What Is a Case Study?
When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.
At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.
As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.
Study a Pattern
One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.
During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.
As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.
Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.
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How To Write Viewpoint in Case Study (With Examples)
Your goal in writing a case study is to analyze and provide solutions to a problem that a business or organization tackles.
To achieve this, your analysis must be framed from the perspective of someone who can solve your case study’s problem, such as the firm’s Chief Executive Officer, a department director, or a shop manager. The Viewpoint of a Case Study is the portion where you put yourself in the shoes of that handpicked individual.
In this article, we will present and elaborate on the steps in writing the viewpoint of the case study so you can select whose perspective best suits your case study’s problem.
Table of Contents
What Is Viewpoint in a Case Study?
What is the importance of the viewpoint of the case study, 1. start by reviewing your case study’s problem, 2. identify the person(s) that you think has the ability and authority to decide and solve your case study’s problem, 3. justify why you have selected that person(s) as your case study’s point of view (optional), tips and warnings, 1. what point of view should a case study be written in.
The Viewpoint or Point of View in a case study indicates the person who has the authority, ability, and expertise to recommend and decide how to solve your case study’s problem. Once you have identified this person, you will assume his/her role in analyzing the problem. Basically, this portion tells the readers that you are viewing the given case in the eyes of your selected person.
Suppose that your case study involves recruitment issues in a firm. In this case, you can use the HR manager’s perspective as your case study’s viewpoint. The HR manager has the appropriate skill sets and knowledge about the firm’s recruitment process, making him/her qualified to decide regarding this issue.
Most case studies state the individual’s name whose perspective serves as the Viewpoint of the Case Study (e.g., Mr. Juan Dela Cruz ). However, there are also those that just indicate this specific person’s title or position in the company (e.g., Chief Executive Officer ).
Some case studies use the term “Point of View” or “Protagonist of Case Study 1 ” instead of Viewpoint.
The Viewpoint is located at the beginning of the case study, usually after the “Statement of the Facts” portion.
People have different perspectives about a particular issue of an organization. For this reason, it is challenging to concentrate or focus our analysis since it can be viewed from multiple points of view.
For instance, a finance officer may attribute the decline in sales to insufficient funds disbursed to the marketing department. Meanwhile, a sales officer may attribute the same problem to the increasing market competition. This variation in perspectives makes it more challenging to develop the most appropriate approach to analyze the problem.
Limiting the perspective of your case study to the most suitable person makes your analysis more concise and straightforward. There is no need to capture everyone’s perspective since the viewpoint of your selected individual is the only relevant and valuable one.
How To Write a Viewpoint in Case Study?
Writing your case study’s viewpoint is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is to follow the given steps below:
Review and identify in which “field” or “category” your case study’s problem belongs. Say your case study’s issue is about the declining satisfaction level of the firm’s customer service department, as reflected by their recent survey. The category which this problem falls under is apparently “customer service”.
Another example: if your case study’s problem is rooted in how a firm drew flak from the public for its waste disposal mechanisms that have degraded the natural environment around a certain community, then this problem falls under “environment and waste disposal”
Shortlist people who you think can qualify as the viewpoint. Ensure the candidates are involved in the “category” or “field” where your problem belongs. Afterward, determine who is the most qualified to decide for your case.
Using our previous example, you may select from the following individuals the viewpoint for the problem of the declining satisfaction level of the firm’s customer service:
- The firm’s CEO
- The Director of the firm’s customer service department
- A customer service employee
All of them can be a suitable viewpoint since they are all involved in the particular category where the problem belongs. However, you should only select one person. If we analyze each individual:
- The firm’s CEO – Although he/she has the highest authority in the firm, he/she might have no specialized knowledge about customer service. Thus, we cannot select him/her as a viewpoint.
- The Director of the firm’s customer service department – This person supervises the entire customer service arm of the company so he/she knows everything about it, including its nitty-gritty processes. This person is the best viewpoint for our problem.
- A customer service employee – Although this person has skill and experience in handling customers’ concerns and queries, he/she has no authority to change something in the firm’s current customer service system. Thus, we cannot select him/her as a viewpoint.
Upon analysis, the most suitable perspective to use for this case study’s problem is that of the Director of the customer service department.
Once you have figured out the Viewpoint of your case study, you may now explicitly state in your manuscript his/her name and title or position in the firm.
Explain why you have selected this person by stating his/her role, experiences, and contributions to the firm or organization.
Some published case studies do not put justification for their selected viewpoint since it is optional. However, it is advised to include one to make this portion more detailed.
Examples of Viewpoint of Case Study
To help you further understand how to create the viewpoint of a case study, we have provided you with some examples that you may use as a reference.
Case Study Problem : The popularity and momentum of Netflix Inc. start to wane as it loses around 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, resulting in lower investor confidence in the firm.
Viewpoint: Reed Hastings, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and co-founder of Netflix.
The CEO has the highest authority to decide how to solve Netflix’s problem. He also oversees the entire operation, making him qualified to deal with the problem.
