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What Is a Case Study?

What Is a Case Study?

A case study is one of the many research methods or strategies used by students that are studying a certain person, group, or situation. Case studies can usually be found in such areas of knowledge such as sociology, anthropology, psychology, education and much more.

Case Study Definition

It is a piece of scientific research that follows the development of a person, group or event over a period of time. They often exemplify a formal research method and are used to support a principle. This type of paper adds meaning to its field by contributing unique knowledge. To define “case study”, you might want to seek out examples of famous case studies.

What is The Purpose

First thing you need to do is to determine what type of case study you are going to write about. After you have chosen the subject, you need to understand that the main purpose is to make a thorough analysis of a situation or case.

Types Of Case Studies

Case studies usually include abnormal phenomena that contributed to the field of study in which they were performed. The different types of case studies are in the fields of psychology, business, and history. They also come in two types: case-control study and problem-oriented study.

Psychology

A psychology case study is an analysis of a person, group, or phenomenon. Psychologists use clinical research to describe rare events. Psychology studies are usually done by using case-control and problem-oriented study. The studies must be valid and reliable. Here is a list of famous case studies:

  • Harlow - Phineas Gage
  • Breuer & Freud (1895) - Anna O.
  • Harvey Cleckley's study of Multiple Personality Disorder (The Three Faces of Eve)
  • John Money and the John/Joan case
  • Genie (feral child)

Case-Control Study

This type of study is an observational one. It analyzes a potential relationship between the attribute and the outcome. For example, in a study that proves that smoking causes lung cancer, the smoker is the case, smoking is the attribute, cancer is the outcome, and a person who doesn’t smoke would be a control.

Problem Oriented Study

Some case studies require you to solve a problem by developing a new design. These types of case studies are problem orientated.

Business

Almost every business is unique. However, case studies allow us to take away universal lessons and apply them. A business case study focuses on performance and retention, supply chain management, growth, and ad spending. Below are some famous case studies that you can read about as good case study examples.

  • Workplace Drug Abuse
  • Malden Mills
  • Starbucks on Every Corner
  • Small Customers, Big Profits
  • Succession Planning

History

Historical case studies analyze the causes and consequences of a situation and discuss the lessons learned. Otherwise, history can also refer to the background information. Make sure to gather as much participant or situational history as possible.

Research

A case study is an incredibly useful way of conducting research. Case studies have been used across a number of disciplines. Individual researchers used case studies to diversify the discipline. This resulted in case study research evolving into a flexible approach to research.

Analysis

Your instructor may assign a case study analysis instead of one that is stand-alone. This assignment is easier, as it only requires you to analyze and synthesize the research method used within an assigned case study. Begin with reading as many articles as possible about the proposed study and then proceed to review the actual first publication. By reading other pieces of writing on this subject, you will be able to comprehend the research method used in the assigned study easier.

Harvard Case Study

Harvard University has millions of case studies in their registry. Some students get access to them. However, they need to be purchased online most of the time. If you want to use a Harvard case study as an example, then you should either purchase one online or purchase a unique and ready-made example from one of EssayPro’s writers.

Types Of Methods

Case studies are investigations. Typically the method of gathering information for a different cases involves observations, interviews, or gathering data information. The research continues for a long period of time. Most often, case study methodology is simply observing, reconstructing the history, and investigating a topic with extreme precision and detail. The data is collected and then analyzed. The conclusion either supports a pre-existing theory or acts as a base for a new theory. A good case study should always clarify which information is factual and which is altered by your bias toward a certain theory.

Template

Using a template may be more helpful to your writing process. Move from section to section in your drafting process and then go back to the abstract and summarize your paper. A comprehensive template like this can also work to create an outline for your paper. Below is a comprehensive template that matches the case study layout:

Title:
Running Header:
Authors:
a.Name, academic degrees and affiliation
b.…
Name, address and telephone number of corresponding author
Disclaimers
Key words: (limit of five)
Abstract: (maximum of 150 words)

  • Introduction
  • Case Presentation
  • Management and Outcome
  • Discussion References:
    1
    2
    3
    Legends: (tables, figures, or images)

How To Write An Outline

The main goal of the outline is to help you organize your thoughts and data. After doing this, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture and write a complete paper. So let’s find out how to write an outline. Essentially your outline will contain three main parts: The Introduction, a Body, and a Conclusion. But to be sure that your paper is fully finished, consult your lecturer about what he or she wants to be included in your paper. So let’s find out how an outline supposed to be written if you are going to write about a problem-oriented study:

Follow the link to learn more about How To Create A Winning Outline

I. Introduction (should contain your thesis statement or the topic of your research)

  • Statement of the Issue
  • Presentation of problems or problem
  • Explanation of the terms
  • Hypothesis
  • Analysis of Related Literature
  • Importance of your study
  • Significance of the study

    Read more about how to write a great INTRODUCTION

II. Body (must involve the presentation of your arguments to support your thesis statement or topic. Try to find at least three approving arguments for each position.)

