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What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on May 8, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 20, 2023.

A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organization, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research.

A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods , but quantitative methods are sometimes also used. Case studies are good for describing , comparing, evaluating and understanding different aspects of a research problem .

Table of contents

When to do a case study, step 1: select a case, step 2: build a theoretical framework, step 3: collect your data, step 4: describe and analyze the case, other interesting articles.

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. It allows you to explore the key characteristics, meanings, and implications of the case.

Case studies are often a good choice in a thesis or dissertation . They keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources to do large-scale research.

You might use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in depth, or conduct multiple case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

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Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions , you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to:

  • Provide new or unexpected insights into the subject
  • Challenge or complicate existing assumptions and theories
  • Propose practical courses of action to resolve a problem
  • Open up new directions for future research

TipIf your research is more practical in nature and aims to simultaneously investigate an issue as you solve it, consider conducting action research instead.

Unlike quantitative or experimental research , a strong case study does not require a random or representative sample. In fact, case studies often deliberately focus on unusual, neglected, or outlying cases which may shed new light on the research problem.

Example of an outlying case studyIn the 1960s the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania was discovered to have extremely low rates of heart disease compared to the US average. It became an important case study for understanding previously neglected causes of heart disease.

However, you can also choose a more common or representative case to exemplify a particular category, experience or phenomenon.

Example of a representative case studyIn the 1920s, two sociologists used Muncie, Indiana as a case study of a typical American city that supposedly exemplified the changing culture of the US at the time.

While case studies focus more on concrete details than general theories, they should usually have some connection with theory in the field. This way the case study is not just an isolated description, but is integrated into existing knowledge about the topic. It might aim to:

  • Exemplify a theory by showing how it explains the case under investigation
  • Expand on a theory by uncovering new concepts and ideas that need to be incorporated
  • Challenge a theory by exploring an outlier case that doesn’t fit with established assumptions

To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, you should conduct a literature review of sources related to the topic and develop a theoretical framework . This means identifying key concepts and theories to guide your analysis and interpretation.

There are many different research methods you can use to collect data on your subject. Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews , observations , and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data.

Example of a mixed methods case studyFor a case study of a wind farm development in a rural area, you could collect quantitative data on employment rates and business revenue, collect qualitative data on local people’s perceptions and experiences, and analyze local and national media coverage of the development.

The aim is to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of the case and its context.

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In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give as complete a picture as possible of the subject.

How you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard scientific paper or thesis , with separate sections or chapters for the methods , results and discussion .

Others are written in a more narrative style, aiming to explore the case from various angles and analyze its meanings and implications (for example, by using textual analysis or discourse analysis ).

In all cases, though, make sure to give contextual details about the case, connect it back to the literature and theory, and discuss how it fits into wider patterns or debates.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Degrees of freedom
  • Null hypothesis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Control groups
  • Mixed methods research
  • Non-probability sampling
  • Quantitative research
  • Ecological validity

Research bias

  • Rosenthal effect
  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Selection bias
  • Negativity bias
  • Status quo bias

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All You Wanted to Know About How to Write a Case Study

how to write a case study academic

What do you study in your college? If you are a psychology, sociology, or anthropology student, we bet you might be familiar with what a case study is. This research method is used to study a certain person, group, or situation. In this guide from our dissertation writing service , you will learn how to write a case study professionally, from researching to citing sources properly. Also, we will explore different types of case studies and show you examples — so that you won’t have any other questions left.

What Is a Case Study?

A case study is a subcategory of research design which investigates problems and offers solutions. Case studies can range from academic research studies to corporate promotional tools trying to sell an idea—their scope is quite vast.

What Is the Difference Between a Research Paper and a Case Study?

While research papers turn the reader’s attention to a certain problem, case studies go even further. Case study guidelines require students to pay attention to details, examining issues closely and in-depth using different research methods. For example, case studies may be used to examine court cases if you study Law, or a patient's health history if you study Medicine. Case studies are also used in Marketing, which are thorough, empirically supported analysis of a good or service's performance. Well-designed case studies can be valuable for prospective customers as they can identify and solve the potential customers pain point.

Case studies involve a lot of storytelling – they usually examine particular cases for a person or a group of people. This method of research is very helpful, as it is very practical and can give a lot of hands-on information. Most commonly, the length of the case study is about 500-900 words, which is much less than the length of an average research paper.

The structure of a case study is very similar to storytelling. It has a protagonist or main character, which in your case is actually a problem you are trying to solve. You can use the system of 3 Acts to make it a compelling story. It should have an introduction, rising action, a climax where transformation occurs, falling action, and a solution.

Here is a rough formula for you to use in your case study:

Problem (Act I): > Solution (Act II) > Result (Act III) > Conclusion.

Types of Case Studies

The purpose of a case study is to provide detailed reports on an event, an institution, a place, future customers, or pretty much anything. There are a few common types of case study, but the type depends on the topic. The following are the most common domains where case studies are needed:

Types of Case Studies

  • Historical case studies are great to learn from. Historical events have a multitude of source info offering different perspectives. There are always modern parallels where these perspectives can be applied, compared, and thoroughly analyzed.
  • Problem-oriented case studies are usually used for solving problems. These are often assigned as theoretical situations where you need to immerse yourself in the situation to examine it. 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 do a comprehensive study on the issue and provide solutions. On a greater scale, problem-oriented case studies are a vital part of relevant socio-economic 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 the causes and effects of a certain case.
  • Illustrative case studies describe certain events, investigating outcomes and lessons learned.

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Case Study Format

The case study format is typically made up of eight parts:

  • Executive Summary. Explain what you will examine in the case study. Write an overview of the field you’re researching. Make a thesis statement and sum up the results of your observation in a maximum of 2 sentences.
  • Background. Provide background information and the most relevant facts. Isolate the issues.
  • Case Evaluation. Isolate the sections of the study you want to focus on. In it, explain why something is working or is not working.
  • Proposed Solutions. Offer realistic ways to solve what isn’t working or how to improve its current condition. Explain why these solutions work by offering testable evidence.
  • Conclusion. Summarize the main points from the case evaluations and proposed solutions. 6. Recommendations. Talk about the strategy that you should choose. Explain why this choice is the most appropriate.
  • Implementation. Explain how to put the specific strategies into action.
  • References. Provide all the citations.

How to Write a Case Study

Let's discover how to write a case study.

How to Write a Case Study

Setting Up the Research

When writing a case study, remember that research should always come first. Reading many different sources and analyzing other points of view will help you come up with more creative solutions. You can also conduct an actual interview to thoroughly investigate the customer story that you'll need for your case study. Including all of the necessary research, writing a case study may take some time. The research process involves doing the following:

  • Define your objective. Explain the reason why you’re presenting your subject. Figure out where you will feature your case study; whether it is written, on video, shown as an infographic, streamed as a podcast, etc.
  • Determine who will be the right candidate for your case study. Get permission, quotes, and other features that will make your case study effective. Get in touch with your candidate to see if they approve of being part of your work. Study that candidate’s situation and note down what caused it.
  • Identify which various consequences could result from the situation. 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 credible sources and examine them. Seek out important facts and highlight problems. Always write down your ideas and make sure to brainstorm.
  • Focus on several key issues – why they exist, and how 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. 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.

Read Also: 'CREDIBLE SOURCES: WHAT ARE THEY?'

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 study.
  • Evaluate legal and ethical principles and apply them to your decision-making.
  • Recognize the global importance and contribution of your case.
  • Construct a coherent summary and explanation of the study.
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical-thinking skills.
  • Explain the interrelationships between the environment and nature.
  • Integrate theory and practice of the discipline within the analysis.

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Case Study Outline

Let's look at the structure of an outline based on the issue of the alcoholic addiction of 30 people.

Introduction

  • Statement of the issue: Alcoholism is a disease rather than a weakness of character.
  • Presentation of the problem: Alcoholism is affecting more than 14 million people in the USA, which makes it the third most common mental illness there.
  • Explanation of the terms: In the past, alcoholism was commonly referred to as alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is now the more severe stage of this addiction in the disorder spectrum.
  • Hypotheses: Drinking in excess can lead to the use of other drugs.
  • Importance of your story: How the information you present can help people with their addictions.
  • Background of the story: Include an explanation of why you chose this topic.
  • Presentation of analysis and data: Describe the criteria for choosing 30 candidates, the structure of the interview, and the outcomes.
  • Strong argument 1: ex. X% of candidates dealing with anxiety and depression...
  • Strong argument 2: ex. X amount of people started drinking by their mid-teens.
  • Strong argument 3: ex. X% of respondents’ parents had issues with alcohol.
  • Concluding statement: I have researched if alcoholism is a disease and found out that…
  • Recommendations: Ways and actions for preventing alcohol use.

Writing a Case Study Draft

After you’ve done your case study research and written the outline, it’s time to focus on the draft. In a draft, you have to develop and write your case study by using: the data which you collected throughout the research, interviews, and the analysis processes that were undertaken. Follow these rules for the draft:

How to Write a Case Study

  • Your draft should contain at least 4 sections: an introduction; a body where you should include background information, an explanation of why you decided to do this case study, and a presentation of your main findings; a conclusion where you present data; and references.
  • In the introduction, you should set the pace very clearly. You can even raise a question or quote someone you interviewed in the research phase. It must provide adequate background information on the topic. The background may include analyses of previous studies on your topic. Include the aim of your case here as well. Think of it as a thesis statement. The aim must describe the purpose of your work—presenting the issues that you want to tackle. Include background information, such as photos or videos you used when doing the research.
  • Describe your unique research process, whether it was through interviews, observations, academic journals, etc. The next point includes providing the results of your research. Tell the audience what you found out. Why is this important, and what could be learned from it? Discuss the real implications of the problem and its significance in the world.
  • Include quotes and data (such as findings, percentages, and awards). This will add a personal touch and better credibility to the case you present. Explain what results you find during your interviews in regards to the problem and how it developed. Also, write about solutions which have already been proposed by other people who have already written about this case.
  • At the end of your case study, you should offer possible solutions, but don’t worry about solving them yourself.

Use Data to Illustrate Key Points in Your Case Study

Even though your case study is a story, it should be based on evidence. Use as much data as possible to illustrate your point. Without the right data, your case study may appear weak and the readers may not be able to relate to your issue as much as they should. Let's see the examples from essay writing service :

‍ With data: Alcoholism is affecting more than 14 million people in the USA, which makes it the third most common mental illness there. Without data: A lot of people suffer from alcoholism in the United States.

Try to include as many credible sources as possible. You may have terms or sources that could be hard for other cultures to understand. If this is the case, you should include them in the appendix or Notes for the Instructor or Professor.

Finalizing the Draft: Checklist

After you finish drafting your case study, polish it up by answering these ‘ask yourself’ questions and think about how to end your case study:

  • Check that you follow the correct case study format, also in regards to text formatting.
  • Check that your work is consistent with its referencing and citation style.
  • 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 experiences? Have you made your data collection process completely transparent? Does your analysis provide a clear conclusion, allowing for further research and practice?

Problems to avoid:

  • Overgeneralization – Do not go into further research that deviates from the main problem.
  • Failure to Document Limitations – Just as you have to clearly state the limitations of a general research study, you must describe the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis.
  • Failure to Extrapolate All Possible Implications – Just as you don't want to over-generalize from your case study findings, you also have to be thorough in the consideration of all possible outcomes or recommendations derived from your findings.

How to Create a Title Page and Cite a Case Study

Let's see how to create an awesome title page.

Your title page depends on the prescribed citation format. 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 type of assignment, write effectively and avoid fluff.

Here is a template for the APA and MLA format title page:

There are some cases when you need to cite someone else's study in your own one – therefore, you need to master how to cite a case study. A case study is like a research paper when it comes to citations. You can cite it like you cite a book, depending on what style you need.

Citation Example in MLA ‍ Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing, 2008. Print.
Citation Example in APA ‍ Hill, L., Khanna, T., & Stecker, E. A. (2008). HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing.
Citation Example in Chicago Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies.

Case Study Examples

To give you an idea of a professional case study example, we gathered and linked some below.

Eastman Kodak Case Study

Case Study Example: Audi Trains Mexican Autoworkers in Germany

To conclude, a case study is one of the best methods of getting an overview of what happened to a person, a group, or a situation in practice. It allows you to have an in-depth glance at the real-life problems that businesses, healthcare industry, criminal justice, etc. may face. This insight helps us look at such situations in a different light. This is because we see scenarios that we otherwise would not, without necessarily being there. If you need custom essays , try our research paper writing services .

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Other assessments: Case studies

  • Scientific writing style
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  • Dissertations
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On this page:

“For knowledge you will use in the real world - in business, for example, or in engineering or medicine - the "what" [to think] isn't sufficient. You must know how to apply the knowledge to the real world.” William Ellet, The Case Study Handbook

Case study assignments are common in some disciplines. Their main purpose is to show that you can relate theory to real-life situations. You also need to be able to recommend practical solutions to real-life problems.

This page is dedicated to writing case studies for undergraduate assignments, it does not tackle case studies as a research method/approach.

What is a case study?

A case study is an assignment where you analyse a specific case (organisation, group, person, event, issue) and explain how the elements and complexities of that case relate to theory . You will sometimes have to come up with solutions to problems or recommendations for future action.

You may be asked to write a case study as an essay, as part of a longer assignment or as a report.

Examples of cases

icon of building

An organisation.  For example a company, a business, a school, a sports club, a health body.

icon of group

A group. For example a class of pupils, an individual team within an organisation, a project group, a sports club.

icon of one person

An individual.  For example a patient, a client, a specific student/pupil, a manager/leader.

icon of calendar

An event.  For example a sporting occasion, a cultural event, a news story, an historical event.

icon of exclamation mark in triangle

An issue.  For example a dilemma, problem, critical event, change of practice.

Analysing a case

What are you being asked to do.

It is important be sure about the purpose of analysing the case before you begin. Refer back to your assignment brief and make sure you are clear about this. It could be:

  • To answer a specific question using examples from the case to support your argument
  • To explore what happened and why (no recommendations needed)
  • To make recommendations or identify solutions
  • To write a plan that takes the issues into consideration

Examining the case

In order to be thoroughly familiar with the case you are going to need to read through* the case several times during the analysis process. Start by simply reading it without asking too many questions in your mind. Get a feel for it as a whole. After that, you will need to read through it several times to identify the following:

  • What are the facts? List information you are sure about.
  • What happened/is happening? List definite actions that occurred/are occurring.
  • Who was/is involved? List people by job role and what their involvement was/is.

You will now need to read additional material to help you analyse. In business, for example, you will perhaps want to read the financial statements for the company you are investigating; in nursing, the background of the treatment for the disorder from which “your” patient is suffering.

* Sometimes cases are presented to you as videos to watch. In which case you are going to have to watch it many times!

Theoretical approaches

You may have to ask yourself which theoretical approaches that you have covered in your course are relevant to the particular case you have before you. In some instances this may be obvious but in others it may be less so. A theoretical approach is useful as it can give you  specific questions to answer ; specific things to look for. For example, in business, this may take the form of a SWOT analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) or you may look at the Porter's Five Forces model. There are similar models in other disciplines which you may have been introduced to already - or the brief may tell you which to use.

No obvious theoretical approach?

If you have not been provided with a theoretical approach don't worry. You can still ask questions. For example: 

icon of full picture

What is this case study about in general? What is the big picture - the main issue that this case study is an example of?

icons of jigsaw pieces

What specific issues are associated with it? What makes this case interesting?

icon of thought

What do I already know about these issues?

icon of link

How do they link with the theories we have studied? (See below.)

icon showing alternative paths

What alternative approaches to dealing with the issues would be appropriate?

icon showing drop and ripplies

If an alternative approach were used, what impact might it have?