The straightforward example above simply states the name of the selected viewpoint and then his position or title in the company. However, although the example above already satisfies what a viewpoint is, the format used in this example lacks justification. Let’s look at the next example which includes reasons or justification for the selected viewpoint.
Case Study problem: The marketing and publicity department of Solstice Clothing Line decided to concentrate their marketing efforts in the digital realm during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which drove their reach and engagement upward in the early quarters of 2019. However, in the last quarter of the same year, the business experienced a gradual decline in its overall engagement levels on its social media handles.
Viewpoint: The problem needs the expertise of Celine Garcia, the Marketing and Publicity Director of Solstice Clothing Line. She is in charge of assessing the performance of the clothing line’s marketing officers, approving digital marketing content, and evaluating the level of engagement with digital publicity materials.
This example mentions the name of the chosen person together with her position in the firm. It also explains the reason why she was selected as a viewpoint by stating her role in the business .
Case Study Problem: Paws Corner is one of the largest pet shops in the National Capital Region. It serves as a haven for different types of pet animals until a willing person adopts them. In 2017, the Paws Corner experienced a continuous decline in profit due to the increasing rental and operating costs. For this reason, the business is faced with the dilemma of whether to continue its operations or to close it indefinitely.
Viewpoint: Mr. Lito Cruz, the manager, and owner of Paws Corner, has led the operations of Paws Corner since 2015. He manages the day-to-day transactions of Paws Corner and keeps track of its revenues and expenses. He is a certified animal lover and an entrepreneur at heart.
The example above stated the most appropriate perspective that must be used for the case study (which is its manager and owner). There’s also an explanation to justify why he was selected as the viewpoint.
- Narrow down your case study’s viewpoint to a single individual . Although a case study can be approached through multiple perspectives, it’s better to limit your case study’s Viewpoint to a single person who can best decide on the problem. This will also make your analysis of the case easier and less complex.
- If the case being analyzed involves a certain department of an organization, the best viewpoint of the case study is the department head. For example, if your case involves the financial management of an organization, you can select the Director of Finance of that organization as your viewpoint.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since a case study is a form of formal writing, it is usually written in the third-person perspective. Hence, pronouns such as “He”, “She”, “They”, and “It” are generally used in case studies.
- Schweitzer, K. (2019). Writing Business Case Studies for Class. Retrieved 23 May 2022, from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-write-and-format-a-business-case-study-466324
Jewel Kyle Fabula
Jewel Kyle Fabula is a Bachelor of Science in Economics student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. His passion for learning mathematics developed as he competed in some mathematics competitions during his Junior High School years. He loves cats, playing video games, and listening to music.
One thought on “ How To Write Viewpoint in Case Study (With Examples) ”
Thank you for thisss. Really need this because our case studies aren’t explained so yeah, this helps.
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Evaluating a Text
Content & point of view.
Content is made up of main idea and supporting information. There are some basic questions to ask in order to analyze how these two pieces function together, and whether they function effectively.
Analyze a text’s content when that text’s purpose is to persuade or inform. Questions about content fall into four main categories:
Relevance of Content
- Is the main idea generally believable? (note that this question does not ask whether you believe or agree with the main idea; it asks if the main idea is logically acceptable, so that even if you don’t agree, you can still see the legitimacy of the idea)
- Is the supporting content directly related to that main idea?
- Do the key supporting ideas relate to and build upon one another?
- Do the details and examples relate to the key supporting ideas and main idea?
- Is the content relevant and appropriate to the author’s purpose?
- Is the content relevant to and appropriate for the author’s intended audience?
Amount of Content
- Are there enough key supporting ideas to verify the main idea? (e.g., so that an argument is not based only on one reason or example)
- Are there enough examples to fully explain a key supporting idea as appropriate to the audience?
- Are examples detailed enough to fully explain a key supporting idea as appropriate to the audience? (e.g., are definitions or key words or concepts included if the audience might include members who are less expert in the field?)
If the main idea is that new hiring procedures need to be implemented in the workplace, the support needs to include many different reasons why, and each reason why needs its own supporting evidence. Just saying that such a move would increase employee retention is not sufficient support, although it is one good supporting idea that needs appropriate supporting evidence in itself with facts and statistics from valid sources.
Type of Content
- Is the type of content appropriate to support the main idea?
That’s the main question to ask about content, but evaluating content is more nuanced. Types of content may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- case studies
- experiment results
- expert opinion
- personal opinion
- interviews with people involved in a situation or issue
- personal experiences, anecdotes, stories
Since a text intended to persuade offers a logical argument, one useful way to evaluate the quality of its content is to ask what type of content you would need to be convinced of the author’s main idea, or at least to see the value in the idea. For example:
Main Idea: Although immunotherapy has produced some good results in fighting cancer, overall it is less effective than chemotherapy.
Appropriate Content: Content would have to include facts, case studies, and/or experiment results. If the text included only personal anecdotes to support this particular main idea, you might not be convinced.
Main Idea: The city’s board of education should institute an honors program not only for high school students, but for elementary and junior high school students as well.
