How to Write a Comprehensive Case Study: A Full Guide with Examples


How to Write a Comprehensive Case Study:  A Full Guide with Examples

How to write a case study? Writing a case study requires a deep understanding of theories and concepts and ability to apply them to the case content. It doesn’t sound easy. College students are often intimidated by the amount of work they face while performing a case study analysis. What if you’ve never had a task to write a case study before and you can’t choose a case study research design? What if you know the theory and how to do research, but you just can’t organize your findings into a comprehensive paper? What if you can’t draw a conclusion from your analysis? Maybe, it is easier for you to be creative than operate with methods and findings. However, even if the case study paper tests your limits and patience, it doesn’t mean you can’t handle it. Read this extensive guide to prepare yourself for any kind of a case study assignment.

What Is a Case Study?

You can’t start writing a case study without fully understanding its definition and peculiarities. Simply put, a case study is a research method that presupposes a detailed and in-depth analysis of a specific case, subject, or situation (for example, an organization, a business issue, event, phenomenon, or even a person). When performing a case study analysis, you are required to study the problem thoroughly, provide a full-scale analysis, find relevant alternative solutions, and support them with evidence.
As a rule, students are likely to face case study assignments in Business Studies, Management, Marketing, Sociology, Education, Psychology, HRM, or Medical Studies. It is essential to remember that even though they vary in the focus of analysis and length, case studies are based on the application of theoretical concepts to the conditions of a relevant issue. You should not make assumptions but firmly understand the features of both qualitative and quantitative methods and feel confident in operating with various concepts learned throughout the course. Following the requirements of an assignment is crucial as they can vary and involve, for instance, a summary of a case, specific examples from similar cases, or other content elements.

Types of Case Studies

Another point that adds to the complexity of case study writing is the existence of its different primary types. Students need a clear vision of their distinctive features to meet the task requirements.

  • Key cases are used if a researcher is interested in it or the conditions that surround it.
  • Outlier cases are covered because they stand out from other problems, situations, events, organizations, and could provide important and unique information.
  • Knowledge cases involve a solid amount of gathered information about a respective topic.

However, this is not an exhaustive classification of case study types. There are also four types based on the objectives or goals of a researcher.  Check out the table.

When a Case Study Is Used ?

A case study should be used to acquire a specific and in-depth understanding of a particular case/ issue/situation/subject. If you need to compose a thesis or even a dissertation, case studies are perfect for this assignment. They will not only help you to stay focused on the research topic, but also address essential questions, like how, why, and what exactly happened. Case studies are wide-spread in educational, business, clinical, and social spheres. In addition, they are included in various courses to provide students with an experience of applying theory to real-life examples and practice decision making. In the business world, an example case study is often used to communicate the company’s approaches to services, for instance, by demonstrating instances of assisting customers with their requests and business needs. This is one of the ways to gain trust of the future client, showcase the quality of their services and products, and establish the company’s credibility.

What Is a Case Study Outline?

Case study is a research method. Thus, it has structure and components of a research. A case study analysis usually includes  executive summary, introduction, methods, findings, discussion, conclusion, recommendations, implementation. Do not forget to add a reference list and appendices if there are some.

How to Start a Case Study Analysis?

So, now you have a general idea of what a case study is; its functions, types, and peculiarities. However, you still don’t fully understand how to write a case study? We’ve got your back, just continue reading the guide.

1.Choose a Case and Identify Your Research Problem

First things first, you need to determine the goal and research problem. The development of the question and problem statement should prepare you for choosing a case. If you are provided with the case, you still need to identify the main issue(s) to consider in your paper. Follow this example case study checklist to move forward smoothly with your task:

  • It should identify new or unique problems (a useful hint is to look for an unusual or somehow ignored case).
  • It can discuss new insights on the existing issue.
  • It might also challenge and even change the common vision of a problem or a theory.
  • It should have the potential to offer practical alternative solutions to an existing issue.
  • It could offer new approaches to solving an existing issue.
  • It should open new directions for further investigation of this issue.

2.Collect Data and Analyze the Case

Remember that there are a variety of research methods and research tools for the data collection on the subject. Quantitative data is collected to support the solutions with concrete numbers. In its turn, qualitative data is also essential to create a bigger picture of the issue under consideration. The most useful and common ways to gather data and analyze your case are the following:

  • Examine similar cases to gain a proper understanding of the issue.
  • Make notes while reviewing the facts.
  • Always examine the background information of the chosen case.
  • Search for appropriate theories and create a theoretical framework for your case.
  • Point out the main issues of the case.
  • Find and discuss the underlying causes of the issue.
  • Make a draft of various solutions for the problem.
  • Shortlist the best solution for the issue.
  • Identify ways and areas for further related research.
  • Report the approaches to their implementation.

3.Create an Outline

As you remember, you need to plan and create an outline before starting to write any kind of academic assignment. Whereas having an idea of how to organize the study analysis is a nice first step, you still need to develop the plan in writing for easier access.

  • Create an outline draft with typical sections and subsections.
  • Choose the format that is the most suitable for your purposes, maybe, something more unconventional like a mind map or other graphical scheme.
  • Gather your major points and the most important pieces of data, and fit their content into your outline.

How to Format a Case Study Correctly?

