What You Need to Know About Case Studies
Hey guys! Welcome back to our show, more like our weekly guide.
The topic for this week is about case studies!
The case is now open… jokes aside, have you ever done a case study? Have you even heard of it in class?
Nevertheless, I’m here to tackle about it in case you are asked to do it in your school. For those who have heard of it, I will give you an overview of what a case study is about.
The following are our agenda:
- The definition and characteristics of a case study
- Sample outline
- Writing and conducting a case study (with an example)
- Sample topics
What Is a Case Study?
According to the University of Southern California (USC) Libraries, it is a method of analysis and a research design. It is also a way to examine the relationships between subjects. For example, my classmates and I analyzed the bilateral relationship of country A and country B using a chosen framework/theory.
Ashford University states that it also allows you to analyze a business problem and to provide solutions to the problem. Your proposed solutions should be backed with evidence.
Now you know the basic definition of a case study. Let’s move on.
What Is Included In a Case Study?
The requirements and formatting may vary from instructor to instructor. It also depends on the degree you are studying. Here are the characteristics of a case study that I find essential:
- The question should be a “How” or a “Why”. Be sure to make your question as specific as possible. You can consult your professor so that he/she can provide his/her feedback.
2. Facts and data!
- These are essential in your case study. You can create a relationship between the facts or data with the claims you are trying to assert. Your data can include scholarly articles or statistical data from government websites. It depends on your research.
- Evidence is also important when analyzing a subject/s or proposing a solution/s.
3. Framework or Theory
- You would need these in your case study. They serve as a façade of your analysis. They will act as a lens for your reader.
- You may even have to explain as why that theory/framework best explains your study.
- This is a classic. For me, it should be like a “story”. There’s a beginning (introduction, objectives of the research), climax (findings, analysis, proposed solutions), and an ending (recommendations, conclusion).
- For explaining your points, you can try: Application of conceptà Evidenceà
- This part of the case study allows potential researchers to explore the topic in a new perspective.
Sample Case Study Outline
I used this sample outline for case studies. I call it the “classic essay” template, as it follows the typical outline of an essay. You may add or remove details depending on your needs or preferences.
Bear in mind that your professor might require you to write a solid thesis statement for your research. You can also try using a template when you are writing your case study. It has a set of questions for you to answer.
How to Write and Conduct A Case Study?
This is the process of writing and conducting a case study. Do take note that you can’t simply write a case study overnight. You have to plan ahead and set aside a block of time for conducting your research. Look at the steps below.
1.Find a topic/research problem!
- What topic do you wish to study? You have to brainstorm for ideas before you begin writing. Then narrow down your topic. Be sure that your topic is You can ask your professor for feedback on your chosen topic.
2. Do preliminary research!
- You can visit your campus library to search for sources. Depending on your topic, you might need to search the internet for government publications, news, documentaries, and etc. This gives you an idea on how you will write your paper.
- Prepare for information overload! After all, this is the preliminary research stage.
- Be sure to take down notes as you sift through your sources.
- You may opt to find a potential framework or theory that best fit your study.
- If your professor tells you to only use a framework or a theory discussed in class, then follow his/her instructions.
3. Formulate a research question/objectives
- From my experience, this only comes once I have done adequate preliminary research on my topic. Be sure to make your question What do you want to achieve in your research? Ask yourself and write your answers.
4. Gather data!
- I need you to sift through the sources you found during your preliminary research. Remove the ones that you think are irrelevant in your study. Let them go and move on. It was an effective, as I was no longer overloaded with information.
- Depending on your research, you may need to conduct interviews. Record the interview and take down notes.
- You are free to consult your instructor for feedback on your draft interview questions. You might also be asked to pilot test your questions.
- You can begin writing once you have your data, sources, and outline organized. Feel free to follow the case study outlines I have provided earlier.
- Writing a case study takes time. You will have to edit your draft until you think it meets the standards of your academe/professor.
- Apply your chosen framework/theory! Make sure that your statements are clear and concise.
- Cite your sources! Don’t forget to proofread your paper for errors.
Submit your finished case study and wait for your instructor’s grade and comments. Good luck!
Example of a Case Study
Here is a sample case study. Study it carefully and be sure to read the notes placed on the sample. It will give you a more concrete idea on how ideas are arranged in the research. You will also be able to understand how the author structured the case study.
List of Case Study Topics
Case study topics for business
- Sustainability in business
- Customer experience
- Business environment
Case study topics for computer science/ information technology
- Internet censorship/internet freedom
- Computer programming for education
- Cybersecurity in a business firm
Case study topics for education
- A study on the problems teachers face in the academe/current educational system
- The flaws of the current educational system (provide possible solutions)
- Incorporation of soft skills (Ex: negotiation) in the classroom/curriculum
Case study topics for group discussion
- Gender discrimination
- Social media and internet freedom
- Students’/teachers’/parents’ perception on fake news
Case study topics for psychology
- Social media and mental health amongst the youth
- Cosplay and mental health
- Perception of racism or sexism amongst the youth/older adults
The University of Waterloo has a list of potential case study topics for engineering students.
Karen Schweitzer’s article lists top business schools for MBA case studies. You can check the links in her article— you might get ideas for your MBA case study.
Congratulations! You know what a case study is! I’ve provided you the basics on how to conduct and write a case study. For those who are not familiar with a case study, you know what to expect (to a degree).
If you are writing a case study, or about to write one, I wish you all the best. It’s not an easy task, but the effort you poured into your research is worth it. Don’t cram, and remember to take a break.
This is the author signing off… till the next guide, folks!