Linking to theory

The most crucial element about a case study is your ability to link the real world example to theory. This gives you more insight into both because

  • The real life example will mean you can see how theory works in practice .
  • Theory can help you see why things happened as they did and help you come up with alternative approaches and find solutions/make recommendations.

Real life is complex and messy. Do not expect it to nicely fit into theories which are by their very nature best guesses (albeit well researched) and generalisations. However, you will have been given the case specifically because it does relate to some theories you have learned or need to be aware of.

So you need to:

  • Look back through your lecture notes and reading lists to see if anything seems to fit with the case.
  • Search for research that relates to the issues you identified during your analysis. Note these will not necessarily be labelled as 'theories'. Claims made in research papers can all be described as theories. 

Now consider some or all of the questions below:

  • Do the facts and issues raised in the case support any theories?
  • Do the fact and issues raised in the case invalidate or undermine any theories?
  • Can any of the theories explain why issues arose?
  • Can any of the theories back up the actions taken?
  • Can any of the theories suggest alternative courses of action?
  • Do you think any of these alternatives would work best in your case? Why?

Armed with the answers to many of these questions, you are ready to start writing up your case study.

Writing up your case study

The most common ways to write up a case study are as essays or reports . The main differences between the two will be how you structure your work.

Structuring a case study essay

Case study essays usually have to answer a specific question using examples from your case study. They are written in continuous prose (a series of paragraphs with no subheadings). They should be structured much like any other essay with an introduction, main body and conclusion. 

Introduction

This needs to have three things:

  • An introduction to your case (you don't need to rewrite it, just summarise it giving the important parts for your essay).
  • A position statement (your answer to the overall question).
  • An indication of how the rest of the essay is structured.

These do not have to be in that particular order but they do all need to be included.

Generally you will organise this thematically . Each paragraph needs to make a point and then use information from your case to illustrate and back up that point . You will also bring in theory (other reading) to strengthen your argument. It is acceptable to start with the example from your case and then show how this links to theory and the conclusion this leads you to; however, it is best if you first let your reader know the point you are making, as then they are not having to second guess this until the end of the paragraph. 

Each point in your main body should be leading back to the position statement you made in the introduction.

What are the main lessons you learned from the case study? How well did the theory fit with the real world example? Have you been asked to provide solutions or recommendations? If so, give them here.

Reference list

Include all the sources you have cited in your essay.

Structuring a case study report

These can vary between disciplines so check your assignment guidance. A typical case study would include:

Table of contents

See our MS Word pages  or our MS Office Software SkillsGuide for instructions on how to create these automatically.

Executive summary - optional, check if required

Give an overview of your whole report including main approaches, findings and recommendations. This is a bit like the abstract of a journal article.

  • Context (Background)
  • Purpose - what is the case study trying to achieve? 
  • Approach - are you using any particular theoretical tools or research approaches?

Discussion/Analysis

  • Identification of issues and problems
  • Links to theories that help you explain the case
  • Explanation of causes or implications of the issues identified
  • Possible solutions (if required, check your instructions)

These depends on what you were asked to do but could include:

  • Main lessons learned
  • Best solutions and reasons why
  • Recommendations (may have their own section)
  • Action plan (may have its own section)
  • Include all the sources you have cited in the report.

Appendices if required

Recommended books and ebooks from our collection, related books and ebooks from our collection.

Cover Art

Recommended external resources

  • Writing a case study From Monash University
  • Writing a case study analysis From The University of Arizona
  • Case studies From the University of South Australia - includes useful sample case studies
  • Writing a case study PDF to download from the University of Bedfordshire
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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments

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  • Analyzing a Scholarly Journal Article
  • Group Presentations
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  • Writing a Case Study
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  • Acknowledgments

A case study research paper examines a person, place, event, condition, phenomenon, or other type of subject of analysis in order to extrapolate  key themes and results that help predict future trends, illuminate previously hidden issues that can be applied to practice, and/or provide a means for understanding an important research problem with greater clarity. A case study research paper usually examines a single subject of analysis, but case study papers can also be designed as a comparative investigation that shows relationships between two or more subjects. The methods used to study a case can rest within a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method investigative paradigm.

Case Studies. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010 ; “What is a Case Study?” In Swanborn, Peter G. Case Study Research: What, Why and How? London: SAGE, 2010.

How to Approach Writing a Case Study Research Paper

General information about how to choose a topic to investigate can be found under the " Choosing a Research Problem " tab in the Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper writing guide. Review this page because it may help you identify a subject of analysis that can be investigated using a case study design.

However, identifying a case to investigate involves more than choosing the research problem . A case study encompasses a problem contextualized around the application of in-depth analysis, interpretation, and discussion, often resulting in specific recommendations for action or for improving existing conditions. As Seawright and Gerring note, practical considerations such as time and access to information can influence case selection, but these issues should not be the sole factors used in describing the methodological justification for identifying a particular case to study. Given this, selecting a case includes considering the following:

  • The case represents an unusual or atypical example of a research problem that requires more in-depth analysis? Cases often represent a topic that rests on the fringes of prior investigations because the case may provide new ways of understanding the research problem. For example, if the research problem is to identify strategies to improve policies that support girl's access to secondary education in predominantly Muslim nations, you could consider using Azerbaijan as a case study rather than selecting a more obvious nation in the Middle East. Doing so may reveal important new insights into recommending how governments in other predominantly Muslim nations can formulate policies that support improved access to education for girls.
  • The case provides important insight or illuminate a previously hidden problem? In-depth analysis of a case can be based on the hypothesis that the case study will reveal trends or issues that have not been exposed in prior research or will reveal new and important implications for practice. For example, anecdotal evidence may suggest drug use among homeless veterans is related to their patterns of travel throughout the day. Assuming prior studies have not looked at individual travel choices as a way to study access to illicit drug use, a case study that observes a homeless veteran could reveal how issues of personal mobility choices facilitate regular access to illicit drugs. Note that it is important to conduct a thorough literature review to ensure that your assumption about the need to reveal new insights or previously hidden problems is valid and evidence-based.
  • The case challenges and offers a counter-point to prevailing assumptions? Over time, research on any given topic can fall into a trap of developing assumptions based on outdated studies that are still applied to new or changing conditions or the idea that something should simply be accepted as "common sense," even though the issue has not been thoroughly tested in current practice. A case study analysis may offer an opportunity to gather evidence that challenges prevailing assumptions about a research problem and provide a new set of recommendations applied to practice that have not been tested previously. For example, perhaps there has been a long practice among scholars to apply a particular theory in explaining the relationship between two subjects of analysis. Your case could challenge this assumption by applying an innovative theoretical framework [perhaps borrowed from another discipline] to explore whether this approach offers new ways of understanding the research problem. Taking a contrarian stance is one of the most important ways that new knowledge and understanding develops from existing literature.
  • The case provides an opportunity to pursue action leading to the resolution of a problem? Another way to think about choosing a case to study is to consider how the results from investigating a particular case may result in findings that reveal ways in which to resolve an existing or emerging problem. For example, studying the case of an unforeseen incident, such as a fatal accident at a railroad crossing, can reveal hidden issues that could be applied to preventative measures that contribute to reducing the chance of accidents in the future. In this example, a case study investigating the accident could lead to a better understanding of where to strategically locate additional signals at other railroad crossings so as to better warn drivers of an approaching train, particularly when visibility is hindered by heavy rain, fog, or at night.
  • The case offers a new direction in future research? A case study can be used as a tool for an exploratory investigation that highlights the need for further research about the problem. A case can be used when there are few studies that help predict an outcome or that establish a clear understanding about how best to proceed in addressing a problem. For example, after conducting a thorough literature review [very important!], you discover that little research exists showing the ways in which women contribute to promoting water conservation in rural communities of east central Africa. A case study of how women contribute to saving water in a rural village of Uganda can lay the foundation for understanding the need for more thorough research that documents how women in their roles as cooks and family caregivers think about water as a valuable resource within their community. This example of a case study could also point to the need for scholars to build new theoretical frameworks around the topic [e.g., applying feminist theories of work and family to the issue of water conservation].

Eisenhardt, Kathleen M. “Building Theories from Case Study Research.” Academy of Management Review 14 (October 1989): 532-550; Emmel, Nick. Sampling and Choosing Cases in Qualitative Research: A Realist Approach . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2013; Gerring, John. “What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good for?” American Political Science Review 98 (May 2004): 341-354; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Seawright, Jason and John Gerring. "Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research." Political Research Quarterly 61 (June 2008): 294-308.

Structure and Writing Style

The purpose of a paper in the social sciences designed around a case study is to thoroughly investigate a subject of analysis in order to reveal a new understanding about the research problem and, in so doing, contributing new knowledge to what is already known from previous studies. In applied social sciences disciplines [e.g., education, social work, public administration, etc.], case studies may also be used to reveal best practices, highlight key programs, or investigate interesting aspects of professional work.

In general, the structure of a case study research paper is not all that different from a standard college-level research paper. However, there are subtle differences you should be aware of. Here are the key elements to organizing and writing a case study research paper.

I.  Introduction

As with any research paper, your introduction should serve as a roadmap for your readers to ascertain the scope and purpose of your study . The introduction to a case study research paper, however, should not only describe the research problem and its significance, but you should also succinctly describe why the case is being used and how it relates to addressing the problem. The two elements should be linked. With this in mind, a good introduction answers these four questions:

  • What is being studied? Describe the research problem and describe the subject of analysis [the case] you have chosen to address the problem. Explain how they are linked and what elements of the case will help to expand knowledge and understanding about the problem.
  • Why is this topic important to investigate? Describe the significance of the research problem and state why a case study design and the subject of analysis that the paper is designed around is appropriate in addressing the problem.
  • What did we know about this topic before I did this study? Provide background that helps lead the reader into the more in-depth literature review to follow. If applicable, summarize prior case study research applied to the research problem and why it fails to adequately address the problem. Describe why your case will be useful. If no prior case studies have been used to address the research problem, explain why you have selected this subject of analysis.
  • How will this study advance new knowledge or new ways of understanding? Explain why your case study will be suitable in helping to expand knowledge and understanding about the research problem.

Each of these questions should be addressed in no more than a few paragraphs. Exceptions to this can be when you are addressing a complex research problem or subject of analysis that requires more in-depth background information.

II.  Literature Review

The literature review for a case study research paper is generally structured the same as it is for any college-level research paper. The difference, however, is that the literature review is focused on providing background information and  enabling historical interpretation of the subject of analysis in relation to the research problem the case is intended to address . This includes synthesizing studies that help to:

  • Place relevant works in the context of their contribution to understanding the case study being investigated . This would involve summarizing studies that have used a similar subject of analysis to investigate the research problem. If there is literature using the same or a very similar case to study, you need to explain why duplicating past research is important [e.g., conditions have changed; prior studies were conducted long ago, etc.].
  • Describe the relationship each work has to the others under consideration that informs the reader why this case is applicable . Your literature review should include a description of any works that support using the case to investigate the research problem and the underlying research questions.
  • Identify new ways to interpret prior research using the case study . If applicable, review any research that has examined the research problem using a different research design. Explain how your use of a case study design may reveal new knowledge or a new perspective or that can redirect research in an important new direction.
  • Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies . This refers to synthesizing any literature that points to unresolved issues of concern about the research problem and describing how the subject of analysis that forms the case study can help resolve these existing contradictions.
  • Point the way in fulfilling a need for additional research . Your review should examine any literature that lays a foundation for understanding why your case study design and the subject of analysis around which you have designed your study may reveal a new way of approaching the research problem or offer a perspective that points to the need for additional research.
  • Expose any gaps that exist in the literature that the case study could help to fill . Summarize any literature that not only shows how your subject of analysis contributes to understanding the research problem, but how your case contributes to a new way of understanding the problem that prior research has failed to do.
  • Locate your own research within the context of existing literature [very important!] . Collectively, your literature review should always place your case study within the larger domain of prior research about the problem. The overarching purpose of reviewing pertinent literature in a case study paper is to demonstrate that you have thoroughly identified and synthesized prior studies in relation to explaining the relevance of the case in addressing the research problem.

III.  Method

In this section, you explain why you selected a particular case [i.e., subject of analysis] and the strategy you used to identify and ultimately decide that your case was appropriate in addressing the research problem. The way you describe the methods used varies depending on the type of subject of analysis that constitutes your case study.

If your subject of analysis is an incident or event . In the social and behavioral sciences, the event or incident that represents the case to be studied is usually bounded by time and place, with a clear beginning and end and with an identifiable location or position relative to its surroundings. The subject of analysis can be a rare or critical event or it can focus on a typical or regular event. The purpose of studying a rare event is to illuminate new ways of thinking about the broader research problem or to test a hypothesis. Critical incident case studies must describe the method by which you identified the event and explain the process by which you determined the validity of this case to inform broader perspectives about the research problem or to reveal new findings. However, the event does not have to be a rare or uniquely significant to support new thinking about the research problem or to challenge an existing hypothesis. For example, Walo, Bull, and Breen conducted a case study to identify and evaluate the direct and indirect economic benefits and costs of a local sports event in the City of Lismore, New South Wales, Australia. The purpose of their study was to provide new insights from measuring the impact of a typical local sports event that prior studies could not measure well because they focused on large "mega-events." Whether the event is rare or not, the methods section should include an explanation of the following characteristics of the event: a) when did it take place; b) what were the underlying circumstances leading to the event; and, c) what were the consequences of the event in relation to the research problem.

If your subject of analysis is a person. Explain why you selected this particular individual to be studied and describe what experiences they have had that provide an opportunity to advance new understandings about the research problem. Mention any background about this person which might help the reader understand the significance of their experiences that make them worthy of study. This includes describing the relationships this person has had with other people, institutions, and/or events that support using them as the subject for a case study research paper. It is particularly important to differentiate the person as the subject of analysis from others and to succinctly explain how the person relates to examining the research problem [e.g., why is one politician in a particular local election used to show an increase in voter turnout from any other candidate running in the election]. Note that these issues apply to a specific group of people used as a case study unit of analysis [e.g., a classroom of students].

If your subject of analysis is a place. In general, a case study that investigates a place suggests a subject of analysis that is unique or special in some way and that this uniqueness can be used to build new understanding or knowledge about the research problem. A case study of a place must not only describe its various attributes relevant to the research problem [e.g., physical, social, historical, cultural, economic, political], but you must state the method by which you determined that this place will illuminate new understandings about the research problem. It is also important to articulate why a particular place as the case for study is being used if similar places also exist [i.e., if you are studying patterns of homeless encampments of veterans in open spaces, explain why you are studying Echo Park in Los Angeles rather than Griffith Park?]. If applicable, describe what type of human activity involving this place makes it a good choice to study [e.g., prior research suggests Echo Park has more homeless veterans].

If your subject of analysis is a phenomenon. A phenomenon refers to a fact, occurrence, or circumstance that can be studied or observed but with the cause or explanation to be in question. In this sense, a phenomenon that forms your subject of analysis can encompass anything that can be observed or presumed to exist but is not fully understood. In the social and behavioral sciences, the case usually focuses on human interaction within a complex physical, social, economic, cultural, or political system. For example, the phenomenon could be the observation that many vehicles used by ISIS fighters are small trucks with English language advertisements on them. The research problem could be that ISIS fighters are difficult to combat because they are highly mobile. The research questions could be how and by what means are these vehicles used by ISIS being supplied to the militants and how might supply lines to these vehicles be cut off? How might knowing the suppliers of these trucks reveal larger networks of collaborators and financial support? A case study of a phenomenon most often encompasses an in-depth analysis of a cause and effect that is grounded in an interactive relationship between people and their environment in some way.

NOTE:   The choice of the case or set of cases to study cannot appear random. Evidence that supports the method by which you identified and chose your subject of analysis should clearly support investigation of the research problem and linked to key findings from your literature review. Be sure to cite any studies that helped you determine that the case you chose was appropriate for examining the problem.

