Case studies of psychological disorders are used to provide insight into additional research, allow for study of impractical or unethical situations, and offer detailed qualitative information to those in the psychological community, according to Simply Psychology. Additionally, case studies can lead to creating testable hypotheses and allow for the study of rare conditions and phenomena, states PsychCentral.
A case study involves detailed research of an individual through methods including observations, interviews, diaries, personal notes and the health history of the patient, notes Simply Psychology. The gathered information is mostly qualitative and is analyzed using different established theories, such as interpretative phenomenological analysis or grounded theory, while focusing strictly on the individual case without using a comparison group. Such thorough investigation into a particular case also gives the practitioner an opportunity to the better understand the patient and their individual needs in an effort to better help the patient.
Limitations of case studies include that they are time consuming, subject to researcher bias, difficult to repeat and the obtained results cannot be directly applied to a wider population, asserts Simply Psychology. Case studies should not be used to establish cause and effect relationships, adds PsychCentral, and have limited application towards making accurate predictions.