This research will be grounded on the following:
- Teaching strategies.
- Description of Case study as a teaching strategy.
- Positive characteristics of Case Study as a Teaching Strategy.
- Negative characteristics of Case Study as a Teaching Strategy.
- Synthesis of findings from research articles.
- Recommendations for use of Case Strategy as a Teaching Strategy.
Teaching strategies that promote critical thinking engage students in an active learning process. An active learning process requires students to be directly involved in the learning process, thus they are more likely to commit to memory information associated with the lesson.
This section presents various teaching strategies associated with critical thinking. This is not intended to be a comprehensive presentation, rather selected examples with exemplars. Faculty may find these examples helpful for developing critical thinking learning activities appropriate for their classroom. Students can benefit from this section by developing an appreciation for the value of diverse learning strategies instructors may use, and their role as learners in such activities. Such teaching strategies are analogy, concept map, jigsaw, problem-based learning, role playing, simulation, selected journals, and case study among others. In this article discussion will be based on case study.
Description of Case study as a teaching strategy.
The case study is a teaching strategy which requires learners to draw upon their past experiences, is participatory and has action components which are links to future experience. The key to a successful case study is the selection of an appropriate problem situation which is relevant both to the interests and experience level of learners and to the concepts being taught. The case report should include facts regarding the problem, the environmental context, and the characters of the people involved in the case. It should be factual, but also contain the opinions and views of the people involved. Learners should have access to the problem solution, but not until they have reached their own conclusions and can then compare their results with the actual decision taken to resolve the problem.
It is widely believed that discussing case studies is the most effective way of teaching responsible conduct of research, probably because discussing case studies is an effective way of getting students involved in the issue.
Clinical Teaching Strategies in Nursing seeks to address the many aspects of educating nursing students at the bedside. The novice educator is led through the initial identification of a personal and professional philosophy to areas including student evaluation and grading. Specific learning activities developed for clinical settings are presented, such as case studies and grand rounds.
A case study involves an analysis of a clinical situation or incident. This widely used teaching strategy usually depicts an actual or fictitious patient in a clinical situation, thus allowing students to learn concepts and diagnostic reasoning in a clinical context. Case studies can range from very simple to complex. Typically, a case study presents patient information followed by questions. The learner must analyze and interpret the data provided to answer questions. Critical thinking occurs when questions involve problem solving as opposed to interpretation of facts in other words when questions posed are at an application, analysis, or evaluative level.
Positive characteristics of Case Study as a Teaching Strategy.
The case analysis can be carried out with the learners working independently or in groups. One advantage of using the case method is that it emphasizes practical thinking and it assists learners in identifying principles after examining the facts of the case and then applying those principles to new situations Case analysis is equally effective when used in combination with other instructional strategies. It also stimulates critical thinking through analysis and interpretation of data. In the online environment case studies can be presented on web pages and discussed in conferencing groups. Cases can be developed by class groups as collaborative projects. In addition, the vast resources of the Internet can be tapped by students and educators to contribute data, information and expert advice to case development and analysis.
Case study presents nursing concepts in clinical context that students can relate to. Students can identify opportunities for research and enabling learning in every day clinical practice. They can apply the major theories of learning and research from higher education and health care context to the learning practice. They can develop a reflective approach to research and learning which they can utilize in their own continuing professional development.
When case study is done in small groups, it generates discussion and sharing of ideas and thoughts among the group members. It enables the group to contribute a variety of ideas towards a given project, thus contributing to the efficiency of the outcome.
Case study can be applied in multiple settings.
It can be done in multiple formats, such as in written format, video or computer. With the use of these formats, students have a wider span to learn and research in an effective way.
Negative characteristics of Case Study as a Teaching Strategy.
The problems with this are in regards to generalizability and intersubjectivity. In other words, since the researcher is studying a limited case or group very deeply, it is hard to apply what is learned to the general clinical or nursing setting.