IV.  Discussion

The main elements of your discussion section are generally the same as any research paper, but centered around interpreting and drawing conclusions about the key findings from your analysis of the case study. Note that a general social sciences research paper may contain a separate section to report findings. However, in a paper designed around a case study, it is common to combine a description of the results with the discussion about their implications. The objectives of your discussion section should include the following:

Reiterate the Research Problem/State the Major Findings Briefly reiterate the research problem you are investigating and explain why the subject of analysis around which you designed the case study were used. You should then describe the findings revealed from your study of the case using direct, declarative, and succinct proclamation of the study results. Highlight any findings that were unexpected or especially profound.

Explain the Meaning of the Findings and Why They are Important Systematically explain the meaning of your case study findings and why you believe they are important. Begin this part of the section by repeating what you consider to be your most important or surprising finding first, then systematically review each finding. Be sure to thoroughly extrapolate what your analysis of the case can tell the reader about situations or conditions beyond the actual case that was studied while, at the same time, being careful not to misconstrue or conflate a finding that undermines the external validity of your conclusions.

Relate the Findings to Similar Studies No study in the social sciences is so novel or possesses such a restricted focus that it has absolutely no relation to previously published research. The discussion section should relate your case study results to those found in other studies, particularly if questions raised from prior studies served as the motivation for choosing your subject of analysis. This is important because comparing and contrasting the findings of other studies helps support the overall importance of your results and it highlights how and in what ways your case study design and the subject of analysis differs from prior research about the topic.

Consider Alternative Explanations of the Findings Remember that the purpose of social science research is to discover and not to prove. When writing the discussion section, you should carefully consider all possible explanations revealed by the case study results, rather than just those that fit your hypothesis or prior assumptions and biases. Be alert to what the in-depth analysis of the case may reveal about the research problem, including offering a contrarian perspective to what scholars have stated in prior research if that is how the findings can be interpreted from your case.

Acknowledge the Study's Limitations You can state the study's limitations in the conclusion section of your paper but describing the limitations of your subject of analysis in the discussion section provides an opportunity to identify the limitations and explain why they are not significant. This part of the discussion section should also note any unanswered questions or issues your case study could not address. More detailed information about how to document any limitations to your research can be found here .

Suggest Areas for Further Research Although your case study may offer important insights about the research problem, there are likely additional questions related to the problem that remain unanswered or findings that unexpectedly revealed themselves as a result of your in-depth analysis of the case. Be sure that the recommendations for further research are linked to the research problem and that you explain why your recommendations are valid in other contexts and based on the original assumptions of your study.

V.  Conclusion

As with any research paper, you should summarize your conclusion in clear, simple language; emphasize how the findings from your case study differs from or supports prior research and why. Do not simply reiterate the discussion section. Provide a synthesis of key findings presented in the paper to show how these converge to address the research problem. If you haven't already done so in the discussion section, be sure to document the limitations of your case study and any need for further research.

The function of your paper's conclusion is to: 1) reiterate the main argument supported by the findings from your case study; 2) state clearly the context, background, and necessity of pursuing the research problem using a case study design in relation to an issue, controversy, or a gap found from reviewing the literature; and, 3) provide a place to persuasively and succinctly restate the significance of your research problem, given that the reader has now been presented with in-depth information about the topic.

Consider the following points to help ensure your conclusion is appropriate:

  • If the argument or purpose of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize these points for your reader.
  • If prior to your conclusion, you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the conclusion of your paper to describe your main points and explain their significance.
  • Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration of the case study's findings that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction or within a new context that emerges from your case study findings.

Note that, depending on the discipline you are writing in or the preferences of your professor, the concluding paragraph may contain your final reflections on the evidence presented as it applies to practice or on the essay's central research problem. However, the nature of being introspective about the subject of analysis you have investigated will depend on whether you are explicitly asked to express your observations in this way.

Problems to Avoid

Overgeneralization One of the goals of a case study is to lay a foundation for understanding broader trends and issues applied to similar circumstances. However, be careful when drawing conclusions from your case study. They must be evidence-based and grounded in the results of the study; otherwise, it is merely speculation. Looking at a prior example, it would be incorrect to state that a factor in improving girls access to education in Azerbaijan and the policy implications this may have for improving access in other Muslim nations is due to girls access to social media if there is no documentary evidence from your case study to indicate this. There may be anecdotal evidence that retention rates were better for girls who were engaged with social media, but this observation would only point to the need for further research and would not be a definitive finding if this was not a part of your original research agenda.

Failure to Document Limitations No case is going to reveal all that needs to be understood about a research problem. Therefore, just as you have to clearly state the limitations of a general research study , you must describe the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis. For example, the case of studying how women conceptualize the need for water conservation in a village in Uganda could have limited application in other cultural contexts or in areas where fresh water from rivers or lakes is plentiful and, therefore, conservation is understood more in terms of managing access rather than preserving access to a scarce resource.

Failure to Extrapolate All Possible Implications Just as you don't want to over-generalize from your case study findings, you also have to be thorough in the consideration of all possible outcomes or recommendations derived from your findings. If you do not, your reader may question the validity of your analysis, particularly if you failed to document an obvious outcome from your case study research. For example, in the case of studying the accident at the railroad crossing to evaluate where and what types of warning signals should be located, you failed to take into consideration speed limit signage as well as warning signals. When designing your case study, be sure you have thoroughly addressed all aspects of the problem and do not leave gaps in your analysis that leave the reader questioning the results.

Case Studies. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Gerring, John. Case Study Research: Principles and Practices . New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007; Merriam, Sharan B. Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education . Rev. ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1998; Miller, Lisa L. “The Use of Case Studies in Law and Social Science Research.” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 14 (2018): TBD; Mills, Albert J., Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Putney, LeAnn Grogan. "Case Study." In Encyclopedia of Research Design , Neil J. Salkind, editor. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010), pp. 116-120; Simons, Helen. Case Study Research in Practice . London: SAGE Publications, 2009;  Kratochwill,  Thomas R. and Joel R. Levin, editors. Single-Case Research Design and Analysis: New Development for Psychology and Education .  Hilldsale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992; Swanborn, Peter G. Case Study Research: What, Why and How? London : SAGE, 2010; Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research: Design and Methods . 6th edition. Los Angeles, CA, SAGE Publications, 2014; Walo, Maree, Adrian Bull, and Helen Breen. “Achieving Economic Benefits at Local Events: A Case Study of a Local Sports Event.” Festival Management and Event Tourism 4 (1996): 95-106.

Writing Tip

At Least Five Misconceptions about Case Study Research

Social science case studies are often perceived as limited in their ability to create new knowledge because they are not randomly selected and findings cannot be generalized to larger populations. Flyvbjerg examines five misunderstandings about case study research and systematically "corrects" each one. To quote, these are:

Misunderstanding 1 :  General, theoretical [context-independent] knowledge is more valuable than concrete, practical [context-dependent] knowledge. Misunderstanding 2 :  One cannot generalize on the basis of an individual case; therefore, the case study cannot contribute to scientific development. Misunderstanding 3 :  The case study is most useful for generating hypotheses; that is, in the first stage of a total research process, whereas other methods are more suitable for hypotheses testing and theory building. Misunderstanding 4 :  The case study contains a bias toward verification, that is, a tendency to confirm the researcher’s preconceived notions. Misunderstanding 5 :  It is often difficult to summarize and develop general propositions and theories on the basis of specific case studies [p. 221].

While writing your paper, think introspectively about how you addressed these misconceptions because to do so can help you strengthen the validity and reliability of your research by clarifying issues of case selection, the testing and challenging of existing assumptions, the interpretation of key findings, and the summation of case outcomes. Think of a case study research paper as a complete, in-depth narrative about the specific properties and key characteristics of your subject of analysis applied to the research problem.

Flyvbjerg, Bent. “Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research.” Qualitative Inquiry 12 (April 2006): 219-245.

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  • J Can Chiropr Assoc
  • v.52(4); 2008 Dec

Guidelines to the writing of case studies

Dr. brian budgell.

* Département chiropratique, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, 3351, boul des Forges, Trois-Rivières, Qc, Canada G9A 5H7

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Dr. Brian Budgell, DC, PhD, JCCA Editorial Board

  • Introduction

Case studies are an invaluable record of the clinical practices of a profession. While case studies cannot provide specific guidance for the management of successive patients, they are a record of clinical interactions which help us to frame questions for more rigorously designed clinical studies. Case studies also provide valuable teaching material, demonstrating both classical and unusual presentations which may confront the practitioner. Quite obviously, since the overwhelming majority of clinical interactions occur in the field, not in teaching or research facilities, it falls to the field practitioner to record and pass on their experiences. However, field practitioners generally are not well-practised in writing for publication, and so may hesitate to embark on the task of carrying a case study to publication. These guidelines are intended to assist the relatively novice writer – practitioner or student – in efficiently navigating the relatively easy course to publication of a quality case study. Guidelines are not intended to be proscriptive, and so throughout this document we advise what authors “may” or “should” do, rather than what they “must” do. Authors may decide that the particular circumstances of their case study justify digression from our recommendations.

Additional and useful resources for chiropractic case studies include:

  • Waalen JK. Single subject research designs. J Can Chirop Assoc 1991; 35(2):95–97.
  • Gleberzon BJ. A peer-reviewer’s plea. J Can Chirop Assoc 2006; 50(2):107.
  • Merritt L. Case reports: an important contribution to chiropractic literature. J Can Chiropr Assoc 2007; 51(2):72–74.

Portions of these guidelines were derived from Budgell B. Writing a biomedical research paper. Tokyo: Springer Japan KK, 2008.

General Instructions

This set of guidelines provides both instructions and a template for the writing of case reports for publication. You might want to skip forward and take a quick look at the template now, as we will be using it as the basis for your own case study later on. While the guidelines and template contain much detail, your finished case study should be only 500 to 1,500 words in length. Therefore, you will need to write efficiently and avoid unnecessarily flowery language.

These guidelines for the writing of case studies are designed to be consistent with the “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” referenced elsewhere in the JCCA instructions to authors.

After this brief introduction, the guidelines below will follow the headings of our template. Hence, it is possible to work section by section through the template to quickly produce a first draft of your study. To begin with, however, you must have a clear sense of the value of the study which you wish to describe. Therefore, before beginning to write the study itself, you should gather all of the materials relevant to the case – clinical notes, lab reports, x-rays etc. – and form a clear picture of the story that you wish to share with your profession. At the most superficial level, you may want to ask yourself “What is interesting about this case?” Keep your answer in mind as your write, because sometimes we become lost in our writing and forget the message that we want to convey.

Another important general rule for writing case studies is to stick to the facts. A case study should be a fairly modest description of what actually happened. Speculation about underlying mechanisms of the disease process or treatment should be restrained. Field practitioners and students are seldom well-prepared to discuss physiology or pathology. This is best left to experts in those fields. The thing of greatest value that you can provide to your colleagues is an honest record of clinical events.

Finally, remember that a case study is primarily a chronicle of a patient’s progress, not a story about chiropractic. Editorial or promotional remarks do not belong in a case study, no matter how great our enthusiasm. It is best to simply tell the story and let the outcome speak for itself. With these points in mind, let’s begin the process of writing the case study:

  • Title: The title page will contain the full title of the article. Remember that many people may find our article by searching on the internet. They may have to decide, just by looking at the title, whether or not they want to access the full article. A title which is vague or non-specific may not attract their attention. Thus, our title should contain the phrase “case study,” “case report” or “case series” as is appropriate to the contents. The two most common formats of titles are nominal and compound. A nominal title is a single phrase, for example “A case study of hypertension which responded to spinal manipulation.” A compound title consists of two phrases in succession, for example “Response of hypertension to spinal manipulation: a case study.” Keep in mind that titles of articles in leading journals average between 8 and 9 words in length.
  • Other contents for the title page should be as in the general JCCA instructions to authors. Remember that for a case study, we would not expect to have more than one or two authors. In order to be listed as an author, a person must have an intellectual stake in the writing – at the very least they must be able to explain and even defend the article. Someone who has only provided technical assistance, as valuable as that may be, may be acknowledged at the end of the article, but would not be listed as an author. Contact information – either home or institutional – should be provided for each author along with the authors’ academic qualifications. If there is more than one author, one author must be identified as the corresponding author – the person whom people should contact if they have questions or comments about the study.
  • Key words: Provide key words under which the article will be listed. These are the words which would be used when searching for the article using a search engine such as Medline. When practical, we should choose key words from a standard list of keywords, such as MeSH (Medical subject headings). A copy of MeSH is available in most libraries. If we can’t access a copy and we want to make sure that our keywords are included in the MeSH library, we can visit this address: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/entrez/meshbrowser.cgi

A narrative abstract consists of a short version of the whole paper. There are no headings within the narrative abstract. The author simply tries to summarize the paper into a story which flows logically.

A structured abstract uses subheadings. Structured abstracts are becoming more popular for basic scientific and clinical studies, since they standardize the abstract and ensure that certain information is included. This is very useful for readers who search for articles on the internet. Often the abstract is displayed by a search engine, and on the basis of the abstract the reader will decide whether or not to download the full article (which may require payment of a fee). With a structured abstract, the reader is more likely to be given the information which they need to decide whether to go on to the full article, and so this style is encouraged. The JCCA recommends the use of structured abstracts for case studies.

Since they are summaries, both narrative and structured abstracts are easier to write once we have finished the rest of the article. We include a template for a structured abstract and encourage authors to make use of it. Our sub-headings will be:

  • Introduction: This consists of one or two sentences to describe the context of the case and summarize the entire article.
  • Case presentation: Several sentences describe the history and results of any examinations performed. The working diagnosis and management of the case are described.
  • Management and Outcome: Simply describe the course of the patient’s complaint. Where possible, make reference to any outcome measures which you used to objectively demonstrate how the patient’s condition evolved through the course of management.
  • Discussion: Synthesize the foregoing subsections and explain both correlations and apparent inconsistencies. If appropriate to the case, within one or two sentences describe the lessons to be learned.
  • Introduction: At the beginning of these guidelines we suggested that we need to have a clear idea of what is particularly interesting about the case we want to describe. The introduction is where we convey this to the reader. It is useful to begin by placing the study in a historical or social context. If similar cases have been reported previously, we describe them briefly. If there is something especially challenging about the diagnosis or management of the condition that we are describing, now is our chance to bring that out. Each time we refer to a previous study, we cite the reference (usually at the end of the sentence). Our introduction doesn’t need to be more than a few paragraphs long, and our objective is to have the reader understand clearly, but in a general sense, why it is useful for them to be reading about this case.

The next step is to describe the results of our clinical examination. Again, we should write in an efficient narrative style, restricting ourselves to the relevant information. It is not necessary to include every detail in our clinical notes.

If we are using a named orthopedic or neurological test, it is best to both name and describe the test (since some people may know the test by a different name). Also, we should describe the actual results, since not all readers will have the same understanding of what constitutes a “positive” or “negative” result.

X-rays or other images are only helpful if they are clear enough to be easily reproduced and if they are accompanied by a legend. Be sure that any information that might identify a patient is removed before the image is submitted.

At this point, or at the beginning of the next section, we will want to present our working diagnosis or clinical impression of the patient.

It is useful for the reader to know how long the patient was under care and how many times they were treated. Additionally, we should be as specific as possible in describing the treatment that we used. It does not help the reader to simply say that the patient received “chiropractic care.” Exactly what treatment did we use? If we used spinal manipulation, it is best to name the technique, if a common name exists, and also to describe the manipulation. Remember that our case study may be read by people who are not familiar with spinal manipulation, and, even within chiropractic circles, nomenclature for technique is not well standardized.

We may want to include the patient’s own reports of improvement or worsening. However, whenever possible we should try to use a well-validated method of measuring their improvement. For case studies, it may be possible to use data from visual analogue scales (VAS) for pain, or a journal of medication usage.

