Case Study

We see a  lot of case study assignments in business and scientific courses, but the truth is, just about any academic discipline can use the case study.  This explains why case studies are such frequent college writing assignments.  And because the case study is such a common assignment in college, it would behoove most students to understand what a case study is and what its purpose is, as well as to learn the most important elements of the case study.  With this in mind, some helpful information about writing a case study has been provided below.

What is a Case Study?

A case study is a detailed, intensive analysis of a person, a group of people, an organization, or a situation.

What is the Purpose of the Case Study?

Case studies can be exploratory, descriptive, or explanatory and each approach has a slightly different purpose.  The exploratory case study, for example, tries to find patters in certain situations or behaviors.  The descriptive case study, on the other hand, tries to gather more information about the object of the case study.  Finally, the explanatory case study looks to analyze and explain how and why something happened.  Whichever case study approach is taken, though, all of them require a great deal of research

What is the Format used for a Case Study?

  • Title: Provide a captivating title that will capture the reader's interest.
  • Introduction: Statement of the problem, thesis statement, primary players in the study.
  • Body paragraph: Definition of terms and a discussion of theories relevant to the study.
  • Body paragraph: Describe method of research used in case study (qualitative or quantitative) and explain why this method was selected.
  • Body paragraph: Provide background information about the case.
  • Body paragraph: Analysis/Evaluation/Summary of findings supported thoroughly with documentation.
  • Conclusion/Recommendation: Summarize the main findings and make recommendations for the future.
  • Bibliography: Don't forget to decide upon and follow the proper citation format.  The most common types are APA and MLA style citation.

Important Tips for Writing a Case Study

  • Introduce the problem and provide a solution, but present your information in a logical flow to the reader.
  • Make the study as detailed as possible; support your statements with data, facts, statistics, examples etc.,
  • Provide compelling, engaging content.
  • Present information in an honest, straightforward manner.
  • Browse online sites for case studies that you can use as examples or to get ideas for topics.
  • Buy a case study on a similar topic as your own case study topic to see concrete examples of how to write a case study.

To summarize, a case study is an examination of a person, a group of people, an organization, event, or sequence of events.  Case studies are used for every discipline, especially business where students are often asked to write a management case study or marketing case study. Case studies should begin with a brief introduction to the problem, the primary players or individuals involved in the study, an the thesis statement.  The succeeding paragraphs should then include a discussion of important terms, the research method used, background information, incidents that occurred in the study, and an analysis of the case study.  The conclusion of the case study should include a brief summary of the main idea of the case study, the author's viewpoint or opinion of the study, and finally conclusions regarding the study

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