Writing a case study is a common task in college, especially for anthropology, psychology, and sociology students. Many students find it challenging to write a compelling case study paper. This article provides a full guide on how to write a case study paper.
Case studies can be in different forms depending on the subject and type. Before looking at how to write a case study, it is important to know the definition and various types of case studies.
What is a case study?
A case study is a research paper that looks into issues and proposes answers. Case studies can range from academic research to business promotional tools attempting to market an idea.
A case study aims at conducting thorough research on a specific issue such as communities and individuals. You want the reader to understand all the factors involved in the subject matter and the research process. You also want them to understand the solution for your research.
Sources of a case study
The common sources of a case study include:
- Archival records
- Physical artifacts
- Direct encounters and observations
- Facts and statistics
- Participant’s observations
Differences between a case study and a research paper
Case studies go much further than research papers that draw the reader’s attention to a specific issue. Students must pay special attention to details in case study guidelines, investigating difficulties closely and in-depth using various research paper methodologies. Case studies, for example, can be used to investigate court cases in Law or a patient’s medical history in Medicine.
Case studies typically analyze specific cases for a person or a group of individuals and involve a lot of narration. This research method is beneficial because it is convenient and can provide a lot of practical information. The length of a case study is typically 500-900 words, which is significantly shorter than the length of a typical research article.
A case study has a format that is quite similar to storytelling. It features a protagonist or primary character, who, in your case, is a problem you’re attempting to resolve. In your story, you can apply the three-act structure. An introduction, rising action, a climax where transformation happens, declining action, and a solution should all be included.
Types of case studies
A case study is a report that provides thorough information about an event, an institution, a location, a person, or pretty much anything. There are different case studies, but the topic determines the one you choose. The different types of case studies include:
- Historical case studies
Case studies from the past are excellent resources for learning. Historical events provide a lot of sources of information from which to draw varied conclusions. These perspectives can constantly be used, compared, and thoroughly explored in present analogues.
- Problem-oriented case studies
For the most part, problem-oriented case studies are used to solve difficulties. These are frequently assigned as hypothetical circumstances where you must put yourself into the issue to investigate it.
Assume you are working for a startup and you’ve just discovered a massive problem in the design of your product. You should thoroughly investigate the situation and offer remedies before bringing it to the attention of a senior manager. Problem-oriented case studies are an essential aspect of relevant socio-economic discourse on a larger scale.
- Cumulative case studies
Cumulative case studies compile data and provide comparisons between objects or situations. In businesses and organizations, such case studies are used to demonstrate the worth of a product.
- Critical case studies
Critical or theoretical case studies investigate the causes and consequences of specific situations. The researcher selects a detailed empirical analysis focusing specifically on analyzing a contradiction or a myth.
- Illustrative case studies
These case studies describe events while investigating the results and any lessons learned.
Case study paper format
To perform well in your case study, you must use the correct format. A case study paper format typically has eight parts. This includes:
- Executive summary
This section explains the factors you will examine in your case study. Write the overview of the subject matter. Mention the thesis statement and summarize the results with not more than three sentences.
- Background research
In this section, you should provide background information for your study. Also, remember to isolate the issues in your research.
- Evaluation of the case
Separate all the sections of the research that you want to concentrate on. In the area, explain the things that worked out and those that did not.
- Proposed solutions
Provide accurate ways to solve what is not working. Show how to improve the current condition of the research. Talk about the strategy you choose and explain why it is the best.
Summarize all the main points from the proposed solutions and case evaluations. Ensure you do not include new information in conclusion.
This section talks about any sew strategies that can be put in place to improve the situation. You can also recommend other areas of research
Explain how your strategy should be put in place. Talk about the effects and adaptation process.
Provide all the citations for your work. Ensure you use the correct citation provided by your instructor or professor.
How to write a case study
- Set up the research process
When writing a case study, research should come first. Go through different sources and analyze points that will assist you in developing creative solutions. Include all the necessary research. The process of the case study research involves:
- Defining the objective of the research
Explain why you’re presenting your topic. Determine if your case study will be written, on film, displayed as an infographic, broadcast as a podcast, and so on.
- Determine who the best candidate for your case study will be
Obtain permission, quotes, and other aspects that will enhance the effectiveness of your case study. Contact your applicant to check if they agree to participate in your project. Examine that candidate’s situation and note what led to it.
- Determine the numerous outcomes that could occur as a result of the scenario
Follow these steps to get a case study started:
- Search the internet for general information that you might find beneficial.
- Make a list of trustworthy sources and research them
Look for crucial facts and draw attention to problems. Always write down your thoughts and do a brainstorming session.
- Concentrate on a few main issues
Think about why some key points exist and how they affect your research topic. Consider a few other approaches. Make connections between what you’ve learned in class, what you’ve read, and personally experienced.
Focus on the best option and investigate it thoroughly when creating a case study. Writing a case study paper will be simple once you’ve completed all your research.
