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Overview

 

Overview of case studies

Case studies describe real-life situations and events over a period of time. They may centre on a person, group, project or organisation. A case study assessment task requires you to analyse actual or potential problems and identify solutions:

  • what is happening
  • why it's happening
  • how to solve the problem

You will need to use theories to develop solutions to practical situations.

There are three broad stages involved in a case study assignment:

  1. identify key issues and problems from the case
  2. research then link the problems to relevant theory
  3. develop solutions that lead to actionable recommendations

Case studies: Stages in the process

Stage 1

Analyse

Analyse the task. Focus on task instructions/questions and marking criteria/rubrics.

Read the case

Read the case in detail.

Identify

Identify key issues and problems.

Stage 2

Research

Research the topic and surrounding areas.

Link to theory

Link problems to relevant theory, models or practice.

Stage 3

Develop solutions

Evaluate and prioritise for most effective solutions, consider constraints/obstacles.

Make recommendations

All recommendations need to be practical and actionable.

Edit/proof

Check for spelling, grammar and that there is a logical structure.

Submit

Stage 1

Analyse

Analyse the task. Focus on task instructions/questions and marking criteria/rubrics.

Read the case

Read the case in detail.

Identify

Identify key issues and problems.

Stage 2

Research

Research the topic and surrounding areas.

Link to theory

Link problems to relevant theory, models or practice.

Stage 3

Develop solutions

Evaluate and prioritise for most effective solutions, consider constraints/obstacles.

Make recommendations

All recommendations need to be practical and actionable.

Edit/proof

Submit

Structure

Case study analyses are generally presented in a report-style format. They are usually written for a professional audience (e.g. a client or manager) as well as your lecturer.

A case study should have:

  • a logical structure
  • sections with headings and subheadings.
Always follow the requirements of your subject area (e.g. management, nursing, engineering) and your assessment task instructions.

A business case study is usually highly structured, as in the example shown below.

Title page

Table of contents

Executive summary

  1. Introduction
    1. Context (Background)
    2. Purpose
  2. Discussion
    1. Identification of issues and problems
    2. Solutions
  3. Conclusion & Recommendations

Reference list


See the Report writing tutorial for more information.