Case studies are a common type of assignment in medical, business and law schools. They prove to be an effective way of learning for students
There are different forms of cases that students encounter; some are extremely basic and simple, while others require detailed analysis and research.
Case studies usually require students to work in groups and to answer open-ended questions in order to find a solution for the issue at hand.
Sounds complicated, sure, but with this detailed guide students will find out the answer to “how to write a case study?” This guide will provide the necessary information needed to understand and craft an informative case study.
A case study is a research methodology that is used to explore and investigate a phenomenon. Case studies serve as an in-depth analysis of an individual, a group, or an event, and therefore are mostly utilized in the field of qualitative research.
Case studies are primarily used in the fields of social sciences, life sciences, and business studies as a means of obtaining detailed information about the unit of research. When used in the field of business studies, a case study can be based on the detailed analysis of a single company, or a group of companies.
The main purpose of writing a case study is not only to gather the complete information about the research topic, but also to develop strategies that apply to an entire society, to an organization, as a means to resolve the issue in these contexts.
Now that you know what it is, let’s teach you how to write a case study!
In order to write a case study one must plan and design beforehand. The author must then figure out methods for collecting information through research and then must conduct analysis and finally present their findings. Seems straight forward enough, however it is more complicated than it first appears.
The following goes into more detail about how to write a case study.
Before writing a case study, it is necessary to construct an effective research methodology.
Doing so will help you decide how the data will be gathered and how you will answer the research question.
To figure out the best research strategy to write a case study, try answering these questions:
One of the most important steps of writing a case study is to explain the problem. The researchers or the students should be very careful about presenting the details of the problem. They should also explain the purpose of the study or the scenario which motivated them to conduct it.
Another important step necessary to write a case study is the description of the solution. The most important purpose of conducting the study is exploring the roots and causes of the problem and then deriving the solution for it as a means to eradicate the problem from society. However, if there is no detailed description of the solution, the purpose would not be fulfilled.
To write a case study a detailed analysis of the results and solution of the case must be included. Case studies are meant to highlight the reasons and causes of the research problem and are created for the purpose of helping the researchers to derive a solution accordingly. The detailed analysis provides an opportunity to the researchers to apply the solution of the problem to the whole of society as a means to improve that society.
When writing the first draft, follow this case study format and perfect it as you go.
It is comprised of the following sections:
Use this section to provide background information on your topic to familiarize your reader.
This section serves as the thesis statement of your essay, describe the main issue you are going to discuss and the purpose of the study.
Inform the readers about the research methodology you are going to use for collecting data — for instance, interviews, observations, etc.
Section four will talk about the results and findings of the research.
In this section, discuss the significance of the findings.
Unlike a research paper, this should end with a proposed solution.
The case study research design and method lets you explore specific cases as a means to test a theory or investigate a specific topic
Step one is to decide the study group or a particular set of population or an individual. The research methodology must be rigorous with systematic note-taking.
The design focuses on how the study will be addressed and whether the gathered information is relevant to the study.
There are no hard and fast rules here, unlike some scientific works, but the main goal is to ensure that your work is brief but comprehensive in order to avoid irrelevant data.
To ensure that you don’t go off topic, you should write down a list of key points that you want to address in your study and keep referencing back to it.
The method is simply observing the subject or group of individuals; the goal is to find out information that wouldn’t have been possible if the number of individuals under observation was large.
There are several methods used for data collection and analysis.
Controlled observations are carried out in a laboratory where the outside environment can’t influence the results in any way.
One way of data collection is through observations. Learn about the different observation methods given in the section below:
In this technique, the participants are observed in their natural environment.
Here the participant becomes a part of the study.
The case study interview questions are both close-ended and open-ended. Open-ended questions allow the participant to answer with their thoughts, whereas the answers to close-ended questions fit into a predefined category.
Structured interviews are formal job-like interviews with close-ended questions.
Unstructured interviews don’t use a particular order, similar to informal interviews. They use open-ended questions.
Questionnaires and rating scales are used to yield qualitative data.
In the context of education or psychology, individual case studies are conducted in order to get a better understanding of an individual and the problems that they are experiencing. The researchers seek to find the cause of the issue.
They try to generalize their findings on similar groups, as a means to highlight a general issue within a society, as well as to provide the strategies for its solution. Social and life sciences do not work on rigid formulas, as such researchers have to use the empirical research methods in order to explore the hidden details of the matter and devise their solution strategies accordingly.
Apart from exploring the issue and developing strategies for solutions, there is another purpose of writing case studies. The social scientists intend to explore the theories which can improve the workings of a society.
As such, they conduct the studies, using the interventions, in order to explore whether or not a theory would prove beneficial for the society.
An example of such studies are those that researchers in the field of nursing and healthcare conduct in order to improve the health care facilities and patient satisfaction. Recently, there have been numerous methods of research in which the researchers focused on providing musical therapy to preoperative surgical patients as a way to decrease their level of anxiety. It proved beneficial for the scenario.
The positive results of their study led healthcare researchers to develop a means of reducing anxiety of patients through music therapy.
There are different types of case studies which include: illustrative, explorative, critical instance and cumulative. The purpose of all of these case studies is to explore the issues while utilizing different means. Some are linear; some are process oriented, while some are grounded.
Depending on the research method utilized by the researcher, a study could be completed in one day, one month, one year, or even longer. No matter how long a case study takes, the purpose of it remains the same, to make society a better place. All the while increasing the opportunities for progress and decreasing the obstacles that people face in everyday life.
The following four ways are how to cite a case study:
This format begins with the author’s name, last name before the first name. Next, to the name, write the title of the work and other information.
Next, to the name, write the title of the work and other information.
The author’s last name and page number can be cited within parenthesis in the study.
In Chicago format write the author’s last name first then a comma and the first name, title of the publication, its year and city.
The Harvard format starts with the author’s surname, year of publication in parenthesis, publication title in italics, edition and place of publication.
Start with the author’s last name and the year of the publication in parenthesis, title of the work and relevant information.
Follow this case study template to write your first draft.
Use these case study examples to strengthen your understanding.
We hope that this guide was successful in simplifying case studies for you and that you now know how to write a case study!
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