Pattern matching is comparing two patterns in order to determine whether they match (i.e., that they are the same) or do not match (i.e., that they differ). Pattern matching is the core procedure of theory-testing with cases. Testing consists of matching an “observed pattern” (a pattern of measured values) with an “expected pattern” (a hypothesis), and deciding whether these patterns match (resulting in a confirmation of the hypothesis) or do not match (resulting in a disconfirmation). Essential to pattern matching (as opposed to pattern recognition, which is a procedure by which theory is built) is that the expected pattern is precisely specified before the matching takes place.

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Keywords case study research, necessary condition, pattern matching, sufficient condition, theory-testing
Publisher Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)
Persistent URL
Hak, A., & Dul, J.. (2009). Pattern matching (No. ERS-2009-034-ORG). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). Retrieved from