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Because attrition may deeply affect longitudinal case studies based on just one or two participants, sampling carefully is crucial. If multiple cases are used, researchers often provide a detailed account of each and then some form of cross-case comparison, either in prose or in a tabular summary (Creswell, 1998).
Once written records are available, analysis involves the coding of data and the identification of salient points or structures.
Within sociology, qualitative research is typically focused on the micro-level of social interaction that composes everyday life, whereas quantitative research typically focuses on macro-level trends and phenomena.
Qualitative research has a long history in sociology and has been used within it for as long as the field itself has existed.
More recently, TESOL case studies have adopted the more subjective and interpretive stance typical of case studies in education and other fields (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996; Johnson, 1992; Stake, 1994, 1995), with less emphasis on the acquisition of discrete linguistic elements and more emphasis on such issues as learners' and teachers' identities, skill development and its consequences for learners, teachers' professional development experiences, and the implementation of language policies in programs and countries.
Both approaches are legitimate but require sufficient detail and contextualization. Provide sufficient contextual information about the case, including relevant biographical and social information (depending on the focus), such as ESL learning/teaching history, L1 background, years of residence in a new country, data collection site(s), or other relevant descriptive information pertaining to the case and situation. Purposeful sampling is generally used in case study research; therefore, explain sampling procedures and case selection, and the defining characteristics and typicality or atypicality of the case: Note whether the case in question is a deviant or extreme case, a critical case, a convenience case, a politically significant case, and so on (Creswell, 1998; Miles & Huberman, 1994).