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Case studies are a popular research method in business area. Case studies aim to analyze specific issues within the boundaries of a specific environment, situation or organization.
According to its design, case studies in business research can be divided into three categories: explanatory, descriptive and exploratory.
Explanatory case studies aim to answer ‘how’ or ’why’ questions with little control on behalf of researcher over occurrence of events. This type of case studies focus on phenomena within the contexts of real-life situations. Example: “An investigation into the reasons of the global financial and economic crisis of 2008 – 2010.”
Descriptive case studies aim to analyze the sequence of interpersonal events after a certain amount of time has passed. Studies in business research belonging to this category usually describe culture or sub-culture, and they attempt to discover the key phenomena. Example: “Impact of increasing levels of multiculturalism on marketing practices: A case study of McDonald’s Indonesia.”
Exploratory case studies aim to find answers to the questions of ‘what’ or ‘who’. Exploratory case study data collection method is often accompanied by additional data collection method(s) such as interviews, questionnaires, experiments etc. Example: “A study into differences of leadership practices between private and public sector organizations in Atlanta, USA.”
Advantages of case study method include data collection and analysis within the context of phenomenon, integration of qualitative and quantitative data in data analysis, and the ability to capture complexities of real-life situations so that the phenomenon can be studied in greater levels of depth. Case studies do have certain disadvantages that may include lack of rigor, challenges associated with data analysis and very little basis for generalizations of findings and conclusions.
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How to Do a Case Study
Last Updated: March 28, 2023 References Approved
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 24 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 11 testimonials and 88% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 746,847 times. Learn more...
Many fields require their own form of case study, but they are most widely used in academic and business contexts. An academic case study focuses on an individual or a small group, producing a detailed but non-generalized report based on months of research. In the business world, marketing case studies describe a success story presented to promote a company.
Planning an Academic Case Study
- For example, a medical case study might study how a single patient is affected by an injury. A psychology case study might study a small group of people in an experimental form of therapy.
- Case studies are not designed for large group studies or statistical analysis.
- A case study may or may not include both types of research.
- Illustrative case studies describe an unfamiliar situation in order to help people understand it. For instance, a case study of a person with depression, designed to help communicate the subjective experience of depression to therapist trainees.
- Exploratory case studies are preliminary projects to help guide a future, larger-scale project. They aim to identify research questions and possible research approaches. For example, a case study of three school tutoring programs would describe the pros and cons of each approach, and give tentative recommendations on how a new tutoring program could be organized.
- Critical instance case studies focus on a unique cases, without a generalized purpose. Examples include a descriptive study of a patient with a rare condition, or a study of a specific case to determine whether a broadly applied "universal" theory is actually applicable or useful in all cases.
- Follow this step even if you are conducting a retrospective case study. In some cases, publishing a new interpretation can cause harm to the participants in the original study.
- Create four or five bullet points that you intend to answer, if possible, in the study. Consider perspectives on approaching the question and the related bullet points.
- Choose at least two, and preferably more, of these data sources: report collection, internet research, library research, interviewing research subjects, interviewing experts, other fieldwork, and mapping concepts or typologies.
- Design interview questions that will lead to in-depth answers and continued conversations related to your research goals.
- Since you aren't conducting a statistical analysis, you do not need to recruit a diverse cross-section of society. You should be aware of any biases in your small sample, and make them clear in your report, but they do not invalidate your research.
Conducting Academic Case Study Research
- Any case study, but especially case studies with a retrospective component, will benefit from basic academic research strategies .
- Establishing trust with participants can result in less inhibited behavior. Observing people in their home, workplaces, or other "natural" environments may be more effective than bringing them to a laboratory or office.
- Having subjects fill out a questionnaire is a common example of obtrusive research. Subjects know they are being studied, so their behavior will change, but this is a quick and sometimes the only way to gain certain information.
- Describe experience — ask the participant what it's like to go through the experience you're studying, or be a part of the system you're studying.
- Describe meaning — ask the participant what the experience means to them, or what "life lessons" they take from it. Ask what mental and emotional associations they have with the subject of your study, whether it's a medical condition, an event, or another topic.
