How to Do a Case Study

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.

Steps

Method 1 of 3: Planning an Academic Case Study Download Article

How to Do a Case Study

Define the subject of study. A case study focuses on a single individual, a small group of people, or occasionally a single event. You’ll be conducting qualitative research to find specific details and descriptions of how your subject is affected.

  • 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.

How to Do a Case Study

Decide between prospective and retrospective research. Prospective case studies perform new studies of their own, involving individuals or small groups. Retrospective case studies examine a small number of past cases related to the subject of study, and do not require new involvement with the subject of these cases.

  • A case study may or may not include both types of research.

How to Do a Case Study

Narrow down your research goal. This may be given to you in advance by a professor or employer, or you may develop it on your own. Here are the main types of case studies, organized by goal:

  • 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.

How to Do a Case Study

Apply for ethical approval. Almost all case studies are required by law to obtain ethical approval before they can begin. Contact your institution or department and propose your case study to the people in charge of ethics oversight. You may be asked to prove that the case study does no harm to its participants.

  • 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.

How to Do a Case Study

Plan for a long-term study. Most academic case studies last at least 3–6 months, and many of them continue for years. You may be limited by your research funding or the length of your degree program, but you should allow a few weeks to conduct the study at the very least.

How to Do a Case Study

Design your research strategy in detail. Create an outline describing how you will gather data and answer your research questions. The exact approach is up to you, but these tips may help:

  • 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.

How to Do a Case Study

Recruit participants if necessary. You may have a specific individual in mind, or you may need to recruit people from a broader pool who satisfy your research criteria. Make your research methods and time frame extremely clear to the potential participants. Unclear communication could be a breach of ethics, or could cause a participant to walk out partway through the study, wasting a great deal of time.

  • 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.

Method 2 of 3: Conducting Academic Case Study Research Download Article

How to Do a Case Study

Perform background research. If studying people, research information in their past that may be relevant, possibly including medical history, family history, or history of an organization. A good background knowledge of the research topic and similar case studies could help guide your own research as well, especially if you are writing a critical interest case study.

  • Any case study, but especially case studies with a retrospective component, will benefit from basic academic research strategies.

How to Do a Case Study

Learn how to conduct obtrusive observation. In a case study involving human participants, ethics guidelines do not typically allow you to “spy” on the participants. You must practice obtrusive observation, where the participants are aware of your presence. Unlike a quantitative study, you may talk with the participants, make them feel comfortable, and include yourself in activities. Some researchers do attempt to maintain a distance, but be aware that your presence will affect the behavior of the participants regardless of the relationship you form with them.

  • 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.

How to Do a Case Study

Take notes. Extensive notes during observation will be vital when you are compiling your final report. In some case studies, it may be appropriate to ask the participant to record experiences in a diary.

How to Do a Case Study

Conduct interviews. Depending on the total length of your case study, you might hold an interview weekly, once every month or two, or just once or twice a year. Begin with the interview questions you prepared in the planning phase, then iterate to dig deeper into the topic:

  • 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.

How to Do a Case Study

Stay rigorous. A case study may feel less data-driven than a medical trial or a scientific experiment, but attention to rigor and valid methodology remains vital. If you find yourself drawn to studying a participant on one extreme end of the spectrum, set aside time to observe a more “typical” participant as well. When reviewing your notes, question your chain of logic and discard possible conclusions that do not have detailed observation backing them up. Any sources you cite should be thoroughly checked for reliability.

How to Do a Case Study

Collect all of your data and analyze it. After reading and referring back to your original bullet points, you may find that the data reacts in a surprising manner. You need to pull your information together and focus it before writing case studies, especially if your research was performed in intervals across months or years.

  • 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.

How to Do a Case Study

Write your final case study report. Based on the research questions you designed and the type of case study you conducted, this may be a descriptive report, an analytic argument grounded in a specific case, or a suggested direction for further research or projects. Include your most relevant observations and interviews in the case study itself, and consider attaching additional data (such as full interviews) as an appendix for readers to refer to.

  • 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.