- Check the rubric of your research
Although your instructor may use different criteria, every case study rubric follows basic guidelines. Your professor will expect you to demonstrate the following eight outcomes:
- Correctly identify the discipline’s concepts, theories, and practices
- Determine the ideas and principles that apply to the specific subject
- Examine and apply legal and ethical arguments to your decision-making
- Recognize your case’s worldwide significance and impact
- Create a logical overview and explanation of the research
- Demonstrate your ability to think critically and analytically
- Explain how the environment and nature are interconnected
- Integrate the discipline’s theory and practice into the analysis
Case study outline
Just like any other academic paper, case studies follow a specific outline. The case study format for students is different from that of business. This is the basic outline of a case study:
A good introduction is a part of an academic case study. It tells the reader what to expect in the entire paper. An introduction should catch the readers’ attention and provide background information about your topic.
Ensure you present your statement of the problem, explanation of the terms, hypothesis, and importance of your subject.
A good case study introduction should answer the following:
- What is the subject being studied?
- What is the importance of investigating the issue?
- In what ways will the research advance new knowledge or bring new ways of understanding?
In the body section, explain why you choose the topic. Provide the background of your research. Analyze and present your data, argument, and evidence.
Include relevant issues and facts and extensive research into the problem. This is how you will show that you have thoroughly researched your problem.
To come up with the best solutions, consider alternative solutions. Don’t forget to sketch out the most viable options and weigh their benefits and drawbacks.
In conclusion, you can restate the problem statement. Summarize all information you had included in the body section. Provide some solutions to your research and give some recommendations for further investigation.
That is the basic case study outline. You can check online if you need to read a specific case study outline example. This will help you understand more.
Writing a case study draft
After completing your case study research and producing the plan, it’s time to focus on the draft. In a draft, you must create and write your case study based on the data you gathered throughout your research, interviews, and the analysis procedures you used. For the draft, follow these guidelines:
- Include four sections
At least four sections should be included in your draft. This consists of an introduction, a body that includes background information, an explanation of why you chose to conduct this case study. It also includes presenting your preliminary results, a conclusion, and references.
- Set the tone
You should set the tone for the rest of the presentation in the introduction. You can even ask a question or refer to someone you spoke with throughout the research phase. It must include sufficient background information on the subject.
- Analyze prior studies
Analyses of prior studies on your topic could be included in the background. State the goal of your case in this section as well. This is like a thesis statement. The plan should state the purpose of your effort and the issues you wish to address. Include any background information you gathered throughout your investigation, such as images or videos.
- Describe the method of study
Describe how you conducted your study, whether it was through interviews, observations, academic publications, or other methods. The next step is to present the findings of your investigation.
Inform the audience of your results. What can we learn from this, and why is it so important? Discuss the problem’s actual ramifications as well as its global relevance.
- Include data quotes
Include data and quotes (such as findings, percentages, and awards). This will give your case a more personal touch and increase its credibility. Explain what you learned about the situation and how it progressed during your interviews.
Also, provide any remedies that have been proposed by others who have previously written about this case. At the end of your case study, offer possible solutions for your case study. But don’t worry about fixing them yourself.
Checklist for Finishing the Draft
After you’ve finished writing your case study, polish it up by:
- Making sure you’re using the correct case study format, including text formatting
- Checking that the reference and citation style in your work is consistent
- Micro-editing entails checking for errors in grammar and spelling
Macro-editing involves asking yourself, does the reader get a sense of “the broad picture”? Is there sufficient unprocessed data, such as real-life examples or personal experiences?
Have you made your data collection procedure as straightforward as possible? Is there a clear conclusion to your analysis that allows for more research and practice?
Avoid these issues:
- Over generalization
Do not conduct an additional study that is unrelated to the original issue.
- Failure to Document Restrictions
You must disclose the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis, just as you must state the limits of a generic research study.
- Failure to Extrapolate all conceivable implications
Just as you don’t want to overgeneralize from your case study data, you must consider all possible outcomes or recommendations.
How to write a nursing case study
Nursing case studies are different from other academic case studies. A good nursing case study paper requires consideration and planning. It contains four sections that include:
- The status of the patient
- Assessment of the patient
- Care plan and recommendations
How to write a case study title page
A case study’s title page depends on the citation format provided by your instructor or professor. Your case studies title page should include:
- A title that describes your research and attracts the reader’s attention
- The title should have “case study” words in it
- The title should have five to nine words in length
- Include your contact information in the title
How to cite a case study
A citation is one vital aspect that has to be included in writing because it confirms your findings in the study. You may easily reference a case study using the journal format. Other ways of referencing a case study paper include:
- American Psychology Association (APA) format
- Modern Language Association (MLA) format
- Chicago format
- Harvard format
How to write a case study in APA style
APA referencing style is a commonly used style in writing case studies. Let’s look at the sections in creating a case study structure in APA, which shares a few similarities to other research papers.
