The purpose of this section is to compare and contrast case study and quasi-experiment research designs. I will outline how they differ in their general purpose and goals, which in turn dictates their differences in approaching sampling concerns, the type of data collection methods they employ, and the data analysis techniques they employ. For example purposes, I will be utilizing Dorothy Winsor’s Engineering Writing/Writing Engineering to exemplify case studies and Barry Kroll’s Explaining How to Play a Game to exemplify quasi-experiments.
Case studies are qualitative descriptive studies, whereas quasi-experiments are quantitative studies. Therefore, while the main purpose of case studies is to merely “discover [and identify] variables” within…show more content… However, since the two differ in their overall goal, their primary interests and methods of receiving a non-random sample differ. In case studies, emphasis is placed on obtaining a representative sample. As MacNealy states, “if several subjects are [being] studied, then the researcher may want to consider how to best achieve a representative sample” (201). A representative sample is key within case studies, because case studies are designed to help build upon preexisting theories and help generate new ones, so it is important that the subjects providing insight actually have some relevance to the study. MacNealy makes this clear when she states, “a researcher will want to select a subject who is typical of some area of interest to begin to collect insights which, when combined with other insights from other empirical projects, could be used to build a general theory” (201). For example, in Engineering Writing/Writing Engineering, Winsor chose her subject, John Phillips, because he is an Engineer, and therefore relevant to her study; her case study can help frame future research within the scope of engineering and writing only because Phillips represents the sample of people within this field. However, in case studies, researchers cannot generalize beyond their representative sample. On the other hand, in quasi-experiments, pretests are of high importance and “research design hypotheses,” in which researchers make generalizations in order to “account for ineffective treatments and threats to internal validity” are crucial (179). Lauer and Asher state that the “quasi-experiment must have at least one pretest or prior set of observations on the subjects in order to determine whether the groups are initially equal or unequal on specific variables tested in the pretest” (179). This practice is seen in Kroll’s Explaining How to Play a Game,”