The second part, intersubjectivity has to do with the nature of qualitative research itself. Since it involves observation, interaction, interview, or content analysis of a particular case, most of the interpretations are made based on the opinion of the individual researcher. In other words, if you and I spent a day at a local park, watched the people come and go, and took notes of things we found to be significant or interesting about how people behaved, the things you noted may be very different than what I noted as important. This is because each of us makes decisions and judgments based on our own individual world view. Also, since these types of studies are so random and based on observations of events as they happen, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to replicate them in a different study. When you can't replicate a study, there is no way to determine if your findings are accurate.
Although different nursing cases might be similar, the information in one does not necessarily apply to the other cases. Also insufficient information can lead to inappropriate results. Another demerit is that, development of a case study requires clinical expertise and is time intensive. Case study is not appropriate to the elementary levels in teaching nursing.
Synthesis of findings from research articles.
There are various teaching strategies. Among the most important teaching strategies in teaching nursing in nursing schools is case study. Case study is not only important in teaching nursing but also in teaching other areas.
Case study involves the study of a situation that occurred in the past and use the experience gained from if to solve real situation or problems occurring now or that may occur in the future.
Types of case studies
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Under the more generalized category of case study exist several subdivisions, each of which is custom selected for use depending upon the goals and/or objectives of the invesigator. These types of case study include the following:
Illustrative Case Studies.
These are primarily descriptive studies. They typically utilize one or two instances of an event to show what a situation is like. Illustrative case studies serve primarily to make the unfamiliar familiar and to give readers a common language about the topic in question.
Exploratory (or pilot) Case Studies:
These are condensed case studies performed before implementing a large scale investigation. Their basic function is to help identify questions and select types of measurement prior to the main investigation. The primary pitfall of this type of study is that initial findings may seem convincing enough to be released prematurely as conclusions.
Cumulative Case Studies
These serve to aggregate information from several sites collected at different times. The idea behind these studies is the collection of past studies will allow for greater generalization without additional cost or time being expended on new, possibly repetitive studies.
Critical Instance Case Studies
These examine one or more sites for either the purpose of examining a situation of unique interest with little to no interest in generalizability, or to call into question or challenge a highly generalized or universal assertion. This method is useful for answering cause and effect questions.
After considering the different sub categories of case study and identifying a theoretical perspective, researchers can begin to design their study. Research design is the string of logic that ultimately links the data to be collected and the conclusions to be drawn to the initial questions of the study. Typically, research designs deal with at least four problems:
- What questions to study
- What data are relevant
- What data to collect
- How to analyze that data
The case study research must have at least these five components;
- A study's questions.
- A study's propositions (if any).
- A study's units of analysis.
- The logic linking of the data to the propositions.
- The criteria for interpreting the findings.
In addition to these five basic components, there is the importance of clearly articulating one's theoretical perspective, determining the goals of the study, selecting one's subject(s), selecting the appropriate method(s) of collecting data, and providing some considerations to the composition of the final report.
Another important stage is the selection of case participants. Case studies can use one participant, or a small group of participants. However, it is important that the participant pool remain relatively small. The participants can represent a diverse cross section of society, but this isn't necessary. Often, a brief "case history" is done on the participants of the study in order to provide researchers with a clearer understanding of their participants, as well as some insight as to how their own personal histories might affect the outcome of the study. Participants might be existing or those that existed during the first case.
The next stage is data collection. There are six types of data collected in case studies: Documents, archival records, interviews, direct observation, participant observation and artifacts.
Depending on whether researchers have chosen to use a single or multi-modal approach for the case study, they may choose to collect data from one or any combination of these sources.
As the information is collected, researchers strive to make sense of their data. Generally, researchers interpret their data in one of two ways: holistically or through coding. Holistic analysis does not attempt to break the evidence into parts, but rather to draw conclusions based on the text as a whole. However, most researchers commonly interpret their data by coding, which is by systematically searching data to identify and/or categorize specific observable actions or characteristics. These observable actions then become the key variables in the study.
