Revisiting multiple-case study research design in the context of educational administration

Yılık, Mehmet Ali
Unlike the dominance of positivist paradigm in the first half of the past century, now we are witnessing not only a wider acceptance of postpositivist or interpretive paradigm in social sciences, but also the latter paradigm’s recognition as part of research design repertoire of educational researchers. Educational researchers strive for researching social phenomena around them by interpreting their surrounding contexts. Today, no less importance has been attributed to qualitative studies than quantitative ones in educational research. Some qualitative research designs like phenomenology benefit this increasing interest from researchers; however, some others like multiple-case study is observed to be selected less partly due to several concerns such as its not being viewed as a prime research design or strategy, its being viewed as a subordinate or preliminary part of an actual research design, and its lack of generalizability -a stronghold aspect of positivist paradigm. Multiple-case study is the in-depth and multi-perspective investigation of several selected cases to extract their unique aspects and complexity in real life. Multiple-case study still lacks sufficient supporters among educational administration researchers although it is a fitting research design for educational administration. In fact, multiple-case study has many strengths that may motivate educational administration researchers to use as a prime research design such as reliability, validity, transferability to other cases and analytical generalizability. The challenges that multiple-case studies bring can be listed as mass volume of data, versatility of data, hardship in building a theory, time consumption, and cost. Thus, it is crucial to determine the place of multiple-case study design in educational administration studies. What topics and research dimensions (individual, group, organization, process etc.) in educational administration have been investigated by using multiplecase studies lately, and what topics and research dimensions may be suitable to investigate by using multiple-case study design all need to be considered by taking into account strengths of multiple-case studies as well as the challenges they may bring. As a result, it may be possible to guide researchers in the field of educational administration that are interested in employing multiple-case study, and to come up with suggestions for future studies in the field. When multiple-case study is considered within the context of increased interest of educational administrators in qualitative research, it is vital to have a critical eye on this research design if it is a need, a trend or a suitable design for the field of educational administration. In this study, applicability of multiple case studies in the field of educational administration and relevant suggestions have been discussed by taking into account selected multiple case studies conducted recently in the field of educ ational administration.
Citation Formats
M. A. Yılık, “Revisiting multiple-case study research design in the context of educational administration,” İzmir, Türkiye, 2018, p. 255, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: