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Case Study Format for Students: Paper Writing Tips

July 12, 2019
Case Study Format

What Is a Case Study Paper?

Case studies are the case in education process that most often makes students seek immediate help. No pun intended but the task is one of the most challenging because it gets really close to real life situations and so requires more work than just paraphrasing textbook ideas.

Case studies are scientific and critical exploration of a situation or a phenomenon that poses a problem and requires providing suggested solutions, recommendations and pathway to avoiding similar problems in future.

Case studies are used by teachers to see how students can apply received knowledge in daily situations. On the one hand it is useful, but on the other hand coping with this complex assignment is a problem linked to permanent time shortage and study loads placed on students. So here is no place for skirting around the topic all paper long. It is all about preciseness, conciseness and practicality.

Thus to survive the case study paper writing take some useful tips that will save your precious time and future grades.

First, do no repeat the text of the case itself. It is the first step that already leads to failure.

No excessive theorizing and expatiating. Watery text is another indicator of paper weakness.

Just analysis and recommendations that synthesize theory and evidence into sound suggestions.

Never miss out the executive summary and Solutions and Recommendations section. This is what case studies exist for, actually.

Basically, there are two major ways how to write a case study: historical way and problem-oriented path. Historical way is evaluation of the situation that is already solved or closed. It is a kind of retrospective learning with purpose of preventing such cases in future.

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Problem-oriented one deals with current situations that are in progress and so in need of actual solutions and predictions of outcomes. There is no finite end to the situation, so it is all the more useful to explore it, suggest a solution and then compare with the actual outcomes.

Each type of cases is unique but the offered tips apply to both of them, mind that. Now what? How does one begin planning and writing?

Case Study Examples

One great way to learn to do case studies properly is to do them many times in a row while receiving detailed feedback on papers’ strong and weak sides. But another way to master this art is to explore a few good papers that will show how case study is assumed to work out. We offer selected samples of cases that are of high quality and cover the latest advances and challenges in the area of study that may interest learners of different years of study. While reading case study examples students get to understand the mechanics of organizing and writing, the important aspect that otherwise be obscured from clear view. In offered samples introduction, background analysis, problems and solutions are clearly visible so a reader gets a clue how to build a custom case study in their field while maintaining a good structure and flow.

Case Study Format and Outline

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The structure of a good case study just cannot be fit into a single universal pattern or copied directly from a sample case study since case studies differ in topics and writing requirements. Yet there are several important components that cannot be skipped because they establish the valuable core and supporting elements of a logical and persuasive reasoning. A typical case study format (but it is not exhaustive, mind it) is like the following:

  • Executive summary

  • Introduction

  • Overview of situation/phenomenon

  • Analysis /Issues to be solved

  • Recommendations/solutions

  • Conclusion

  • References

Usually a case study opens up with a cover page, but it depends on the prof’s instructions and is optional. The first must-have section, an executive summary, is a brief outline of main findings, points of analysis, and most important, solutions. This part of the case report is assumed to be digested by executives/seniors literally on the run in real life, so it should contain all crucial points decision-makers need to know without digging through the whole report.

Introduction can be brief and just mention the issue to be discussed. Overview, analysis and recommendations constitute the body of the report, so they take up the majority of the paper. Overview provides the context of the matter of discussion, analysis highlights what needs to be changed/solved and what theoretical premises can be applied for analysis.

Solutions merge theory with the context and produce guidelines for fixing the situation or avoiding its repetition in the future. Conclusion restates major findings and solutions but very concisely, and may also prompt the further path of exploration in the field.

We suggest that you begin with drafting a case study outline with structure like mentioned above, and then enrich and expand it thoroughly. Leave executive summary for dessert and build the complete paper, and then write the summary after the ideas presented in it

This is basically it. We defined what is a case study and what to put and not to put there in order to get a good mark. Sharpen your pen and set to work. You’ll do it right.