Appropriate Conten t : Content would have to include case studies or statistics that showed that elementary and junior high school students benefited in different ways from having an honors program. Content might logically include interviews with students, parents, and teachers, but without case studies or statistics to prove benefits, the text would be mostly opinion, and may not convince a reader of the author’s main idea.
Since facts are useful in creating solid content, view the following video for a fuller explanation of fact vs. opinion.
Quality of Content
- In what type of source is the content located: a peer-reviewed journal article, a popular magazine, a self-published book, a blog, a website sponsored by an organization with a particular viewpoint? Content from a peer-reviewed journal should be of higher quality than content from a self-published blog post, simply because the process of peer review means that other experts in the field think the author’s information has enough merit to be published.
- Is the content accurate, to the best of your knowledge?
- Does the content consider the opposing viewpoint if there is a significant opposing viewpoint? If so, the content is likely to be balanced and objective, characteristics which contribute to good quality content.
- Is the content logically sound, without logical errors? (see the page on Analyzing Arguments/Logical Fallacies for a fuller discussion of how to determine logically sound content)
Point of View
Point of view relates to how the author presents their content. It’s the perspective the author takes on the content. Is the author passionate or dispassionate about the ideas being presented? Is the author’s point of view biased, because of conscious or subconscious preferences? Is the author taking a subjective or objective stance? You can think of point of view traditionally in terms of language, which also helps you identify the author’s engagement with and perspective on the topic—does the author use “I,” “we,” “they,” “one?” Determining the author’s point of view will provide you with additional insight into the author’s content and what the author thinks about that content. Point of view is not the same as main idea. The main idea is the concept the author wants you—the reader—to understand. Point of view is the author’s personal understanding, perspective on, and engagement with that concept. (Read more about how language helps identify point of view on the Language & Tone page.)
View the following video on point of view.
Based on your reading of “ Forget Shorter Showers ” by Derrick Jensen, consider the following questions about the article’s content and point of view. There’s no one right answer; answers will be based upon your interpretation. Once you have considered these questions, read one reader’s thoughts. (Note that there’s no question about logic – we’ll deal with that on the next page.)
- Is the main idea generally believable?
- Is the content appropriate to the author’s purpose and audience?
- Does all of the content relate to that main idea?
- Are there enough examples to fully explain and support the main idea?
- What is the main type of content? fact? opinion? etc.? Is the type of content appropriate to the author’s main idea, purpose, and audience?
- Is the content balanced—does it consider any significant opposing viewpoints?
- What is the author’s own point of view, and how does that influence the presentation of content?
The main idea may or may not be believable, based on a reader’s orientation and proclivity for taking action. The author relates ecological activism to activism that was intended to save human lives, and in some way one can argue that activism in regard to natural resources is akin to saving human lives. As a reader, I can see two different answers to this question—believable and not believable. The content relates clearly to the author’s main idea, purpose, and audience; he remains focused on supporting his main idea. The content is also appropriate to the purpose and audience, given that people who would read articles on the Orion site are interested in conservation and preservation of resources. There also seems to be enough content to fully explain the main idea and purpose to the intended audience. Most of the information seems to be opinion. The author does include factual information, with a number of percentages about amount of resource use and who is using those resources. However, I don’t know the source of those statistics, and it would be very useful to know the sources. Otherwise, I can’t tell if that information comes from valid sources, or even if the author made up the statistical information. So, I’m not sure about the accuracy of the information. Also, the information is not balanced in this article—there’s very little if any concession to an opposing viewpoint. That may be because the author is so passionate about the content. His point of view may be biased, especially when he states that “the endpoint of the logic behind simple living as a political act is suicide.” For me as a reader, this pushes his argument a bit far. So, while I think that the article and the author’s viewpoint is different and interesting, I’m not sure how solid it is based on an evaluation of the content and his own, perhaps biased, point of view.
- Main Idea & Supporting Content. Authored by : Susan Oaks. Project : Introduction to College Reading & Writing. License : CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial
- image of an idea bubble with the words Thinking Welcome. Authored by : Gerd Altmann. Provided by : Pixabay. Located at : https://pixabay.com/illustrations/balloon-thought-bubble-think-413164/ . License : CC0: No Rights Reserved
- video Distinguishing between Fact and Opinion. Authored by : Marc Franco. Provided by : Snap Language. Located at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs9ZGW_1oMM . License : Other . License Terms : YouTube video
- video The Author's Point of View in Writing. Authored by : Marc Franco. Provided by : Snap Language. Located at : https://youtu.be/aptsr0CrpWY . License : Other . License Terms : YouTube video
An abstract for a case study, when it’s needed and how to make one
A case study in a different discipline can have different characteristics. Learn in this article everything you should know about it.
There is no doubt that case studies are a unique way to gain insight into the professional practices of any profession, as well as how they operate in a bigger picture.
A case study in a different discipline can have different characteristics. A case study, for example, cannot guide subsequent treatment but can help frame relevant research questions. Case studies also provide valuable teaching material, demonstrating both classical and unusual presentations which may confront the practitioner.
