Studying the concept of homelessness through the case study method bring about advantages and disadvantages to the researcher interested on the concept/topic. Using the case study method, homelessness as a concept can be captured holistically, allowing the social investigator to have a general picture of the different dimensions, wherein these dimensions have different factors that directly or indirectly influences homelessness. In a case study, the dynamics of homelessness in a specific context can be discussed in detail.
As an example, Wright and Walker’s (2006) study on the relationship between homelessness, drug use, and sexual health brought into fore the importance of looking into the ramifications that result from the prevalence or perpetuation of homelessness in a specific location or area. The authors’ study of homelessness was related to the health dimension, and the application of a case study on this topic would allow the social investigator to explore the issues that could possibly occur when homelessness is analyzed through the healthcare perspective.
However, there are also specific characteristics in the case study method that makes it not suitable for specific research objective. This includes providing a general description of homelessness in a particular population or group, or predicting the future trends on homelessness or nature of homelessness in an area or group. These disadvantages of the case study method, in effect, make this methodology susceptible to issues of research reliability because it only uses a particular case to demonstrate an understanding of homelessness.
But looking into the validity of the information or data presented in the case study, it can be said that case study provides more validity of information presented, specifically because it provides an in-depth look of homelessness as experienced and articulated by the case or subject presented in the case study.
Wright, N. and J. Walker. (2006). “Homelessness and drug use—a narrative systematic review of interventions to promote sexual health. ” AIDS Care, Vol. 18, No. 5.