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

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 17, 2023
A case study is an in-depth analysis of a specific subject, while a survey is a method of collecting data and opinions from a broad audience.

Key Differences

A case study involves a detailed examination of a single subject, such as an individual, event, or organization, to gain in-depth insights. In contrast, a survey is a research tool used to gather data from a sample population, focusing on gathering quantitative information or opinions through questions.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023
Case studies are often used in fields like psychology, sociology, and business, where a holistic understanding of a complex issue is needed. Surveys, however, are utilized across various fields to quickly gather data from many subjects, providing a broad overview of trends or attitudes.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023
In a case study, qualitative methods like interviews and observation are predominantly used, offering a rich, contextual understanding of the subject. Surveys, on the other hand, typically employ structured questionnaires, aiming for statistical analysis of the responses.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023
The depth of a case study allows for a comprehensive exploration of the subject, often leading to theory development or testing. Surveys, with their broader approach, are more suited for hypothesis testing and identifying general patterns across a large population.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023
Case studies provide detailed and specific insights but may lack generalizability due to their focus on a single case. Surveys, conversely, offer a broader perspective but may not capture the depth and nuance that a case study can provide.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 17, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Focus

In-depth analysis of a single unit or subject.
Broad analysis of multiple subjects.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Methodology

Qualitative, often narrative.
Quantitative, often using questionnaires.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Data Type

Detailed, contextual information.
Statistical, numerical data.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Purpose

Understand complex phenomena in detail.
Gauge opinions or trends in a population.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

Generalizability

Limited, as it focuses on one case.
Higher, due to larger, more diverse samples.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023
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Case Study and Survey Definitions

Case Study

A case study is an in-depth analysis of an individual or entity.
The psychologist's case study on the patient revealed unique behavioral patterns.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Survey

A survey is a method of gathering information from a group of people.
The survey indicated a high level of customer satisfaction.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Case Study

A case study is an intensive study of a singular instance or phenomenon.
The medical case study highlighted a rare genetic disorder.
Janet White
Nov 30, 2023

Survey

A survey is an investigation of opinions or experiences of a group.
The employee satisfaction survey revealed insights into workplace morale.
Janet White
Nov 30, 2023

Case Study

A case study is a documented study focusing on one specific case.
The company's turnaround was the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 30, 2023

Survey

A survey is a research tool for asking questions and recording responses.
The market survey helped the company identify consumer preferences.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 30, 2023

Case Study

A case study is a research method involving a thorough investigation of a particular subject.
Her case study on urban development was published in a leading journal.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Survey

A survey is a study conducted by distributing questionnaires.
The online survey was completed by over 500 people.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 30, 2023

Case Study

A case study is a detailed examination of a specific event.
The case study of the 2008 financial crisis provided valuable economic insights.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Survey

A survey is a systematic collection of data from a sample population.
The national health survey collected data from thousands of participants.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Survey

To look over the parts, features, or contents of; view broadly
Surveyed the neighborhood from a rooftop.
Surveyed the shelves in the pantry.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

FAQs

What is the purpose of a case study?

To gain detailed insight and understanding of complex issues in real-world contexts.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

What is a case study?

A case study is an in-depth analysis of a single individual, group, event, or situation.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Can case studies be generalized?

Generalization is limited as they focus on specific cases.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

Can case studies be biased?

Yes, if the researcher's perspectives or subjectivity influence the findings.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

Are case studies credible?

Yes, if well-designed and transparently conducted.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

How is data collected in a case study?

Through various methods like interviews, observations, document reviews, and sometimes questionnaires.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

How long does a case study take?

Duration varies greatly, from a few weeks to several years, depending on complexity.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

What is a survey?

A method of collecting data from a predefined group of respondents to gain information and insights on various topics.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

Are case studies qualitative or quantitative?

They are primarily qualitative but can include quantitative elements.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

What fields use case studies?

Business, education, social sciences, and healthcare, among others.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

Are surveys qualitative or quantitative?

Primarily quantitative, but can include qualitative elements through open-ended questions.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

How are survey results analyzed?

Using statistical methods to interpret data and derive conclusions.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

What challenges are associated with surveys?

Issues like low response rates, biased samples, and inaccurately answered questions.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

Can surveys predict behavior?

They can indicate trends and likelihoods, but not with absolute certainty.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 17, 2023

What makes a good case study?

A clear focus, detailed data, and critical analysis relevant to the research question.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

What types of surveys exist?

Various, including online, telephone, mail, and in-person surveys.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

What is a good response rate for a survey?

Typically, above 30% is considered acceptable, but this can vary based on the survey type and context.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

What is the purpose of a survey?

To gather quantitative data, understand trends, opinions, or behaviors of a population.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 17, 2023

Can surveys be biased?

Yes, due to factors like question wording, respondent selection, and response rates.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

How are surveys conducted?

By presenting a set of questions to respondents and collecting their answers.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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