The cover letter and abstract are vital parts of a submission package and are crucial for clearing the initial editorial screening at the journal end. These are the elements that the editor reads first, and based on these, form his or her impression of the manuscript. Some editors screen papers by reading the cover letter and abstract and do not read the entire paper if they do not find these interesting enough.
What is an abstract in case study, and what is its purpose?
An introduction to a topic normally appears in case studies, but they don’t require citations or viewpoints from the author. Consider a case study as primarily a record of a treatment’s progress, not a personal story. A case study should not contain editorial or adversarial remarks. The most effective approach is to tell a story and allow the end product to speak for itself.
It is generally a good idea to confine yourself to specific details and facts when writing case studies. What really happened should be outlined fairly concisely in a case study. We should avoid speculating about the mechanism or prognosis of the disease.
Structure of abstract in case study
A narrative abstract describes the entire paper shortly and concisely. Narrative abstracts do not have headings. By composing a logical story from the paper, the author aims to sum up the content.
Abstracts with subheadings are structured. In basic scientific and clinical research, structured abstracts have become more popular since they streamline information and include certain details. Researchers who conduct article searches online will greatly benefit from this. Readers often decide whether or not to download a full article based on the abstract displayed by a search engine to save time.
Readers are more likely to enjoy structured abstracts since they contain all the essential data they need to decide to read the entire article. Please follow the guidelines below when writing an abstract.
- A one- to two-sentence introduction summarizing the whole article and describing the background of the case study.
- A brief summary of the case and the investigation conducted is given in several sentences. This case is described in detail, including its diagnosis and therapeutic approach.
- Provide details about the patient’s complaint and its outcome.
- If the patient’s progress was empirically measured, refer to those measures.
- Describe correlations and apparent inconsistencies between the foregoing subsections.
- You may wish to summarize the key points covered within a sentence or two, depending on the situation.
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About Aayushi Zaveri
Aayushi Zaveri majored in biotechnology engineering. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Bioentrepreneurship from Karolinska Institute. She is interested in health and diseases, global health, socioeconomic development, and women's health. As a science enthusiast, she is keen in learning more about the scientific world and wants to play a part in making a difference.
Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments
- Annotated Bibliography
- Analyzing a Scholarly Journal Article
- Group Presentations
- Dealing with Nervousness
- Using Visual Aids
- Grading Someone Else's Paper
- Types of Structured Group Activities
- Group Project Survival Skills
- Leading a Class Discussion
- Multiple Book Review Essay
- Reviewing Collected Works
- Writing a Case Analysis Paper
- Writing a Case Study
- About Informed Consent
- Writing Field Notes
- Writing a Policy Memo
- Writing a Reflective Paper
- Writing a Research Proposal
- Generative AI and Writing
Definition and Introduction
Case analysis is a problem-based teaching and learning method that involves critically analyzing complex scenarios within an organizational setting for the purpose of placing the student in a “real world” situation and applying reflection and critical thinking skills to contemplate appropriate solutions, decisions, or recommended courses of action. It is considered a more effective teaching technique than in-class role playing or simulation activities. The analytical process is often guided by questions provided by the instructor that ask students to contemplate relationships between the facts and critical incidents described in the case.
Cases generally include both descriptive and statistical elements and rely on students applying abductive reasoning to develop and argue for preferred or best outcomes [i.e., case scenarios rarely have a single correct or perfect answer based on the evidence provided]. Rather than emphasizing theories or concepts, case analysis assignments emphasize building a bridge of relevancy between abstract thinking and practical application and, by so doing, teaches the value of both within a specific area of professional practice.
Given this, the purpose of a case analysis paper is to present a structured and logically organized format for analyzing the case situation. It can be assigned to students individually or as a small group assignment and it may include an in-class presentation component. Case analysis is predominately taught in economics and business-related courses, but it is also a method of teaching and learning found in other applied social sciences disciplines, such as, social work, public relations, education, journalism, and public administration.
Ellet, William. The Case Study Handbook: A Student's Guide . Revised Edition. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2018; Christoph Rasche and Achim Seisreiner. Guidelines for Business Case Analysis . University of Potsdam; Writing a Case Analysis . Writing Center, Baruch College; Volpe, Guglielmo. "Case Teaching in Economics: History, Practice and Evidence." Cogent Economics and Finance 3 (December 2015). doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/23322039.2015.1120977.
How to Approach Writing a Case Analysis Paper
The organization and structure of a case analysis paper can vary depending on the organizational setting, the situation, and how your professor wants you to approach the assignment. Nevertheless, preparing to write a case analysis paper involves several important steps. As Hawes notes, a case analysis assignment “...is useful in developing the ability to get to the heart of a problem, analyze it thoroughly, and to indicate the appropriate solution as well as how it should be implemented” [p.48]. This statement encapsulates how you should approach preparing to write a case analysis paper.
