Case study is a globally recognised method of research in the social sciences or in any socially related field. Shepard and Greene describe this method as an in-depth investigation/study of a single individual, group, or community.A case is systematically studied to understand the instance/event,collect data from such study,analyze the data to cull out the information and report the results on that basis. The use of samples to examine a pre-determined number of variables is substituted in the case study method by a detailed investigation of a single instance or event, which is called 'the case'. Hypotheses are both tested and generated through the Case Study method, as it allows the researcher to gain an insight into the reasons behind the instance/event being what it is; simultaneously also bringing to light what might be significant to look at in greater detail and extent for future research.It needs to be clarified at the outset that the Case Study approach is a form of enquiry applicable to the examination of phenomenon in a real life situation. This research strategy is not by definition a qualitative research methodology; it is possible to base this approach on a mix of qualitative and quantitative evidence. It is upon the researcher to determine whether a single critical case will be studied, or the single phenomenon under investigation will be studied through multiple sub-cases. However, it needs to be acknowledged that this method can be used only when prior theoretical propositions are available to draw from. As Lamnek (2005) comments: "The case study is a research approach, situated between concrete data taking techniques and methodologic paradigms." Paraphrased, this would imply that the case study approach is most successful when used to collect evidence using specific data gathering and analysis techniques best suited for answering the concerned research question/s. The strength of the method lies in its purposive nature, which allows the formulation of multiple data gathering tools and techniques tailor-made for the analysis of one single phenomenon that involves multidimensional factors and actors.
National policies may be understood as guidelines for governments to carry out their responsibilities. As such, a comparative analysis of the national policies of two countries on any specific thematic area (in this case, urban regeneration) has the potential of pointing out the following:
The national position of each country on the concerned theme - the overall framework within which activities in that area would be carried out in each country
The points of convergence and divergence between the two countries vis--vis the overall framework
Inferences that may be logically drawn about the comparative advantages and disadvantages of each policy
The need for contextualising and concretising such analyses as described above would inevitably need to get down to the level of empirical cases of the application of such policies and that is where the case study method becomes not just relevant, but distinctly advantageous. Since the method is, by definition, a close examination of a real-life phenomenon, its use allows a policy to be studied in its applied state - thereby allowing the substantiation of inferences drawn logically through empirical evidence.
Such application of national policies happens at the local level and is, therefore, characterised by the features of local political systems and situations, as also the social processes that affect localities. In a paper presented at the European Consortium on Political Research (2005, p 8), Peter John of Manchester University, U.K. had argued that one of the features of urban politics is 'propinquity' - resulting from the closeness of the political and social actors in an urban situation. If one accepts this feature, the case study method becomes more advantageous than other methods like sociometric or network-data analyses. This is so because only a critical case