J Med Ethics 25:42-46 doi:10.1136/jme.25.1.42
  • Research Article

Do case studies mislead about the nature of reality?

  1. S Pattison,
  2. D Dickenson,
  3. M Parker,
  4. T Heller
  1. University of Wales, Cardiff.


      This paper attempts a partial, critical look at the construction and use of case studies in ethics education. It argues that the authors and users of case studies are often insufficiently aware of the literary nature of these artefacts: this may lead to some confusion between fiction and reality. Issues of the nature of the genre, the fictional, story-constructing aspect of case studies, the nature of authorship, and the purposes and uses of case studies as "texts" are outlined and discussed. The paper concludes with some critical questions that can be applied to the construction and use of case studies in the light of the foregoing analysis.

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