The process of writing a case study. The structure of the paper.
People who work in business, marketing, social sciences, legal, medical, engineering, academic, and many other fields quite often need to submit reports about a person, a group of people, or a situation that they have been studying over a certain period of time. Such a published report is called case study, and in order to write good case studies one should follow specific guidelines because they have a particular style and format.
Is There Any Difference between Essay and Case Study?
You might be already familiar with essay writing. Essays differ from case studies because they answer a certain question based on research through the author’s own evaluation. Reports, in turn, present and analyze findings from practical research. While reports are usually descriptive and describe sequential events such as experiments or results from surveys, essay can be descriptive, evaluative, and discursive. The type of the essay depends on the given questions.
Because case studies are educational for readers, they have to provide information as clear as possible. The structure of this writing should be as follows:
The title should give a very accurate description of a study. It has to be very effective because its function is to let readers know what the main focus of the study is.
Since it is not a scientific paper, the abstract in this writing does not have a structure, i.e. no subheadings of methodology, conclusions, etc. You need to give a background which has to outline, for instance, the clinical condition of the study under analysis. Then you need to provide relevant details and results of the study and give an overall conclusion. The final step is to give five key words.
In this section you need to provide a brief review of the published literature relevant to your subject. The best kind of articles to use here are other review articles and the first case that was described in the literature.
If you are working in the field of medicine, for example, in this part you write about your patient’s health issues, treatment, and laboratory results. All the data has to be presented in chronological order and in figures or tables. Research ethics is crucial: your patient cannot be identified anywhere in the study. If a photo is necessary, your patient has to sign a written consent. To publish your writing you have to contact the primary care physician and come to an agreement.
In this section one presents the case and the laboratory findings. An author’s job is to relate his/her findings to the previous studies and, in case they differ, make it clear what is the reason of this difference and what your scientific opinion is. The question you should answer here is why your paper is unique.
Make a summary of what you have learnt from your study. Do not repeat the case history; just give short and informative conclusions.
If there are people who have assisted you in your study but are not co-authors, make sure to acknowledge them.
You can use only reliable sources in this section such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles. Make sure that the entire reference is accurate according to the style – MLA, APA, etc.
Tables and Figures
If you have a lot of data that you cannot mention in the discussion section, put it to tables and figures and locate them in this section of your writing. Adding tables and photographs is a great strategic decision because it makes the writing more informative and comprehensible.
Are People Taught Case Study Writing?
This type of writing is rather popular in education system and quite often happens to be a student assignment. This project is very helpful in school/university because it allows students to apply their knowledge in practice. For example, students who take courses in psychotherapy or physiology can put themselves in the role of professionals and examine how certain method can be applied to the person in the story and how your case management and counseling skills can help the client.
Not only can students pay more attention to the development of their technical writing skills, but also they can demonstrate their individual approach to a specific issue. Although teaching how to write a case study requires a lot of time, students need training in this field because the process of the case study writing is complex. A good guide will help them learn how to use their analytical skills to make a better work. Besides, you can always mention this skill during the interview with the company you want to work for.
What Is the Case Study Method?
If you are a student in a law school or are planning to get your MBA, Harvard University has prepared a lot of extremely helpful tips on case study writing for current and prospective students. For instance, Harvard Law School presents the difference between case study method and case method. While the first method uses a narrative of a legal dilemma to showcase the principles of law, the second one uses a court decision for the same purpose. The case study method requires teamwork and discussion between the participants whereas the case method uses the discussion between professor and student. Finally, the case study method analyzes the dilemma in its developments while the second method analyzes it after it has been resolved.
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What is a Case Study? Definition and Method
Many students don’t know how to write a case study and find it a very difficult assignment even before getting started. Of course, it can be quite a challenging task but with the help of various recommendations and case study examples, you will be able to complete the assignment in a blink of an eye!
A case study is a task, which aims to teach the student how to analyze the causes and consequences of an event or activity by creating its role model. Such assignments show how complexities may influence various decisions and that is what makes case studies so important.
In most of the cases, your professor will give the same topic to a whole class and it will become a sort of a discussion, after processing all available data. That is why you need to use all of your thinking skills and knowledge to get a chance to analyze the situation properly. Here are some recommendations, which will be helpful in completing a case study:
- Use real-life examples. If you are free to choose a topic on your own, try to take it from real life. However, avoid real names;
- Finish every part of your study with points for discussing. They will engage your reader and help him orient in the study;
- Provide credible information on the topic;
- Make sure the story is believable, i.e. it consists of sequence of time and events, problems and issues to solve, identities and so on.
There are also a few problems you need to avoid to make your case study as interesting and catchy, as possible:
- No limitations. It is very easy to get lost in background information and data, which is not directly related to the subject. Try to distinguish key points of your paper and concentrate on them, instead of including information from different areas;
- No credible sources. Such task has lots of requirements, including trustworthy sources. Every statement you make should be backed with credible data and evidence;
- No conclusions. Every assignment, not depending on a topic and complexity, should end up with conclusions to give the reader an idea of topic relevance. Make sure you spend enough time on analyzing the results and providing useful conclusions.
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Examples & Samples of Case Study
There are multiple ways of making the process of completing the assignment easier, including ordering a task at a writing service or asking other students for help. However, most of the students decide to download a case study template and try to complete the assignment on their own, using an example.
It can be a great option for those, who easily process information and can analyze the template structure to apply it in their own works. Such samples can be of a great help, as they contain a proper formatting style, content and other important elements, which distinguish a first-class paper. With the help of a sample case study you will be able to complete the assignment quicker and with less efforts.
Case Study Example
Case Study Examples
Case Study Format
Case Study Samples
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Sample Case Study
Case Study Template and Format
You have already learned what a case study is and how it should look like, so it is time to learn more about the structure of assignment and its content. However, every research greatly differs depending on the topic, so you should carefully note down all the guidelines your professor provides not to miss anything.
Here is a general structure of a study, which can be applied in most of the cases:
- Title page, which contains the title of your work, author’s name and name of the institution. In some cases you may be asked to add key words, which will be used by various searching tools;
- Abstract, which can be of a narrative or a structured type. Narrative abstract is a summary of the whole work to give the reader a chance to understand whether he is interested in reading the whole paper. Structured abstracts are used in scientific studies, when you need to provide a list of information or questions, which will be later studied in the text. You can use sub-headings, which will give the reader an idea of how the structure of your assignment looks like;
- Introduction, which aims to give the audience an idea of what makes your study so interesting. You can include examples of similar cases or get back to historical events to connect them with the problem you are studying;
- Presentation. In this section you need to provide the raw information you have collected. Try to make it narrative and interesting;
- Outcomes, which should give the reader an idea of how the problem or event should be treated. Make sure you provide all of your recommendations in a simple way, using credible sources;
- References, which should include only credible sources.
When you complete such assignment, you should never forget about case study format, as it can greatly influence the result. Your professor may ask you to use a certain formatting style, which will be much easier for you and will help to avoid the most common mistakes.