Investigating educational issues across Europe (ACROSS Base)
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Method Case study : Comparative case studies (UNEMPLOYED)
Description " The case studies in this research project actually had to fulfil a double role; or rather that the design concerned a mixed type of case study. They were needed both to test the feasibility and plausibility of the conceptual model and, at the same time to seek to improve the model by exploring potential variables and relationships that might be of major importance for the effectiveness of training programmes for the (long-term) unemployed but were not (yet) included in the conceptual model Therefore, the case studies should be of a mixed type: they were set up according to an exploratory-explanatory multiple case design.

... Performing case studies according to a multiple case design puts high demands on the selection of cases. This case selection was a major issue in the project meetings. After considerable debate, it was agreed that the case studies would attempt to focus on training programmes or courses, preferably for unemployed with a low level of previous educational attainment and, if possible, focus on one case of training for the business sector (e.g.: secretarial, commercial, financial or more specific information technology) and one case of training for technical or crafts occupations." (Brandsma, 1999, pp. 55f.)

Discussion "The choice for a (strictly) qualitative approach in the first stage of this project was mainly based on the fact that it allows more flexibility and is therefore better suited to take into account the differences between countries. As was noticed, the use of exact and unambiguous terminology is very important but at the same time rather difficult. Therefore, at this stage of the project with the available knowledge of each others training systems and training programmes and courses, it would have been very difficult to design fully standardised and pre-structured instruments. The implication was that during the first case studies a more open strategy had to be chosen." (Brandsma, 1999, p. 57)
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