The case for case studies in nursing research: the problem of generalization

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Abstract

The case for case studies in nursing research:the problem of generalization

This paper examines the logic of generalizing from case studies and other non-representative samples. It is argued that the generalizability of such research is often underestimated, because of a fundamental confusion about two quite distinct logical bases upon which generalizations can be made: empirical and theoretical. It is suggested that once it is accepted that theoretical generalizations do not depend upon representativeness for their validity, the full value of case study, and other small-scale qualitative research to nursing and other health care disciplines, can be appreciated.

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