Method 3 of 3: Writing a Marketing Case Study Download Article

How to Do a Case Study

Ask permission from a client. A marketing case study describes a “success story” between a business and a client. Ideally, the client has recently interacted with your business, and is enthusiastic about contributing a positive message. Choose a client close to your target audience, if possible.

  • Request high-level involvement from the client’s side for best results. 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.

How to Do a Case Study

Outline the story. A typical marketing case study begins by describing the client’s problems and background. It then rapidly moves on to describe how your company strategically approached these problems, and succeeded in fixing them to a high standard. Finish by describing how you can apply similar solutions across the industry. The entire case study should divide into about three to five sections.

  • 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.

How to Do a Case Study

Keep the study readable and powerful. Use bold text and headers to divide the case study into easy-to-read sections. Start each section with short, action sentences and strong verbs.

How to Do a Case Study

Include actual numbers. Use numeric examples that demonstrate how effective your solutions were. Make this as clear as possible, using actual numbers instead of (or in addition to) percentages. For example, an HR department could show impressive retention numbers following a process change, while a marketing team could demonstrate past sales boosts from its service.

  • 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.

How to Do a Case Study

Solicit quotes or write them yourself. You’ll definitely want to quote positive recommendations from your client. Often, however, the person writing these will not have a marketing background. Ask the client whether you can write the statements for them, although of course the client will sign off on these before publication.

  • These are typically brief quotes just one or two sentences long, describing your service in a positive light.

How to Do a Case Study

Add images. Include photos and other images to make your case study more attractive. One tactic that can work well is to solicit photographs from the client. An amateur digital photograph of the smiling client team can add a genuine touch.

How to Do a Case Study

Spread the word. Make your marketing case study widely available. Try using Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Business Hub, or Drupal. Send copies of the study to the client you collaborated with as well, along with a certificate thanking them for their involvement.

Video .By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

News Related
  • How to Watch the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics

    After a year’s delay due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the 2020 Olympics are set to kick off in Tokyo on July 23, 2021. Even though the events are technically taking place in 2021, they’re still called the 2020 Olympics. The bad news is that international spectators aren’t allowed—but that ...

    See Details: How to Watch the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics

  • How to Become a Member of the YMCA

    The YMCA offers a wide variety of services to its members at hundreds of centers across the United States. YMCA members have access to state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a broad range of wellness programs, and licensed child-care services. Most YMCAs offer flexible membership plans, including reduced fees for low-income participants. Steps ...

    See Details: How to Become a Member of the YMCA

  • How to Put Ski Bindings on Skis

    Mounting ski bindings is something you can do yourself if you have the proper tools and know-how, including a drilling jig and a special drill bit. If you don’t have the right tools or aren’t confident in your ability to get the job done, it’s always best to have your ...

    See Details: How to Put Ski Bindings on Skis

  • How to Run a Fitness Boot Camp

    A fitness boot camp is a type of physical training class that encourages participants to do cardiovascular and strength training through instructor-led exercises. The classes often include intervals, competitions and team work. It is available through gyms, private trainers and dedicated boot camp businesses. Boot camps may take place inside ...

    See Details: How to Run a Fitness Boot Camp

  • How to Do Qigong Hsing I Exercises

    This article will show you how to do basic-advanced qigong that will develop internal strength and increase martial power. Though easy to perform these exercises are immensely effective. Steps Part 1 Part 1 of 2:Empty posture Download Article Stand normally with feet shoulder width apart. Your arms will rest normally ...

    See Details: How to Do Qigong Hsing I Exercises

  • How to Become a Football Player After 20

    Soccer or football can sometimes seem like a young person’s game. But with the right attitude and preparedness, anyone who is fit and dedicated to the sport can get in the game. Here are a few tips to help you out if you’re over 20 and still keen to get ...

    See Details: How to Become a Football Player After 20

  • How to Do a Sitting to Standing Exercise

    Moving from sitting to standing is a motion that most people already do throughout the day. However, when this motion is done mindfully, it can be a gentle–yet effective–exercise. This movement can strengthen your legs, lower back, and core. It can be especially helpful for older folks and people recovering ...