- Focus – in later interviews, prepare questions that fill gaps in your knowledge, or that are particularly relevant to the development of your research questions and theories over the course of the study.
- If you are working with more than one person you will want to assign sections for completion together to make sure your case study will flow. For example, one person may be in charge of making charts of the data you gathered, while other people will each write an analysis of one of your bullet points you are trying to answer.
- If writing a case study for a non-academic audience, consider using a narrative form, describing the events that occurred during your case study in chronological order. Minimize your use of jargon.
Writing a Marketing Case Study
- Request high-level involvement from the client's side for best results.  X Trustworthy Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Main public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Go to source Even if the client only wants to vet the materials you send them, make sure the person involved is high up in the organization, and knowledgeable about the company–client relationship.
- Collaboration with the client is especially helpful here, so you make sure to include the points that left the most impact and biggest impression.
- If your target audience wouldn't immediately identify with your client's problem, start with a more general intro describing that type of problem in the industry.  X Research source
- Charts and graphs can be great visual tools, but label these with large letters that make the positive meaning obvious to people who aren't used to reading raw data.  X Research source
- These are typically brief quotes just one or two sentences long, describing your service in a positive light.
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- Remember that a case study does not aim to answer the research question definitively. Its aim is to develop one or more hypotheses about the answer. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Other fields use the term "case study" to mean a short, less intense process. Most notably, in law and programming, a case study is a real or hypothetical situation (legal case or programming problem), accompanied by an oral or written discussion of possible conclusions or solutions. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=nursing_faculty_pubs
- ↑ https://www.apa.org/monitor/jan03/principles.html
- ↑ https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/clearwriting/docs/Case_Study_Guide-H.pdf
- ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/outline
- ↑ https://extension.usu.edu/apec/files/uploads/Target_Market_Identification.pdf
- ↑ https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1105535.pdf
- ↑ https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1079541.pdf
- ↑ https://med.ucf.edu/media/2012/05/Writing-Letters-of-Recommendation.pdf
- ↑ https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1012&context=cgttheses
About This Article
To do a case study, start by defining the subject and goal of your study and then getting ethical approval from the institution or department you're working under. Once you've received approval, design your research strategy and recruit any participants you'll be using. Prepare to work on your case study for 3-6 months by scheduling routine interviews with participants and setting aside time each day to do research and take notes. When you're finished, compile all of your research and write your final case study report. To learn how to do a marketing case study, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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What Is a Case Study?
An in-depth study of one person, group, or event
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.
Verywell / Colleen Tighe
Benefits and Limitations
Types of case studies, how to write a case study.
A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in various fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.
The purpose of a case study is to learn as much as possible about an individual or group so that the information can be generalized to many others. Unfortunately, case studies tend to be highly subjective, and it is sometimes difficult to generalize results to a larger population.
While case studies focus on a single individual or group, they follow a format similar to other types of psychology writing. If you are writing a case study, it is important to follow the rules of APA format .
A case study can have both strengths and weaknesses. Researchers must consider these pros and cons before deciding if this type of study is appropriate for their needs.
One of the greatest advantages of a case study is that it allows researchers to investigate things that are often difficult to impossible to replicate in a lab. Some other benefits of a case study:
- Allows researchers to collect a great deal of information
- Give researchers the chance to collect information on rare or unusual cases
- Permits researchers to develop hypotheses that can be explored in experimental research
On the negative side, a case study:
- Cannot necessarily be generalized to the larger population
- Cannot demonstrate cause and effect
- May not be scientifically rigorous
- Can lead to bias
Researchers may choose to perform a case study if they are interested in exploring a unique or recently discovered phenomenon. The insights gained from such research can help the researchers develop additional ideas and study questions that might be explored in future studies.
However, it is important to remember that the insights gained from case studies cannot be used to determine cause and effect relationships between variables. However, case studies may be used to develop hypotheses that can then be addressed in experimental research.
