How to Write A Case Study: Your Guide From The Basics

Have you ever wondered what that one thing that every student needs to write as an assignment is? Irrespective of your stream, brand, and specifications, every student needs to present an accurate and well-written case study in class to get good grades for their overall performance. This means that if you are studying any of the topics, you must have an in-depth understanding of how to write a case study.

Case studies are the scientific and critical exploration of a situation or phenomenon that poses a problem and requires providing suggested solutions, recommendations, and ways to avoid similar future problems.

This writing piece needs to be well written to encourage the reader to find their own solution or evaluate the one that has already been implemented. You need to provide you with experiences similar to those you have experienced while investigating the situation presented.

Now, most students are not well versed in writing a great case study article. But, the best thing is that we are here to help you and you have nothing to worry about. Here we present an elaborate process that can assist you in producing a flawless case study. So, let’s get started with the guide!

What is a case study? Know more about it!

A case study’s main objective is to lead the readers through a situation where a particular problem/s is presented with background information, a description of the given solution is given, and how it was derived. 

Case studies are a crucial part of the educational process that most often causes students to seek immediate help. It is also one of the most challenging and daunting tasks for students because it is all about writing real-life situations, and you need to experience them yourself. Hence, it requires more work than just paraphrasing ideas from textbooks.

Remember that a good case study guides the reader through the thought process and creates the final conclusion by finding flaws in the presented logic. That’s fine because there may be more than one solution to the problem.

Teachers use case studies to comprehend how students can practice the acquired knowledge in everyday situations. It is a fact that it can be extremely useful for students, but on the other hand, writing this complex task is a problem linked to the constant lack of time and the study burdens imposed on students. Also, there is no place to dodge the subject throughout the entire paper. It’s about precision, conciseness, and practicality.

So, to survive the writing of the case study article, take some helpful tips that will save you valuable time and future qualifications. For which, keep the following things in mind –

  • Make sure not to repeat the text of the case itself. 
  • Without theorizing and excessive expansions. 
  • Include analysis and recommendations that synthesize theory and evidence into solid suggestions.
  • Never forget the executive summary, the solutions, and the recommendations section. 

Ways of writing a case study –

writing a case study

There are primarily two main ways to write a case study: the historical way and the problem-oriented way. 

The historical path is the evaluation of the situation that is already resolved or closed. It is a retrospective learning with the purpose of preventing these types of cases in the future.

A problem-oriented one administers current circumstances in progress and therefore needs real solutions and predictions of results. The situation does not have a calculable ending, so it is more useful to explore it, suggest a solution, and then compare it with the actual results.

Each type of case is unique, but the advice offered applies to both, keep that in mind. Now what? How do you start planning and writing?

How to start planning for writing a case study?

start planning for writing a case study

Decide the topic of your case study –

The first thing is to consider what you need to write in your case study and what are the things you will focus on. 

Start with your research by digging into a particular problem. Gather as much information as you can about the topic from various resources. Look for information in magazines, books, newspapers, websites, magazines, etc. As you go through each source, take relevant notes.

Describe the situation/problem –

The reader must have a clear knowledge of the situation for which a solution is being sought. You can explicitly state the problem raised in the study by sharing quotes from someone intimate with the situation. Or else, it is a good way to write it as a question. Check the example below to get a better understanding –

  • “XYZ” is a hospital with a much higher post-surgical infection rate than other healthcare facilities in the area.
  • The Director of Nursing at Hospital ABC said, “despite following rigid standards, we continue to experience high postoperative infection rates.”
  • Why is the postoperative infection rate at Hospital “XYZ” higher than other health centers in the area?

This is one of the most effective tones to set readers thinking about the problem as they read the rest of the case study. It creates expectations that will make your reader read the entire content and present information that can better evaluate the situation.

Find published case studies with similar topics –

Review what has been written in case studies that have been written earlier on similar topics to yours. Read and understand the important points of the situation that will help you in your content. You will discover that there is a problem that requires a solution. You might also develop interesting ideas for your case study that you can explain, evaluate, and follow.

Interact with your teachers, head to the library, surf the web to read, and comprehend the subject. You do not want to repeat research that has already been done. Try to review examples of legal case studies that are similar in style to yours and get an idea of ​​how to work on them.

Provide background for the case study –

The background is considered the information you discover to describe your case study’s problem and why it is there. It highlights why there is a problem in the first place. This primarily consists of facts, charts, tablets, statistics, photos, videos, audio files, etc., from authoritative sources. You can add anything that points to the problem as it is helpful. Interview quotes and anecdotal information work wonders here.

This section provides the reader with information that they can use to reach their own conclusion. From the evidence mentioned in the background, your reader can build their own perspective about the problem and solutions.

Gather and evaluate all the collected details –

Once you have collected all the information, make sure to evaluate it, including documents, archive records, and observations. Organize them all properly in one place, so that it can be easily accessed and planned while writing the case study. 

Also, remember the fact that you presumably won’t be able to combine everything. Therefore, you need to think about how to categorize all those details and organize them in a way that the case study appears readable to your readers. Before jotting down the statistics, you’d better create a case study outline to make the problem analysis process easier.

Pick the participants to interview for the case study –

While writing a good case study, you need to choose participants who can support your data. You can look for experts in a specific field of study or consumers who have used a service or product, which is the subject of the study. Make sure these people are actively involved in the topic you are discussing. These people can provide you with in-depth information about the topic.