    See Details: How to Do a Sitting to Standing Exercise

  • How to Exercise

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Exercise

  • How to Be Hygienic Using Public Swimming Pools

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Be Hygienic Using Public Swimming Pools

  • How to Exercise Facial Muscles

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Exercise Facial Muscles

  • How to Get Rid Of Man Breasts Through Exercise

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Get Rid Of Man Breasts Through Exercise

  • How to Get PSA Grading

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Get PSA Grading

  • How to Measure a Fitness Ball

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Measure a Fitness Ball

  • How to Improve Reaction Speed

    Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try ...

    See Details: How to Improve Reaction Speed

OTHER NEWS

How to Become a Nike Authorized Dealer

Nike is an Oregon-based athletic company specializing in shoes and sportswear. From its modest beginnings in 1972, the company grew quickly and sells products in 130 countries today. If you ... Read more »

How to Learn Wing Chun

Wing Chun is a style of kung fu that emphasizes close quarter combat, quick punches and tight defense to overcome opponents. This traditional Chinese martial art destabilizes opponents with quick ... Read more »

How to Start a Dance Studio

Dance has been a traditional element of many cultures for centuries. Many different styles of dance are taught and practiced around the world, and dance studios are a common type ... Read more »

How to Raise Your Leg up to Your Head

All kinds of athletes and performers raise their legs up to their heads, demonstrating flexibility and strength in their abilities. These include dancers, figure skaters, and martial artists, among others. ... Read more »

Proven Workouts and Exercises to Increase Your Athletic Speed

Whether you’re a runner, a basketball player, or a martial artist, speed is an advantage for any athlete! Get quicker on your feet by incorporating speed drills and sprints into ... Read more »

How to Display Hockey Cards

Instead of keeping your hockey cards stashed away in old shoe boxes, go ahead and show off some of your favorites! If you have some high-value cards, use professional-grade preservation ... Read more »

How to Fit a Riding Helmet

Whether you are a casual rider or a competitive equestrian, a well-fitted riding helmet is a must. You want a helmet that is made specifically for horseback riding, that fits ... Read more »

How to Go to the Himalayas

Traveling to the Himalayas can be a thrilling, life changing experience, so you’re probably really excited to plan your trip. The Himalayas are a mountain range in Asia that spreads ... Read more »

How to Travel to the Dominican Republic

If you’re dreaming of white sandy beaches and a lush, tropical landscape, head to the Dominican Republic for the trip of a lifetime. As the top destination in the Caribbean, ... Read more »

How to Strengthen Quads Using a Fitness Ball

Quad exercises are a great way to build strength in your upper legs, and, if done regularly, will yield results relatively quickly. Working your quads (the muscles along your thighs) ... Read more »

How to Reduce the Stress of Your Commute

Are your mornings filled with stress and anxiety due to your commute? Do you find yourself laying on the horn, screaming expletives at the drivers around you, and feeling extremely ... Read more »

How to Travel Around Taiwan

Taiwan is a beautiful island country located in East Asia, only a short distance from mainland China. In addition to the main island, Taiwan has many smaller islands and archipelagoes ... Read more »

How to Chew Betel Nut in Papua New Guinea

If you ever go to Papua New Guinea, the first thing you will notice is the brilliant red-stained teeth and lips of the local men and women. Betel nut, or ... Read more »

How to Plan a Spring Break Staycation

Typically, when it comes to spring break, ideas like vacations to the beach come to mind. You don’t, however, have to take a vacation to enjoy your spring break. Instead, ... Read more »

How to Travel During the Holidays for Seniors

The holidays are a great time for traveling to visit family and friends. If you’re a senior, there are special considerations to take into account during holiday travel. You want ... Read more »

How to Travel As a Photographer

Becoming a travel photographer is a dream for many. Being able to roam around the world, getting paid for taking photos of beautiful landscapes, and experiencing new cultures and people ... Read more »

How to Cope with Honeymoon Mishaps

Text Only Text Only Going on your honeymoon with your partner is a marriage rite of passage. You and your partner may have a romantic beach getaway planned or a ... Read more »

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands—made up of 13 main islands, 6 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets—is well-known for its amazing wildlife. If you plan on visiting the Galapagos, you’ll need ... Read more »