It is useful to include in this section an indication of how and why treatment finished. Did we decide to terminate care, and if so, why? Did the patient withdraw from care or did we refer them to another practitioner?

  • Discussion: In this section we may want to identify any questions that the case raises. It is not our duty to provide a complete physiological explanation for everything that we observed. This is usually impossible. Nor should we feel obligated to list or generate all of the possible hypotheses that might explain the course of the patient’s condition. If there is a well established item of physiology or pathology which illuminates the case, we certainly include it, but remember that we are writing what is primarily a clinical chronicle, not a basic scientific paper. Finally, we summarize the lessons learned from this case.
  • Acknowledgments: If someone provided assistance with the preparation of the case study, we thank them briefly. It is neither necessary nor conventional to thank the patient (although we appreciate what they have taught us). It would generally be regarded as excessive and inappropriate to thank others, such as teachers or colleagues who did not directly participate in preparation of the paper.

A popular search engine for English-language references is Medline: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi

  • Legends: If we used any tables, figures or photographs, they should be accompanied by a succinct explanation. A good rule for graphs is that they should contain sufficient information to be generally decipherable without reference to a legend.
  • Tables, figures and photographs should be included at the end of the manuscript.
  • Permissions: If any tables, figures or photographs, or substantial quotations, have been borrowed from other publications, we must include a letter of permission from the publisher. Also, if we use any photographs which might identify a patient, we will need their written permission.

In addition, patient consent to publish the case report is also required.

Running Header:

  • Name, academic degrees and affiliation

Name, address and telephone number of corresponding author

Disclaimers

Statement that patient consent was obtained

Sources of financial support, if any

Key words: (limit of five)

Abstract: (maximum of 150 words)

  • Case Presentation
  • Management and Outcome

Introduction:

Provide a context for the case and describe any similar cases previously reported.

Case Presentation:

  • Introductory sentence: e.g. This 25 year old female office worker presented for the treatment of recurrent headaches.
  • Describe the essential nature of the complaint, including location, intensity and associated symptoms: e.g. Her headaches are primarily in the suboccipital region, bilaterally but worse on the right. Sometimes there is radiation towards the right temple. She describes the pain as having an intensity of up to 5 out of ten, accompanied by a feeling of tension in the back of the head. When the pain is particularly bad, she feels that her vision is blurred.
  • Further development of history including details of time and circumstances of onset, and the evolution of the complaint: e.g. This problem began to develop three years ago when she commenced work as a data entry clerk. Her headaches have increased in frequency in the past year, now occurring three to four days per week.
  • Describe relieving and aggravating factors, including responses to other treatment: e.g. The pain seems to be worse towards the end of the work day and is aggravated by stress. Aspirin provides some relieve. She has not sought any other treatment.
  • Include other health history, if relevant: e.g. Otherwise the patient reports that she is in good health.
  • Include family history, if relevant: e.g. There is no family history of headaches.
  • Summarize the results of examination, which might include general observation and postural analysis, orthopedic exam, neurological exam and chiropractic examination (static and motion palpation): e.g. Examination revealed an otherwise fit-looking young woman with slight anterior carriage of the head. Cervical active ranges of motion were full and painless except for some slight restriction of left lateral bending and rotation of the head to the left. These motions were accompanied by discomfort in the right side of the neck. Cervical compression of the neck in the neutral position did not create discomfort. However, compression of the neck in right rotation and extension produced some right suboccipital pain. Cranial nerve examination was normal. Upper limb motor, sensory and reflex functions were normal. With the patient in the supine position, static palpation revealed tender trigger points bilaterally in the cervical musculature and right trapezius. Motion palpation revealed restrictions of right and left rotation in the upper cervical spine, and restriction of left lateral bending in the mid to lower cervical spine. Blood pressure was 110/70. Houle’s test (holding the neck in extension and rotation for 30 seconds) did not produce nystagmus or dizziness. There were no carotid bruits.
  • The patient was diagnosed with cervicogenic headache due to chronic postural strain.

Management and Outcome:

  • Describe as specifically as possible the treatment provided, including the nature of the treatment, and the frequency and duration of care: e.g. The patient undertook a course of treatment consisting of cervical and upper thoracic spinal manipulation three times per week for two weeks. Manipulation was accompanied by trigger point therapy to the paraspinal muscles and stretching of the upper trapezius. Additionally, advice was provided concerning maintenance of proper posture at work. The patient was also instructed in the use of a cervical pillow.
  • If possible, refer to objective measures of the patient’s progress: e.g. The patient maintained a headache diary indicating that she had two headaches during the first week of care, and one headache the following week. Furthermore the intensity of her headaches declined throughout the course of treatment.
  • Describe the resolution of care: e.g. Based on the patient’s reported progress during the first two weeks of care, she received an additional two treatments in each of the subsequent two weeks. During the last week of care she experienced no headaches and reported feeling generally more energetic than before commencing care. Following a total of four weeks of care (10 treatments) she was discharged.

Discussion:

Synthesize foregoing sections: e.g. The distinction between migraine and cervicogenic headache is not always clear. However, this case demonstrates several features …

Summarize the case and any lessons learned: e.g. This case demonstrates a classical presentation of cervicogenic headache which resolved quickly with a course of spinal manipulation, supportive soft-tissue therapy and postural advice.

References: (using Vancouver style) e.g.

1 Terret AGJ. Vertebrogenic hearing deficit, the spine and spinal manipulation therapy: a search to validate the DD Palmer/Harvey Lillard experience. Chiropr J Aust 2002; 32:14–26.

Legends: (tables, figures or images are numbered according to the order in which they appear in the text.) e.g.

Figure 1: Intensity of headaches as recorded on a visual analogue scale (vertical axis) versus time (horizontal axis) during the four weeks that the patient was under care. Treatment was given on days 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 22 and 25. Headache frequency and intensity is seen to fall over time.

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  • Case Study | Definition, Examples & Methods

Case Study | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on 5 May 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 30 January 2023.

A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organisation, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research.

A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods , but quantitative methods are sometimes also used. Case studies are good for describing , comparing, evaluating, and understanding different aspects of a research problem .

Table of contents

When to do a case study, step 1: select a case, step 2: build a theoretical framework, step 3: collect your data, step 4: describe and analyse the case.

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. It allows you to explore the key characteristics, meanings, and implications of the case.

Case studies are often a good choice in a thesis or dissertation . They keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources to do large-scale research.

You might use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in depth, or conduct multiple case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

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Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions , you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to:

  • Provide new or unexpected insights into the subject
  • Challenge or complicate existing assumptions and theories
  • Propose practical courses of action to resolve a problem
  • Open up new directions for future research

Unlike quantitative or experimental research, a strong case study does not require a random or representative sample. In fact, case studies often deliberately focus on unusual, neglected, or outlying cases which may shed new light on the research problem.

If you find yourself aiming to simultaneously investigate and solve an issue, consider conducting action research . As its name suggests, action research conducts research and takes action at the same time, and is highly iterative and flexible. 

However, you can also choose a more common or representative case to exemplify a particular category, experience, or phenomenon.

While case studies focus more on concrete details than general theories, they should usually have some connection with theory in the field. This way the case study is not just an isolated description, but is integrated into existing knowledge about the topic. It might aim to:

  • Exemplify a theory by showing how it explains the case under investigation
  • Expand on a theory by uncovering new concepts and ideas that need to be incorporated
  • Challenge a theory by exploring an outlier case that doesn’t fit with established assumptions

To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, you should conduct a literature review of sources related to the topic and develop a theoretical framework . This means identifying key concepts and theories to guide your analysis and interpretation.

There are many different research methods you can use to collect data on your subject. Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews, observations, and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data .

The aim is to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of the case and its context.

In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give as complete a picture as possible of the subject.

How you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard scientific paper or thesis, with separate sections or chapters for the methods , results , and discussion .

Others are written in a more narrative style, aiming to explore the case from various angles and analyse its meanings and implications (for example, by using textual analysis or discourse analysis ).

In all cases, though, make sure to give contextual details about the case, connect it back to the literature and theory, and discuss how it fits into wider patterns or debates.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, January 30). Case Study | Definition, Examples & Methods. Scribbr. Retrieved 19 February 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/research-methods/case-studies/

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Other students also liked, correlational research | guide, design & examples, a quick guide to experimental design | 5 steps & examples, descriptive research design | definition, methods & examples.

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How to Write a Case Study | Examples & Methods

how to write a case study academic

What is a case study?

A case study is a research approach that provides an in-depth examination of a particular phenomenon, event, organization, or individual. It involves analyzing and interpreting data to provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject under investigation. 

Case studies can be used in various disciplines, including business, social sciences, medicine ( clinical case report ), engineering, and education. The aim of a case study is to provide an in-depth exploration of a specific subject, often with the goal of generating new insights into the phenomena being studied.

When to write a case study

Case studies are often written to present the findings of an empirical investigation or to illustrate a particular point or theory. They are useful when researchers want to gain an in-depth understanding of a specific phenomenon or when they are interested in exploring new areas of inquiry. 

Case studies are also useful when the subject of the research is rare or when the research question is complex and requires an in-depth examination. A case study can be a good fit for a thesis or dissertation as well.

Case study examples

Below are some examples of case studies with their research questions:

These examples demonstrate the diversity of research questions and case studies that can be explored. From studying small businesses in Ghana to the ethical issues in supply chains, case studies can be used to explore a wide range of phenomena.

Outlying cases vs. representative cases

An outlying case stud y refers to a case that is unusual or deviates significantly from the norm. An example of an outlying case study could be a small, family-run bed and breakfast that was able to survive and even thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic, while other larger hotels struggled to stay afloat.

On the other hand, a representative case study refers to a case that is typical of the phenomenon being studied. An example of a representative case study could be a hotel chain that operates in multiple locations that faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as reduced demand for hotel rooms, increased safety and health protocols, and supply chain disruptions. The hotel chain case could be representative of the broader hospitality industry during the pandemic, and thus provides an insight into the typical challenges that businesses in the industry faced.

Steps for Writing a Case Study

As with any academic paper, writing a case study requires careful preparation and research before a single word of the document is ever written. Follow these basic steps to ensure that you don’t miss any crucial details when composing your case study.

Step 1: Select a case to analyze

After you have developed your statement of the problem and research question , the first step in writing a case study is to select a case that is representative of the phenomenon being investigated or that provides an outlier. For example, if a researcher wants to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry, they could select a representative case, such as a hotel chain that operates in multiple locations, or an outlying case, such as a small bed and breakfast that was able to pivot their business model to survive during the pandemic. Selecting the appropriate case is critical in ensuring the research question is adequately explored.

Step 2: Create a theoretical framework

Theoretical frameworks are used to guide the analysis and interpretation of data in a case study. The framework should provide a clear explanation of the key concepts, variables, and relationships that are relevant to the research question. The theoretical framework can be drawn from existing literature, or the researcher can develop their own framework based on the data collected. The theoretical framework should be developed early in the research process to guide the data collection and analysis.

To give your case analysis a strong theoretical grounding, be sure to include a literature review of references and sources relating to your topic and develop a clear theoretical framework. Your case study does not simply stand on its own but interacts with other studies related to your topic. Your case study can do one of the following: 

  • Demonstrate a theory by showing how it explains the case being investigated
  • Broaden a theory by identifying additional concepts and ideas that can be incorporated to strengthen it
  • Confront a theory via an outlier case that does not conform to established conclusions or assumptions

Step 3: Collect data for your case study

Data collection can involve a variety of research methods , including interviews, surveys, observations, and document analyses, and it can include both primary and secondary sources . It is essential to ensure that the data collected is relevant to the research question and that it is collected in a systematic and ethical manner. Data collection methods should be chosen based on the research question and the availability of data. It is essential to plan data collection carefully to ensure that the data collected is of high quality

Step 4: Describe the case and analyze the details

The final step is to describe the case in detail and analyze the data collected. This involves identifying patterns and themes that emerge from the data and drawing conclusions that are relevant to the research question. It is essential to ensure that the analysis is supported by the data and that any limitations or alternative explanations are acknowledged.

The manner in which you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard academic paper, with separate sections or chapters for the methods section , results section , and discussion section , while others are structured more like a standalone literature review.

Regardless of the topic you choose to pursue, writing a case study requires a systematic and rigorous approach to data collection and analysis. By following the steps outlined above and using examples from existing literature, researchers can create a comprehensive and insightful case study that contributes to the understanding of a particular phenomenon.

Preparing Your Case Study for Publication

After completing the draft of your case study, be sure to revise and edit your work for any mistakes, including grammatical errors , punctuation errors , spelling mistakes, and awkward sentence structure . Ensure that your case study is well-structured and that your arguments are well-supported with language that follows the conventions of academic writing .  To ensure your work is polished for style and free of errors, get English editing services from Wordvice, including our paper editing services and manuscript editing services . Let our academic subject experts enhance the style and flow of your academic work so you can submit your case study with confidence.

Oxford Brookes University

Case studies

A case study is used to explore a problem or issue in a specific real world context. You are usually asked to apply wider reading or theory to analyse what is happening in the case. They are often used in subjects such as business or healthcare.

There are two main ways you might encounter case studies in your assignments:

  • You are given a case study and you are asked to analyse it. 
  • You decide to use case studies as a method for your research, and you gather information on a specific situation to produce a case study as your findings. 

Scroll down for our recommended strategies and resources. 

Answering a case study assignment usually involves analysing the case, researching and linking to theories, and then making recommendations. This useful resource takes you through these steps with example cases from Management and Nursing: 

Writing a case study (RMIT University)

Case study report (e.g. Nursing)

In Healthcare professions you may be asked to write a case study report on a specific client or patient. This resource shows you how to keep your writing relevant and focused on the patient:

Case study report on a patient [video] (RMIT University)

Research method

If you are conducting your own research, you need to understand whether a case study is the most suitable method for answering your research question(s). Look at this introduction to case studies in research and their strengths and weaknesses: 

Case study as a research method (University of Melbourne)

Time to think about theory

Case studies often take time to analyse carefully. What is presented on the surface may have deeper, or less obvious, causes underneath. This is where your wider reading and theory may help, as it can provide frameworks or models for explaining complex and unclear behaviour. For example, theories on group dynamics might help us understand why a specific project team is failing to meet its targets.

Problem-solving

Case studies are a way of exploring a real world problem. You are usually asked to propose recommendations or solutions to the issue presented in the case. Don’t just stop at analysing what is happening and why it is happening, remember to also consider ‘so what can we do about this?’

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Writing a case report in 10 steps

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  • Victoria Stokes , foundation year 2 doctor, trauma and orthopaedics, Basildon Hospital ,
  • Caroline Fertleman , paediatrics consultant, The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust
  • victoria.stokes1{at}nhs.net

Victoria Stokes and Caroline Fertleman explain how to turn an interesting case or unusual presentation into an educational report

It is common practice in medicine that when we come across an interesting case with an unusual presentation or a surprise twist, we must tell the rest of the medical world. This is how we continue our lifelong learning and aid faster diagnosis and treatment for patients.

It usually falls to the junior to write up the case, so here are a few simple tips to get you started.

First steps

Begin by sitting down with your medical team to discuss the interesting aspects of the case and the learning points to highlight. Ideally, a registrar or middle grade will mentor you and give you guidance. Another junior doctor or medical student may also be keen to be involved. Allocate jobs to split the workload, set a deadline and work timeframe, and discuss the order in which the authors will be listed. All listed authors should contribute substantially, with the person doing most of the work put first and the guarantor (usually the most senior team member) at the end.

Getting consent

Gain permission and written consent to write up the case from the patient or parents, if your patient is a child, and keep a copy because you will need it later for submission to journals.

