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Designing, Writing-up And Reviewing Case Study Research: An Equifinality Perspective

Katrien Verleye

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Purpose Several researchers struggle with designing, writing-up and reviewing case study research, but constructing a template for describing and justifying methodological choices is – in contrast with quantitative research – undesirable due to the creative nature of qualitative research. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the multitude of paths to rigorous case study research and promote rigorous case study research in the service community. Design/methodology/approach Based upon a review of seminal articles and textbooks, different paths to rigorous case study research are identified. Subsequently, these paths are compared with existing practices in case studies in service research published between March 2017 and April 2019. Findings Seminal articles and textbooks detail different paths to achieve rigor with regard to research purpose, design, data, analyses and write-up. Overall, the most popular paths in the service community are those proposed by Eisenhardt and Yin. Meanwhile, service researchers increasingly challenge the dichotomy between the inductive and deductive logic by choosing an abductive logic. Transparency and reflexivity are the main points of attention among service researchers doing case study research. Originality/value By providing insight into the multitude of paths to rigorous case study research along with their popularity in the service community, this paper helps service researchers to balance rigor and creativity when engaging in case study research. Additionally, this paper offers a framework for reviewing case study research in terms of rigor and creativity.