Before you begin to write your paper, consider the following analytical procedures:
- Review the case to get an overview of the situation . A case can be only a few pages in length, however, it is most often very lengthy and contains a significant amount of detailed background information and statistics, with multilayered descriptions of the scenario, the roles and behaviors of various stakeholder groups, and situational events. Therefore, a quick reading of the case will help you gain an overall sense of the situation and illuminate the types of issues and problems that you will need to address in your paper. If your professor has provided questions intended to help frame your analysis, use them to guide your initial reading of the case.
- Read the case thoroughly . After gaining a general overview of the case, carefully read the content again with the purpose of understanding key circumstances, events, and behaviors among stakeholder groups. Look for information or data that appears contradictory, extraneous, or misleading. At this point, you should be taking notes as you read because this will help you develop a general outline of your paper. The aim is to obtain a complete understanding of the situation so that you can begin contemplating tentative answers to any questions your professor has provided or, if they have not provided, developing answers to your own questions about the case scenario and its connection to the course readings,lectures, and class discussions.
- Determine key stakeholder groups, issues, and events and the relationships they all have to each other . As you analyze the content, pay particular attention to identifying individuals, groups, or organizations described in the case and identify evidence of any problems or issues of concern that impact the situation in a negative way. Other things to look for include identifying any assumptions being made by or about each stakeholder, potential biased explanations or actions, explicit demands or ultimatums , and the underlying concerns that motivate these behaviors among stakeholders. The goal at this stage is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the situational and behavioral dynamics of the case and the explicit and implicit consequences of each of these actions.
- Identify the core problems . The next step in most case analysis assignments is to discern what the core [i.e., most damaging, detrimental, injurious] problems are within the organizational setting and to determine their implications. The purpose at this stage of preparing to write your analysis paper is to distinguish between the symptoms of core problems and the core problems themselves and to decide which of these must be addressed immediately and which problems do not appear critical but may escalate over time. Identify evidence from the case to support your decisions by determining what information or data is essential to addressing the core problems and what information is not relevant or is misleading.
- Explore alternative solutions . As noted, case analysis scenarios rarely have only one correct answer. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that the process of analyzing the case and diagnosing core problems, while based on evidence, is a subjective process open to various avenues of interpretation. This means that you must consider alternative solutions or courses of action by critically examining strengths and weaknesses, risk factors, and the differences between short and long-term solutions. For each possible solution or course of action, consider the consequences they may have related to their implementation and how these recommendations might lead to new problems. Also, consider thinking about your recommended solutions or courses of action in relation to issues of fairness, equity, and inclusion.
- Decide on a final set of recommendations . The last stage in preparing to write a case analysis paper is to assert an opinion or viewpoint about the recommendations needed to help resolve the core problems as you see them and to make a persuasive argument for supporting this point of view. Prepare a clear rationale for your recommendations based on examining each element of your analysis. Anticipate possible obstacles that could derail their implementation. Consider any counter-arguments that could be made concerning the validity of your recommended actions. Finally, describe a set of criteria and measurable indicators that could be applied to evaluating the effectiveness of your implementation plan.
Use these steps as the framework for writing your paper. Remember that the more detailed you are in taking notes as you critically examine each element of the case, the more information you will have to draw from when you begin to write. This will save you time.
NOTE : If the process of preparing to write a case analysis paper is assigned as a student group project, consider having each member of the group analyze a specific element of the case, including drafting answers to the corresponding questions used by your professor to frame the analysis. This will help make the analytical process more efficient and ensure that the distribution of work is equitable. This can also facilitate who is responsible for drafting each part of the final case analysis paper and, if applicable, the in-class presentation.
Framework for Case Analysis . College of Management. University of Massachusetts; Hawes, Jon M. "Teaching is Not Telling: The Case Method as a Form of Interactive Learning." Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education 5 (Winter 2004): 47-54; Rasche, Christoph and Achim Seisreiner. Guidelines for Business Case Analysis . University of Potsdam; Writing a Case Study Analysis . University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center; Van Ness, Raymond K. A Guide to Case Analysis . School of Business. State University of New York, Albany; Writing a Case Analysis . Business School, University of New South Wales.
Structure and Writing Style
A case analysis paper should be detailed, concise, persuasive, clearly written, and professional in tone and in the use of language . As with other forms of college-level academic writing, declarative statements that convey information, provide a fact, or offer an explanation or any recommended courses of action should be based on evidence. If allowed by your professor, any external sources used to support your analysis, such as course readings, should be properly cited under a list of references. The organization and structure of case analysis papers can vary depending on your professor’s preferred format, but its structure generally follows the steps used for analyzing the case.
The introduction should provide a succinct but thorough descriptive overview of the main facts, issues, and core problems of the case . The introduction should also include a brief summary of the most relevant details about the situation and organizational setting. This includes defining the theoretical framework or conceptual model on which any questions were used to frame your analysis.
Following the rules of most college-level research papers, the introduction should then inform the reader how the paper will be organized. This includes describing the major sections of the paper and the order in which they will be presented. Unless you are told to do so by your professor, you do not need to preview your final recommendations in the introduction. U nlike most college-level research papers , the introduction does not include a statement about the significance of your findings because a case analysis assignment does not involve contributing new knowledge about a research problem.