Case Study Examples
There have been a number of notable case studies in the history of psychology. Much of Freud's work and theories were developed through the use of individual case studies. Some great examples of case studies in psychology include:
- Anna O : Anna O. was a pseudonym of a woman named Bertha Pappenheim, a patient of a physician named Josef Breuer. While she was never a patient of Freud's, Freud and Breuer discussed her case extensively. The woman was experiencing symptoms of a condition that was then known as hysteria and found that talking about her problems helped relieve her symptoms. Her case played an important part in the development of talk therapy as an approach to mental health treatment.
- Phineas Gage : Phineas Gage was a railroad employee who experienced a terrible accident in which an explosion sent a metal rod through his skull, damaging important portions of his brain. Gage recovered from his accident but was left with serious changes in both personality and behavior.
- Genie : Genie was a young girl subjected to horrific abuse and isolation. The case study of Genie allowed researchers to study whether language could be taught even after critical periods for language development had been missed. Her case also served as an example of how scientific research may interfere with treatment and lead to further abuse of vulnerable individuals.
Such cases demonstrate how case research can be used to study things that researchers could not replicate in experimental settings. In Genie's case, her horrific abuse had denied her the opportunity to learn language at critical points in her development.
This is clearly not something that researchers could ethically replicate, but conducting a case study on Genie allowed researchers the chance to study phenomena that are otherwise impossible to reproduce.
There are a few different types of case studies that psychologists and other researchers might utilize:
- Collective case studies : These involve studying a group of individuals. Researchers might study a group of people in a certain setting or look at an entire community. For example, psychologists might explore how access to resources in a community has affected the collective mental well-being of those living there.
- Descriptive case studies : These involve starting with a descriptive theory. The subjects are then observed, and the information gathered is compared to the pre-existing theory.
- Explanatory case studies : These are often used to do causal investigations. In other words, researchers are interested in looking at factors that may have caused certain things to occur.
- Exploratory case studies : These are sometimes used as a prelude to further, more in-depth research. This allows researchers to gather more information before developing their research questions and hypotheses .
- Instrumental case studies : These occur when the individual or group allows researchers to understand more than what is initially obvious to observers.
- Intrinsic case studies : This type of case study is when the researcher has a personal interest in the case. Jean Piaget's observations of his own children are good examples of how an intrinsic cast study can contribute to the development of a psychological theory.
The three main case study types often used are intrinsic, instrumental, and collective. Intrinsic case studies are useful for learning about unique cases. Instrumental case studies help look at an individual to learn more about a broader issue. A collective case study can be useful for looking at several cases simultaneously.
The type of case study that psychology researchers utilize depends on the unique characteristics of the situation as well as the case itself.
There are also different methods that can be used to conduct a case study, including prospective and retrospective case study methods.
Prospective case study methods are those in which an individual or group of people is observed in order to determine outcomes. For example, a group of individuals might be watched over an extended period of time to observe the progression of a particular disease.
Retrospective case study methods involve looking at historical information. For example, researchers might start with an outcome, such as a disease, and then work their way backward to look at information about the individual's life to determine risk factors that may have contributed to the onset of the illness.
Where to Find Data
There are a number of different sources and methods that researchers can use to gather information about an individual or group. Six major sources that have been identified by researchers are:
- Archival records : Census records, survey records, and name lists are examples of archival records.
- Direct observation : This strategy involves observing the subject, often in a natural setting . While an individual observer is sometimes used, it is more common to utilize a group of observers.
- Documents : Letters, newspaper articles, administrative records, etc., are the types of documents often used as sources.
- Interviews : Interviews are one of the most important methods for gathering information in case studies. An interview can involve structured survey questions or more open-ended questions.
- Participant observation : When the researcher serves as a participant in events and observes the actions and outcomes, it is called participant observation.
- Physical artifacts : Tools, objects, instruments, and other artifacts are often observed during a direct observation of the subject.
Section 1: A Case History
This section will have the following structure and content:
Background information : The first section of your paper will present your client's background. Include factors such as age, gender, work, health status, family mental health history, family and social relationships, drug and alcohol history, life difficulties, goals, and coping skills and weaknesses.
