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How To Write A Case Study

How To Write 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.


Table Of Contents

A case study investigates problems and offers solutions. They can range from academic research studies to corporate promotional tools trying to sell an idea. While research papers turn the reader’s attention to a certain problem, case studies go beyond that. Case study guidelines require students to pay attention to detail, examining issues using different research methods. As we address problems differently in life, every case study requires a unique approach.

Setting Up The Research

Research always comes first. Gain as much knowledge as you can on your essay topic. Reading many different sources and analyzing other points of view will help you come up with more creative solutions.

Follow these guidelines on how to start a case study:

  • Surf the net to find some general information you might find useful.
  • Make a list of reliable sources and examine them.
  • Seek out important facts and highlight problems. Always note down your ideas and brainstorming.
  • Focus on several key issues. Why do they exist, and how do they impact your research subject.
  • Think of several unique solutions. Draw from class discussions, readings, and personal experience.
  • When writing a case study, focus on the best solution and explore it in depth.

Professors will ask you to apply many methods for data collections and analysis, looking at many authors and theories.

Applying triangulation will not only increase the quality of your work but have a significant impact on your grade.

How To Write A Case Study Draft

After having all your research in place, writing a case study will be easy. You may first want to check the rubric and criteria of your assignment for the correct case study structure. Think of a report broken down into these sections. Use your research and analysis to fill them out.

Introduction - Familiarize the audience. A case study introduction must provide adequate background information on the topic. The background may include analyses of previous studies on your topic.

Aims - Think of it as a thesis statement. The aims must describe the purpose of your work, presenting the issues that you want to tackle.

Method - It is significant to tell your audience how you went about collecting information. Describe your unique research process, whether it was interviews, observations, academic journals, etc.

Results - The next point includes providing the results of your research. Tell the audience what you found out.

Discussion - Why is this important, and what could be learned from it? Discuss real implications of the problem and its significance in the world.

Recommendations - Since this is not a research paper - the conclusion must provide concrete solutions - not theoretical ones.

Fill in these parts of a case study, and the rest should be easy.

Let's find out how an outline supposed to be written if you are going to write about a problem-oriented study:

Problem-Oriented Study Outline

Finalizing The Draft & Checklist

All work in progress is subject to change. When you write a draft, go over it section by section. Then read it as a whole. Does it follow a logical chain of arguments? Have you made your purpose clear to the reader?

Here’s some more ‘ask yourself’ questions when thinking about how to end a case study:

  • Check that you follow the correct case study format, also regarding text formatting.
  • Check that your work is consistent with its referencing and citation style.
  • Have you applied the triangulation method to your research?
  • Micro-editing - check for grammar and spelling issues.
  • Macro-editing - does “the big picture” come across to the reader?
  • Is there enough raw data such as real-life examples or personal experience?
  • Have you made your data collection process well transparent?
  • Does your analysis provide a clear conclusion allowing for further research and practice?

It is always productive to double-check your work the next day with a clear mind. Read through it to see if every section flows into the next, and if the general point comes across. You may always use the appendix to insert non-critical information.

How to cite a case study and create a Title Page

A case study is like a research paper when it comes to citations. You can cite it 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.

The title page should include:

  • A title that attracts some attention and describes your study
  • The title should have the words “case study” in it
  • The title should range between 5-9 words in length
  • Your name and contact information
  • Your finished paper should be only 500 to 1,500 words in length. With this kind of an assignment, write effectively and avoid fluff.

Different Types Of Studies

The purpose of case studies is to provide detailed reports on an event, an institution, a place, a person - or pretty much anything. There are a few common types of case study, but it all depends on the topic.

  • Historical types of case studies are great to learn from. Historical events have a multitude of source info, offering different perspectives. These types of case studies conclude in lessons learned from history. There are always modern parallels where these lessons can be applied.

  • Problem-oriented topics are simply a means of solving problems. If you’re writing for college, these are often assigned as theoretical situations. Imagine you’re working for a startup and you’ve just noticed a significant flaw in your product’s design. Before taking it to the senior manager, you want to study the issue in detail and provide solutions. On a greater scale, problem-oriented case studies are a vital part of relevant socioeconomic discussions.

  • Cumulative case studies collect information and offer comparisons.

  • In business, case studies are often used to tell people about the value of a product.

  • Critical case studies explore causes and effects of a certain case.

  • Illustrative case studies can describe certain events, investigating outcomes and lessons learned.

  • Investigative case studies - think of yourself as an academic detective.

case study rubric

Cover Page

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

APA Title Page Example

MLA Title Page Example

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. 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 work is about but also keeps the attention of your reader. Another piece of advice that I have for you is that you briefly summarise the broader topic beforehand, but don’t refer back to the summary during your actual case study. For example, if your work is about psychological phenomena, then you would want to summarise 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, from EssayPro

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