A case study is an academic paper based on a method of analysis and a specific research design; with an intention to
reconstruct the history of a case and examine alternative solution. The case study format is commonly used in social sciences,
marketing, medicine, economics, physics, politics, and other areas of study.
As a student, you’ll inevitably come down to the point of writing case studies, sooner or later. When you face this
assignment, it would be overwhelming. That’s because your professors give you basic instructions, but fail to provide
you with all details on how to tackle the project. Still, they expect a perfect study based on evidence.
You have no idea what sources to use and how to format the project, so the first solution that comes to your mind is –
following a template. That’s not the right thing to do, since it leads you to plagiarism! There’s a better solution:
follow simple, but effective online guide that leads you through progressive steps on case study writing.
Step 1. Understand the Project
Before you can start writing the case study, you have to understand what the project calls for. Since your professors
are scarce on the requirements, you have to do some research in order to realize what a case study actually is, so
you’ll decide what methods you’re going to implement.
So what’s the case? It’s a person, place, event, phenomenon, or any other subject that you’re going to
analyze. You are going to analyze the key themes of the case, as well as the results of the applications of
different solutions. The purpose of the case study is to shed light on issues that were previously hidden and can be
applied as practical solutions. In addition, the case study has a purpose to predict future trends and serve as a
foundation for further research and analysis.
Step 2. Identify Your Case
You won’t have a good case study unless you have a good case. That’s a golden rule to keep in mind when you’re about
to tackle this type of paper.
When writing a research paper, you identify a research problem. When you are dealing with a case study, you have to do
something similar. You need to focus on a problem that allows application of thorough analysis, interpretation of
different aspects, and discussions regarding potential solutions. The case study will also provide recommendations
on how to improve existing conditions.
Here are few tips that will help you choose the case:
- Choose an unusual problem that requires in-depth analysis. You don’t want to conduct an online search and copy
the problem for the first case study you come across to.
- You should be very specific with the case. Let’s take an example: “you’re writing a case study for social
sciences and you want to focus on women’s access to higher education”. To get more specific – you may opt for
African nations. To get even more specific, you’ll choose one African country and you’ll analyze that case.
- The case should shed light on a problem that has been previously hidden from the general audience.
- Choose a case that has a potential resolution. One of the main aspects of a case study is considering how the
application of different solutions would affect the results.
Step 2.5. Tips on How to Write a Case Study
Before you start writing the paper, you have to construct an outline. This is an important step in the process, since
it leads you to a focused, well- written case study. Remember: it isn’t a typical research paper we’re talking
about. This project has a specific format that you need to follow. In the outline, you’ll plan what you’ll write in
each of these sections:
In the abstract, you’ll offer a short description of the entire case study. If you opt for a narrative abstract,
you have to write a chunk of text without structuring it with headings. If you prefer a structured abstract, you’ll
use subheadings (based on the structure of the case study).
The abstract should be brief and descriptive. It should capture the essence of the case study, and it should
immediately show the value of your efforts. Needless to say, you will write the abstract after you complete the
actual case study.
In the introductory section, you’ll provide your readers with a description of the research problem and its
importance. You will also describe why you used that case and how it is related to the problem you’re referring to.
You’ll also provide some background, and you should explain how this study will provide new ways of understanding
- Literature Review
The literature review is more than just simple bibliography. Each entry should describe the relationship between the
works and the context of the case study you investigate.
In this section of the case study, you’ll describe the methods you used for identifying the case. Explain why you
chose that particular incident, person, place, event or phenomenon to study. Then, describe the methods that
going to use for analyzing the case and coming up with potential solutions.
The methods may involve gathering and examining various types of documents, such as letters, administrative
report ,agendas, research studies, and more. You may also opt for open-ended interviews or surveys.
Here, you will present the case. You’ll interpret the case and draw conclusion about the key findings from your
You’ll state the major findings and explain their meaning, as well as their importance. In addition, you’ll
these findings to similar studies. You’ll also provide alternative explanations of the findings, and you’ll
acknowledge the limitations of your case study. Finally, suggest the areas for further research.
Summarize the essence of your case study in a simple, readable language.