  • Background of the Study
  • Presentation of analysis and data
  • Strong argument 1
  • Strong argument 2
  • Strong argument 3

III. Conclusion (make a summary of all your arguments and research that you’ve made and state your final position.)

  • Concluding Statement
  • Recommendations

Problem-Oriented Study Outline

How to Format your paper

The research format is similar to most scientific reports. Your citation format should be chosen based on the discipline or the command of your instructor.

Title page: The first page of your masterpiece

  • Title: Pick a title that will attract attention and adequately describe your study. You may want to have a title that contains the word “case study” in it. Your title should range between 5-9 words in length
  • Your name and contact information
  • Key words: this will make it easier for people to find in a search engine
  • Your finished case study should be only 500 to 1,500 words in length. With this kind of an assignment, write effectively and avoid fluff.

Abstract: narrative and structured.

  • In a narrative abstract, you simply summarize the whole paper.
  • In a structured abstract, you may use subheadings to guide your reader.
  • It is recommended that you write your abstract after finishing the whole paper.
  • In the case of a structured abstract, the subheadings will be: introduction, case presentation, management and outcome, and discussion.

Body

  • Introduction: Include one or two sentences to describe the context of the case and summarize the entire case study.
  • Case presentation: Here, include several sentences describe the history and results of the case.
  • Management and Outcome: Here, reference the measures you used and link it to the conclusion of the study.
  • Discussion: Synthesize and explain the case and within one or two sentences describe the lessons discovered or any that are yet to be learned.
  • Acknowledgments: If you received assistance with the case study, you may thank them in this section.
  • References: References should be listed as described elsewhere in the discipline of yours or your instructor’s choosing.
  • Legends: If you used tables, figures or photographs, they should be accompanied by a brief explanation. Make sure everything is understandable and included at the end of the manuscript.

Now that you understand the format and structure of a case study, here are some important pointers:

  • Use the template and work section by section to produce the first draft of your case study.
  • Before embarking on the writing process, you should gather all relevant materials. Ask yourself: “What is interesting about this case?”
  • You may want to consider writing an outline at first to make the process easier.

How To Cite Your Paper

Citing your work is definitely easier than writing about it. You can cite it just like you cite a book, depending what style you need.
In MLA: Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing, 2008. Print.
In APA: Hill, L., Khanna, T., & Stecker, E. A. (2008). HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing.
In Chicago: Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies.
You can find more on each citation style here.

Proofreading

After you have finished the writing process, avoid any paper editing for a few hours or days. Then, give it a second read and correct small grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Make sure that everything flows as smooth as possible. Every paragraph should include transitions to give the readers an explanation of what will be next in the next paragraph.

Cover Page

A title page depends on the prescribed citation format. Here is a template for the APA title page:

APA Title Page Template

Here is a template for an MLA title page:

MLA Title Page Template

Rubric

Although your instructor might be looking at slightly different criteria, every case study rubric essentially has the same standards. Your professor will want you to exhibit 8 different outcomes:

  • Correctly identify the concepts, theories, and practices in the discipline.
  • Identify the relevant theories and principles associated with the particular case study.
  • Evaluate legal and ethical principles and apply them to decision-making.
  • Recognize and global importance and contribution.
  • Construct coherent summary and explanation of the study.
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical-thinking skills
  • Explain the interrelationships between environment and nature.
  • Integrate theory and practice of the discipline within the analysis.

Ways Of Presenting Your Paper

Perhaps the most important reason people create case studies is to present them in a certain way. The presentation must be engaging and educate the audience on the significance of the work. Industries use presentations to showcase newly found information about the conducted research and impact. Firstly, consider various methods for your presentation. Find a way to capture the audience’s attention with graphics and illustrations. A Powerpoint, a Prezi, or a Google Slides presentation is easy to use and allows for the implementation of interesting transitions as well as charts and graphs. Leave your conclusion for the end of the presentation to keep the audience interested about the conclusion of the case study.

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

When writing a case study, it is easy to get off topic. My piece of advice for your writing is to abstain from delving too much into technicalities while writing your case study. Whether your case study is a science piece or a business/economy piece, make your heading and subheadings attention-grabbing. This not only captures what the case study is about but also keeps the attention of your reader. Another piece of advice that I have for you is that you briefly summarize the broader topic beforehand, but don’t refer back to the summary during your actual case study. For example, if your case study is about psychological phenomena, then you would want to summarize the particular field of study (e.g. abnormal psychology) and then continue writing about your topic. My last tip for you is to use the cause-effect essay structure. What caused the case study? What was it's effect/result?

Prof Trent, online essay writer from EssayPro

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