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Is the ‘telling case’ a methodological myth?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3679-9187
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Social Research Methodology, ISSN 1364-5579, E-ISSN 1464-5300, Vol. 20, no 5, p. 455-467Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses the ‘telling case’ (Mitchell, 1984) and the manner and extent of its use in social research. The ‘telling case’, proposed by Mitchell as a counter to prevailing expectations of typicality, is an ethnographic case study, derived from analytic induction and focused on the exposure of new theoretical insights. By means of an evaluation of the available literature this paper summarises Mitchell’s construal of the ‘telling case’ before examining how it has been exploited by others. The evidence suggests that while authors acknowledge the source of the ‘telling case’ few offer any substantial acknowledgement of Mitchell’s conceptualisation, indicating that most ‘telling case’ research has employed Mitchell’s name somewhat disingenuously and contributed to the growth of a methodological myth. Moreover, despite its international spread, its origins seem located in the work of a small number of internationally recognised scholars and the mobility of their former graduate students.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 20, no 5, p. 455-467
Keywords [en]
Case study, ethnography, telling case, analytic induction
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-136490DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2016.1198165ISI: 000405333400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-136490DiVA, id: diva2:1053173
Available from: 2016-12-08 Created: 2016-12-08 Last updated: 2018-08-14Bibliographically approved

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