Background analysis can vary depending on any guiding questions provided by your professor and the underlying concept or theory that the case is based upon. In general, however, this section of your paper should focus on:
- Providing an overarching analysis of problems identified from the case scenario, including identifying events that stakeholders find challenging or troublesome,
- Identifying assumptions made by each stakeholder and any apparent biases they may exhibit,
- Describing any demands or claims made by or forced upon key stakeholders, and
- Highlighting any issues of concern or complaints expressed by stakeholders in response to those demands or claims.
These aspects of the case are often in the form of behavioral responses expressed by individuals or groups within the organizational setting. However, note that problems in a case situation can also be reflected in data [or the lack thereof] and in the decision-making, operational, cultural, or institutional structure of the organization. Additionally, demands or claims can be either internal and external to the organization [e.g., a case analysis involving a president considering arms sales to Saudi Arabia could include managing internal demands from White House advisors as well as demands from members of Congress].
Throughout this section, present all relevant evidence from the case that supports your analysis. Do not simply claim there is a problem, an assumption, a demand, or a concern; tell the reader what part of the case informed how you identified these background elements.
Identification of Problems
In most case analysis assignments, there are problems, and then there are problems . Each problem can reflect a multitude of underlying symptoms that are detrimental to the interests of the organization. The purpose of identifying problems is to teach students how to differentiate between problems that vary in severity, impact, and relative importance. Given this, problems can be described in three general forms: those that must be addressed immediately, those that should be addressed but the impact is not severe, and those that do not require immediate attention and can be set aside for the time being.
All of the problems you identify from the case should be identified in this section of your paper, with a description based on evidence explaining the problem variances. If the assignment asks you to conduct research to further support your assessment of the problems, include this in your explanation. Remember to cite those sources in a list of references. Use specific evidence from the case and apply appropriate concepts, theories, and models discussed in class or in relevant course readings to highlight and explain the key problems [or problem] that you believe must be solved immediately and describe the underlying symptoms and why they are so critical.
This section is where you provide specific, realistic, and evidence-based solutions to the problems you have identified and make recommendations about how to alleviate the underlying symptomatic conditions impacting the organizational setting. For each solution, you must explain why it was chosen and provide clear evidence to support your reasoning. This can include, for example, course readings and class discussions as well as research resources, such as, books, journal articles, research reports, or government documents. In some cases, your professor may encourage you to include personal, anecdotal experiences as evidence to support why you chose a particular solution or set of solutions. Using anecdotal evidence helps promote reflective thinking about the process of determining what qualifies as a core problem and relevant solution .
Throughout this part of the paper, keep in mind the entire array of problems that must be addressed and describe in detail the solutions that might be implemented to resolve these problems.
Recommended Courses of Action
In some case analysis assignments, your professor may ask you to combine the alternative solutions section with your recommended courses of action. However, it is important to know the difference between the two. A solution refers to the answer to a problem. A course of action refers to a procedure or deliberate sequence of activities adopted to proactively confront a situation, often in the context of accomplishing a goal. In this context, proposed courses of action are based on your analysis of alternative solutions. Your description and justification for pursuing each course of action should represent the overall plan for implementing your recommendations.
For each course of action, you need to explain the rationale for your recommendation in a way that confronts challenges, explains risks, and anticipates any counter-arguments from stakeholders. Do this by considering the strengths and weaknesses of each course of action framed in relation to how the action is expected to resolve the core problems presented, the possible ways the action may affect remaining problems, and how the recommended action will be perceived by each stakeholder.
In addition, you should describe the criteria needed to measure how well the implementation of these actions is working and explain which individuals or groups are responsible for ensuring your recommendations are successful. In addition, always consider the law of unintended consequences. Outline difficulties that may arise in implementing each course of action and describe how implementing the proposed courses of action [either individually or collectively] may lead to new problems [both large and small].
Throughout this section, you must consider the costs and benefits of recommending your courses of action in relation to uncertainties or missing information and the negative consequences of success.
The conclusion should be brief and introspective. Unlike a research paper, the conclusion in a case analysis paper does not include a summary of key findings and their significance, a statement about how the study contributed to existing knowledge, or indicate opportunities for future research.
Begin by synthesizing the core problems presented in the case and the relevance of your recommended solutions. This can include an explanation of what you have learned about the case in the context of your answers to the questions provided by your professor. The conclusion is also where you link what you learned from analyzing the case with the course readings or class discussions. This can further demonstrate your understanding of the relationships between the practical case situation and the theoretical and abstract content of assigned readings and other course content.
Problems to Avoid
The literature on case analysis assignments often includes examples of difficulties students have with applying methods of critical analysis and effectively reporting the results of their assessment of the situation. A common reason cited by scholars is that the application of this type of teaching and learning method is limited to applied fields of social and behavioral sciences and, as a result, writing a case analysis paper can be unfamiliar to most students entering college.