Information gathering

Gather all the information from the medical notes and the hospital’s electronic systems, including copies of blood results and imaging, as medical notes often disappear when the patient is discharged and are notoriously difficult to find again. Remember to anonymise the data according to your local hospital policy.

Write up the case emphasising the interesting points of the presentation, investigations leading to diagnosis, and management of the disease/pathology. Get input on the case from all members of the team, highlighting their involvement. Also include the prognosis of the patient, if known, as the reader will want to know the outcome.

Coming up with a title

Discuss a title with your supervisor and other members of the team, as this provides the focus for your article. The title should be concise and interesting but should also enable people to find it in medical literature search engines. Also think about how you will present your case study—for example, a poster presentation or scientific paper—and consider potential journals or conferences, as you may need to write in a particular style or format.

Background research

Research the disease/pathology that is the focus of your article and write a background paragraph or two, highlighting the relevance of your case report in relation to this. If you are struggling, seek the opinion of a specialist who may know of relevant articles or texts. Another good resource is your hospital library, where staff are often more than happy to help with literature searches.

How your case is different

Move on to explore how the case presented differently to the admitting team. Alternatively, if your report is focused on management, explore the difficulties the team came across and alternative options for treatment.

Finish by explaining why your case report adds to the medical literature and highlight any learning points.

Writing an abstract

The abstract should be no longer than 100-200 words and should highlight all your key points concisely. This can be harder than writing the full article and needs special care as it will be used to judge whether your case is accepted for presentation or publication.

Discuss with your supervisor or team about options for presenting or publishing your case report. At the very least, you should present your article locally within a departmental or team meeting or at a hospital grand round. Well done!

Competing interests: We have read and understood BMJ’s policy on declaration of interests and declare that we have no competing interests.

how to write a case study academic

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How to Write a Case Study

Last Updated: February 17, 2024

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 23 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 579,740 times. Learn more...

There are many different kinds of case studies. There are also various uses for writing case studies, from academic research purposes to provision of corporate proof points. There are approximately four types of case studies: illustrative (descriptive of events), exploratory (investigative), cumulative (collective information comparisons) and critical (examine particular subject with cause and effect outcomes). After becoming familiar with the different types and styles of case study instructions and how each applies to your purposes, there are some steps that make writing flow smoothly and ensure the development and delivery of a uniform case study that can be used to prove a point or illustrate accomplishments.

Getting Started

Step 1 Determine which case study type, design or style is most suitable to your intended audience.

  • Whatever case study method you're employing, your purpose is to thoroughly analyze a situation (or "case") which could reveal factors or information otherwise ignored or unknown. These can be written about companies, whole countries, or even individuals. What's more, these can be written on more abstract things, like programs or practices. Really, if you can dream it, you can write a case study about it. [1] X Research source

Step 2 Determine the topic of your case study.

  • Start your research at the library and/or on the Internet to begin delving into a specific problem. Once you've narrowed down your search to a specific problem, find as much about it as you can from a variety of different sources. Look up information in books, journals, DVDs, websites, magazines, newspapers, etc. As you go through each one, take adequate notes so you can find the info later on! [1] X Research source

Step 3 Search for case studies that have been published on the same or similar subject matter.

  • Find out what has been written before, and read the important articles about your case's situation . When you do this, you may find there is an existing problem that needs solution, or you may find that you have to come up with an interesting idea that might or might not work in your case situation.
  • Review sample case studies that are similar in style and scope to get an idea of composition and format, too.

Preparing the Interview

Step 1 Select participants that you will interview for inclusion in your case study.

  • Find knowledgeable people to interview. They don't necessarily have to be on your site, but they must be, actively or in the past, directly involved.
  • Determine whether you will interview an individual or group of individuals to serve as examples in your case study. It may be beneficial for participants to gather as a group and provide insight collectively. If the study focuses on personal subject matter or medical issues, it may be better to conduct personal interviews.
  • Gather as much information as possible about your subjects to ensure that you develop interviews and activities that will result in obtaining the most advantageous information to your study.

Step 2 Draft a list of interview questions and decide upon how you will conduct your study.

  • When you are interviewing people, ask them questions that will help you understand their opinions. I.e., How do you feel about the situation? What can you tell me about how the site (or the situation) developed? What do you think should be different, if anything? You also need to ask questions that will give you facts that might not be available from an article--make your work different and purposeful.

Step 3 Set up interviews...

  • Make sure all your informants are aware of what you're doing. They need to be fully informed (and signing waivers in certain cases) and your questions need to be appropriate and not controversial.

Obtaining Data

Step 1 Conduct interviews.

  • When you ask a question that doesn't let someone answer with a "yes" or a "no" you usually get more information. What you are trying to do is get the person to tell you whatever it is that he or she knows and thinks --even though you don't always know just what that is going to be before you ask the question. Keep your questions open-ended.
  • Request data and materials from subjects as applicable to add credibility to your findings and future presentations of your case study. Clients can provide statistics about usage of a new tool or product and participants can provide photos and quotes that show evidence of findings that may support the case.

Step 2 Collect and analyze all applicable data, including documents, archival records, observations and artifacts.

  • You can't include it all. So, you need to think about how to sort through it, take out the excess, and arrange it so that the situation at the case site will be understandable to your readers. Before you can do this, you have to put all the information together where you can see it and analyze what is going on.

Step 3 Formulate the problem in one or two sentences.

  • This will allow you to concentrate on what material is the most important. You're bound to receive information from participants that should be included, but solely on the periphery. Organize your material to mirror this.

Writing Your Piece

Step 1 Develop and write your case study using the data collected throughout the research, interviewing and analysis processes.

  • The introduction should very clearly set the stage. In a detective story, the crime happens right at the beginning and the detective has to put together the information to solve it for the rest of the story. In a case, you can start by raising a question. You could quote someone you interviewed.
  • Make sure to include background information on your study site, why your interviewees are a good sample, and what makes your problem pressing to give your audience a panoramic view of the issue. [2] X Research source After you've clearly stated the problem at hand, of course. [1] X Research source Include photos or a video if it would benefit your work to be persuasive and personalized.
  • After the reader has all the knowledge needed to understand the problem, present your data. Include customer quotes and data (percentages, awards and findings) if possible to add a personal touch and more credibility to the case presented. Describe for the reader what you learned in your interviews about the problem at this site, how it developed, what solutions have already been proposed and/or tried, and feelings and thoughts of those working or visiting there. You may have to do calculations or extra research yourself to back up any claims.
  • At the end of your analysis, you should offer possible solutions, but don't worry about solving the case itself. You may find referring to some interviewees' statements will do the alluding for you. Let the reader leave with a full grasp of the problem, but trying to come up with their own desire to change it. [1] X Research source Feel free to leave the reader with a question, forcing them to think for themselves. If you have written a good case, they will have enough information to understand the situation and have a lively class discussion.

Step 2 Add references and appendices (if any).

  • You may have terms that would be hard for other cultures to understand. If this is the case, include it in the appendix or in a Note for the Instructor .

Step 3 Make additions and deletions.

  • Go over your study section by section, but also as a whole. Each data point needs to fit into both it's place and the entirety of the work. If you can't find an appropriate place for something, stick it in the appendix.

Step 4 Edit and proofread your work.

  • Have someone else proofread, too. Your mind may have become oblivious to the errors it has seen 100 times. Another set of eyes may also notice content that has been left open-ended or is otherwise confusing.

Community Q&A

Pooja Srivastava

  • If you are developing many case studies for the same purpose using the same general subjects, use a uniform template and/or design. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Be sure to ask open-ended questions while conducting interviews to foster a discussion. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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About This Article

To write a case study, start with an introduction that defines key terms, outlines the problem your case study addresses, and gives necessary background information. You can also include photos or a video if they will help your work to be more persuasive. Then, present your findings from the case study and explain your methodology, including how you used your data to come to your conclusions. In your conclusion, offer possible solutions or next steps for research, based on your results. To learn how to select participants for your case study, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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  • Case Teaching

C ase studies are powerful teaching tools. “When you have a good case, and students who are well prepared to learn and to teach each other, you get some magical moments that students will never forget,” says James L. Heskett, UPS Foundation Professor of Business Logistics, emeritus, at Harvard Business School (HBS). “They will remember the lessons they learn in that class discussion and apply them 20 years later.”

Yet, for many educators who want to pen their own case, the act of writing a great business case seldom comes easily or naturally. For starters, it’s time consuming. Case writers can spend substantial time visiting companies, securing a willing site, conducting interviews, observing operations, collecting data, reviewing notes, writing the case, revising the narrative, ensuring that teaching points come through, and then getting executives to approve the finished product.

The question, then, becomes: Where do you begin? How do you approach case writing? How do you decide which company to use as the subject of the case? And what distinguishes a well-written case from a mediocre one?

We asked three expert HBS case writers—who collectively have written and supported hundreds of cases—to share their insights on how to write a great business case study that will inspire passionate classroom discussion and transmit key educational concepts.

Insights from James L. Heskett

UPS Foundation Professor of Business Logistics, Emeritus, Harvard Business School

Keep your eyes open for a great business issue.

“I’m always on the prowl for new case material. Whenever I’m reading or consulting, I look for interesting people doing interesting things and facing interesting challenges. For instance, I was reading a magazine and came across a story about how Shouldice Hospital treated patients undergoing surgery to fix inguinal hernias—how patients would get up from the operating table and walk away on the arm of the surgeon.

6 QUALITIES OF GREAT CASE WRITERS

Comfort with ambiguity, since cases may have more than one “right” answer

Command of the topic or subject at hand

Ability to relate to the case protagonists

Enthusiasm for the case teaching method

Capacity for finding the drama in a business situation and making it feel personal to students

Build relationships with executives.

“When writing a case, it’s helpful to start as high in the organization as possible. It helps assure mid-level managers that they can share the information you need with an outsider. It also helps when it comes to getting the case cleared for use. Serving on corporate boards can help in building relationships with senior executives, but there are other ways to make those connections. For instance, you can approach speakers at business conferences if you think their presentations could form the basis for a good business case. If you want to write about a company where you don’t have any personal connections, you can always check with your colleagues to see if any of them have a personal relationship with the CEO or sit on a board where they could introduce you to the right person who would be able to facilitate the case. My colleagues and I make a lot of these introductions for each other.”

“If you make the case into a crossword puzzle that takes five hours to solve, it’s not really fair to the students and will most likely cause them to lose focus.” James L. Heskett

Skip the curveballs and focus on key issues.

“Cases don’t have to be obvious. As a pedagogical objective, you might want students to look beyond a superficial issue to say this is the underlying topic that we need to address, and these are the questions we need to pose. Still, I think it’s unhelpful if cases contain real curveballs where ‘unlocking’ the case depends on finding some small piece of information hidden in an exhibit. Give students a break! They may have to read and digest three cases per day, so they probably won’t be able to devote more than a couple of hours to each one. If you make the case into a crossword puzzle that takes five hours to solve, it’s not really fair to the students and will most likely cause them to lose focus.”

Build a discussion plan while writing the case.

“In case method teaching, the teacher is not in complete control. Students teach each other and learn from each other. On any given day, there will likely be somebody in the room who knows more about the company featured in the case than the professor does. So a professor can’t walk into the classroom and expect to impose a lesson plan that goes in a strict linear way from A to B to C to D. The case ought to be written to allow students to jump from A to D and then come back later to B if that’s how the discussion plays out. At the same time, the case should be structured so that the instructor can collect student comments on a board, organizing them as a coherent set of related ideas, and then deliver a 5-to-10-minute summary that communicates whatever essential concepts the case has covered. This summation can be a very powerful teaching and learning experience.”

Focus on quality over quantity.

“Cases don’t have to be too long. Some good cases are only two or three pages. Students may give more scrutiny to these brief cases than they would a 20-page case.”

Advice from Benson P. Shapiro

Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, Emeritus, Harvard Business School

Take out the chaff in advance.

“You don’t want students to spend too much time separating the wheat from the chaff. If a case has 12 pages of text and 10 pages of exhibits, even the smartest MBA students will likely lose interest. Writers who try to capture a situation from every angle and in every detail end up with sprawling narratives that usually do not make a good case. When writing cases, you need to set good, strong boundaries. Avoid superfluous, flowery, or poetic material that may contain interesting anecdotes or factoids, but that could distract readers from the case’s core topics. Include only those important and useful details that can help students make decisions and understand key issues that the case explores.”

Work in layers and metaphors—subtly.

“The best cases work on multiple levels. A case should focus on a specific situation—for example, whether or not to introduce a certain product. But it should also serve as a metaphor for broader issues in the background: How do we think about introducing new products? Are we introducing enough products? Are new product introductions a source of competitive advantage in our industry? How should we organize and manage new product development? You want the case to encourage students to think broadly about the various cultural, financial, and strategic impacts that managerial decisions have on a company.”

“Writers who try to capture a situation from every angle and in every detail end up with sprawling narratives that usually do not make a good case.” Benson P. Shapiro

Encourage emotional engagement.

“Case writing is an interesting literary form—it needs to be very engaging, but also educational. Great cases revolve around points of contention on which intelligent people can hold different points of view: What should you do? Why? How do you get it done? Ideally, students should have to choose between two very attractive alternatives or two terrible alternatives. The best cases involve questions that get students emotionally engaged so that they really care about choices and outcomes. When you see students physically leaning forward and following what their peers are saying, you know that they have a visceral feel for the importance of the subject. When you hear them debating after class— You were out in left field! You missed what was really important here! —that’s how you can tell you succeeded in developing a great case.”

Lessons from Carin-Isabel Knoop

Executive Director of the Case Research & Writing Group, Harvard Business School

Don’t forget the classroom component.

“Cases are deliberately incomplete documents. What a case writer leaves out of a case is often just as important as what he or she puts into it. Cases are designed to be completed through classroom instruction and discussion. While drafting the case, try to develop the classroom process in parallel. Work on the assignment questions and classroom content. Keep in mind that the case should be able to adapt to your classroom and course needs.”

Hone your elevator pitch.

“Before getting started, always have clear, succinct learning objectives in mind. Don’t start developing the case until you are able to summarize these objectives in less than five minutes.”

Case writing is a relationship, not a transaction.

When choosing a case site, be clear with executives that you are developing a teaching tool and that you will require their time and candor—and eventually their data. Put them at ease, and manage the authorization process, right from the start. Indicate that quotes will be cleared before publication and there will be time for individual review. During the creation process, ask their advice. This creates a process of engagement and helps bring home that this is a pedagogical tool, not gotcha journalism. At HBS, we oftentimes invite someone from the company to attend class. Finally, once the case is done, stay in touch with your case protagonists. They will move to other organizations and spread the good word about their experience with case writing.

Invite disagreement in case discussions.

“The case study method is based on participant-centered learning. The students all start from the same base of 11 (or however many) pages in the case, but they bring different knowledge and experiences into the classroom. So they can take the same facts and disagree about what course of action to pursue. We want students to behave like decision makers, and it can be painful to make decisions. Some critics deride the case teaching method as being unrealistic, but someone who just lectures about marketing doesn’t help students realize how difficult it is to choose between two plausible options to meet the same marketing objectives. For students, a big part of the education process is learning from discussions with classmates who think differently and advocate for different solutions. Witnessing a robust case discussion reminds us of the potential for collective learning to emerge from contrasting views.”

“Faculty don’t just write cases for teaching purposes, they write them to learn.” Carin-Isabel Knoop

The Case Writing Process Is a Worthy Effort

Researching, writing, and publishing cases is well worth the time and effort. “The case research and writing process is important for faculty development,” Knoop adds. “While developing field cases, faculty go to site visits and meet with decision makers. The case writing process helps connect scholars to practitioners and practitioners to the academic world. Faculty case writers get to explore and test how their academic theories work in practice. So faculty don’t just write cases for teaching purposes, they write them to learn. The case method is an integral part of faculty development.”

