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Single Case Study Design: Is it possible to make a good fit for everyone?

Research Stream
  • Janice Murray
  • Katie Holmes

The aims of the presentation are to explore the following questions:

  1. Why is it important to have a good template?
  2. Who may be interetsted in case study data?
  3. How will it help the field of AAC?

This work is part of the research project 'Communication Matters - Research Matters: An AAC Evidence Base' funded by the Big Lottery Fund.


There is a lack of robust case study and cohort data in the AAC literature. This is primarily due to two things: (i) the individuality of each case study participant, and (ii) inconsistent types and amounts of information included in each case study prevents the data from being aggregated into group (or cohort) data. More robust data of this kind would provide evidence for service provision and service developments. We developed a case study protocol for Communication Matters by seeking input from pwuAAC, practitioners and researchers. This went through a range of processes that included all stakeholders. The template was based on the original work of Pennington et al (2007).


We found that it was impossible to please all stakeholders with one template. Consequently, we developed a two tier protocol. Tier 1 allowed people to input information about themselves that provided a good case story. Tier 2 allowed people to input greater detail about themselves including, for example, medical information. In this way participants could contribute to a level they were happy with.


It is anticipated that this template will be located within the Communication Matters evidence base and with contributions from pwuAAC, their families and practitioners there will be a growing bank of data that can be drawn upon to inform research, AAC skill development and service provision.

Download Handout (pdf 200KB)