Positioning the case to tell the story: Developing the narrative or presentational account

Year: 2004

Author: Wilson, Gail, Stacey, Elizabeth

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper is drawn from a doctoral study in its final stages of the use and adoption of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by six academic staff, representing different disciplines and different campus locations, to enhance their face-to-face teaching in a large, regional university in Australia. A collective case study was adopted as the framework for the study, and field data comprised semi-structured interviews, curriculum guides, teaching and learning resources and results of a Teaching Practices Inventory completed by each of the cases.

Case study is a popular choice of qualitative researchers. There are numerous examples in the literature of case study as the vehicle for examining issues concerning teachers' use of new technologies in teaching and learning. This paper focuses on the practical, yet difficult problem faced by the researcher of ways of presenting the case, seeking a balance between the demands of prescribed, social scientific writing for an academic audience, and the need to create texts that are interesting, vital and that 'make a difference' (Richardson 1994). Drawing on examples from the research study, the paper examines approaches to constructing meaning from the field data to create the narrative or presentational account and, ultimately, the research text.