Facilitating the Scholarship of Discovery: Using the Mini-Ethnographic Case Study Design Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: Case study is widely used in teaching and learning literature; however, the extant literature contains few examples of student-developed case studies. This study used the situated perspective of experiential education (EE) to highlight context and legitimate peripheral participation encouraging enculturation into research communities of practice. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the implementation of a mini-ethnographic case study (MECS) during an international service-learning (ISL) experience to transform ISL and EE pedagogy through the inquiry-as-EL approach. The MECS design is a research method that uses an ethnographic approach bounded within case study methodology. Methodology/Approach: Working collaboratively, four students designed and implemented an MECS research project during an ISL. Using the crafted profile technique, data were analyzed to evaluate the impact of the MECS design on the students experience and research skill development while in country. Findings/Conclusions: The MECS approach helped students develop their own exploratory research framework and have real-world experiences with data collection, analysis, and dissemination as emerging researchers. Implications: This study describes how the MECS design can be used as a tool to enhance service-learning experiences for students, especially during graduate education.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Dobbins, C. E., Edgar, L. D., & Dooley, K. E.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Dobbins, Catherine E||Edgar, Leslie D||Dooley, Kim E

publication date

  • December 2021