Description of the presenting problem : In the next section of your case study, you will describe the problem or symptoms that the client presented with.
Describe any physical, emotional, or sensory symptoms reported by the client. Thoughts, feelings, and perceptions related to the symptoms should also be noted. Any screening or diagnostic assessments that are used should also be described in detail and all scores reported.
Your diagnosis : Provide your diagnosis and give the appropriate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual code. Explain how you reached your diagnosis, how the client's symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s), or any possible difficulties in reaching a diagnosis.
Section 2: Treatment Plan
This portion of the paper will address the chosen treatment for the condition. This might also include the theoretical basis for the chosen treatment or any other evidence that might exist to support why this approach was chosen.
- Cognitive behavioral approach : Explain how a cognitive behavioral therapist would approach treatment. Offer background information on cognitive behavioral therapy and describe the treatment sessions, client response, and outcome of this type of treatment. Make note of any difficulties or successes encountered by your client during treatment.
- Humanistic approach : Describe a humanistic approach that could be used to treat your client, such as client-centered therapy . Provide information on the type of treatment you chose, the client's reaction to the treatment, and the end result of this approach. Explain why the treatment was successful or unsuccessful.
- Psychoanalytic approach : Describe how a psychoanalytic therapist would view the client's problem. Provide some background on the psychoanalytic approach and cite relevant references. Explain how psychoanalytic therapy would be used to treat the client, how the client would respond to therapy, and the effectiveness of this treatment approach.
- Pharmacological approach : If treatment primarily involves the use of medications, explain which medications were used and why. Provide background on the effectiveness of these medications and how monotherapy may compare with an approach that combines medications with therapy or other treatments.
This section of a case study should also include information about the treatment goals, process, and outcomes.
When you are writing a case study, you should also include a section where you discuss the case study itself, including the strengths and limitiations of the study. You should note how the findings of your case study might support previous research.
In your discussion section, you should also describe some of the implications of your case study. What ideas or findings might require further exploration? How might researchers go about exploring some of these questions in additional studies?
Here are a few additional pointers to keep in mind when formatting your case study:
- Never refer to the subject of your case study as "the client." Instead, their name or a pseudonym.
- Read examples of case studies to gain an idea about the style and format.
- Remember to use APA format when citing references .
A Word From Verywell
Case studies can be a useful research tool, but they need to be used wisely. In many cases, they are best utilized in situations where conducting an experiment would be difficult or impossible. They are helpful for looking at unique situations and allow researchers to gather a great deal of information about a specific individual or group of people.
If you have been directed to write a case study for a psychology course, be sure to check with your instructor for any specific guidelines that you are required to follow. If you are writing your case study for professional publication, be sure to check with the publisher for their specific guidelines for submitting a case study.
Simply Psychology. Case Study Method .
Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach . BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011 Jun 27;11:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-100
Gagnon, Yves-Chantal. The Case Study as Research Method: A Practical Handbook . Canada, Chicago Review Press Incorporated DBA Independent Pub Group, 2010.
Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . United States, SAGE Publications, 2017.
By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
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Purpose of case studies
Understanding the question.
Analysing the question (video, 2:35) from Western Sydney University Library.
Researching & reading
For most of your assignments, you will need to do some research. This means searching for scholarly information related to the topic in order to find out what researchers have said about the topic and to develop your own ideas.
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Many students struggle with reading for university, but it doesn't have to be an uphill battle. You just need to figure out what you need to read and why you need to read it, then use the strategies in the resources below to help you become a more effective reader.
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Using what you find in sources
Organising & expressing your ideas in a case study, using paragraphs, sentences & words.
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Editing & revising
Once you've done all the research and written enough words, you'll probably feel like you've finished. But don't submit it yet! It's still a draft and probably won't be your best work until you've read through it a couple of times and made corrections.
Finishing & submitting
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When your assignment has been marked, don't just look at the mark you got, but read through all the feedback and reflect on what you could do to improve next time.
