'Worst case' case study, or average case? One organisation’s answer to the question
‘What happened to my client is appalling! We should ask her if we can use her story!’
An advocacy organisation was lobbying for reform of a Tasmanian statutory service.
They collected case studies as evidence of the problems they were identifying with the system. The decision was made to use ‘average’ client case studies even though these stories were less dramatic than those of clients having very bad experiences with the system.
The organisation identified that those extreme experiences caused terrible consequences for the clients involved, but that they were not the common client experience. Their decision related to the reason they were collecting the case studies; they wanted to show that the system was not working for many clients.
If they had wished to show that there were gaps in a system which needed addressing because they created instances of very poor service, the unusual cases might have been a better choice.