There’s another big bonus to becoming a case writer, especially for younger educators. “Young business instructors face a credibility gap with their students,” says Heskett. “It’s not uncommon to have MBA students in a class who have more experience than the instructor on a particular subject. Once you go into the field and write a case, you will know more about that subject than anyone else in the class. A primary way for professors to establish their credibility on a topic is to have written the case the class is discussing that day.”

James L. Heskett

James L. Heskett is UPS Foundation Professor of Business Logistics, emeritus, at Harvard Business School. He completed his Ph.D. at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, and has been a faculty member at The Ohio State University as well as president of Logistics Systems, Inc. Since 2000, he has authored a blog on Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge website .

Benson P. Shapiro

Benson P. Shapiro is the Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, emeritus, at Harvard Business School where he taught full time from 1970 to 1997. Since 1997, Shapiro has concentrated his professional time on consulting, giving speeches, serving on boards, and writing. He continues to teach at Harvard and has taught in many executive programs and has chaired the Sustainable Marketing Leadership for Mid-Sized Firms Program.

Carin-Isabel Knoop

Carin-Isabel Knoop is the executive director of the Case Research & Writing Group at Harvard Business School. She is also coauthor of Compassionate Management of Mental Health in the Modern Workplace .

Related Articles

CASE TEACHING

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how to write a case study academic

How to write a case study — examples, templates, and tools

how to write a case study academic

It’s a marketer’s job to communicate the effectiveness of a product or service to potential and current customers to convince them to buy and keep business moving. One of the best methods for doing this is to share success stories that are relatable to prospects and customers based on their pain points, experiences, and overall needs.

That’s where case studies come in. Case studies are an essential part of a content marketing plan. These in-depth stories of customer experiences are some of the most effective at demonstrating the value of a product or service. Yet many marketers don’t use them, whether because of their regimented formats or the process of customer involvement and approval.

A case study is a powerful tool for showcasing your hard work and the success your customer achieved. But writing a great case study can be difficult if you’ve never done it before or if it’s been a while. This guide will show you how to write an effective case study and provide real-world examples and templates that will keep readers engaged and support your business.

In this article, you’ll learn:

What is a case study?

How to write a case study, case study templates, case study examples, case study tools.

A case study is the detailed story of a customer’s experience with a product or service that demonstrates their success and often includes measurable outcomes. Case studies are used in a range of fields and for various reasons, from business to academic research. They’re especially impactful in marketing as brands work to convince and convert consumers with relatable, real-world stories of actual customer experiences.

The best case studies tell the story of a customer’s success, including the steps they took, the results they achieved, and the support they received from a brand along the way. To write a great case study, you need to:

  • Celebrate the customer and make them — not a product or service — the star of the story.
  • Craft the story with specific audiences or target segments in mind so that the story of one customer will be viewed as relatable and actionable for another customer.
  • Write copy that is easy to read and engaging so that readers will gain the insights and messages intended.
  • Follow a standardized format that includes all of the essentials a potential customer would find interesting and useful.
  • Support all of the claims for success made in the story with data in the forms of hard numbers and customer statements.

Case studies are a type of review but more in depth, aiming to show — rather than just tell — the positive experiences that customers have with a brand. Notably, 89% of consumers read reviews before deciding to buy, and 79% view case study content as part of their purchasing process. When it comes to B2B sales, 52% of buyers rank case studies as an important part of their evaluation process.

Telling a brand story through the experience of a tried-and-true customer matters. The story is relatable to potential new customers as they imagine themselves in the shoes of the company or individual featured in the case study. Showcasing previous customers can help new ones see themselves engaging with your brand in the ways that are most meaningful to them.

Besides sharing the perspective of another customer, case studies stand out from other content marketing forms because they are based on evidence. Whether pulling from client testimonials or data-driven results, case studies tend to have more impact on new business because the story contains information that is both objective (data) and subjective (customer experience) — and the brand doesn’t sound too self-promotional.

89% of consumers read reviews before buying, 79% view case studies, and 52% of B2B buyers prioritize case studies in the evaluation process.

Case studies are unique in that there’s a fairly standardized format for telling a customer’s story. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for creativity. It’s all about making sure that teams are clear on the goals for the case study — along with strategies for supporting content and channels — and understanding how the story fits within the framework of the company’s overall marketing goals.

Here are the basic steps to writing a good case study.

1. Identify your goal

Start by defining exactly who your case study will be designed to help. Case studies are about specific instances where a company works with a customer to achieve a goal. Identify which customers are likely to have these goals, as well as other needs the story should cover to appeal to them.

The answer is often found in one of the buyer personas that have been constructed as part of your larger marketing strategy. This can include anything from new leads generated by the marketing team to long-term customers that are being pressed for cross-sell opportunities. In all of these cases, demonstrating value through a relatable customer success story can be part of the solution to conversion.

2. Choose your client or subject

Who you highlight matters. Case studies tie brands together that might otherwise not cross paths. A writer will want to ensure that the highlighted customer aligns with their own company’s brand identity and offerings. Look for a customer with positive name recognition who has had great success with a product or service and is willing to be an advocate.

The client should also match up with the identified target audience. Whichever company or individual is selected should be a reflection of other potential customers who can see themselves in similar circumstances, having the same problems and possible solutions.

Some of the most compelling case studies feature customers who:

  • Switch from one product or service to another while naming competitors that missed the mark.
  • Experience measurable results that are relatable to others in a specific industry.
  • Represent well-known brands and recognizable names that are likely to compel action.
  • Advocate for a product or service as a champion and are well-versed in its advantages.

Whoever or whatever customer is selected, marketers must ensure they have the permission of the company involved before getting started. Some brands have strict review and approval procedures for any official marketing or promotional materials that include their name. Acquiring those approvals in advance will prevent any miscommunication or wasted effort if there is an issue with their legal or compliance teams.

3. Conduct research and compile data

Substantiating the claims made in a case study — either by the marketing team or customers themselves — adds validity to the story. To do this, include data and feedback from the client that defines what success looks like. This can be anything from demonstrating return on investment (ROI) to a specific metric the customer was striving to improve. Case studies should prove how an outcome was achieved and show tangible results that indicate to the customer that your solution is the right one.

This step could also include customer interviews. Make sure that the people being interviewed are key stakeholders in the purchase decision or deployment and use of the product or service that is being highlighted. Content writers should work off a set list of questions prepared in advance. It can be helpful to share these with the interviewees beforehand so they have time to consider and craft their responses. One of the best interview tactics to keep in mind is to ask questions where yes and no are not natural answers. This way, your subject will provide more open-ended responses that produce more meaningful content.

4. Choose the right format

There are a number of different ways to format a case study. Depending on what you hope to achieve, one style will be better than another. However, there are some common elements to include, such as:

  • An engaging headline
  • A subject and customer introduction
  • The unique challenge or challenges the customer faced
  • The solution the customer used to solve the problem
  • The results achieved
  • Data and statistics to back up claims of success
  • A strong call to action (CTA) to engage with the vendor

It’s also important to note that while case studies are traditionally written as stories, they don’t have to be in a written format. Some companies choose to get more creative with their case studies and produce multimedia content, depending on their audience and objectives. Case study formats can include traditional print stories, interactive web or social content, data-heavy infographics, professionally shot videos, podcasts, and more.

5. Write your case study

We’ll go into more detail later about how exactly to write a case study, including templates and examples. Generally speaking, though, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing your case study.

  • Be clear and concise. Readers want to get to the point of the story quickly and easily, and they’ll be looking to see themselves reflected in the story right from the start.
  • Provide a big picture. Always make sure to explain who the client is, their goals, and how they achieved success in a short introduction to engage the reader.
  • Construct a clear narrative. Stick to the story from the perspective of the customer and what they needed to solve instead of just listing product features or benefits.
  • Leverage graphics. Incorporating infographics, charts, and sidebars can be a more engaging and eye-catching way to share key statistics and data in readable ways.
  • Offer the right amount of detail. Most case studies are one or two pages with clear sections that a reader can skim to find the information most important to them.
  • Include data to support claims. Show real results — both facts and figures and customer quotes — to demonstrate credibility and prove the solution works.

6. Promote your story

Marketers have a number of options for distribution of a freshly minted case study. Many brands choose to publish case studies on their website and post them on social media. This can help support SEO and organic content strategies while also boosting company credibility and trust as visitors see that other businesses have used the product or service.

Marketers are always looking for quality content they can use for lead generation. Consider offering a case study as gated content behind a form on a landing page or as an offer in an email message. One great way to do this is to summarize the content and tease the full story available for download after the user takes an action.

Sales teams can also leverage case studies, so be sure they are aware that the assets exist once they’re published. Especially when it comes to larger B2B sales, companies often ask for examples of similar customer challenges that have been solved.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about case studies and what they should include, you may be wondering how to start creating great customer story content. Here are a couple of templates you can use to structure your case study.

Template 1 — Challenge-solution-result format

  • Start with an engaging title. This should be fewer than 70 characters long for SEO best practices. One of the best ways to approach the title is to include the customer’s name and a hint at the challenge they overcame in the end.
  • Create an introduction. Lead with an explanation as to who the customer is, the need they had, and the opportunity they found with a specific product or solution. Writers can also suggest the success the customer experienced with the solution they chose.
  • Present the challenge. This should be several paragraphs long and explain the problem the customer faced and the issues they were trying to solve. Details should tie into the company’s products and services naturally. This section needs to be the most relatable to the reader so they can picture themselves in a similar situation.
  • Share the solution. Explain which product or service offered was the ideal fit for the customer and why. Feel free to delve into their experience setting up, purchasing, and onboarding the solution.
  • Explain the results. Demonstrate the impact of the solution they chose by backing up their positive experience with data. Fill in with customer quotes and tangible, measurable results that show the effect of their choice.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that invites readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to nurture them further in the marketing pipeline. What you ask of the reader should tie directly into the goals that were established for the case study in the first place.

Template 2 — Data-driven format

  • Start with an engaging title. Be sure to include a statistic or data point in the first 70 characters. Again, it’s best to include the customer’s name as part of the title.
  • Create an overview. Share the customer’s background and a short version of the challenge they faced. Present the reason a particular product or service was chosen, and feel free to include quotes from the customer about their selection process.
  • Present data point 1. Isolate the first metric that the customer used to define success and explain how the product or solution helped to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 2. Isolate the second metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 3. Isolate the final metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Summarize the results. Reiterate the fact that the customer was able to achieve success thanks to a specific product or service. Include quotes and statements that reflect customer satisfaction and suggest they plan to continue using the solution.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that asks readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to further nurture them in the marketing pipeline. Again, remember that this is where marketers can look to convert their content into action with the customer.

While templates are helpful, seeing a case study in action can also be a great way to learn. Here are some examples of how Adobe customers have experienced success.

Juniper Networks

One example is the Adobe and Juniper Networks case study , which puts the reader in the customer’s shoes. The beginning of the story quickly orients the reader so that they know exactly who the article is about and what they were trying to achieve. Solutions are outlined in a way that shows Adobe Experience Manager is the best choice and a natural fit for the customer. Along the way, quotes from the client are incorporated to help add validity to the statements. The results in the case study are conveyed with clear evidence of scale and volume using tangible data.

A Lenovo case study showing statistics, a pull quote and featured headshot, the headline "The customer is king.," and Adobe product links.

The story of Lenovo’s journey with Adobe is one that spans years of planning, implementation, and rollout. The Lenovo case study does a great job of consolidating all of this into a relatable journey that other enterprise organizations can see themselves taking, despite the project size. This case study also features descriptive headers and compelling visual elements that engage the reader and strengthen the content.

Tata Consulting

When it comes to using data to show customer results, this case study does an excellent job of conveying details and numbers in an easy-to-digest manner. Bullet points at the start break up the content while also helping the reader understand exactly what the case study will be about. Tata Consulting used Adobe to deliver elevated, engaging content experiences for a large telecommunications client of its own — an objective that’s relatable for a lot of companies.

Case studies are a vital tool for any marketing team as they enable you to demonstrate the value of your company’s products and services to others. They help marketers do their job and add credibility to a brand trying to promote its solutions by using the experiences and stories of real customers.

When you’re ready to get started with a case study:

  • Think about a few goals you’d like to accomplish with your content.
  • Make a list of successful clients that would be strong candidates for a case study.
  • Reach out to the client to get their approval and conduct an interview.
  • Gather the data to present an engaging and effective customer story.

Adobe can help

There are several Adobe products that can help you craft compelling case studies. Adobe Experience Platform helps you collect data and deliver great customer experiences across every channel. Once you’ve created your case studies, Experience Platform will help you deliver the right information to the right customer at the right time for maximum impact.

To learn more, watch the Adobe Experience Platform story .

Keep in mind that the best case studies are backed by data. That’s where Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform and Adobe Analytics come into play. With Real-Time CDP, you can gather the data you need to build a great case study and target specific customers to deliver the content to the right audience at the perfect moment.

Watch the Real-Time CDP overview video to learn more.

Finally, Adobe Analytics turns real-time data into real-time insights. It helps your business collect and synthesize data from multiple platforms to make more informed decisions and create the best case study possible.

Request a demo to learn more about Adobe Analytics.

https://business.adobe.com/blog/perspectives/b2b-ecommerce-10-case-studies-inspire-you

https://business.adobe.com/blog/basics/business-case

https://business.adobe.com/blog/basics/what-is-real-time-analytics

Writing A Case Study

Case Study Format

Barbara P

Simple Case Study Format for Students to Follow

Published on: Jun 18, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 24, 2023

Case Study Format

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A Complete Case Study Writing Guide With Examples

Understand the Types of Case Study Here

Brilliant Case Study Examples and Templates For Your Help

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Having trouble making your case studies stand out? Finding it hard to organise your story? You're not alone! 

Many students struggle with case study writing !

Imagine spending a lot of time on your case studies, but they don't grab your reader's interest.  But don't worry! 

In this guide, we will go step by step through case study formatting, along with practical tips to make your research stand out from the rest! By following our step-by-step approach, you can understand how to write a case study assignment well. 

So, let’s get started!

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How to Format a Case Study 

When it comes to crafting a compelling case study, understanding how to write case study format is key to presenting your research effectively. 

If you are wondering how to make case study format, here are the elements to include in your case study paper format.

Create an interesting title for your work. Keep it simple and short.

Here you need to briefly elaborate on the accomplishment. What you have done and how you got there.

Write about the entire story in one paragraph followed by 2-3 bullet points to display the case study contents.

An introduction about what the case study is all about.

Describe the challenges of the customer prior to using your product or service. Explain the long-term goals or objectives that the customer set out to achieve.

In this 2-3 paragraph section describe how your product or service specifically benefited and helped achieve the goals. You can also use percentages to show your contributions.

In the relevant section of your case study, add 1-2 quotes and visuals to support the story you are telling. You can also use icons to summarise information and highlight areas of your research.

Figure out what a study means and look at where else we can learn more are really important for making academic work have a bigger impact.

Call to action is optional but adding one can encourage your readers to take some action after learning your work.

Case Study Formatting Guidelines 

Effective case study formatting is essential to convey your insights clearly and engage your audience. Follow these guidelines to ensure your case study is well-organised and impactful:

  • Opt for easily readable fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman.
  • Maintain a consistent font size, typically 12 points for the body text.
  • Set line spacing to double-spaced for the entire document.
  • Use bullet points for concise and scannable information presentation.
  • Employ numbered lists for sequences of steps or chronological order of events.
  • Bold or italicize key phrases to draw attention to critical points; use underline sparingly.
  • Choose left, center, or justified alignment based on your overall design.
  • Make your headings clear and organized so readers know what's important.

If you need further assistance, check our case study format for students pdf here:

How To Write A Case Study Pdf

Case Study Format Template

Case studies can be used for different purposes. In social sciences, it can help you understand the problems of other people.

