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Case Study vs. Experiment: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 15, 2024
Case Study is in-depth analysis of a single event, situation, or individual. Experiment is a scientific procedure to test a hypothesis through controlled and variable manipulation.

Key Differences

Case studies involve a detailed examination of a specific subject, providing rich qualitative data. Experiments are structured to test hypotheses, involving variable control and manipulation.
In case studies, data is gathered from real-world observations, interviews, and documents. Experiments rely on quantitative data from controlled testing environments.
Case studies aim to explore and understand complex phenomena in-depth. Experiments seek to establish cause-and-effect relationships.
Case studies offer detailed insights specific to the case but with limited generalizability. Experiments provide broader generalizations based on empirical evidence.
Case studies are prevalent in social sciences for exploring unique situations. Experiments are fundamental in natural sciences for validating theories.

Comparison Chart


In-depth analysis of specific cases
Testing hypotheses through variable control

Data Type

Qualitative (observations, interviews)
Quantitative (measurable data)


Understand complex phenomena in detail
Establish cause-and-effect relationships


Limited to the case studied
Broadly generalizable results

Preferred Fields

Social sciences, business, psychology
Natural sciences, psychology, medicine

Case Study and Experiment Definitions

Case Study

A case study often presents findings in a narrative format.
The case study narrated the company's journey through financial crises.


An experiment is a controlled test of a hypothesis.
The experiment aimed to test the new drug's effectiveness.

Case Study

A case study is an in-depth analysis of a specific subject.
The case study on the startup's success offered valuable insights.


Experiments focus on objective measurement and data analysis.
The experiment's results were analyzed using statistical methods.

Case Study

A case study is a qualitative research method.
Her case study involved detailed interviews with participants.


Experiments involve manipulating variables to observe effects.
In the experiment, temperature was altered to see its impact on chemical reactions.

Case Study

A case study focuses on a single entity or event.
The case study examined a rare medical condition.


An experiment is a key part of the scientific method.
The scientists conducted an experiment to validate their theory.

Case Study

A case study is used to explore complex issues.
The case study provided a deep understanding of the social dynamics.


Experiments are designed to be reproducible.
The experiment was repeated to confirm the findings.


A test under controlled conditions that is made to demonstrate a known truth, examine the validity of a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy of something previously untried.


When is a case study used?

Case studies are used when detailed, qualitative understanding of a specific case is needed.

What is an experiment?

An experiment is a scientific procedure to test hypotheses through controlled variable manipulation.

How do case studies gather data?

Data in case studies is gathered from real-world observations, interviews, and documents.

Can case studies be generalized?

Case studies offer specific insights but have limited generalizability.

What fields commonly use case studies?

Social sciences, business, and psychology often use case studies.

What type of data do experiments produce?

Experiments produce quantitative, measurable data.

Can a case study include quantitative data?

While focused on qualitative data, case studies can also include quantitative elements.

What is a case study?

A case study is an in-depth analysis of a single subject, often used to explore complex issues.

What is the main purpose of an experiment?

The main purpose is to establish cause-and-effect relationships through empirical testing.

Is bias a concern in case studies?

Yes, researcher bias can impact the objectivity of case study findings.

Are experiments replicable?

Yes, experiments are designed to be reproducible for validation of results.

In which fields are experiments predominant?

Experiments are fundamental in natural sciences, psychology, and medicine.

How do experiments impact scientific knowledge?

Experiments are crucial for validating theories and advancing scientific knowledge.

What is a longitudinal case study?

A longitudinal case study examines a subject over an extended period to observe changes.

Can experiments be conducted in natural settings?

While often controlled, experiments can also be conducted in natural or field settings.

What is the role of control in experiments?

Control is essential in experiments to isolate the effects of manipulated variables.

How long can a case study last?

Case studies can vary in duration, from short-term studies to those spanning years.

What ethical considerations are involved in experiments?

Experiments must adhere to ethical standards, particularly in human or animal research.

Can case studies be used to test hypotheses?

Case studies are more exploratory and are not typically used for hypothesis testing.

How is replicability ensured in experiments?

Replicability is ensured through clear documentation of procedures and conditions.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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