Studying concept: black text Case Study under the curled piece of Blue torn paper with Hand Drawn Education Icons

There are two different approaches to case studies.

Type 1: The Analytical Approach

The case study is examined in order to try and understand what has happened and why. It is not necessary to identify problems or suggest solutions.

Type 2: The Problem-Oriented Method

The case study is analyzed to identify the major problems that exist and to suggest solutions to these problems.

 

This guideline focuses on Type 2: The Problem-Oriented Method

Check with your lecturer which type they require.

A successful case study analyses a real life situation where existing problems need to be solved. It should:

  • Relate the theory to a practical situation; for example, apply the ideas and knowledge discussed in the coursework to the practical situation at hand in the case study. Identify the problems
  • Select the major problems in the case
  • Suggest solutions to these major problems
  • Recommend the best solution to be implemented
  • Detail how this solution should be implemented

Note:

The Case is the “real life” situation

The Case Study is the analysis of this situation

 

How to Write the Case Study

There are usually eight sections in a case study.

Synopsis/Executive Summary

  • Outline the purpose of the case study
  • Describe the field of research – this is usually an overview of the company
  • Outline the issues and findings of the case study without the specific details
  • Identify the theory that will be used.
  • Here, the reader should be able to get a clear picture of the essential contents of the study.
  • Note any assumptions made (you may not have all the information you’d like so some assumptions may be necessary eg: “It has been assumed that…”, “Assuming that it takes half an hour to read one document…”)

Findings

  • Identify the problems found in the case. Each analysis of a problem should be supported by facts given in the case together with the relevant theory and course concepts. Here, it is important to search for the underlying problems, for example, cross-cultural conflict may be only a symptom of the underlying problem of inadequate policies and practices within the company.
  • This section is often divided into subsections, one for each problem.

Discussion

  • Summarize the major problem/s
  • Identify alternative solutions to this/these major problem/s (there is likely to be more than one solution per problem)
  • Briefly, outline each alternative solution and then evaluate it in terms of its advantages and disadvantages
  • No need to refer to theory or coursework here.

Conclusion

  • Sum up the main points from the findings and discussion

Recommendations

  • Choose which of the alternative solutions should be adopted
  • Briefly, justify your choice explaining how it will solve the major problem/s
  • This should be written in a forceful style as this section is intended to be persuasive
  • Here integration of theory and coursework is appropriate

Implementation

  • Explain what should be done, by whom and by when
  • If appropriate include a rough estimate of costs (both financial and time).

References

  • Make sure all references are cited correctly

Appendices (if any)

  • Note any original data that relates to the study but which would have interrupted the flow of the main body.

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