In businesses, it can help you earn the trust of potential customers. But do you even know what are the different  types of case study  and how to write one?

Refer to this case study format pdf before you start writing your own document. This student case study format sample contains all the information you might need when gathering information for your case study.

Case Study Format Examples

Case study examples are the best way to learn the basic techniques for writing a great case study on your own. 

Explore these short case study sample pdfs to gain insights into presenting your research cohesively:

For your help, we have also compiled real-life  case study examples  along with a format that you can refer to while writing your own.

APA Case Study Format

If you are asked to write a case study in APA format, keep in mind there are some specific requirements that you need to adhere to.

Here is a case study APA format example for you to learn how to format a case study.

Business Case Study Format

Business case studies can help businesses sell products or services to prospects. Here is a perfect example for you to learn how to write an impressive business case study.

Case Study Format For MBA Students

Case Study Format Nursing

Writing a great nursing case study can be tough. That’s why we have provided a case study format for nursing students to use as a guide in creating their work. 

Refer to this family case study format example if you are writing a nursing case study for the first time.

Nursing Case Study Format

Harvard Business School Case Study Format

Looking for HBS style business case study? Here is one for you to read and take hints and ideas to prepare this type of case study like a professional.

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Medical Case Study Format

Writing medical case studies is helpful in medical practices as it gives a lot of information about different diseases. Look at this example and learn how to write a detailed medical case study.

Case Study Format Psychology 

To study how the human mind works, you need a clear and organised method. Follow this easy psychology case study format to explore the details of psychological research:

Case Study Format Psychology

To sum it up, getting good at writing case studies means combining a clear structure, good storytelling, and smart presentation. If you follow the tips I've shared in this blog, you're on your way to making interesting stories that grab people's attention.

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How to Write a Case Study?

05 February, 2020

8 minutes read

Author:  Mathieu Johnson

Now that you’re in college, your professor will likely assume that you know how to write a variety of different writing assignments. Many courses required for certain degrees will require students to write a case study every now and then. What? Never had a write a case study? Need a case study definition? No problem! Here’s a basic case study definition: a thorough investigation of a problem.

case study

A case study can also be referred to as a case study analysis—however, the case study definition remains the same. You may be wondering how to write a case study. If you’ve never had to write a case study before, don’t worry. All the key information you need to know regarding how to write a case study is below!

What? Never had a write a case study? Need a case study definition? No problem! Handmade Writing will help!

Here’s a basic case study definition: a thorough investigation of a problem. A case study can also be referred to as a case study analysis — however, the case study definition remains the same. You may be wondering how to write a case study. If you’ve never had to write a case study before, don’t worry. All the key information you need to know regarding how to write a case study is below!

What is a Case Study?

Now that you know a clear case study definition, it’s time to learn what is a case study. Specifically, we’ll review the different areas that a case study should include. Writing a case study doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, once you know a case study template and review a few case study examples, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever case study topic your business teacher assigns. So, for students wondering what is a case study, here’s the detailed answer.

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A case study (or case study analysis) involves researching a business problem, examining several possible solutions, and concluding which solution would be the most effective based on presented evidence. A case study is based in the real world; this means that the problem being researched will be one that real companies face. When writing a case study it’s important to research relevant and reliable resources.

Think about magazines, journals, reports, and online databases that offer important insights and access. Worried about how to write a case study? Don’t be! There are many free case study examples and case study templates online to help students navigate their way through this type of academic writing assignment. If you don’t want to be the student asking how to write a case study in class, check out these helpful hints regarding writing a case study.

Writing a Case Study

Case study writing

Writing a case study takes a bit of preparation. If you’ve never written a case study, let’s answer the question “How to write a case study?” right now: with preparation. Writing a case study takes a lot of research. Research that has to be approached with all the attention to the detail.  Just as when you write a research paper , make sure to outline to find relevant sources of information. Before beginning to write a case study, you’ll need to do a bit of investigative work. First, review the case assigned by your professor critically.

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Thoroughly check the case study for key details, important facts, and relevant problems. Next, depending upon the type of problem presented in the case study, select two or more problems and brainstorm why they existed, how they affected the company, and what party was responsible for their creation. Third, brainstorm possible solutions to the problems. Finally, propose the best solution and support your case study analysis with strong evidence. A key aspect of writing a case study is evaluating the chosen solution; in other words, would this solution realistically work in the real world?

Proper Case Study Format

The internet offers a variety of case study format options, but typically a widely accepted case study format will follow these guidelines. Begin with an introduction which identifies the problem and provides relevant background details about the company.

Next, the body of the case study should focus on the analysis of the possible solutions. Each solution should be accompanied by analysis including the pros and cons of the solution. Finally, the writer should decide upon the best alternative and defend it with strong evidence. This multi-paragraph analysis section should include evidence from journals, articles, and/or online databases as well as texts from class, and personal experience if appropriate.

great case study examples

Case Study Examples

Because of the academic nature of writing a case study, many colleges and universities have created case study formats to help students by posting case study examples online. Need a bit of extra help to understand a good case study template based on your assigned case study? Don’t worry! Here are a few great case study examples so you don’t need to wonder how to write a case study to meet your professor’s expectations. The provided business case study samples cover all the academic guidelines and can be used as a perfect example of case study writing.

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As with any academic writing assignment, it’s important to get started early. With HandmadeWritings, you can forget about other assignments, because we easily can provide any homework help. Don’t fall into the trap of procrastination and think that you know how to write a case study and that it will be easy. Writing a case study can be easy if you leave yourself enough time—don’t wait until the last minute!

Good case study examples show a high amount of research and analysis in the final draft. Fortunately, many colleges and universities offer an example of a case study online for students. However, these case study examples can be accessed by students worldwide so if your higher education institution doesn’t offer a case study template online, simply find a good case study example and bookmark it for quick reference when writing your case study.

By now, you know how to write a case study. You also know a clear case study definition to get you started on the right path. Review available case study examples and case study templates and you’ll earn the A you deserve!

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Step-by-step guide how to write a case study assignment.

Step-by-Step Guide How to Write a Case Study Assignment

This article offers a comprehensive analysis of the process of writing a case study assignment, providing essential steps and valuable tips to assist students in creating high-quality and well-researched case studies. Whether you are a novice or an experienced writer, this guide will provide valuable insights into how to meet your instructors’ expectations and showcase your understanding of the subject matter.

Understanding the Concept of a Case Study

A case study is a research method that involves conducting an in-depth examination of a specific subject or phenomenon, such as an individual, group, organization, or event. It is commonly employed in various disciplines, including business, marketing, law, healthcare, and social sciences, among others. The primary purpose of a case study is to analyze and comprehend the subject under study, identify any challenges or issues, and provide practical solutions or recommendations based on the findings.

Case studies typically entail collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, surveys, and documents. The data is then examined to identify patterns, themes, and trends that can be used to draw conclusions and develop recommendations. Case studies can be exploratory, descriptive, or explanatory, depending on the research questions and objectives.

In summary, a case study is a research method that involves a thorough investigation of a specific subject or phenomenon, with the aim of understanding it better and offering practical solutions or recommendations. It serves as a valuable tool for researchers and practitioners across various disciplines, providing insights into real-life situations and informing decision-making processes.

Types of Case Studies

Several types of case studies exist, each with unique characteristics and purposes. The following are some of the most common types:

  • Exploratory Case Study: This type is used when researchers aim to gain preliminary insights into a new or complex issue. It involves in-depth exploration of a topic, often with limited prior knowledge or existing research.
  • Descriptive Case Study: A descriptive case study aims to provide a detailed description of a situation or phenomenon. It involves collecting data on various aspects of the case and presenting a comprehensive overview.
  • Explanatory Case Study: An explanatory case study seeks to explain why a particular phenomenon occurred. It typically involves identifying the causes and effects of the issue and developing hypotheses to explain their relationships. Obtaining assistance with your case studies is possible by Pay for online assignment services for a fee.
  • Instrumental Case Study: An instrumental case study focuses on a specific problem or issue, aiming to provide practical solutions or recommendations. It is commonly employed in business and management studies.
  • Collective Case Study: This type involves analyzing multiple cases that share similar characteristics or themes. It allows researchers to compare and contrast different cases to identify common patterns and trends.
  • Intrinsic Case Study: An intrinsic case study is undertaken to gain a deep understanding of a particular case that is unique or unusual in some way. It is often employed in social science and humanities research.
  • Developing Analytical and Critical Thinking Skills: Case studies require students to analyze and evaluate complex situations, identify key issues, and develop practical solutions or recommendations. This process helps in the development of analytical and critical thinking skills, which are essential for success in academic and professional settings.
  • Enhancing Research Skills: Case studies necessitate thorough research, data collection, and analysis from various sources. This process helps students improve their research skills and learn how to apply research methodologies to real-world situations or how to write a literature review
  • Demonstrating Practical Application of Knowledge: Writing a case study assignment allows students to apply theoretical concepts and knowledge to real-life situations. It helps them demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter and its practical application.
  • Improving Communication Skills: Engaging in case study writing necessitates students to proficiently convey their findings, analysis, and recommendations. This undertaking assists in honing their skills in written and verbal communication, which hold paramount importance in academic and professional environments.
  • Preparing for Future Careers Case studies find extensive usage in various professional fields, including business, healthcare, law, marketing, and more. Engaging in case study assignments equips students with the essential skills and knowledge required for their prospective careers.
  • Determining the Length of a Case Study Assignment The length of a case study assignment is subject to the specific requirements and guidelines provided by the instructor or professor. Typically, a standard case study assignment may range from 500 to 1500 words, although the length may vary for different assignments. It is crucial to adhere to the provided guidelines and instructions to ensure that the assignment meets the expected standards and requirements.
  • Steps and Format for Writing a Case Study Assignment Outlined below is an overview of the steps and format to follow when writing a case study assignment:
  • Understand the Assignment Requirements Before commencing the case study assignment It is vital to thoroughly comprehend the assignment requirements, including the format, length, and specific instructions provided by the instructor or professor. This understanding will assist in maintaining focus and ensuring that the assignment aligns with the expected standards.
  • Select a Relevant Case Study Choose a case study that pertains to the subject matter of your assignment. Option for a case study that is engaging, informative, and exemplifies the key concepts or issues you intend to explore in your assignment.

The choice of case study type depends on the research question, the study’s purpose, and the characteristics of the case being examined.

Importance of Writing a Case Study Assignment Writing a case study assignment offers several benefits for students, including:

Conducting Research

Thoroughly conduct research to gather relevant information and data pertaining to the case study. This process may involve examining academic journals, books, and other credible sources of information. Take meticulous notes and organize your research material to facilitate easy reference while writing your assignment.

Analyzing the Case Study

Engage in a detailed analysis of the case study, identifying key issues, challenges, and opportunities. Consider the contextual factors surrounding the case study, the stakeholders involved, and the potential outcomes and implications of various decisions and actions.

Developing a Thesis Statement Based on your analysis of the case study

Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that distinctly outlines the main argument or focus of your assignment. Ensure that your thesis statement centers around the key issues and concepts you intend to explore.

Writing the Introduction

Compose an introduction that furnishes background information on the case study and establishes the context for your analysis. Provide a brief summary of the case study, present the primary research question or thesis statement, and provide an overview of the key issues and concepts that will be addressed in your assignment. If needed, Professional Assignment Help can assist you in crafting a perfect introduction.

Writing the Body Structure

The body of your assignment into sections that concentrate on different aspects of the case study. Each section should commence with a clear topic sentence that outlines the main point or argument it addresses. Utilize evidence and data derived from your research to substantiate your analysis and arguments.

Write the Conclusion

Compose a conclusion that succinctly summarizes the key findings and arguments presented in your assignment. Restate your thesis statement to reinforce its significance. Additionally, provide recommendations or suggestions for future research or action based on the insights gained from the case study.

Edit and Proofread

Thoroughly review and revise your assignment, paying close attention to spelling and grammar errors, ensuring consistency in formatting and style, and enhancing overall clarity and coherence.

Format A typical case study assignment should follow the following format:

  • Title page: Include the assignment’s title, your name, course name and number, and the date.
  • Abstract: Offer a concise summary of the case study, highlighting the main findings and conclusions.
  • Introduction: Provide background information on the case study and establish the context for your analysis.
  • Literature Review: Present an overview of pertinent literature and previous research relevant to the case study.
  • Methodology: Explain the research methods and techniques employed in your analysis.
  • Results: Conduct a detailed analysis of the case study, delving into key issues, challenges, and opportunities.
  • Discussion: Engage in a comprehensive discussion of the primary findings and conclusions, emphasizing their implications.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the key findings and arguments, restate the thesis statement, and offer recommendations for future research or action.
  • References: Include a list of all sources cited in your assignment, appropriately formatted according to the designated citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).
  • Appendices (if necessary): Supplement your analysis with additional materials or data, such as charts, graphs, or tables.

By adhering to these steps and following the prescribed format, you can develop a well-structured and informative case study assignment that meets the expectations and requirements set by your instructor or professor.

In conclusion, writing a case study assignment can be a challenging yet rewarding undertaking for students. It affords them an opportunity to apply theoretical concepts to real-life scenarios and cultivate analytical and problem-solving skills. To produce an effective case study assignment, it is crucial to adopt a structured approach, encompassing the identification of the research question, research conduct, data analysis, and the presentation of findings in a clear and concise manner. By following the steps and adhering to the format outlined in this guide, students can create high-quality case study assignments that showcase their comprehension of the subject matter and ability to apply theoretical concepts to practical situations.

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Case study assignment Help are an integral part of academic coursework across various disciplines. These assignments require students to analyze real-life scenarios, apply theoretical concepts, and provide practical solutions or recommendations based on their findings. However, tackling a case study assignment Help can be a challenging task for many students due to its complexity and the need for in-depth research and critical thinking.

To alleviate the difficulties faced by students, case study assignment help services have emerged as a valuable resource. These services provide professional assistance to students who seek guidance and support in completing their case study assignment Help . By opting for case study assignment help , students can benefit in several ways.

Firstly, expert writers with subject-specific knowledge and expertise in conducting case study research are assigned to assist students. These writers possess a deep understanding of the subject matter and are skilled in analyzing complex scenarios.

Secondly, case study assignment help services offer customized solutions tailored to meet the specific requirements and guidelines provided by the students’ instructors or professors. This ensures that the assignments are well-aligned with the expected standards and expectations.

Additionally, these services save students’ time and effort by conducting thorough research, analyzing data, and structuring the assignment in a coherent and logical manner. This allows students to focus on other important academic commitments or engage in extracurricular activities.

Furthermore, case study assignment help services often provide timely delivery of assignments, enabling students to meet their submission deadlines without compromising on quality.

In conclusion, case study assignment help services play a crucial role in supporting students with their academic workload. By availing these services, students can receive expert guidance, improve their understanding of the subject matter, and submit high-quality assignments that demonstrate their analytical and problem-solving skills.

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There are different kinds of case studies. The two main situations where a case study is required are commerce and academic pursuits. In business and commerce, the problem of how to write a case study to suit a particular circumstance, budget, location, and category of goods and services are well documented. Here, how to write a case study within an academic situation is looked at in detail.

A case study is carried out to examine qualitative performance in research, and field studies in the case of naturalistic or scientific inquiries. The main thrust of any case study is investigation. This implies that the person carrying out the study must observe, read, examine, test, investigate, and write a report about the process and its results.

A case study usually has a practical application, and can be set to test a field of knowledge. It can also be used to train students for similar real-life situations in their career life after attending a university. They prepare people for work in offices, factories, hospitals, schools, and courtrooms where investigative procedures are needed.

