What do you study at college? We’re guessing you’ve heard of a case study if you’re a psychology, sociology, or anthropology student. This research method is used to investigate a specific individual, group, or situation. This guide from our online grade office writing service will teach you how to write a case study professionally, from researching to properly citing sources. In addition, we will discuss various types of case studies and provide examples — so you won’t have any unanswered questions.
What Is a Case Study?
A case study is a type of research design that investigates problems and proposes solutions. Case studies range in scope from academic research studies to corporate promotional tools attempting to sell an idea.
What Is the Difference Between a Research Paper and a Case Study?
Case studies go even further than research papers in drawing the reader’s attention to a specific problem. Case study guidelines necessitate that students pay close attention to details, examining issues closely and in-depth using various research methods. Case studies, for example, could be used to examine court cases if you study Law, or a patient’s health history if you study Medicine.
Case studies entail a lot of storytelling; they usually look at specific cases for a person or a group of people. This research method is very useful because it is very practical and can provide a lot of hands-on information. The length of a case study is typically 500-900 words, which is much less than the length of a typical research paper.
A case study’s structure is very similar to that of storytelling. It has a protagonist or main character, who in your case is a problem that you are attempting to solve. In your story, you can employ the three-act structure. It should include an introduction, rising action, a climax with transformation, 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
A case study’s purpose is to provide detailed reports on an event, an institution, a location, a person, or pretty much anything. There are several common types of case studies, but the type is determined by the topic. The most common domains where case studies are required are as follows:
- Historical case studies are excellent sources of information. There are numerous sources of information available for historical events, each offering a unique perspective. There are always modern parallels where these perspectives can be applied, compared, and thoroughly analyzed.
- Problem-oriented Case studies that are typically used to solve problems. These are frequently assigned as theoretical situations in which you must immerse yourself in order to examine it. Assume you work for a startup and you’ve just discovered a significant flaw in the design of your product. Before presenting it to a senior manager, you should thoroughly investigate the problem and propose solutions. On a larger scale, problem-oriented case studies are an essential component of pertinent socioeconomic discussions.
- Cumulative case studies collect data and provide comparisons. Case studies are frequently used in business to demonstrate the worth of a product.
- Critical case studies investigate the causes and consequences of a specific case.
- Illustrative case studies describe specific events, as well as the outcomes and lessons learned.
Case Study Format
The case study format is typically divided into eight sections:
- Executive Synopsis Describe what you will look at in the case study. Make a summary of the field you’re researching. Make a thesis statement and summarize your findings in no more than two sentences.
- Background. Provide background information as well as the most important facts. Isolate the problems.
- Case Analysis Isolate the sections of the study that you want to concentrate on. Explain why something works or does not work in it.
- Proposals for Solutions Provide realistic solutions to what isn’t working or ways to improve its current state. Provide testable evidence to demonstrate why these solutions work.
- Conclusion. Summarize the key points from the case evaluations and solutions proposed. Sixth. Recommendations. Discuss the strategy you should employ. Explain why this option is the best one.
- Implementation. Explain how to implement the strategy.
- References. Please provide all citations.
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. Including all of the necessary research, writing a case study may take some time. The research process involves doing the following:
- Establish your goal. Explain why you are presenting your subject. Determine where you will feature your case study; whether it will be written, on video, displayed as an infographic, streamed as a podcast, and so on.
- Determine who the best candidate for your case study will be. Get permission, quotes, and other features that will make your case study effective. Contact your candidate to see if they agree to be a part of your project. Study that candidate’s situation and note down what caused it.
- Determine the various outcomes that could occur as a result of the situation. Follow these steps to begin a case study: search the internet for general information that you may find useful.
- Create a list of credible sources and research them. Look for important facts and draw attention to problems. Always jot down your thoughts and remember to brainstorm.
- Concentrate on a few key issues – why they exist and how they affect your research topic. Consider several distinct solutions. Use class discussions, readings, and personal experience to inform your response. When writing a case study, concentrate on the best solution and investigate it thoroughly. Writing a case study will be simple once you have completed all of your research. For the correct case study structure, you should first check the rubric and criteria of your assignment.
Although your instructor may have slightly different criteria in mind, every case study rubric essentially has the same standards. Your professor will expect you to demonstrate eight different outcomes:
- Correctly identify the discipline’s concepts, theories, and practices.
- Identify the relevant theories and principles related to the specific study.
- Assess legal and ethical principles and apply them to your decision-making process.
- Recognize your case’s global significance and contribution.
- Create a logical summary and explanation of the study.
- Analytical and critical-thinking abilities must be demonstrated.
- Describe the interdependence of the environment and nature.
- Integrate discipline theory and practice into the analysis.
Case Study Outline
Let’s take a look at the structure of an outline based on the problem of 30 people’s alcoholic addiction.
- Issue statement: Alcoholism is a disease, not a flaw in one’s character.