How to Disappear Completely

Whether you need to lay low or simply want to be left alone, disappearing might sound like a good idea. Running away usually isn’t necessary and most problems are solvable ... Read more »

How to Apply for ESTA

If you want to visit the US for a brief period, either for business or pleasure, you may qualify for travel authorization under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) ... Read more »

How to Travel With Children

Do you want to go on vacation, but need somewhere family friendly? Do you dread traveling with your children because of the inevitable headaches? Don’t put off travel altogether. Traveling ... Read more »

How to Write While Traveling

Writing while traveling can be either a professional or personal pursuit. Some people travel and write as part of their jobs, while others simply want to make the most out ... Read more »

How to Obtain a NEXUS Membership

NEXUS is a “Trusted Traveler” and accelerated border control program for pre-approved, low-risk travelers, allowing them quicker and smoother crossing between the Canada-United States border. Steps Download Article Find out ... Read more »

How to Apply for a Nigerian Visa

Except for nationals of some African countries, visitors to Nigeria generally need a visa to enter and depart the country. You can complete an online application to apply for a ... Read more »

How to Travel to Nigeria

If you’ve got an adventurous spirit and you’re looking for something off of the beaten path, Nigeria may be a great option for your next vacation! From sun-drenched beaches to ... Read more »

How to Make a Travel Brochure

A creative, expertly written and well-designed travel brochure invites readers to cast themselves into a story that takes place in an exotic locale. In this article, learn how to make ... Read more »

How to Travel Spontaneously

Traveling can be a pleasant, carefree experience, but the large amounts of planning and preparation which usually precede actually traveling can make the process seem like more trouble than it’s ... Read more »

How to Enjoy Niagara Falls when It Rains

It can be a let down if you get to Niagara Falls and it’s raining. Luckily, there are many indoor attractions you can still enjoy. Try to spend time at ... Read more »

How to Go to Sydney from Melbourne

Melbourne and Sydney are two of the largest cities in Australia, so it stands to reason you’d want to travel between them from time to time. Your main options for ... Read more »

How to Use the Mobile Passport App to Save Time at US Customs and Border Patrol

After flying internationally, you can speed up the US Customs and Border control process by using the easy-to-navigate Airside Mobile Passport app! Anyone who holds a US or Canadian passport ... Read more »

How to Dress in Egypt As a Woman

Whether you’re going for the ancient history, the modern cities, or the mesmerizing beaches, Egypt is a country you don’t want to miss out on. Since Egypt is a mostly ... Read more »

How to Enjoy Maui with the Kids

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an action-packed trip, Maui is the perfect place to spend time together as a family. You’ll find plenty of activities geared towards ... Read more »

How to Buy Gifts and Souvenirs for Others When Traveling Abroad

People love receiving gifts and when you’re traveling, it’s tempting to bring a piece of a faraway land back to others. Traveling abroad brings a host of concerns, including what ... Read more »

How to Ride your Bike to School Safely

Did you just learn how to ride a bike and want to ride it to school? Well, read this guide to do it. Steps Download Article Find a safe route ... Read more »

How to Prepare for a Trip to Israel

Also known as The Holy Land, Israel is a beautiful and diverse Mediterranean country with a history of religious significance dating back thousands of years. Despite its small size, millions ... Read more »

How to Plan Your Business Travel

Planning a work-related trip can be a stressful endeavor. On top of your usual travel concerns, you also have to keep your mind focused on the business aspect of your ... Read more »

How to Plan a Trip to Blue Hole in Belize

Deep in the middle of the turquoise Caribbean Sea, is a large dark blue circle known worldwide as the “Blue Hole”. Situated in the centre of the Lighthouse Reef, the ... Read more »

How to Get to Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is a popular year-round tourist destination and stopover spot for yachts sailing the Tasman Sea. Fly to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage island on small propeller planes ... Read more »

How to Travel to Madagascar

Madagascar is an amazing place full of unique wildlife, gorgeous beaches, and fascinating geological structures. Because it’s an isolated island, Madagascar is home to many animals that can’t be found ... Read more »

How to Get to Machu Picchu

If the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru is your destination, you’ll have to navigate through the mountainous terrain by train or on foot. How much money and ... Read more »