Suppose you are interested in how children with severe autism experienced the receipt of special education assistance in public schools. This population is characterized by underdevelopment of social cognition, social skills, and language skills. How many children should be included in the study? Why? What are the factors considered in making this determination?
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A qualitative case study would address the phenomenon and population under investigation. A case study requires a volume of data with a minimum of 10 cases, but 20 is recommended for attrition (Claerbaut, 2016). Parents, educators, and service specialists would also be sources of data. It is also possible that these stakeholders will decline participation or not allow their child to participate in the study. Therefore, informed consent is necessary before proceeding with the research study.
Data saturation is an essential aspect in determining the sample size of a case study. The sample size needs to be large enough to reach the point of data saturation where no new data is gathered on the research questions (Claerbaut, 2016). In this case, the population is characterized by underdevelopment of social cognition, social skills, and language skills, which means that observations would appropriate if conducted in a natural environment that could give insight to how children receive services (Claerbaut, 2016). However, the children may not be involved in other processes of data collection like interviews, focus groups, or answering questionnaires. In conclusion, the number of cases included depends on data saturation and attrition.