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At the same time, case study research was often criticized for its inability to support generalizability and thus considered to provide limited validity and value as a research design (JOHANSSON, 2003; MERRIAM, 2009; STEWART, 2014).
This context led to a philosophical division in research approaches: those supporting positivism and quantitative approaches and those aligned with qualitative methods embedded in constructivist and interpretivist paradigms.
Parallel to the use of case studies in anthropology, medicine and disciplines in the social sciences such as sociology, education and political science also embraced case study as a form of inquiry (ANTHONY & JACK, 2009; BROWN, 2008; CRESWELL et al., 2007; GEORGE & BENNETT, 2005; GERRING, 2004; SIMONS, 2009; YIN, 2014).
 A second generation of case study researchers emerged with the advent of grounded theory methodology (GLASER & STRAUSS, 1967).
Most attribute the origins of case study research to studies undertaken in anthropology and social sciences in the early twentieth century when lengthy, detailed ethnographic studies of individuals and cultures were conducted using this design (JOHANSSON, 2003, MERRIAM, 2009; SIMONS, 2009; STEWART, 2014).
Sociologists and anthropologists investigated people's lives, experiences, and how they understood the social and cultural context of their world, with the aim of gaining insight into how individuals interpreted and attributed meaning to their experiences and constructed their worlds (JOHANSSON, 2003; SIMONS, 2009).
We begin with an overview of the history and evolution of case study research, followed by a discussion of the methodological and philosophical variations found within case study designs.
We end with a summary of the common characteristics of case study research and a table that brings together the fundamental elements that we found common in all case study approaches to research. History and Evolution Case study research as a strategy for methodological exploration, according to FLYVBJERG (2011) "has been around as long as recorded history" (p.302).
Researchers who have contributed to the development of case study research come from diverse disciplines with different philosophical perspectives, resulting in a variety of definitions and approaches.
For the researcher new to using case study, such variety can create a confusing platform for its application. Introduction Case study research has grown in reputation as an effective methodology to investigate and understand complex issues in real world settings.