Increasing the Rigor of Case Study Evidence in Therapy Research


  • John McLeod



cross-case comparison, database, meta-synthesis, methodology, narrative, outcome, pragmatic, quality criteria, theory, validity, case studies, clinical case studies


Over recent years, an increasing number of systematic case-based investigations of the process and outcomes of counseling and psychotherapy has been published. Nevertheless, case study knowledge continues to have a limited impact on therapy training, practice and policy. It is argued that improvement in the status of case study evidence requires further attention to ways of enhancing the rigor of case study reports. Strategies for strengthening the credibility of case study evidence are explored in relation to a range of methodological issues: the design and goals of case study research, quality criteria for evaluating the validity of case study findings, approaches to aggregating the conclusions of sets of cases, and the interpretation of case data. The paper concludes with a call for case study investigators to be active in asserting the value and relevance of this form of inquiry. 

Author Biography

John McLeod

Jan Fishman, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief, Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy Professor of Clinical and Organizational Psychology Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Rutgers University Mailing address: 57 Jaffray Court Irvington, NY 10533 914-693-8549 fax: 603-917-2567 email:




How to Cite

McLeod, J. (2013). Increasing the Rigor of Case Study Evidence in Therapy Research. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 9(4), 382–402.



Broad Perspectives on Case Study Method