Schizophrenia Case Studies Help Researchers Come Up with New Hypotheses

There are a number of different research methods used in psychology, but one of the most interesting to the layperson is the case study. Case studies are in-depth investigations of an individual, examining them over a long period of time (what is known as a longitudinal study). There are many case studies of people with schizophrenia available on the Internet--a Google search will turn up a number of them, and you can also find some interesting ones at PsyWeb.

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Case studies are often used to help researchers come up with new hypotheses, challenge existing hypotheses by showing an instance where they don’t hold true, or take existing ideas a step further with an in-depth analysis of a situation. Unlike research studies that control and manipulate specific variables in a clinical setting, case studies more directly relate to real-life experiences and the format in which they are written tends to be more accessible to the general public. They can really help readers to understand how schizophrenia can affect a person’s life.

Informal case studies on schizophrenia can also be found--autobiographies written by schizophrenic individuals, such as the classic Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl, and films like A Beautiful Mind, for example (although it’s important to keep in mind that movies tend to be a bit sensationalized for effect).

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