The strategy in conducting the research is case study, which is the method of conducting “an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context; when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evidence; and in which multiple sources of evidence are used” (Yin, 1984, p. 23). A similar definition explains case study as “doing research which involves an empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple sources of evidence” (Robson, 2002, p. 178).
A case study is also an approach in exploring existing theory. “A simple, well-constructed case study can enable you to challenge an existing theory and also provide a source of new hypotheses” (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2003, p. 93). A case study could be qualitative when utilised in achieving the aim to derive detailed description of a small number of cases (Babbie & Mouton, 2001, p. 149). The case study strategy supports intensive analysis of a particular subject or small number of subjects instead of generating information from a big sample of a population.
These descriptions of the case study strategy have important implications on the present study that also supports the appropriateness of employing case study as the strategy in conducting the research. First, the case study strategy applies in studies done in the empirical context. The aim of the present study is to investigate the policies in HIV/AIDS developed by the South African government relative to the influence of and impact on the millennium development goals using policy analysis.
The investigation occurs in the empirical setting or an actual context to align with the sphere of application of the case study strategy. Using the case study strategy enabled the research to focus on drawing information based on an actual scenario, which comprise a knowledge gap. Second, the case study strategy works well in situations where there is limited clarity on the difference or distinction between a given phenomenon and its context. The present study aims to conduct a policy analysis on the policies laid down by the South African in addressing HIV/AIDS.
Since there are many influences to policymaking, the aggregate of which comprise the context to policymaking, the study considered the influence of the millennium development goals, particularly the goal on combating HIV/AIDS as the context of national policymaking on HIV/AIDS by South Africa. The case study strategy enabled the research to achieve this research purpose. Third, the case study strategy enables the utilisation of multiple kinds and sources of data.
By focusing on a single or small number of cases, the investigation can consider a wide range of resources to derive in-depth understanding of the phenomenon. The present study on policy analysis of HIV/AIDS policies of South Africa in the context of the millennium development goals used a wide range of sources from books, journals, news reports, academic papers, and reports by the South African government and international bodies concerned with policymaking to address the global issue of HIV/AIDS.
The case study strategy was the appropriate research design for the study because the intention was to derive in-depth and context-based understanding of health policymaking by considering the specific case of HIV/AIDS policymaking by South Africa in the context of the millennium development goals. The case study strategy received criticism for its limited grounds for reliability because of the limitations in generalising results, the strategy could provide valuable details and insights to fill knowledge gap and catalyse improvements in health policymaking.