After you have drafted your paper, proofread the narrative flow and revise any of these common errors:
- Unnecessary detail in the background section . The background section should highlight the essential elements of the case based on your analysis. Focus on summarizing the facts and highlighting the key factors that become relevant in the other sections of the paper by eliminating any unnecessary information.
- Analysis relies too much on opinion . Your analysis is interpretive, but the narrative must be connected clearly to evidence from the case and any models and theories discussed in class or in course readings. Any positions or arguments you make should be supported by evidence.
- Analysis does not focus on the most important elements of the case . Your paper should provide a thorough overview of the case. However, the analysis should focus on providing evidence about what you identify are the key events, stakeholders, issues, and problems. Emphasize what you identify as the most critical aspects of the case to be developed throughout your analysis. Be thorough but succinct.
- Writing is too descriptive . A paper with too much descriptive information detracts from your analysis of the complexities of the case situation. Questions about what happened, where, when, and by whom should only be included as essential information leading to your examination of questions related to why, how, and for what purpose.
- Inadequate definition of a core problem and associated symptoms . A common error found in case analysis papers is recommending a solution or course of action without adequately defining or demonstrating that you understand the problem. Make sure you have clearly described the problem and its impact and scope within the organizational setting. Ensure that you have adequately described the root causes w hen describing the symptoms of the problem.
- Recommendations lack specificity . Identify any use of vague statements and indeterminate terminology, such as, “A particular experience” or “a large increase to the budget.” These statements cannot be measured and, as a result, there is no way to evaluate their successful implementation. Provide specific data and use direct language in describing recommended actions.
- Unrealistic, exaggerated, or unattainable recommendations . Review your recommendations to ensure that they are based on the situational facts of the case. Your recommended solutions and courses of action must be based on realistic assumptions and fit within the constraints of the situation. Also note that the case scenario has already happened, therefore, any speculation or arguments about what could have occurred if the circumstances were different should be revised or eliminated.
Bee, Lian Song et al. "Business Students' Perspectives on Case Method Coaching for Problem-Based Learning: Impacts on Student Engagement and Learning Performance in Higher Education." Education & Training 64 (2022): 416-432; The Case Analysis . Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors. Grand Valley State University; Georgallis, Panikos and Kayleigh Bruijn. "Sustainability Teaching using Case-Based Debates." Journal of International Education in Business 15 (2022): 147-163; Hawes, Jon M. "Teaching is Not Telling: The Case Method as a Form of Interactive Learning." Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education 5 (Winter 2004): 47-54; Georgallis, Panikos, and Kayleigh Bruijn. "Sustainability Teaching Using Case-based Debates." Journal of International Education in Business 15 (2022): 147-163; .Dean, Kathy Lund and Charles J. Fornaciari. "How to Create and Use Experiential Case-Based Exercises in a Management Classroom." Journal of Management Education 26 (October 2002): 586-603; Klebba, Joanne M. and Janet G. Hamilton. "Structured Case Analysis: Developing Critical Thinking Skills in a Marketing Case Course." Journal of Marketing Education 29 (August 2007): 132-137, 139; Klein, Norman. "The Case Discussion Method Revisited: Some Questions about Student Skills." Exchange: The Organizational Behavior Teaching Journal 6 (November 1981): 30-32; Mukherjee, Arup. "Effective Use of In-Class Mini Case Analysis for Discovery Learning in an Undergraduate MIS Course." The Journal of Computer Information Systems 40 (Spring 2000): 15-23; Pessoa, Silviaet al. "Scaffolding the Case Analysis in an Organizational Behavior Course: Making Analytical Language Explicit." Journal of Management Education 46 (2022): 226-251: Ramsey, V. J. and L. D. Dodge. "Case Analysis: A Structured Approach." Exchange: The Organizational Behavior Teaching Journal 6 (November 1981): 27-29; Schweitzer, Karen. "How to Write and Format a Business Case Study." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-write-and-format-a-business-case-study-466324 (accessed December 5, 2022); Reddy, C. D. "Teaching Research Methodology: Everything's a Case." Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods 18 (December 2020): 178-188; Volpe, Guglielmo. "Case Teaching in Economics: History, Practice and Evidence." Cogent Economics and Finance 3 (December 2015). doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/23322039.2015.1120977.
Ca se Study and Case Analysis Are Not the Same!
Confusion often exists between what it means to write a paper that uses a case study research design and writing a paper that analyzes a case; they are two different types of approaches to learning in the social and behavioral sciences. Professors as well as educational researchers contribute to this confusion because they often use the term "case study" when describing the subject of analysis for a case analysis paper. But you are not studying a case for the purpose of generating a comprehensive, multi-faceted understanding of a research problem. R ather, you are critically analyzing a specific scenario to argue logically for recommended solutions and courses of action that lead to optimal outcomes applicable to professional practice.