With the case chosen, information gathered, and an outline created, you can finally start composing the case study paper itself. The case study has the same structure as any research paper. You can look for case study templates or simply follow the tips provided in this section.

1.Executive summary is aimed at giving readers an overview of the whole case study they are about to read. This part of an assignment clarifies the key points of the following text and is essential for a better understanding of your findings.

2.Creating an introduction is essential to writing a case study. It should be considered as a kind of a roadmap for your audience. Don’t forget to include the reasons for using this particular case, provide some details about the research problem, and their connection with each other. A great introduction should:

  • introduce the topic;
  • determine the case study purposes;
  • give background information on the case;
  • identify the main issues;
  • introduce the theoretical framework;
  • defend the relevance of this study;
  • elaborate on how this study can contribute to the existing vision of the issue.

3.The methods section is crucial as it justifies the strategy you used to identify why the case fits to address the research problem. Note that the ways of methods description vary based on the subject of analysis in the case study.

4.You should always document the findings with care. Remember to support them with theoretical concepts and course materials. Stick to the rules:

  • Describe the issues separately.
  • Explain each issue’s importance.
  • Identify the causes of the problems.
  • Support your arguments with evidence.

5.Discussion revolves around concluding the findings based on their interpretation. It is not uncommon to combine this section with the description of your findings. Either way, you should:

  • Summarize the main issues.
  • Suggest all the possible solutions based on evidence.
  • Identify the strengths and limitations of each solution.

6.Conclusion is a summary of the whole work (especially the discussion part) in a clear language with a focus on how your findings differ from or support previous research. Avoid making baseless assumptions or simply rephrase the discussion section.

7.Recommendations should include your advice on dealing with every issue in the case. Follow this short checklist to compose your recommendations:

  • Identify the most suitable solution for the problem.
  • Explain the ways it can help solve the problem.
  • Support your choice with evidence.

8.Implementation part explains how the solution should be implemented. Don’t forget to specify what, by who, and when you think this should be done.

9.References, as usual, include the list of the used sources. Remember to follow the requirements of the paper format and add only the sources you actually use in the work.

10. A lot of case study templates include appendices. Even though these are additional materials, they can provide a better understanding of the research problem. Mind that if you were to change this part of the paper, the reader should still be able to understand the importance of the performed research.

Outstanding Case Study Examples 

Sometimes choosing the case study research question might become confusing. We’ve gathered some fascinating examples for you to look through for inspiration.

1. Research question: How can a company practice ethical leadership?
   Case study: Case study on Starbucks services and the practice of ethical leadership
2. Research question: Why is it crucial to control fake news spread on Facebook?
   Case study: Facebook fake news case study
3. Research question: What are the essential elements in treating depression with cognitive-behavior therapy?
   Case study: Based on a case study of a 25-year-old single  female client
4. Research question: Is there a conflict of interest between schools providing sex education 
    Case study: Case study on sex education and parental rights
5. Research question: What are the obligations of schools in combating cyberbullying?
   Case study: Case study on social media policy in schools

What to Avoid in a Case Study

  1. Inappropriate vocabulary
  2. Repetitive ideas
  3. Too general information
  4. Lack of supporting data
  5. Being subjective (mentioning only those implications of the solution you like)
  6. Not mentioning limitations of the chosen solution

Strengths and Limitations of a Case Study

A task to write a case study may replace some hands-on experience for a student. In addition, the research and writing process teaches students to collect data and perform complex decision-making processes. However, collected data cannot be used for generalizations, and may become useless without proper evidence and support.

What Should be Included in a Case Study?

Don’t forget to include background information, details of the case, collected data, essential theoretical concepts, and evidence from the sources, recommendations, and alternative solutions in your final product.

What Is the Format of a Case Study Analysis?

You should always stick to the requirements of the assignment as the format may vary based on the disciplines or other formal rules. One of the typical case study analysis formats may include executive summary, introduction, methods, findings, discussion, recommendations, implementations, conclusion, reference, and appendices. Keep in mind that you should also follow the appropriate formatting guidelines (for example, MLA, APA, Harvard, or Chicago).

How Long Should a Case Study Be?

There are no specific requirements to the length of the case study. Thus, pay attention to the guidelines in your instructions. If you are not sure, it is better to clarify the issue with you teacher or counselor. It is also crucial to choose a research question and a case study that fits the paper length limits.

How to Analyze Case Study Data?

Analyzing data has two major methods: qualitative and quantitative research. While observations and interviews are typical of qualitative research, experiments and surveys are inherent to quantitative research.

How to Present a Case Study Analysis?

Case study is usually presented as any other research paper. It has to include all the structural components of a research study: executive summary, introduction, methods, findings, discussion, conclusion, and implementation. But for sure, you should check the requirements to the paper assigned to you and follow them to the letter.

Getting Writing Assistance

A case study is an integral part of various college courses. Whereas many students don’t understand how to write a case study that will bring a good grade, you now know all the essential tips and tricks to advance in your next case study writing. Choosing a case study research design should now be easy. And including all essential elements is not a challenge anymore. Still, there might be occasions when a case study research requires too much time and effort, and you feel that you might even miss the deadline. We have a solution for a situation like this. Simply ask our experienced writers at  WriteMyEssay4Me.org to assist you with your complex assignments and reports and become one of our happy customers.