Decide whether you will interview one person or a group of people to serve as an example in your case study. It may be more helpful for participants to come together as a group and contribute their knowledge collectively. If the study emphasizes the personal topic, then you may consider conducting personal interviews.

Ask similar questions to all the subjects involved with the topic to ensure that you receive different perspectives.

While asking the question, make your participant answer in a descriptive way, rather than simply saying “yes” or “no.” This can help you gather more information. In this way, you will get the person to tell you whatever they know and believe. Also, make sure to keep the questions open. You can also request personal data and materials related to the subject to add credibility to your research.

Primarily should be on the key problem of your case –

Your readers should have a clear understanding of the problem or situation for which a solution is provided in the case study. You can discuss the problem raised in the study in great detail, starting from sharing quotes of people closely related to the situation or questions that can help your readers stick around.

This sets the tone for readers to reflect on the topic as he/she reads the rest of the case study. This also increases their expectation that you will present information that they consider crucial to better understand the situation.

Develop the solution and evaluate it –

Once you have analyzed the problem, you must focus on the solution and the thought processes that lead to it. This will guide the reader through the data to the solution that was implemented.

All you have to do is briefly present the main elements that have been applied to derive the solution. Also, keep in mind that it needs to be clear and descriptive to solve the issue. After all, that is the goal of the solution.

If the case study is for a common problem, there may not have been enough time to figure out the overall effect of the solution. If the solution has been around for a long time, then you will get the scope to assemble and review facts and impressions. 

Describe the solution in-depth – 

This is one of the essential sections of your case study as you need to give an insight to your reader of the solution and the thought processes that lead to it. It is best is to guide your audience through the information to the solution that was implemented. This section may contain the opinions and speculations of the author.

The facts will also be involved in the decision, but there may also be subjective thinking. For instance –

“Keeping A, B, and C in mind, the committee suggested solution X. Instead of the current budget status, the association felt this was the most prudent decision.”

This way, you can briefly present the key elements that are best to derive the solution. Also, make sure to be clear about the goal of your solution.

Evaluate the response to the given solution –

If your case study depends on a recent situation, you might not get enough time as well as a resource to determine the overall effect of the solution. For example – 

“Modern infection standards were adopted in the first quarter of the year, and the professionals hope to have enough information by the end of next year that can help to judge their effectiveness.”

While on the other hand, if the solution has been in place for some time, you get an opportunity to collect and review numerous facts and impressions that have already been published. You simply can include a summary of how well the solution works.

Include references and appendices –

Not just in a case study, while writing any content, make sure to include the references for the sources from where you have taken the data. And if you have any information related to the study, but it would have disrupted the flow of the assignment, then it is better to include it in the appendix section in the text.

Tell the story –

Case study writing is not just about writing facts. It includes sharing a story that is related to the story of a problem, community, or organization that has been solved. However, it is important that you focus on the evidence of the problem and the approach used to create a solution. The writing style guides readers through analyzing the problem as if they were part of the project. As a result, your case study can be both entertaining and educational.

Key takeaways –

Developing the case – Go through the case in detail – ask questions, highlight the key issues, write down the relevant facts, covering 360 degrees of the case.

Analyze in detail –

  • Identify key problem areas
  • Recognize how they affect the person/organization.
  • How was the problem originated?
  • Know the strategic losses that lead to the problem.
  • Identify similar problems faced by other organizations.
  • Distinguish the models, prospects, and tools necessary to understand the problems.
  • How did the service/product/brand factors affect?
  • Sequence the chronology of events that followed due to problems
  • Identify the cost implication of the issue.
  • Decide the angle at which the case should be approached.

Suggest possible solutions – Recommend possible solutions citing evidence from research conducted on the issue. Also, have a look at possible solution scenarios for similar types of problems. The solution must not be contradictory or hypothetical. It should be complemented by a great number of examples and strong arguments. From all the possible solutions, select the most suitable one that suits the case.

Generally, it is a chronological sequence –

  • Mention the solution
  • Cite substantiating arguments, facts, and statistics for the solution
  • Establish the validity of arguments
  • Select the best solution, among others.

Plan case study creation – 

(a) Introduction: Discuss the general description of the scenario and introduce the problems addressed in the case briefly. Write your case thesis statement in one or two lines, which is a conclusive summary of your case analysis.

(b) Background writing: This part includes the elaboration of the problem background in detail. Extensive background coverage benefits your readers to understand your arguments more properly. Here you should also present the research method you used to analyze the case and how you investigated the various issues discussed.

You can carry out your case study research by recognizing the subject and leading them with –

  • A simple questionnaire for a chosen sample
  • Email conversations
  • Existing data from valid online sources
  • A one-on-one interview
  • And many more.

(c) Evaluation: This part includes the pros and cons of your case study. You need to evaluate how this piece of content helps solve the problems. The scope of the case study analysis is generally set out in this part.

(d) Suggest solutions: Here is the place where you can put your suggestions and arguments supported by facts and statistics and concentrate on the most suitable argument that can solve the problem in the case.

The source of assembling facts, statistics, and arguments are – 

  • Reading notes,
  • Online research reference materials,
  • Different books
  • Journals,
  • Company case studies,
  •  and research results from case studies.

The bottom line –

When it is about creating an excellent case study that makes your readers read till the end, you will need to ensure that you follow the steps that are mentioned above diligently. These are the right steps that will ensure that you receive good grades in your case study, whether you are a nursing or management student, making a stately impression on your teachers.