Introduction to Case Study Special Issue-- Case Studies in Japan: Two Methods, Two Worldviews
Keywords:psychotherapy in Japan, systematic case studies, case study methodology, qualitative research, clinical case studies
This issue of PCSP presents two case studies in Japan, commentaries from four prominent psychologists representing various research backgrounds, and the responses to the commentaries by the two authors. Japanese clinical psychology has historically emphasized the central role of the case study in psychotherapy and the inseparability of it from practice, research, and training. There is a plethora of case studies published in academic journals of clinical psychology and many practicing psychologists are engaged in case study activities as a part of their professional development as a result. However, this centrality of focus has not led to the examination of methodological issues associated with case studies. What constitutes a good case study or what kinds of evidence are necessary for a valid inference in case study research are both largely untouched topics. The wide variety of case studies in Japanese psychology form a continuum from one pole consisting of the traditional narrative case study to the other, consisting of a scientifically precise single case design to objectively track the change in targeted symptoms. In this issue, we present two outstanding examples of each type of case study. While different in type, each of the two case studies presented in this issue represents a model of how systematic and rigorous case studies can be conducted and documented as a form of psychotherapy research. We provide these two models (a) to encourage more case studies that meet these methodological standards, and (b) to promote the discussion on differing case study methodologies.
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