Introduce your topic to the reader. Be sure to highlight the state of current research and where you aim to develop the existing state of knowledge. You may want to offer an exciting fact to highlight your work’s importance and build an interest in your idea. Finish off with a thesis statement that you’ll focus on your workaround.
In this area, you answer the questions indicating why you are undertaking your study and any questions you’ll examine. An avid case study writer advocates focusing on your inquiries around the thesis. You can build a triangle with a diagram and dig down your queries in a logical style that rolls up to the main aim of your paper.
Writing a case study in APA involves a methods section that outlines how you did your research. Did you do any interviews, send out questionnaires, or observe any behaviors? Detail them in this area, and state your data collection methods’ context and conditions.
- Results section
Now that you’ve established what you wanted to accomplish and went about it in your APA case study format, it’s time to present the results. Don’t be shy if things don’t go swimmingly. Often, in studies, we have unexpected outcomes and particular circumstances, making your paper more interesting to read.
It’s time for the heart and soul of your paper. After all your investigation and observation, it is time to discuss the outcomes. The key to how to write a case study paper in APA depends on your ability to interpret the results in a meaningful way. Be careful to focus the conversation around your stated approaches and how they pertained to your aims.
Here you wish to specify what is to follow your research. Professional case study writers advise declaring any knowledge gaps in your work and any unresolved or new questions uncovered. Your findings will be valuable for others to follow in your footsteps and expand on your analysis.
Case analysis format outline
A good case study provides an opportunity to gather enough evidence and analyzes a real-life situation. It challenges existing assumptions about an issue and showcases a new set of recommendations.
To achieve all that is required in writing a good case study, you must apply analytical and critical thinking skills. The skills will help in differentiating your paper from other papers. Ensure your case study analysis passes through the following techniques:
Read and understand the case as you brainstorm different ideas for the various solutions. Ensure you rely on several solutions to a problem.
- Pick ideas
Look for ideas that sound interesting as they form a solution. Be careful when picking a solution to the problem. Choosing the wrong solution is the worst mistake in your case study analysis.
- Make a rough draft
Do not be in a hurry to write a neat case study in the first steps. Write a rough draft then you can take some time to build an excellent case study afterwards.
Mistakes to avoid in your case study analysis
- Excessive use of colloquial language
Ensure you do not use colloquial language. Even if you are studying an actual situation, it should sound formal.
- Lack of statistical data
Give all the necessary statistics, both in percentages and in figures.
- Excessive detailing
State the most significant facts rather than drowning the reader in every point you find.
- Inconsistency in the methods you have utilized
Theory plays a relatively limited part; thus, you must build a unique case study research approach.
- Applying trivial means of research
You must construct your own case study research approach in whatever form best suits your analysis, such as questionnaires and surveys.
Case Studies examples
A great way to learn how to write a case study paper essay is to look at examples. We have put together a list of interesting case study examples for you to look over before you start writing.
Going over various case study samples is beneficial because it improves your ability to write a perfect paper. When you look at the examples, you’ll be able to learn about different case study writing formats and, at the same time,
You will spot mistakes made by other writers and correct them when it comes to your own. The majority of case study topics are relevant to real-world applications. You will also improve your writing and score well if you go over samples on various topics.
Example of a Case Study Introduction
The introduction will be the first point of contact for your readers. As a result, it’s critical to craft a captivating introduction to attract the reader’s attention. Include a thesis statement and a one- or two-sentence summary of the outcome.
You can also learn how to write an engaging introduction by looking at case study examples on our website.
Some ideas for drafting a case study
Knowing the definition of the case study is not enough. You need to comprehend its outline and learn how to create it so that it may be valuable to you. A case study template will constantly guide you on how to plan your work.
Various strategies can help you develop an excellent case study to satisfy your professor or instructor.
- Write on anything that you can associate well with your arguments
You are likely to fail when you approach a context that you have so little understanding about. You need to select a context that benefits your concepts. The fundamental notion in case studies is about relating ideas with practical application.
The moment you choose in a context that you do not understand well, you will likely not create a decent outcome. Always ensure you choose a context that you are comfortable with and you can readily expound on without difficulty.
- Narrate your context clearly
While writing your case study, ensure that you explain the context correctly so that your reader can know when you start linking the situation with your ideas. A narrative of the context will assist the reader in relating the concepts easily. When the reader fails to understand your context, then automatically, it would be hard for them to match it up with the idea under discussion.
- Be honest in your explanations
Ensure that you do not leave the reader hanging in your explanations. For example, in a case study sample, if you are talking about particular data, state the exact numbers so that the reader can readily understand what you are giving them.
- Use a specific style of approach
there are various ways in which you can write your case study. You may decide to explain a concept and give it illustration immediately or to describe the full context then introduce the relation afterwards.
This contributes to the organization of your work. Once you are organized, the reader will undoubtedly understand your work, and you will obtain excellent points in the report.
To sum up
Writing a case study helps understand what happened to a situation, individual, or group of people. It involves conducting research and finding solutions to problems highlighted in the subject matter. This article provides a full guide on how to write a case study paper.
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