How To Write A Case Study
Writing a case study is a pretty common occurrence in colleges and universities. Moreover, various disciplines, such as humanities, law, social sciences, business, engineering, medicine, and the sciences, have incorporated case studies into their folds. Hence, with the help of this blog, you can become an expert at case studies in no time.
What is a Case Study?
There is no definite case study definition that encompasses all kinds of papers that fall under this category. However, it is universally accepted as a detailed examination of a particular case related to a person, event, situation, etc., within the real-life context.
Different experts have slightly modified definitions of a case study. For example, according to P.V. Young, a case study is a “comprehensive study of a social unit.” Meanwhile, C.H. Cooley says that a case study deepens our perception to provide a clear insight into the “life directory.”
Additionally, academicians like William J. Goode and Paul K. Hatt, and Johoda have provided unique definitions of a case study. Compiling the details from everyone's perspectives, it's safe to define a case study as a methodical study of a social unit and its aspects.
- Characteristics of a case study
It can be qualitative and quantitative
It is an in-depth exploration of a unit
It covers a wide range of time
It has continuity in nature
The main objective is to deepen the understanding
- Length of a case study
If your assignment has provided you with a particular word count, you must stick to that. Otherwise, the length of a case study depends on many factors, such as:
The story you’re telling
The research methodology
Usually, the length of a case study varies between 500–1500 words.
What Separates a Case Study from a Research Paper?
A research paper is written to solve an immediate problem. On the other hand, History case study research provides an in-depth analysis of a particular situation or case over an extended period. Unlike a research paper, the case study involves a detailed contextual analysis of a limited number of events or situations to probe into community-based problems like illiteracy, unemployment, etc.
The Various Types of Case Studies
While all case studies you encounter in college or university share the same goal, there are minor differences in design that divides this kind of academic writing into 4 types, such as:
- Illustrative case study
When there is a prior hypothesis or opinion, an illustrative case study explores a case to provide a better understanding of the existing notions. This writing is well-known for its detailed and descriptive approach to every detail related to the matter.
When composing an illustrative case study, you must begin with the description and draw connections between the subject and the external evidence. Once the proof is established, you can conclude the research and utilize the results to form a new theory.
- Exploratory case study
An exploratory case study is the preamble to a large-scale investigation. You’ll find such case studies most commonly in the social sciences. Usually, this case study is in the form of a self-contained document that aims to identify the suitable research methodologies for a broader scope of the investigation. Moreover, the paper acts as the initial starting point for future studies.
- Cumulative case study
A cumulative case study is pretty similar to data analysis. It summarizes the part studies other researchers have conducted on the particular topic without you having to contribute anything new to the discussion. Such a case study is crucial to find recurring patterns within the results of the previous studies. After all, figuring out the similarities and differences amongst the results will foster a better understanding of the topic.
- Critical instance case study
A critical instance case study determines the cause-and-effect relationship between an event and the surrounding environment. This kind of research usually investigates one or multiple phenomena to decipher and focus on a single occurrence instead of coming to a general conclusion.
As you explore various kinds of case studies, you'll be able to determine which academic approach you should take to do your research justice. However, don't worry if you feel too overwhelmed on your first attempt. You can always find assistance in case study assignment help services.
What is the Basic Format of a Case Study?
Understanding the fundamentals of the case study format is essential to writing the perfect paper. The basic outline that you must follow is:
The introduction provides readers with a brief idea of what to expect from your case study. Do not forget to include the thesis statement in this section.
- Literary review
The literary review explores previous cases on the particular topic, the conclusions they reached, and the gaps in the research that prompted you to choose the topic.
You must divide the research methodology, findings, and discussion into separate paragraphs and dedicate a detailed commentary on each. Since this is the main body of your study, you should focus on exploring the specific case you’ve chosen and its findings.
Here, you can discuss the solution you feel is the most appropriate and how people can put it to practice. Of course, the answers must always be realistic and achievable. Furthermore, you can provide evidence to back up your proposed solution.
The conclusion summarizes the main points in your case study and the solution you've reached through your research. Avoid introducing new issues in this section.
The references or bibliography appears on a separate page at the end of your case study. It lists all the sources (academic or non-academic) you've consulted for your paper. They are listed according to the reference style of your case study.
- Appendices (if any)
If you have any bulky raw data that you couldn't include in the main case study but that you believe is relevant to the research, it's best to include them separately as appendices.
The format is merely a guide to help you navigate the complexities of writing a case study. However, the university might require you to follow a specific design or change the ordering of some sections. Therefore, always double-check the requirements before composing the case study.
Also Read About- Know The List of Case Study Topics On Various Academic Subjects
How Do You Write a Case Study?
If you’ve never written a case study before, the task might seem too daunting. However, this detailed step-by-step guide will help you master the art of writing a case study in no time.
Step 1: Develop your research question
Your case study revolves around finding the answers to a particular research question. Therefore, you must carefully browse through previous research on your chosen topic and develop a question that can answer some gaps in the existing research work.
Step 2: Create an outline
An outline is the framework of your case study, allowing you to develop your argument logically without being sidetracked. Browsing all kinds of case study examples can help you figure out the pattern researchers follow in their papers.
Step 3: Obtain the necessary data
Once you've established your research question, you need to begin the data collection. This process can occur through surveys, interviews, observations, and questionnaires.
Step 4: Analyze the collected data
Once you’ve collected sufficient data, compare the research question with the collected data to draw conclusions. Moreover, it is up to you to determine whether you can extrapolate the data you’ve collected to other situations.
Step 5: Recommend a solution
When recommending a solution, you must keep in mind that the proposal must be realistic and achievable. If you're able to provide evidence of the success of your solution, it will legitimize your research.
How to Create the Title Page of Your Case Study?
If you go through some case study examples, you’ll notice that the title page always contains the following information:
Title of the case study
Department and university name
Course code and name
Date in month, day, year format (27thMay, 2022)
If you’re following the APA style of formatting, every piece of information should be at the center of the page and stick to the Times New Roman, size 12 font.
Can Studying Case Study Examples Help?
There’s no shortage of examples that you can find on case study assignment help services. Browsing through them can improve your understanding of case studies and nudge you toward the right step.
- Case study citation example
Suppose you have to cite a source in the APA format in your case study. In such cases, you should stick to the following format for a textbook-based case study:
Author(s) or Editor(s) of the case study. (Year of publishing). Title of chapter or case study. In First initial. Last Name, and First initial. Last name (Eds.), Title of book (pp.) Publisher's Name.
For example: Patterson, J. (2009) The Apple's Take On Luxury. In J. Walden, Cases of Marketing Success (pp. 34-39). Bailey Publishing House.
Keep in mind that the pattern of citations can change depending on the referencing style you must follow. Moreover, when browsing through the case study examples, take note of the differences in style and structure and implement them in your own writing.
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