A case study is a unique paper that may be needed at college, university, or even at work. It does not matter whether you are a student or an employee looking for new customers, this paper requires good analytical and writing skills as well as knowledge of various tricks. Continue reading to find everything you should know about it, from the basic info to the helpful case study tips.
What Is a Case Study?
It is defined as an intensive investigation of an event, person, situation, or phenomenon that helps to identify the main problems. What to include in a case study? You should do in-depth research of your topic, provide background information, indicate the key problems, and offer solutions.
Types of Case Study
Four main types of case study in psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other sciences, have many things in common as well as their features worth noting. Those types are:
Mostly, it is suitable for the preparation stages. If there is the need to collect the data before starting the main research process, an exploratory paper will cut it well. The point is to define the question and required measurement types correctly.
An exploratory study is called to find the answers for such questions as “what” or “who”. The point is to collect the information through multiple methods, including quizzes, experiments, interviews with experts, analysis of the existing sources, etc.
Topic example: Impact of anthropogenic factors on the global warming phenomenon.
The key to finalizing this type of case study project is in the investigation of a source (or multiple ones) to discover a particular situation without generalizing its reasons and outcomes. A critical paper is perfectly suitable if you aim to question some general thought, norm, example, or statement.
In other words, a student concentrates on a single issue and its context without paying any attention to the “higher level” of knowledge and conclusions. Among different types of case studies, this one is the best to prove the existence of exceptions from some widely accepted rules, laws, or concepts. Additionally, such papers can be used to find solutions more suitable for special, unique issues.
Topic example: Special treatment for a patient with the exclusively difficult cerebral palsy form.
Projects of this kind require you to accumulate the data from various sources and periods while aiming to conduct in-depth analysis. Then, you generate some conclusions and generalize all the research examples.
Some may call cumulative papers the simplest ones among all types of case studies, but that’s only a part of the truth. Of course, a student doesn’t have to collect the new data on their own here. However, the process of choosing the best and most suitable sources can be equally challenging and require even more preliminary work to be done.
After sources are picked, it’s time for their thorough analysis and comparison. Based on the info gathered and regarding the goal of your cumulative case study, you may either confirm the existing theoretical concepts or generate new outcomes, rules, and conclusions.
Topic example: Guerilla warfare: tactics and concepts.
The goal of illustrative projects is, obviously, to illustrate a phenomenon or event. They also contain the description of a problem along with a solution that is already known. Simply put, they describe something complicated more commonly.
It is crucial to understand that an illustrative case study does not aim to generate new conclusions. It is similar to a “how-to” instruction. This study type requires a student to come up with all the details about the issue, reasons, and decisions made to fix it to receive the wanted result.
Topic example: The success of a social media marketing campaign by Mercedes Benz in 2013.
How Long Is a Case Study?
The number of words varies from 500 to 1500 and depends on the paper's purpose. If you are a student, you can write a case study of up to 800 words. However, it is better to consult with your professor and clarify the expected size of your assignment. How long should a case study be if you need it for work? We recommend writing about 1500 words to engage potential customers.
How to Develop a Case Study Analysis: Prewriting Tips & Recommendations
It's best if you stick to the classic sequence. Begin with an introduction. This is exactly the part where you should indicate the thesis and describe the essence of the problem you are going to write. Use Google to enter the "sample case study analysis" search query.
The second stage is collecting background information. Gather all the facts and data that are relevant to your assignment. Then it will be easier for you to do your research. The third step is to describe all the alternatives. Don’t know how to write a case study paper? Describe why you rejected the alternatives and what the main factor was.
The fourth step is your solution. Writing a case analysis is impossible without this action. What is the most acceptable solution, in your opinion? You should justify this from a theoretical point of view or provide specific practical results. The fifth step is creating a recommendation. Which steps are most important? You should offer at least a theoretical concept. Then you no longer have to ask anyone, "How to write a case study report?"
Know the Specification of Your Case Study
The first step to a successful paper is to search for its features. The case study is used in different fields, for example, medicine, business, psychology, so the requirements may vary, and it is essential to know the peculiarities. Before you delve into the writing process, look through the guides, check the recommendations, and even go to YouTube, as it is full of useful videos with tips and successful cases.
