This research utilizes an instrumental case study approach (Stake, 1995), a method that uses a specific case to develop a broader understanding of an issue. The instrumental approach contrasts with intrinsic and collective case study methods, as described in Crowe et al. (2011): an intrinsic case study is typically undertaken to learn about a unique phenomenon. The researcher should define the uniqueness of the phenomenon, which distinguishes it from all others. In contrast, the instrumental case study uses a particular case (some of which may be better than others) to gain a broader appreciation of an issue or phenomenon. The collective case study involves studying multiple cases simultaneously in an attempt to generate a still broader appreciation of a particular issue.
In this research, WNC provides an example of a region whose successful farm and food tourism contributes to a broader understanding of the role that integrated, place-based tourism may play in bridging rural and urban resources, people and places. The specific research question in this case is thus: how does farm and food tourism develop links between rural and urban lands, peoples and places? The case utilizes quantitative and qualitative sources to fully depict the region. Quantitative data examine trends in agriculture and tourism while qualitative sources provide more holistic access to the context, history and nuance of the region.