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First, let's see what case study is to find out why students use our help. Case studies are some of the more difficult tasks you can run into because they imply in-depth studies of real people, groups, companies, or events. We understand that busy students like you might not have enough time to complete it. That is why we offer our professional case study writing help that enables you to get any paper from us online!
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This task is a research method that encompasses a full examination of the subject matter and all related conditions. Often students have to look into a certain situation and suggest the best solution. Also, case studies are useful in hiring because they help to identify whether candidates have analytical skills.
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Based on the research goal, there are four main types of case studies, and you can buy each of those! All you need to do is provide your personal case study writer with the details on your task.
- Illustrative. These are expository (descriptive), and they mostly use a couple of even examples to illustrate a real situation, and the main goal here is to give your readers a basic idea about a particular topic.
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- Cumulative. This type's purpose is to avoid redundant studies by collecting data from past studies conducted at different times.
- Critical instance. The methods used here are known as the critical incident technique. Usually, you analyze one or more sites to explore a uniquely interesting situation or put in doubt a universal or a generalized statement.
Depending on the type, the core research might involve varying steps. But the most tedious part here is data collection and analysis, and it's mind-blowing when you realize how much time it takes. Luckily, once you ask The-Essays.com for help, our expert writer will do everything, including the data aggregation, its analysis, and conclusions! We can even provide you with a high-quality ISSA case study writing help.
The Writing Process
Regardless of your decision, we think that won't hurt anybody if we try to shed some light on how to do this assignment. The steps we describe below are generalized, but they apply to such a task:
The main question and the case study type.
Decide on the type and target audience. That will define the style and design. After narrowing the topic to a specific question, see how many reliable sources you can find, and how much data is available. Also, it is a good idea to search for similar case studies because their findings can help you in coming up with some interesting ideas and formatting your work accordingly.
Think thoroughly about the interview participants because the most valuable information can be provided only by experts in your field of study. Consider interviewing people individually and in groups. You should organize your data to develop the interviewing process in a way that would result in getting as much useful information as possible. Ensure that the surveyed people are fully aware of your project's details and goals and that all your questions are not controversial or unethical.
Ask questions that are the same or similar to get various points of view on your subject matter. Try to avoid those that can be answered "yes" or "no" and keep them open-ended. Organize everything you gathered in one place to access it easily when you are writing the case study. Carefully sift through the material you collected and pick only the most relevant data because you cannot include everything. Then, try to use only one or two sentences to formulate the problem (like a thesis statement).
Writing the piece itself.
The last step you are to make is writing your case study. Usually, it consists of four parts which we are going to lay out below:
- The introduction is the part where you raise the main question. Quoting one of the interview participants might help you here.
- In the next part, you provide some background data about everyone you have interviewed, why you picked exactly those people, what makes the issue pressing to give a general view of the problem. To be more persuasive and stand out, you can use photos and videos.
- When your audience is acquainted with the question, you should present the data and tell what you've learned from the interviews, what the solutions are, and the thoughts and feelings of your interviewees.
- Last, you can offer your own solutions, but do not try to address the main issue yourself. The goal is to make your audience want to create their own ways of solving the problem. A well-organized and polished case will provide your readers with plenty of information to get a comprehensive view of the situation and start discussing it and look for possible ways out.
Don't forget to read the draft to make all the necessary corrections and additions. Proofread it to spot and correct any spelling or grammar mistakes and see if you have transitions between the sections. Then, ask somebody else to read it to change parts that might be confusing or unclear.
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A user research case study is your way to demonstrate the value you provide to an organization. Case studies are at the heart of an interview and an integral piece to making it through to the next step during the interview process
Case studies aim to analyze specific issues within the boundaries of a specific environment, situation or organization. Explanatory case studies aim to answer ‘how' or 'why' questions with little control on
In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. If you are writing a case study, it is important to follow the rules of APA format
Case studies are some of the more difficult tasks you can run into because they imply in-depth studies of real people, groups, companies, or events. Don't stress yourself out, let us write a custom case study for you!