If you strive to write a high-quality case study, then you should devote a good amount of time to this process and read as many articles as possible. For example, it is highly recommended to use charts in business case studies for data visualizations. As for the marketing, you may use a few quotes as it helps to build trust. So do not be lazy and go to google for the information.
Discover the Case Study Best Practices
In some way, this recommendation is related to the previous one. When you know the paper features, you can pick the best ways of presenting information to make your case study powerful and unique:
- Use the customer's name. Instead of writing "the client," provide a real name, or create a pseudonym. It will add your paper credibility and will give it an advantage over other ones. If you are looking for tips on how to write a case study on a person, then do not ignore this one. In your case, it is essential to make a paper sound personal.
- Describe emotions. Do not make your paper boring, and add some "colors" by describing emotions. For example, if you write about a product that improves customers' life, share their feelings when the problem is solved.
- Tell about the challenges. There is nothing bad about demonstrating weaknesses. Moreover, if you want to know how to present a case study and show your problem-solving skills, then tell a reader how you overcame challenges.
Determine the Focus for Your Paper
The effectiveness of your case study also depends on the focus. So before starting the research or even the writing process, just ask yourself, "What do I want to prove?" If you have an aim, then you will cope with paper better and faster, and even the next recommended steps will be easier for you. Nevertheless, be sure that you make a good choice that will bring success to you.
So if you are wondering how to write a case study for business, here are a few tips to determine the paper focus and choose the best subject for it:
- Examine your customer. Is he friendly enough? Will he give recommendations if necessary? Some people prefer to check the facts and seek confirmation.
- Make sure that you have impressive results. A good case study contains only solid numbers.
- Think about your audience, its interests, and needs. You should create a story that will have an emotional connection and resonate with the readers.
Always Check Case Studies Examples
How to make a case study of high quality? Check out the paper samples from professionals. It is impossible to write a good case study if you have no idea what it should look like. Even having read many guides, it can still be difficult for you to understand its special features. Hence, the best way to cope with the paper is to find some examples and follow them during the writing process.
There are plenty of websites, libraries, and different sources where you can get good samples of case studies for different fields. Here are some of them that we would like to recommend:
- PubMed is a great platform for medical students that is full of paper samples on different topics. We recommend you check out this fresh case study.
- If you are pondering how to write a business case study, then go to Sailthru. You will find informative and well-designed papers, for example, check this one.
- We also like Optimazely, as this platform shares the case studies for different industries, such as travel, media, retail, and finance. One of the samples that are worth your attention you will find here.
Tips on Writing a Good Case Study Analysis
Start With an Outline
Creating a plan is the best way to start the writing process, as it is quite hard to write a paper without organizing your thoughts after the research. If you do not want to spend a lot of time on it, then write at least the main headings with key ideas. But if you are ready to devote a good amount of time to the case study outline, we recommend you indicate more information for the different paper sections. You can use the following structure: goal > the used tools > essential data > the transformation of data > the results/impact.
Catch the Reader’s Interest
It is crucial to spark the reader's interest and desire to delve into your case study and read it to the end. There are different ways to achieve it, such as using images, having a good title, and an impressive first paragraph. Don’t know how to start a case study? Firstly, you should define your paper's key points and then do your best to develop a solid thesis statement.
Be an Interesting Storyteller
This type of paper requires telling a story (background information) before providing the solutions. You should explain why the chosen problem occurred and what led to it. Make sure that your story includes all necessary parts (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution) to be an interesting one and support it with some facts.
Combine the Formats
A successful case study is not only about a well-structured text with headlines. You may have good writing skills, but not everyone enjoys perceiving information just following from one paragraph to another. Thus, we recommend using different formats of providing info, for example, infographics, charts, or even videos. By the way, a great business case study format is an interview with a customer. You may include just a few questions (about goals and needs) and customer's answers to them, but it will improve the paper quality greatly.
Impress With the Numbers
Do not forget to provide some numbers and statistics to support your information using them as evidence. Moreover, it works great for a technical case study as it is impossible to create a good paper in this field without the numbers while explaining the problem, solution, and results.
Come Up With Good Headings
How to build a case study and make it look well-structured? Create headings for it! Besides, if your paper is quite long, the titles will help a reader not get lost in the tons of the provided information. Nevertheless, avoid boring headlines and try to make them captative, for example, "Results" vs. "Results that speak volumes."
Now you know how to write a winning case study to bring you a high grade or new clients. So do not waste time and start working on your paper!