Case study research can involve the close examination of people, topics, issues, or programs. These studies might explore student experiences in a law school, cheating at a community college, effects of school reform in a middle school, a special program for Gulf War veterans, or countless other entities. These entities are known as particular cases unique in their content and character. Case studies are unlike ethnographies in that they seek to answer focused questions by producing in-depth descriptions and interpretations over a relatively short period of time, perhaps a few weeks to a year. Ethnographies tend to ask much broader questions, observe and explain practices and beliefs, and make cultural interpretations in studies that may last for as long as a year or more. In addition, unlike biographies and other historical research approaches, case studies investigate contemporary cases for purposes of illumination and understanding. In some instances, case studies are used to provide information for decision making or to discover causal links in settings where cause-and-effect relationships are complicated and not readily known, such as school reform or a particular government policy (Yin, 1994).