Using Case Studies to Develop Theory: Roadmap to a Dialogue


  • Daniel B. Fishman GSAPP--Rutgers University



logical operations, case studies, theory-building, assimilation model, deduction, induction, abduction, conflict resolution, forensic assessment, interpersonal defense, non-abstractionist theory, philosophy of science, Freudian case studies, randomized


This issue’s target article by William Stiles (2009) presents a general paradigm that explains how the "logical operations" of deduction, induction, and abduction can be applied to case-study-level observations in order to build, test, and refine applied psychology theories in areas like psychotherapy. Stiles’ paradigm is exemplified in the development of his own "assimilation model" of psychological change across many types of successful therapy. The subsequent commentaries, written by nine well-known psychologists representing a wide diversity of perspectives and expertise, fall into three general categories. These include illustrations of the usefulness of Stiles paradigm, and critiques of the Stiles paradigm as either being "insufficiently grounded" in mainstream scientific method and philosophy of science, or being "too grounded" in traditional science and not open to new philosophical developments in the areas of moral theory, pragmatic approaches to truth, and methodical hermeneutics. Because of the richness of the issues raised here, publication of further dialogue between Stiles and the commentators is planned for 2010.   

Author Biography

Daniel B. Fishman, GSAPP--Rutgers University

Dan 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

Fishman, D. B. (2009). Using Case Studies to Develop Theory: Roadmap to a Dialogue. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 5(3), 1–8.