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The World Bank Washington, D.C.Case Study Evaluations

By Linda G. Morra and Amy C. FriedlanderLinda G. Morra and Amy C. Friedlander


In OED, much use is made of the case study. For example, the audits of two water projects in Malawi (World Bank 1997c) 1 and five transportation projects in Thailand (World Bank 1997d) and our study of paddy irrigation and water management in Southeast Asia (Rice 1997) are essentially all case studies. We use case studies for in-depth consideration of the results of a project or group of projects or to illustrate given points. Case studies are convincing and capture the reader’s attention. But they are not generalizable; a case—no matter how well done—cannot tell you whether it is the only such instance or whether the problem (or success) is widespread. There is considerable confusion about what is and is not a case study, what is case study methodology, what use can be made of them, and how they should be written-up for dissemination. This paper attempts to clarify these issues. Definition of a Case Study A case study is a method for learning about a complex instance, based on a comprehensive understanding of that instance obtained through extensive description and analysis of that instance taken as a whole and in its context. Site visits are generally associated with case studies, but not al

Year: 2011
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