The case study as research heuristic: Lessons from the R&D value mapping project

Barry Bozeman, Hans K. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


How can case studies be used as a research heuristic? If prototype case studies are performed, what can researchers expect to learn from them and how can they be structured to enhance their learning value? This paper considers that question and the learning from two case studies intended to inform multiple case studies undertaken later in the project. Two prototype cases are presented, one Brookhaven National Laboratory, the other from Los Alamos National Laboratory, each having as its objective providing information about how to design and execute the subsequent 30 case studies to be undertaken. This paper summarizes the cases, presents some of the lessons learned for the subsequent larger project and then considers more generally the use of prototype case studies and the preconditions for their successful deployment. Prototype case studies are particularly useful for helping set boundaries for later studies, identifying the ways in which the research setting affects research findings, making judgments about the accessibility and availability of data, and determining respondents' reactions to the research and the researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-103
Number of pages13
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Case study
  • Methodology
  • National laboratories
  • R&D value mapping
  • Research evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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