The most important stage is composing a report of the case study. In the many forms it can take, a case study is generically a story; it presents the concrete narrative detail of actual or at least realistic events, it has a plot, exposition, characters, and sometimes even dialogue. Generally, case study reports are extensively descriptive, with the most problematic issue often referred to as being the determination of the right combination of description and analysis. Typically, authors address each step of the research process, and attempt to give the reader as much context as possible for the decisions made in the research design and for the conclusions drawn. This contextualization usually includes a detailed explanation of the researchers' theoretical positions, of how those theories drove the inquiry or led to the guiding research questions, of the participants' backgrounds, of the processes of data collection, of the training and limitations of the coders, along with a strong attempt to make connections between the data and the conclusions evident.
Once key variables have been identified, they can be analyzed. Reliability becomes a key concern at this stage, and many case study researchers go to great lengths to ensure that their interpretations of the data will be both reliable and valid. Because issues of validity and reliability are an important part of any study in the social sciences, it is important to identify some ways of dealing with results. As is the case with other research methodologies, issues of external validity, construct validity, and reliability need to be carefully considered
Case study is important because;
Cases often offer the learners with opportunities to grapple with issues, problems, dilemmas and puzzles in nursing in ways that are engaging, challenging and productive in reasonably safe but not entirely risk-free environment. They encourage learners to explore ways to testing the explanatory or predictive power of a theory.
Learners find that cases add an extra dimension to both their reading and classroom experience. The real world orientation of the material, the direct interaction with classmates and the engagement in analyzing the open-ended questions generally yield better class preparation, more involved participation, stronger conceptual grasp, wider perception of the alternative views, deeper awareness of the complexity of issues, better retention, and more skillful and confident expression of nursing ideas.
Cases encourage learners to reach a deeper understanding of the nursing and clinical concepts and issues than they would from just reading or listening to a lecture. Cases also help learners to appreciate the limited extent to which their current theoretical understandings enable them to solve ill-defined problems and provide credible explanations of real situations.
Case studies help learners to take responsibility for their own learning and to see the benefits of thinking about theoretical issues before they are discussed in class.
Case studies help learners to improve their ability to think analytically, to make material their own through direct engagement with it and to present their ideas and opinions persuasively and conviction.
Case studies help to make learning relevant by engaging learners in thinking about contemporary (and often contentious) issues. This helps learners to see theory as asset of tools for solving important, practical problems rather than some abstract set of ideas to be understood, remembered and possibly applied at some time in the future.
Here are some of the research articles related to teaching strategy; 1) Arts- Always among the highest expression of evvery culture, the arts teach us much about every historical period through its literature, visual arts, music, dance, and drama. Today it is recognized that to be truly well educated one must not only learn to appreciate the arts, but must have rich opportunities to actively participate in creative work. The arts are languages that most people speak, cutting through individual differences in culture, educational background, and ability. They can bring every subject to life and turn abstractions into concrete reality. Learning through the arts often results in greater academic achievement and higher test scores.2) Classroom instruction- Teachers are always looking for the most effective teaching strategies to engage students and improve performance. Through many meta-analyses of action research around various instructional strategies includes identifying similarities and differences, summarizing and note taking. 3) Similarity and Differences- Helping students identify similarities and differences allow them to see patterns and make connections. Students can compare and contrast ideas using Venn Diagrams, which are graphic organizers that have overlapping circles that show how information is related. Teachers can also help students classify objects by using different criteria, such as sorting blocks by color and then sorting them by shape. These strategies help students learning more effectively by enabling them to develop their own schema to define how objects are grouped by identifying similarities and differences. 4) Non-Linguist Representation- Encourage students to use linguistic (both written and discussed) and non-linguistic methods to acquire and retain information. Students can draw pictures to help them understand concepts, create and/or observe computer simulations and act out ideas. Creating and learning from graphs, charts and maps also help students learn and return information using all of their senses. 5) Reinforce Effort-Some students don't believe or recognize the relationship between effort and achievement. Share with student’s stories of real-life figures who worked consistently and persistently to reach their dreams. Students' efforts should be praised specifically and openly. One approach is to use effort charts, which show, for example, homework completion. This helps students make a connection between effort and achievement.6) Instructional Methods- Instructional methods and teaching methods mean the same thing. They are primarily descriptions of the learning objective oriented activities and flow of information between teachers and students. Although some may argue otherwise, to split hairs over whether such methods are meaningfully different adds nothing to the process of learning to be a teacher. Direct and indirect instruction are two main categories that many educators find useful for classifying teaching methods, but it is, as you will see, a bit more complicated than placing all instruction into two categories.
