If you’re a college or university student, you’ve probably already heard about writing case study papers. In this article, we will take a closer look at the case study writing, explore the main features of this important work, its structural elements, stages of writing and many other features.
What is a case study
A case study involves in-depth, detailed and expert research of specific phenomena and facts of the world around us. It can be a life situation or event of different range – from the introduction of a new product to the market, to a world war. It can be a specific person or his actions, a business decision or the history of a particular company. This research method is widely used in both social sciences and natural sciences. Case development is one of the main marketing tools, when certain factors are analyzed, and a complex algorithm of actions is formed to achieve specific goals.
Case studies are widely used in medicine and psychology. Psychological case study or medical case study can describe the history of a specific patient or medical story. The main difference between a Case study and other scientific works is that it focuses on a specific practical case or event. It involves solving not general scientific problems, but a specific case in practice. A case study can have the character of a retrospective analysis, for example, the history of a successful (unsuccessful) political company is researched, the author identifies some patterns due to which a particular result was achieved.
As a practical tool for solving urgent problems, case study involves setting tasks, forming alternative methods for solving them, choosing and justifying the best of them. Case study writing is one of the basic skills that will come in handy in college, as this method is one of the most common for testing theoretical knowledge in practice. After completing a certain course, you gain certain knowledge. The aim of a Case study is to learn how to apply the knowledge gained when considering specific practical situations and solving specific problems. When we study theory, we reinforce ideas with concrete, usually stereotyped examples, facts, and events. Case study is a very effective tool for generating new ideas, theories, concepts and hypotheses, which is based on practice. That is, the analysis of objectively existing phenomena is carried out, on the basis of the conclusions, the explanation of certain phenomena is formed.
We are often asked about how to write a case study paper in psychology, marketing, sociology, history, etc. Or how a legal, biology or psychology case study template looks like.
Well, there is no specific template or method that will be universal and suitable for each specific case. On the one hand, life itself often presents us with non-standard tasks and non-routine problems. On the other hand, there are specific requirements for the structure and design of case study papers in different countries, universities and colleges, scientific organizations and communities, etc. For example, the Apa case study format, which was developed by the American Psychological Association, is very popular. Apa paper case study examples are widely presented on the organization’s website. According to the document “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” a number of specific rules and standards are established, which in one form or another are used by many scientific publications around the world. Other publishers, universities or individual professors prefer other case study formats. However, there are universal principles of scientific knowledge that manifest themselves specifically in case study paper writing, regardless of the template or science you are studying.
Universal steps to write a good case study paper
- Characteristing of a specific case
- Highlighting a number of main problems and issues
- Formation of possible ways to solve these problems
- Selection and justification of the best option
- Analysis of the peculiarities of the implementation of the chosen strategy
Such an algorithm of actions will make it possible to complete the case qualitatively, regardless of the problem being solved, the described situation or the academic discipline within which the research is being conducted.
Types of Case Studies
- Historical or retrospective cases. Events, problems and methods of their solution are described. You can analyze how these decisions were adequate to the conditions and the problem, suggest an alternative development of the situation if other ideas were accepted. Many modern situations have historical parallels. Without knowing the past, it is impossible to learn from mistakes and effectively build the future. Therefore, the historical aspect will never lose its relevance in any of the sciences.
- Problem-Oriented Case Studies. This type involves the analysis of a real or fictional, but actual and probable problem or situation. The search for alternatives to its solution develops the analytical skills and strategic thinking of the student. It allows you to generate ideas and independently criticize them, choosing the best option and ways to implement them.
- Cumulative case studies involve the collection of information, its comparison and analysis. Such activity allows to learn how to separate correctly the main from the secondary, the essential from the non-essential. This can be the collection and analysis of specific facts, expert opinions, etc. This type of case studies is successfully used in legal sciences. For example, when considering a specific court case, the analysis of the most similar situations is carried out. The circumstances of the case, the strategy of the prosecution and defense, etc. are analyzed.
- Critical case studies involve in-depth analysis of cause and effect. Establishing causal relationships and patterns of development of events and phenomena significantly develops creativity and the ability to effectively apply knowledge in practice. The analogy method makes it possible to predict the development of an object if the patterns of this process and the main determinants that affect it are correctly identified.
- Illustrative case studies describe and characterize specific events. This experience allows you to use this knowledge to avoid such difficulties described in case.
Case Study Format
As a rule, the format consists of seven logical components, different authors call them differently, but their essence does not change from this.
- Executive Summary or introduction. It describes the problem, the subject of the study, the relevance of the problem.
- Background. The situation is described, reference information, additional data, essential conditions affecting the development of events are provided. Other important information.
- Alternatives and discussion. At this stage, a specific problem and alternatives for its solution are formulated. The analysis of these alternatives, their advantages and disadvantages are carried out. All this should be supported by a number of weighty arguments that can be verified, both for and against.
- Best strategy or recommendation. Here, after summing up the intermediate results, the optimal strategy for solving the problem is formed. Based on the theory, the correctness of such actions is argued. The article explains why the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and why this particular path was chosen.
- Implementation. Explain how to implement and actualize your idea. Describe potential risks and difficulties in practical implementation and ways to overcome them.
- Links, sources. This part contains a list of references to which you are referring, authors who are cited, useful sources that will help to understand the problem better.
- Applications. Figures, graphs, other important initial data that relate to the study, but are presented separately, so as not to violate the logic and structure of the main part.
The logical structure of writing an essay is given, in fact, what must necessarily be in content. The form may vary, for example a cover page, abstract or summary, key words, etc. may be required.
Writing a good case study paper is not easy. In addition to certain knowledge and skills, it takes a lot of time and desire to delve deeply into the topic and deal with a specific problem. If you have any difficulties with writing such a work, please contact us, we will always help you. Bookswarmessays specialists have extensive experience in writing the most complex case studies in various academic disciplines. We are attentive to details, strictly adhere to technical requirements, we guarantee uniqueness of papers and a positive result.