grading rubric for five paragraph essay

Mar 21, There is often overlap between the discussion and conclusion, and in some to avoid when writing the discussion section of your dissertation.

A phenomenon refers to a fact, occurrence, or circumstance that can be studied or observed but with the cause or explanation to be in question.

In this sense, a phenomenon that forms your subject of analysis can encompass anything that can be observed or presumed to exist but is not fully understood. In the social and behavioral sciences, the case usually focuses on human interaction within a complex physical, social, economic, cultural, or political system. For example, the phenomenon could be the observation that many vehicles used by ISIS fighters are small trucks with English language advertisements on them.

Case study

The research problem could be that ISIS fighters are difficult to combat because they are highly mobile. The research questions could be how and by what means are these vehicles used by ISIS being supplied to the militants and how might supply lines to these vehicles be cut?

How might knowing the suppliers of these trucks from overseas reveal larger networks of collaborators and financial support? A case study of a phenomenon most often encompasses an in-depth analysis of a cause and effect that is grounded in an interactive relationship between people and their environment in some way. Be sure to cite any prior studies that helped you determine that the case you chose was appropriate for investigating the research problem.

The main elements of your discussion section are generally the same as any research paper, but centered around interpreting and drawing conclusions about the key findings from your case study. Note that a general social sciences research paper may contain a separate section to report findings. However, in a paper designed around a case study, it is more common to combine a description of the findings with the discussion about their implications. The objectives of your discussion section should include the following:. You should then describe the findings revealed from your study of the case using direct, declarative, and succinct proclamation of the study results.

Highlight any findings that were unexpected or especially profound.

Reader's Guide

Explain the Meaning of the Findings and Why They are Important Systematically explain the meaning of your case study findings and why you believe they are important. Begin this part of the section by repeating what you consider to be your most important or surprising finding first, then systematically review each finding. Be sure to thoroughly extrapolate what your analysis of the case can tell the reader about situations or conditions beyond the actual case that was studied while, at the same time, being careful not to misconstrue or conflate a finding that undermines the external validity of your conclusions.

Relate the Findings to Similar Studies No study in the social sciences is so novel or possesses such a restricted focus that it has absolutely no relation to previously published research.

The discussion section should relate your case study results to those found in other studies, particularly if questions raised from prior studies served as the motivation for choosing your subject of analysis. This is important because comparing and contrasting the findings of other studies helps to support the overall importance of your results and it highlights how and in what ways your case study design and the subject of analysis differs from prior research about the topic. Consider Alternative Explanations of the Findings It is important to remember that the purpose of social science research is to discover and not to prove.

When writing the discussion section, you should carefully consider all possible explanations for the case study results, rather than just those that fit your hypothesis or prior assumptions and biases. Be alert to what the in-depth analysis of the case may reveal about the research problem, including offering a contrarian perspective to what scholars have stated in prior research.

Acknowledge the Study's Limitations You can state the study's limitations in the conclusion section of your paper but describing the limitations of your subject of analysis in the discussion section provides an opportunity to identify the limitations and explain why they are not significant. This part of the discussion section should also note any unanswered questions or issues your case study could not address.

More detailed information about how to document any limitations to your research can be found here. Suggest Areas for Further Research Although your case study may offer important insights about the research problem, there are likely additional questions related to the problem that remain unanswered or findings that unexpectedly revealed themselves as a result of your in-depth analysis of the case.

Be sure that the recommendations for further research are linked to the research problem and that you explain why your recommendations are valid in other contexts and based on the original assumptions of your study. As with any research paper, you should summarize your conclusion in clear, simple language; emphasize how the findings from your case study differs from or supports prior research and why. Do not simply reiterate the discussion section. Provide a synthesis of key findings presented in the paper to show how these converge to address the research problem.

If you haven't already done so in the discussion section, be sure to document the limitations of your case study and needs for further research. Consider the following points to help ensure your conclusion is appropriate:. Note that, depending on the discipline you are writing in and your professor's preferences, the concluding paragraph may contain your final reflections on the evidence presented applied to practice or on the essay's central research problem. However, the nature of being introspective about the subject of analysis you have investigated will depend on whether you are explicitly asked to express your observations in this way.

Designs and Methods (3rd Ed.)

Problems to Avoid. Overgeneralization One of the goals of a case study is to lay a foundation for understanding broader trends and issues applied to similar circumstances. However, be careful when drawing conclusions from your case study. They must be evidence-based and grounded in the results of the study; otherwise, it is merely speculation.


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Looking at a prior example, it would be incorrect to state that a factor in improving girls access to education in Azerbaijan and the policy implications this may have for improving access in other Muslim nations is due to girls access to social media if there is no documentary evidence from your case study to indicate this. There may be anecdotal evidence that retention rates were better for girls who were on social media, but this observation would only point to the need for further research and would not be a definitive finding if this was not a part of your original research agenda.

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Case Study Research Design - How to conduct a Case Study

Failure to Document Limitations No case is going to reveal all that needs to be understood about a research problem. Therefore, just as you have to clearly state the limitations of a general research study , you must describe the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis. For example, the case of studying how women conceptualize the need for water conservation in a village in Uganda could have limited application in other cultural contexts or in areas where fresh water from rivers or lakes is plentiful and, therefore, conservation is understood differently than preserving access to a scarce resource.

Failure to Extrapolate All Possible Implications Just as you don't want to over-generalize from your case study findings, you also have to be thorough in the consideration of all possible outcomes or recommendations derived from your findings. If you do not, your reader may question the validity of your analysis, particularly if you failed to document an obvious outcome from your case study research. For example, in the case of studying the accident at the railroad crossing to evaluate where and what types of warning signals should be located, you failed to take into consideration speed limit signage as well as warning signals.

When designing your case study, be sure you have thoroughly addressed all aspects of the problem and do not leave gaps in your analysis. Colorado State University; Gerring, John. Case Study Research: Principles and Practices. Salkind, editor.

Research Questions

Case Study Research in Practice. Levin, editors. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Social science case studies are often perceived as limited in their ability to create new knowledge because they are not randomly selected and findings cannot be generalized to larger populations. Flyvbjerg examines five misunderstandings about case study research and systematically "corrects" each one.

To quote, these are:. Flyvbjerg, Bent. I was trying to help someone and this came in handy. I definitely would come back to this very soon in my thesis. I was completely stuck how to write my methodology, and this has been brilliant, thank you so much! Very helpful and well structured. Can you suggest any article helpful to evaluate different methodologies?


  • Review of Case Study Research - HEPG.
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  • Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Writing a Case Study;
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  • Thank you before i study this guide it was impossible for me to write my thesis. The article was very helpful, the steps in writing a methodology were very clear and they helped me avoid including things that should not be in the methodology. This is article is very helpful and I have been using it as a guide for my dissertation.

    Is it preferable to write the methodology in first person or third? Hi Elias, thanks for your question! The answer depends partly on the conventions of your discipline. Social scientists and humanities researchers sometimes use the first person, but scientific writing often requires you to avoid it. It's best to focus on consistency — if you have used the first person elsewhere in your dissertation, you should use it in this chapter too.

    If not, use the third person as the examples in this article do. Thank you for helping me to gain more insight on what research methodology is all about, and I would like to be receiving more tips on academic research writing from you. I appreciate your work, keep it on. The methodology part was the only missing part of my research paper.

    Thank you so much for this article.

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