- Problem presentation: Alcoholism affects more than 14 million people in the United States, making it the third most common mental illness there.
- Definitions: Previously, alcoholism was referred to as alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction. Alcoholism has progressed to the more severe stage of the disorder spectrum.
- Hypotheses: Excessive drinking can lead to the use of other drugs.
- The significance of your story: How the information you present can assist people in overcoming their addictions.
- Story background: Include an explanation of why you chose this topic.
- Analysis and data presentation: Describe the criteria for selecting 30 candidates, the structure of the interview, and the results.
- Strong argument 1: for example, X percent of candidates suffer from anxiety and depression…
- Strong argument 2: For example, X number of people began drinking by their mid-teens.
- Strong argument 3: for example, X% of respondents’ parents had alcohol problems.
- Concluding statement: I investigated whether alcoholism is a disease and discovered that…
- Recommendations: Strategies and actions for reducing alcohol consumption.
Writing a Case Study Draft
After you’ve completed your case study research and outline, it’s time to get started on the draft. In a draft, you must develop and write your case study using the data gathered during the research, interviews, and the analysis processes that were carried out. For the draft, follow these guidelines:
- Your draft should have at least four sections: an introduction, a body with background information, an explanation of why you chose to do this case study, and a presentation of your main findings, a conclusion with data, and references.
- In the introduction, you should clearly set the tone. You can even ask a question or quote someone from the research phase. It must provide sufficient background information on the subject. Analyses of previous studies on your topic may be included in the background. Include the purpose of your case as well. Consider it a thesis statement. The goal must describe the purpose of your work, presenting the issues you wish to address. Include background information, such as photos or videos from your research.
- Describe your unique research method, whether it was conducted through interviews, observations, academic journals, or other means. The next step is to present the findings of your research. Tell the audience what you discovered. What is the significance of this, and what can be learned from it? Discuss the true implications of the problem and its global significance.
- Include quotations and data (such as findings, percentages, and awards). This adds a personal touch and increases the credibility of the case you present. Explain the outcomes of your interviews in relation to the problem and how it arose. 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. Make use of as much data as possible to demonstrate your point. Without the proper data, your case study will appear weak, and readers will be unable to relate to your issue as well as they should. Let’s look at some examples:
With data: Alcoholism affects over 14 million people in the United States, making it the third most common mental illness there.
Without data: Alcoholism affects a large number of people in the United States.
Include as many credible sources as you can. You may have terms or sources that are difficult for people from other cultures to understand. If this is the case, include them in the appendix or in the Notes for the Instructor or Professor.
Finalizing the Draft: Checklist
After you’ve finished writing your case study, polish it up by answering these “ask yourself” questions and considering how to end it:
- Double-check that you adhere to the correct case study format, including text formatting.
- Ensure that your work’s referencing and citation styles are consistent.
- Micro-editing entails checking for grammar and spelling errors.
- Macro-editing — does the reader get “the big picture”? Is there a sufficient amount of raw data, such as real-world examples or personal experiences? Have you made your data collection process as transparent as possible? Is your analysis clear enough to allow for further research and practice?
Problems to avoid:
- Overgeneralization – Do not conduct additional research that deviates from the primary problem.
- Failure to Document Limitations – In the same way that you must clearly state the limitations of a general research study, you must also describe the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis.
- Failure to Extrapolate All Possible Implications – Just as you don’t want to generalize from case study findings, you also need to be thorough in considering all possible outcomes or recommendations derived from your findings.
How to Create a Title Page and Cite a Case Study
The format of your title page is determined by the citation format.
The following information should be included on the title page:
- A catchy title that describes your research and draws attention to it.
- The words “case study” should appear in the title.
- The title should be between 5 and 9 words long.
- Your name and contact details
- Your final paper should be between 500 and 1,500 words long. When completing this type of assignment, write concisely and without fluff.
Here is a template for the APA and MLA format title page:
APA Title Page Example
MLA Title Page Example
In some cases, you will need to cite someone else’s study in your own – as a result, you must learn how to cite a case study. When it comes to citations, a case study is similar to a research paper. Depending on the style you require, you can cite it similarly to a book.
Citation Example inMLA
Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing, 2008. Print.
Citation Example inAPA
Hill, L., Khanna, T., & Stecker, E. A. (2008). HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing.
Citation Example inChicago
Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies.
Case Study Examples
We gathered and linked some professional case study examples below to give you an idea.
Eastman Kodak Case Study
Case Study Example: Audi Trains Mexican Autoworkers in Germany
To summarize, a case study is one of the best ways to gain an understanding of what happened to a person, a group, or a situation in practice. It gives you an in-depth look at real-world issues that businesses, healthcare, and criminal justice may face. This insight allows us to see such situations in a new light. This is due to the fact that we see scenarios that we would not otherwise see if we were not present.