To avoid any confusion, here are twelve characteristics that delineate the differences between writing a paper using the case study research method and writing a case analysis paper:
- Case study is a method of in-depth research and rigorous inquiry ; case analysis is a reliable method of teaching and learning . A case study is a modality of research that investigates a phenomenon for the purpose of creating new knowledge, solving a problem, or testing a hypothesis using empirical evidence derived from the case being studied. Often, the results are used to generalize about a larger population or within a wider context. The writing adheres to the traditional standards of a scholarly research study. A case analysis is a pedagogical tool used to teach students how to reflect and think critically about a practical, real-life problem in an organizational setting.
- The researcher is responsible for identifying the case to study; a case analysis is assigned by your professor . As the researcher, you choose the case study to investigate in support of obtaining new knowledge and understanding about the research problem. The case in a case analysis assignment is almost always provided, and sometimes written, by your professor and either given to every student in class to analyze individually or to a small group of students, or students select a case to analyze from a predetermined list.
- A case study is indeterminate and boundless; a case analysis is predetermined and confined . A case study can be almost anything [see item 9 below] as long as it relates directly to examining the research problem. This relationship is the only limit to what a researcher can choose as the subject of their case study. The content of a case analysis is determined by your professor and its parameters are well-defined and limited to elucidating insights of practical value applied to practice.
- Case study is fact-based and describes actual events or situations; case analysis can be entirely fictional or adapted from an actual situation . The entire content of a case study must be grounded in reality to be a valid subject of investigation in an empirical research study. A case analysis only needs to set the stage for critically examining a situation in practice and, therefore, can be entirely fictional or adapted, all or in-part, from an actual situation.
- Research using a case study method must adhere to principles of intellectual honesty and academic integrity; a case analysis scenario can include misleading or false information . A case study paper must report research objectively and factually to ensure that any findings are understood to be logically correct and trustworthy. A case analysis scenario may include misleading or false information intended to deliberately distract from the central issues of the case. The purpose is to teach students how to sort through conflicting or useless information in order to come up with the preferred solution. Any use of misleading or false information in academic research is considered unethical.
- Case study is linked to a research problem; case analysis is linked to a practical situation or scenario . In the social sciences, the subject of an investigation is most often framed as a problem that must be researched in order to generate new knowledge leading to a solution. Case analysis narratives are grounded in real life scenarios for the purpose of examining the realities of decision-making behavior and processes within organizational settings. A case analysis assignments include a problem or set of problems to be analyzed. However, the goal is centered around the act of identifying and evaluating courses of action leading to best possible outcomes.
- The purpose of a case study is to create new knowledge through research; the purpose of a case analysis is to teach new understanding . Case studies are a choice of methodological design intended to create new knowledge about resolving a research problem. A case analysis is a mode of teaching and learning intended to create new understanding and an awareness of uncertainty applied to practice through acts of critical thinking and reflection.
- A case study seeks to identify the best possible solution to a research problem; case analysis can have an indeterminate set of solutions or outcomes . Your role in studying a case is to discover the most logical, evidence-based ways to address a research problem. A case analysis assignment rarely has a single correct answer because one of the goals is to force students to confront the real life dynamics of uncertainly, ambiguity, and missing or conflicting information within professional practice. Under these conditions, a perfect outcome or solution almost never exists.
- Case study is unbounded and relies on gathering external information; case analysis is a self-contained subject of analysis . The scope of a case study chosen as a method of research is bounded. However, the researcher is free to gather whatever information and data is necessary to investigate its relevance to understanding the research problem. For a case analysis assignment, your professor will often ask you to examine solutions or recommended courses of action based solely on facts and information from the case.
- Case study can be a person, place, object, issue, event, condition, or phenomenon; a case analysis is a carefully constructed synopsis of events, situations, and behaviors . The research problem dictates the type of case being studied and, therefore, the design can encompass almost anything tangible as long as it fulfills the objective of generating new knowledge and understanding. A case analysis is in the form of a narrative containing descriptions of facts, situations, processes, rules, and behaviors within a particular setting and under a specific set of circumstances.
- Case study can represent an open-ended subject of inquiry; a case analysis is a narrative about something that has happened in the past . A case study is not restricted by time and can encompass an event or issue with no temporal limit or end. For example, the current war in Ukraine can be used as a case study of how medical personnel help civilians during a large military conflict, even though circumstances around this event are still evolving. A case analysis can be used to elicit critical thinking about current or future situations in practice, but the case itself is a narrative about something finite and that has taken place in the past.
- Multiple case studies can be used in a research study; case analysis involves examining a single scenario . Case study research can use two or more cases to examine a problem, often for the purpose of conducting a comparative investigation intended to discover hidden relationships, document emerging trends, or determine variations among different examples. A case analysis assignment typically describes a stand-alone, self-contained situation and any comparisons among cases are conducted during in-class discussions and/or student presentations.
The Case Analysis . Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors. Grand Valley State University; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Ramsey, V. J. and L. D. Dodge. "Case Analysis: A Structured Approach." Exchange: The Organizational Behavior Teaching Journal 6 (November 1981): 27-29; Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . 6th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2017; Crowe, Sarah et al. “The Case Study Approach.” BMC Medical Research Methodology 11 (2011): doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-11-100; Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research: Design and Methods . 4th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing; 1994.
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