When all is said and done, case studies are a rather modern method of information sampling. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century during the Golden Age of the Social Sciences that case studies became accepted as a major research methodology. It took the clout of academic trendsetters like Freud to give this type of qualitative research its standing of The Empirical Method of Modern Day.
Nowadays conducting case studies is standard fare. Harvard Business School latched onto the idea of building its curriculum based almost exclusively on case study analysis. Since then, the method has become a staple for academics, psychologists, and MBAs alike. Interestingly, Harvard Business School now refers to its case studies method as “participant-centered learning,” which hopefully alludes to the active role students take in the learning process, rather than Harvard’s aspirations to score high in Business Buzzword Bingo.
In any event, Harvard BS aside, I am quite thrilled to be part of participant-centered initiative myself, namely the global Creative Commons Case Studies Project. This wiki-based collaboration was incubated by Creative Commons Australia, who methodically collected the first iteration of data (pdf) and presented it last January at ACIA, the international workshop on Asia and Commons. Since then, Creative Commons (the org) and other CC jurisdictions have joined the collaboration, and the CC Case Studies project has grown to over 100 entries. Currently its features a superb sampling of exemplary CC licensing in a range of fields and formats.
Some of the most impressive studies out so far are Global Voices Online, Blender Foundation, Architecture for Humanity, and A Swarm of Angels. All the studies can be sorted and searched by a variety of terms, such as country, language, profession, and media. And in true wiki fashion, anyone can edit and add to the database.
You can get your hands on a copy of the most recent edition of the Case Studies here [coming soon], which was announced at the recent conference by CC Australia, Building an Australasian Commons.
If you or your friends have got a CC story to share, come pick up a shovel and dig it! We’d love to hear about it.
Other folks talking about the case studies project: