation in the warrant of social scientific inquiryand little generalisation is legitimate from case study, although an argument exists for the role of the case in the establishment of a form of generalisation in a certain kind of theory, a line of reasoning that I appraise critically. But outside the discussion of generalisation specifically in case study, commentary has pointed to the failure of social science generally to offer any special kind of generalisation which can be shown to be more reliable and valuable than the everyday generalisation of the layperson. If such critical commentary has validity, the failure, then, is a failure not unique to case study: such failure haunts all kinds of social inquiry. I argue that case study's conspicuous shortcomings in generalisability, far from minimising case study's offer, in fact free it to offer something different and distinctive in social scientific inquiry. Thus, the potential of case study may be realised in developing something rather more nuanced than generalised knowledgein what I call exemplary knowledge. The latter, drawing its legitimacy from phronesis as distinct from theory, I argue to be clearly different from generalisable knowledge.

U2 - 10.1080/03054985.2010.521622

DO - 10.1080/03054985.2010.521622

M3 - Article

VL - 37

SP - 21

EP - 35

JO - Oxford Review of Education

JF - Oxford Review of Education

SN - 0305-4985

IS - 1

ER -