Case studies are used in any academic discipline and professional settings. The purpose of a case study is to provide a more thorough analysis of a situation or a case which might reveal relevant and interesting information. Topics for discussion of a case study vary. A business student can create a case study for a particular company; a political science student can create a study on a particular government or administration of a country. In other cases case studies could be written about individuals, like how kids learn to write and read in a particular group or organization and their management practices. Another case study can be about computer science programs’ progress in solving a particular problem. Solving illiteracy or environmental concerns can also be the focus of case studies. The key is to take a large problem, narrow it down to a level of the individual or single unit.
A case study is an analytical piece. It involves research and application of theories, concepts and knowledge commonly discussed in the concerned field of study. It can be illustrative, exploratory, cumulative and narrative. It contains common problems in the field and will illuminate problems through an in-depth study of its application to an individual, a company, a government or a group.
The steps to be followed in writing a case study
- Research a topic for your case study. A topic can be a problem discussed in your class or a topic that you came across in your reading. Research in the Internet or in the library to find a topic or you can investigate a critical incident, organization or structure. A topic can also be an introduction to a decision or dilemma.
- Choose a case site. Think of a location, organization, company or individuals who are dealing with problems. Create a plan to set-up interviews with these people. Your chosen interviewees should be involved at the same company, organization or group of your case topic. They should be stakeholders with an interest in solving the problem you have identified.
- Start your interviewing process; this can be done by talking to individuals at your case site about your problem topic. Gather their perceptions and involvement in your topic. Ask open-ended questions that will provide you with information. Stay away from yes or no questions since these questions limit your data and later on limit your analysis on the topic.
- Analyze the information you have gathered. You will need to take the information you gathered from your case site, interviews and internet research to determine which information or item mostly pertains to the problem. Organize all the information at hand. Once you have broken down the problem into pieces, analyze the information you have and see if you can think of possible answers to each piece.
- Once you have enough information you can now write your case study. The case study should have the following sections:
- Introduction to the problem: This section describes the problem or case topic. It is similar to a detective presenting a crime to the readers.
- Background on the place: State the site and describe it. This should be summarizing with the main features of the place and its relevance to the topic.
- The next sections should be about the problem as it pertains to the case. Describe what you have learned in your interviews about the problem. Describe how it developed, the implications to the organization, what solutions have been proposed or been done, the feelings and thoughts of those involved, working or visiting the site.
- Concluding Paragraph: This section should wrap up the discussion by containing possible solutions that were achieved without solving the case per se. Leave the readers some questions to think about by referring to thoughts of interviewees. This is aimed on readers to come up with a different answer.
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