In higher education, students are often required to write case studies. Used in most (if not all) academic disciplines, a case study serves to provide a thorough analysis of a situation, or “case.” Its purpose is to reveal interesting information about a classification of things – and is analytical in nature.
Perhaps it’s best to see the case as the “real-life” situation; the case study is the analysis of this situation. Fundamentally, case studies seek to solve a problem.
For example, a business student may perform a case study on a particular company; while the political science student might conduct one on a particular country or a political ideology. In a psychology course, a case study could be written about a person’s mental illness, or how kids with cerebral palsy learn to read and write and speak, for a more specific example.
Case studies cover a broad range of topics – but there is one underlying theme: they highlight a larger problem or issue, a real-life situation, in the field and, through heavy research and the application of theories, concepts and common knowledge in a field of study, serve to illuminate those problems through an in-depth study of its application to an individual or single unit.
There are two approaches to writing a case study. One is the Analytical Approach, where the case study is performed in an attempt to understand what has happened and why and does not identify a problem or suggest solutions. The other approach to a case study is the Problem-Oriented Method used to identify existing problems and then suggesting solutions to said problems.
Case Studies Should Always:
- Apply the knowledge and ideas covered in a course to a practical, real-life situation
- Identify – then suggest solutions to – present problems
- Recommend the BEST solution to these problems
- Detail exactly how this solution should be incorporated
The Five Steps to Writing a Case Study
Step 1. Choose a subject, issue or problem, and conduct thorough research on that topic (by using books, journals, magazines, and newspapers). Of course, the issue should pertain to the course in which the assignment is given, and the student should make sure to record these sources for later.
Step 2. Choose a case “site” – a location, organization, company, or even individuals experiencing a problem – then plan and set up interviews. Remember: interviewees should, for example, be involved in the same company or organization, or the case “site,” with a common interest in solving the problem.
Step 3. Conduct interviews. This is a crucial step to a case study. Ask interviewees what solutions have already been attempted, as well as inquired about their feelings about the situation, and what they could, perhaps, do differently to solve the underlying problem in the future. Open-ended questions are best – What is working? How did the situation develop? Stay away from yes or no questions for an objective analysis.
Step 4. Organize and analyze the information gathered from the interviews and the research to identify which are most pertinent in solving the problem.
Step 5. Double-check all the information on the case study, make your conclusions, and voila - it's ready.
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The Eight Sections of a Case Study:
• Synopsis/Executive Summary outlining the purpose of the case study, a description of research, a broad outline of the issues and findings, and the theory being used
• Analysis, which identifies the problems in the case and is supported by factual evidence
• Discussion summarizing the major problems, which identifies alternative solutions to these problems; it should briefly outline each alternative solution, and then evaluate the advantages/disadvantages of each
• Conclusion – it should sum up the main points gathered from findings and the discussions
• Recommendations explaining what alternative solutions should be adopted to solve the problem, briefly justifying these solutions in a persuasive manner. In this section, integration of theory pertinent to the coursework is most appropriate
• Implementation explaining what should be done, by whom and when
• References used in the case study
• Appendices may be used to note any original data relating to the study that may have interrupted the flow of the main body
These are basic case study writing steps. If you need any further assistance and/or guidance with your case study, PrivateWriting is the service that is happy to assist. Simply send us your requirements, attach any relevant files and send it over. We will analyze your assignment and then provide feedback on how it should be done. Additionally, we can provide additional counseling and guidance on case study writing by providing a sample case study response. You will then be able to use this model paper as a sample to work on your subsequent case study assignments. PrivateWriting is happy to be your academic advisor!