3.2 Case study methodology

Darke et al (1998) suggest that the use of the case study in research is useful in newer less well-developed research areas such as the current topic particularly where examination of the context and the dynamics of a situation are important. A case study methodology allows this by using multiple sources of data and evidence. By drawing from these various sources, the researcher has determined what the most important elements at play are and what their consequences (intended or otherwise) appear to be. This subject of the case study was chosen as a consequence of the researcher’s local knowledge in this field thus offering reasoned lines of explanation based on knowledge of settings and circumstance (Fenno, 1986). As an integral member of the Local Authority’s Home Care Service’s (LAHCS) management team the researcher has been mindful of his position and throughout this research project has attempted to maintain a neutral viewpoint by focussing on the research methodology.

By adopting a case study approach a holistic analysis of the subject of inquiry has been possible which focusses on the impact of the ageing population on the operational demands of LAHCS.

The challenges facing the public sector organisations has been well documented over the past few years (Christie Commission, 2011), but little evidence has been produced on the day-to-day implications that are impacting on the delivery of front-line services. This case study approach assumes that examining the context and other complex conditions related to the case being studied are integral to understanding the case (Yin, 2012). It is argued that a single methodological approach would not have been able to penetrate the complexities that present within this research and may not have addressed the research questions. Consequently, a case study methodology is deemed appropriate as Hamilton (2011) concludes:

…it is an approach that is focussed on the idea of a bounded unit which is examined, observed and analysed in order to capture key components of the case.