Stages of Writing a Case Study

  • When the situation, process, location, and time have been decided upon, you must carefully set out a plan. What will be observed or investigated? By whom? For how long?
  • The language you use in your plan must be clear. The terminology and vocabulary must be identical to those used in the situation to be studied; that is, the factory, the courtroom, the restaurant, or the accounting firm.
  • Write a set of questions that will help you decide which data to collect, which data will be considered relevant to the study, and how to analyze it when it is all collected.
  • The questions set out must take any proposals the study will make into consideration. Decide which units of calculation the study will use (that is, scientific measurements such as metric, digital, analog, and so forth). Decide how the calculations will be linked to the proposals made. Decide on the terms of reference and criteria for how the results will be analyzed or interpreted.
  • Do not forget to write down the goals of the study.
  • When the observations and investigation is taking place, make sure all participants understand the aims, the procedure, and which outcomes you wish to reach.
  • Assemble all records, interview questions, materials, and participants and hold a number of meetings to ensure everyone and everything is ready by the start of the study.
  • Ensure that all records, writing, data, and so forth are generated on compatible systems, software, and language.
  • Identify the person who will carry out any editing or crosschecking necessary, and the person who will do the final writing.
  • Ensure that the writing up of the case study is done under similarly rigorous conditions as the investigation.

Topic Selection

A case study that is not aimed at a certain audience and doesn’t solve issues that people encounter is not valuable. Therefore, before choosing a case study topic, you should determine your target audience and get acquainted with it. Only after you know its needs and the problems it faces can you get a clear idea of what topic might be of interest for your audience. When formulating a topic, identify the main problems that may exist within it, and explain why they are important. This way you will make your case study more focused on solution, and thus more valuable.

Key Points to Consider

  • When students need to know how to write a case study, they must address two factors: the process involved, and the method of writing up the findings.
  • The case must be chosen or assigned. It might be the operations of a small business, the assessable aspects of a classroom, the procedures of a hospital emergency room, or the tasks undertaken in a bakery or restaurant, to name a few examples.
  • All materials must be assembled before starting to observe and take notes. Observations are usually recorded on a grid or spreadsheet after the different tasks or procedures are identified, listed, and named. All grids, sheets, and books must be kept together, and pages of relevant material must be marked according to a scheme. Card systems are great for this—some students prefer a CSV spreadsheet.
  • More than in any other scholarly work, facts and figures are more important than ideas and opinions when working on a case study. All facts and figures must adhere to a plan which sets out what the case study will examine, for how long, and under which conditions. The number of people who will participate, the premises or location where it will take place, and all relevant details must be set out before commencement.
  • All accompanying text must be supported by properly-formatted referencing, using APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian styles.
  • A self-devised note-taking system is usually optimal, because it helps to keep all observations and calculations in precise order. Organization is vital, and time management skills must be carefully observed if the case study is to be successful.
  • The salient points of an observational or investigative case study must be sought, planned, and reported. Each paragraph of the report must deal with one aspect or procedure, and explain what can be seen in the charts or spreadsheets.
  • The writing must be formal, academic, and precise.

Dos and Don’ts

Common mistakes.

  • Try not to build a case study on an unbalanced or shaky premise.
  • Using old data collected for some other study.
  • Material presented in the wrong order is a frequent error—chronological is best. The report on figures and statistics should come last.
  • Using material and data from other studies runs the risk of repetition.
  • Indecision is an aspect that weakens an otherwise well-researched case study: a frequently-seen flaw is dithering between one stance and another.
  • Not researching all the material thoroughly is another area of failure. Make sure the notes you write are clear and cogent, and create paragraphs of well-prepared writing steadily and surely.
  • Lack of structure is sometimes found to weaken a student’s work in a case study. It is important to make a plan or outline for a successful piece of work.
  • One must exhibit a deep understanding of the entire case. Disorganized work and confusion is not an effective way to persuade an examiner of how well you have covered the material and accounted for your investigation.
  • Understand your aims. An effective case study demonstrates that a student or group of students will go out into a working life well-equipped to communicate ideas, research, and concepts without taking short cuts. The ability to conduct an investigation into a procedure or operation is invaluable in a CV.
  • Poor language skills, inappropriate or irrelevant vocabulary, the wrong tone, and errors in punctuation, grammar, syntax, and structure demonstrate low aptitude.

Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic case study writing tips and rules, you can check out our case study samples to link theory with practice.

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Samples for Writing a Case Study

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What Is a Case Study?

What is the structure of a case study? This may be your first question when writing a case paper. A case study is one of the subcategories of research papers aimed to offer specific solutions to the problems of the studied sample. This research method can be used to study a group situation of a single person. You may have different goals for conducting case studies. Unlike other research papers, the primary stress factor of case studies is drawing the readers’ attention to details by applying various research methods.

Well-designed and well-conducted case studies may be invaluable tools for identifying existing problems and offering practical solutions. If you are interested in  how to get familiar with the structure of a case study,  you are welcome to continue reading. Even if you are demotivated to start writing, imagine yourself during the process or find a peaceful place to start writing. Following these and other useful  tips  will help lessen the whole process’s burden.

What Is the Structure of Case Studies

The  structure of a case study is similar to storytelling; both have a main character or protagonist, and the story is wholly about the latter. The  format of case study writing may vary depending on the purpose and context; however, here are the main elements used for writing such a paper. 

  • ✅ Title Page. The title should include information about the authors, contributors, and institutions. 
  • Abstract. This part of the essay is essential since it summarizes your study’s main points, findings, and conclusions. Generally, the abstract touches upon the paper without mentioning details. 
  • ✅ Introduction. This part provides some general information about the subject of the study. However, you are recommended to keep the confidentiality of the participants; otherwise, your essay will be considered unethical. Include the details about why you have chosen to study that specific person or institution, mentioning how the findings may benefit them. You may also integrate information on the objectives of the case study. 
  • ✅ Literature review. This part is optional for case study structure;  however, if your particular study requires to include previously done case studies or other studies related to your case, you are highly recommended to do so. The relatable literature review will provide context and strengthen your paper. 
  • ✅ Methodology. It is not a secret; as a case study writer, you need to know what methodology to employ to achieve the desired outcome. Your methodology section should include detailed information about your case study’s method, tools, or other scientific instruments. 
  • ✅ Results. After conducting the study, you present your findings without integrating personal judgments and conclusions. Data, quotes, statistics, and any other evidence collected during the study should be included without leaving out any. 
  • ✅ Discussion. In this part of the case studies structure , you are to make relatable conclusions based on the evidence you have at your disposal, making logical interpretations of your data. Your discussion should focus on significance and implications. 
  • ✅ Conclusion. In your conclusion, suggest further research areas, mentioning how they may contribute to the area studied. 
  • ✅ References. You should mention all the sources you have used in your study following various citation styles such as Chicago, APA, MLA, etc. You must check the latter with your institution before deciding which one to imply. 
  • ✅ Appendices. Additional materials supporting your study, including raw data, interview scripts, questionnaires, etc., should be presented and attached to your study. 

In brief, this  case study writing format  may provide the general framework; however, you are highly encouraged to check all the requirements related to the format with the institution you are applying to. Overall,  case study structure  is not that complicated but you need to consult with a professional if you do not have much experience in writing such papers. 

How to Make Case Study Format Much Better

Here are some tips to make  the structure of a case study much more reader-friendly and engaging. 

  • ✅ Outstanding title. Choose a title that thoroughly reflects the purpose of your study and is engaging. A well-written title may attract readers and encourage them to pick up your study and read. 
  • ✅ Accurate abstract. A concise abstract summarizing your study’s main points is essential to make a good impression on the reader. Thus, try to use only a few scientific and confusing words; instead, concentrate on making it accurate and to-the-topic. 
  • ✅ Include visuals. If you want to make your case study stand out, visuals and graphs help digest the presented information faster. They may contribute to the understanding and facilitate the reading process. 
  • ✅ Include data and evidence. Never make claims that are not relatable and may not be supported by solid evidence. Otherwise, your essay will lose its credibility and accountability. 
  • ✅ The language. Pay sufficient attention to your language; it should be easy to follow and understand. Never make a reader feel puzzled because of complicated sentences. Make your sentences short and sweet for your readers. 
  • ✅ Proofreading and editing. No matter how many case studies you have written, it is crucial to revise the whole paper to ensure it is free of mistakes and follows a consistent case study format.

Applying these tips in your case study will help to make it much better and more impactful to achieve your objective.  Checking our services , you will learn more about how to write such papers. 

What are The Possible Difficulties When Writing Case Study Format

Now that you know  the format of a case study, it is high time to start writing. If you are a beginner in an academic field, you may encounter the  following issues. 

  • ✅ Lack of information. Sometimes, when writing a case study, a writer needs to integrate many sources; however, it may be tricky and time-consuming since you are supposed to read many research papers. Another possible challenge is not knowing how to integrate them into your study effectively. 
  • ✅ Time-consuming. Collecting data for case studies is quite a long process, requiring much effort to make questionnaires, surveys, etc., and then interpret them. 
  • ✅ Methodology. What methodology should you employ when conducting your case study? Another bothering question for novice researchers. You must choose the methodology correctly for the structure of the case study  to achieve your goal. Thus, applying for professional help from the very beginning is essential. 
  • Structure and formatting. The case study paper should follow the required formatting. Each research paper has its rules, which you need to follow accurately. 

If you need professional help with your case study paper, we are here to offer  our services . Applying to our case study service, you will enjoy the following benefits: save your time, learn only from professionals, and avoid confusing situations. No one can deny that applying for professional help, especially when you are under snow and do not manage to do your other tasks, is an excellent option. Our top-tier experts at Writing Metier guarantee the high quality of your paper. You will also learn the structure of a good case study and avoid a rabbit hole for future papers.

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Laura Orta is an avid author on Writing Metier's blog. Before embarking on her writing career, she practiced media law in one of the local media. Aside from writing, she works as a private tutor to help students with their academic needs. Laura and her husband share their home near the ocean in northern Portugal with two extraordinary boys and a lifetime collection of books.

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COMMENTS

  1. What Is a Case Study?

    Step 1: Select a case Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions, you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to: Provide new or unexpected insights into the subject Challenge or complicate existing assumptions and theories

  2. How to Write a Case Study: from Outline to Examples

    Essay Writing All You Wanted to Know About How to Write a Case Study Written by Daniel Pn. February 15, 2023 11 min read Share the article What do you study in your college? If you are a psychology, sociology, or anthropology student, we bet you might be familiar with what a case study is.

  3. Case study

    The case can refer to a real-life or hypothetical event, organisation, individual or group of people and/or issue. Depending upon your assignment, you will be asked to develop solutions to problems or recommendations for future action. Generally, a case study is either formatted as an essay or a report. If it is the latter, your assignment is ...

  4. Case studies

    You may be asked to write a case study as an essay, as part of a longer assignment or as a report. Examples of cases An organisation. For example a company, a business, a school, a sports club, a health body. A group. For example a class of pupils, an individual team within an organisation, a project group, a sports club. An individual.

  5. Writing a Case Study

    How to Approach Writing a Case Study Research Paper General information about how to choose a topic to investigate can be found under the "Choosing a Research Problem" tab in the Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper writing guide.

  6. Guidelines to the writing of case studies

    Go to: General Instructions This set of guidelines provides both instructions and a template for the writing of case reports for publication. You might want to skip forward and take a quick look at the template now, as we will be using it as the basis for your own case study later on.

  7. Case Study

    A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject in its real-world context, focusing on a person, group, event, or organisation. ... To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, ... Step 4: Describe and analyse the case. In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give ...

  8. How to Write a Case Study

    As with any academic paper, writing a case study requires careful preparation and research before a single word of the document is ever written. Follow these basic steps to ensure that you don't miss any crucial details when composing your case study. Step 1: Select a case to analyze

  9. Case studies

    Case studies. A case study is used to explore a problem or issue in a specific real world context. You are usually asked to apply wider reading or theory to analyse what is happening in the case. They are often used in subjects such as business or healthcare. There are two main ways you might encounter case studies in your assignments:

  10. Writing a case report in 10 steps

    First steps. Begin by sitting down with your medical team to discuss the interesting aspects of the case and the learning points to highlight. Ideally, a registrar or middle grade will mentor you and give you guidance. Another junior doctor or medical student may also be keen to be involved. Allocate jobs to split the workload, set a deadline ...

  11. Case Study Method: A Step-by-Step Guide for Business Researchers

    Case study reporting is as important as empirical material collection and interpretation. The quality of a case study does not only depend on the empirical material collection and analysis but also on its reporting (Denzin & Lincoln, 1998). A sound report structure, along with "story-like" writing is crucial to case study reporting.

  12. 4 Ways to Write a Case Study

    2. Collect and analyze all applicable data, including documents, archival records, observations and artifacts. Organize all of your data in the same place to ensure easy access to information and materials while writing the case study. You can't include it all.

  13. Writing a Case Study Analysis

    Introduction Identify the key problems and issues in the case study. Formulate and include a thesis statement, summarizing the outcome of your analysis in 1-2 sentences. Background Set the scene: background information, relevant facts, and the most important issues. Demonstrate that you have researched the problems in this case study.

  14. How to Write a Great Business Case

    Curiosity. Comfort with ambiguity, since cases may have more than one "right" answer. Command of the topic or subject at hand. Ability to relate to the case protagonists. Enthusiasm for the case teaching method. Capacity for finding the drama in a business situation and making it feel personal to students.

  15. Learning how to write effectively for academic journals: A case study

    The modules in Fig. 1 help guide and assist users to learn and achieve different tasks related to academic writing, with various databases and materials for support. Writing outcomes such as outlines or actual writing text are considered the products of online learning and writing assisted by the system. 2.1. EJP-Write was designed for academic ...

  16. How to write a case study

    To write a great case study, you need to: Celebrate the customer and make them — not a product or service — the star of the story. Craft the story with specific audiences or target segments in mind so that the story of one customer will be viewed as relatable and actionable for another customer.

  17. Case Study Format

    1. How to Format a Case Study 2. Case Study Format Template 3. Case Study Format Examples How to Format a Case Study When it comes to crafting a compelling case study, understanding how to write case study format is key to presenting your research effectively.

  18. How To Write a Case Study: Definition, Tips and Example

    1. Prepare the case To begin preparing your case study, start observing data and metrics. You can also take notes and highlight important information, facts, values or other details about a client's journey that help you create a narrative.

  19. How to Write a Case Study

    What? Never had a write a case study? Need a case study definition? No problem! Here's a basic case study definition: a thorough investigation of a problem. A case study can also be referred to as a case study analysis—however, the case study definition remains the same. You may be wondering how to write a case study.

  20. Step-by-Step Guide How to Write a Case Study Assignment

    Enhancing Research Skills: Case studies necessitate thorough research, data collection, and analysis from various sources. This process helps students improve their research skills and learn how to apply research methodologies to real-world situations or how to write a literature review Demonstrating Practical Application of Knowledge:

  21. Communication 4074: Writing a Case Study

    Communication 4074: Writing a Case Study. This guide is intended to support the research needs of upper level Communication students. Recommended. Additional Resources. News Sources. Evaluating Information. Getting started with academic research. Writing a Case Study. Citations.

  22. How to Write a Case Study

    Here, how to write a case study within an academic situation is looked at in detail. A case study is carried out to examine qualitative performance in research, and field studies in the case of naturalistic or scientific inquiries. The main thrust of any case study is investigation. This implies that the person carrying out the study must ...

  23. How to Write a Case Study (+10 Examples & Free Template!)

    1. Make it as easy as possible for the client. Just like when asking for reviews, it's important to make the process as clear and easy as possible for the client. When you reach out, ask if you can use their story of achievement as a case study for your business. Make the details as clear as possible, including:

  24. Structure of a Case Study

    What Is the Structure of Case Studies. The structure of a case study is similar to storytelling; both have a main character or protagonist, and the story is wholly about the latter. The format of case study writing may vary depending on the purpose and context; however, here are the main elements used for writing such a paper. Title Page. The title should include information about the authors ...