Do you have to write a case study but have no idea how to approach it? There are many different types of case studies that are common college essay writing tasks and powerful methods used by marketers to attract new customers. Investigating and writing an effective case study requires completing specific stages that we are going to discuss in our article. In our easy guide, you will find advice on how to write a case study for academic research purposes.
Types of Case Studies
There are several types of case studies that differ from each other depending on the thesis or the hypothesis that has to be proved. These types of case studies can be used in any field:
- Illustrative or descriptive cases studies that explain some phenomenon, question or event
- Exploratory cases studies are done before performing a large-scale research project and their purpose is to investigate and prove that further research is necessary
- Collective or cumulative case studies collect information from several studies to identify a case for a new study
- Critical instance case studies are useful for finding answers to cause and effect questions
A case study may focus on examining a place, person, phenomenon, event or some other subject that has to be analyzed to identify key themes and results. This can help in predicting future trends, discovering hidden issues and finding evidence to understand an important research problem clearly.
Approaches to Case Studies
There are two different approaches to conducting case studies:
- The analytical approach is used when there is a need to understand what has happened and determine why. It is not necessary to find out problems and make suggestions on how they can be solved.
- The problem-oriented method is used to identify the key problems and suggest necessary solutions.
The Writing Process
It may take a long time to develop a case study. First, you have to choose a topic, identify the problem, and make a hypothesis. Then, you have to conduct a research using quantitative and/or qualitative research methods as well as interviews. After that, you have to summarize your findings and write a case study. You should lead your reader through different stages of your investigation, describe them and evaluate to explain how you came to a certain conclusion.
Case studies may differ in size and format depending on the subject, topic, and its goals. The way you would write your case study depends on its purpose but, generally, case study reports may include the following sections:
Here you should provide the information that sets the scene and context of your investigation. You should describe the problem and explain why this topic is important. You can also tell the reader about the structure of your paper, determine the questions that you are going to discuss, and identify your goals.
In this section, you should provide background information and give a historical interpretation of the problem you are going to analyze. You should describe the previous research and provide examples. You have to interpret the previous research and find gaps that your case study could help to fill.
You should explain the strategy and research methods that you used to analyze the subject of your case study. Besides, you have to provide an explanation why you used each method. You have to prove that the methods were appropriate for investigating the research problem and determine their limitations.
You should report your findings from using each method, interpret them, and discuss their implications. You should also relate your findings to similar studies, consider alternative explanations of your results, and outline alternative solutions. Define the problems that remain unanswered and suggest areas for further investigation. Give your recommendations for the future.
Summarize your main findings and explain how they differ from previous research or support it and explain why. Restate the significance of your research problem. Move from a detailed to a general level and give your final reflections on the evidence presented in your paper and apply it to the central research problem.
Make a list of all sources that you refer to in your case study report and make sure that all references are cited correctly.