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A guide on Writing Case Studies

To read the notes for the paper pls click on this link and units 3 is where you will find most of your sources for the case study.

The case study is the study of a discrete object, such as a person, an institution, or a place. Or the case study might concern itself with an issue (or issues). The intention behind a case study is to investigate a subject or issue as singular, particular and complex; that is as a single case. The subject of the case study is understood to be an integrated system; that is a whole in itself, but is also part of (integrated with) the larger social and cultural context. By examining the complex whole in the case study, we acquire greater understanding of the subject or issue, and by integrating it, we are also positioned to understand beyond the case itself. An intrinsic case study focuses on a defined subject, for example Mary Two-Axe Early, of the case study, and by examining her life, work and challenge to the Indian Act of Canada and its disenfranchisement of Indigenous women in a detailed and complex way, the researcher is able to develop an
understanding of the subject of the case, but also an increased understanding of gender ideology and how androcentrism (that is male/masculine is the normative human and at the center of analysis) and a white-settler, masculinist orientation wherein only proper (that is white-settler) men are citizens of the nation. We also are given a more complex view of the intersection of gender ideology, racism and colonization 20th century Canada.

Different kinds of case studies

There are a number of kinds of case studies, but for our assignments in our class I have chosen the intrinsic case study as it is amenable to the on-line environment. The intrinsic case study is best suited for a tight focus on the subject of inquiry wherein specific knowledge is sought and generated about the subject within the case study. There is an “intrinsic” interest in the subject of the case. The case study allows one to see particulars that then may allow one to acquire insight into the issue, whatever the issue one is interested in, for example the intersection of racism and gender.

The intrinsic case study requires that a subject be identified. Therefore, to facilitate the assignments I have identified the subject of each of our three case studies, our second being the ritual construction of the female/feminine. Included as part of your literature review should be the film Kinaaldá, Lincoln’s Kinaaldá: Becoming the Goddess, “Subjectivities” in Evans and Williams (eds.), as well as Changing woman and Femininities in Evans and Williams (eds.). In these multiple texts we see the many ways the female/feminine is constructed, and how these constructions are located significantly in the body. The body becomes the vehicle by which gender/sex, race, indigeneity – identities – are signified. This is why there is a necessity to understand representation and how gender/sex, gender ideology, racism etc. are deployed through the body.

Equally ritual engages the body by which to reshape and redefine the person. In rites of passage the person moves from one kind of being, e.g. child, to another kind of being, e.g., adult. The film Kinaaldá records the Diné (Navajo) girls’ rite of passage into adulthood. Entering adulthood she is recognized as a female person, fully gendered and sexed, and positioned to marry if so inclined. Among people for whom rites of passage are significant, completing the rite is necessary if one is to have any kind of status among the group. For example, among some people such as the Mende entrance to the Sande Society womanhood and heterosexual marriage requires female circumcision and is part of the rite of passage.

The subject of your intrinsic case study is the construction and performance of the female/feminine in myth and ritual using the Kinaaldá as the subject of your study. For the first part of your case study, the literature review, I have supplied you with some readings and the film, but do include a minimum of two other academic references.

The intrinsic case study carefully and closely examines and reflects upon a subject, in this instance the construction and performance of the female/feminine. To this first part the researcher engages the literature, which can be reports, theories, ethnographic material, whatever scholarly material is deemed helpful to understand the subject of the case study. This material allows the researcher to develop issue questions out of which will come research questions. After developing issue questions and research questions based on the literature review of the subject, the researcher interprets the results of her/his research and from this interpretation is able to make petite observations; that is directly related to the case study at hand, and possibly some general observations; that is broad and speaking beyond the particular case study.

Developing your case study

In the sections below, I have developed an outline for the completion of your intrinsic case study. I have broken the case study down into necessary sections required to complete it. The first section is your literature review and is comprised of the scholarly material and data you use to investigate your subject – that is the construction and performance of the female/feminine – and to develop issue and research questions. Constructions of the female/feminine can be multiple, but many center on menstruation, while performances of the female/feminine are even more varied as seen with the Mikvah and the Kinaaldá. As the subject of your case study is the construction and performance of the female/feminine, you will need to narrow the focus and look at a specific situation and this should also include a developed awareness of the context.

Once your issue questions are in place, you next develop research questions based on your readings and your issue questions. Research questions are the means by which you question your data and from there are positioned to provide petite and general observations that you have determined from your case study.

Part 1 The literature review

Kinaaldá, Lincoln’s Kinaaldá: Becoming the Goddess, “Subjectivities” in Evans and Williams (eds.), as well as Changing woman and Femininities in Evans and Williams (eds.), and a minimum of two other academic sources.

Part 2 Issue Questions

Having viewed the film and read the literature as a basis for thinking about the construction and performance of the female/feminine, I want you to reflect on your material in order to develop issues questions. Issue questions make visible our conceptual structure, while allowing the development of research questions. Issue questions basically set the stage of the case study and facilitate the research. For example, my case study might look at the narrative of Changing woman asking how the myth constructs the normative female/feminine and how the figure of Changing Woman performs (and therefore sanctifies) the female/feminine. Drawing on the film, I would further ask, how are these representations enshrined in the social body? I might also ask what other identities come into play in the rite of the Kinaaldá?

Part 3 Research questions

Having set out three issue questions, which allow us to get a sense of our case study, the research questions you develop are less abstract than the issue questions and allow the study to take form so that the abstract is made manifested. Research questions include not just the ideas (issue questions/statements) but the practices of these ideas. For my case study, then, I might ask several research questions such what are the implications for the larger social body – the bearers of the myth/ritual? I would then ask about the implications for humans marked as female/feminine in the social body? Are there benefits, and there costs?

Part 4 Interpretation

The final section of the case study requires that you interpret the results of your work and provide observations. To do this, drawing on your reflections on the article, answers to the issue questions and research questions, you interpret your results. Having provided an interpretation, make a petite generalization (largely related to what you determined about the subject of the case study itself), and a grand generalization (speaking beyond the immediate subject of the case study) based on your observations.

Format of Case Study

Your case study is to be double spaced and in 12 point font (that is, something I can read). It is to be in typical formal academic narrative style and properly referenced. Although I have no preference of Style Manual for referencing, the student must adhere to a legitimate style manual and consistently use it throughout the case study. If you are unsure what style guide to use, both the Chicago and APA are very straightforward and easy to use. Please ensure you proof your written work as spelling, grammar, organization and structure will be graded.

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