Any instructional method a teacher uses has advantages, disadvantages, and requires some preliminary preparation. Often times, a particular teaching method will naturally flow into another, all within the same lesson, and excellent teachers have developed the skills to make the process seamless to the students. Which instructional method is right for a particular lesson depends on many things, and among them are the age and developmental level of the students, what the students already know, and what they need to know to succeed with the lesson, the subject-matter content, the objective of the lesson, the available people, time, space and material resources, and the physical setting. Another, more difficult problem is to select an instructional method that best fits one's particular teaching style and the lesson-situation.
There is no one right method for teaching a particular lesson, but there are some criteria that pertain to each that can help a teacher make the best decision possible superiority of method is intended, and obviously, not all are appropriate for all grades and subject matter content areas.
Recommendations for use of Case Strategy as a Teaching Strategy.
The instructor must determine the goal of learning for the case study, that is, what type of clinical situation is desired or is to be analyzed. Because there are several published case studies available, the planning may involve finding a case study appropriate for the desired learning. If the instructor selects to write a case study, it should include a patient situation within a specific setting and should include desired data such as laboratory results, examination findings, medications, etc. The complexity of the case should be based on the level of the students and the amount of time the instructor expects the students to work on the case study.
On further development we can outline the plan in terms of its objectives as stated below;
The plan should nature scholarship, pursuing knowledge and applying skills through broadly based programs in teaching and learning, research and development and community service and the associated Goal for Teaching and Learning. Also to achieve excellence in teaching and learning and produce graduates of practical value to the community by encouraging and supporting the full and continuing scholarly, professional and personal development of staff and students. The objectives of this phase are;
The first objective is to produce graduates who value and practice the pursuit and application of knowledge and who are equipped for careers and employment in their chosen field.
The second objective is to foster self-directed learning focused deliberately on learning rather than teaching. It reflects the need to prepare students for lifelong learning, and to ensure a strong foundation for progression to postgraduate study, research and scholarship. It recognized also the potential of new information technology to support learner-centered rather than the traditional teacher-controlled programs.
The third objective is to encourage academic staff to become reflective practitioners in their undergraduate and postgraduate .The third objective reflects the critically important role of the staff in quality improvement cycles and the need for teaching to be regarded and treated as a scholarly activity in its own right.
The fourth objective is to provide teaching and learning programs that meet diverse student needs; this objective addresses the needs of the increasingly diverse student population and, in addition, anticipated moves towards more open and flexible delivery of courses, such as nursing.
The fifth objective is to promote, recognize and reward quality teaching.
The instructor needs to decide if this is an individual assignment or a group activity, and if this is to be an in class activity, or an out of class assignment. If the case study is to be an in class assignment, the instructor should be sure to provide initial instructions to the students, and allow them to work. The role of the instructor is to facilitate the work by discussing various points or options posed by the questions.
Instructors should provide feedback to the students so they can evaluate their thinking process. Evaluation can be done in a classroom setting such as a discussion or in writing if the case study was completed as an assignment.
It is very important for the instructor to choose the case studies wisely. The case studies should emphasize the theoretical approach or idea that the instructor wants to be applied. This will see and ensure that the students are able to use the required theoretical approach and hence they will be successful in the evaluation and conclusion of the study.
For case study as a teaching strategy to be very effective it has to be used together with other teaching strategies.