Academic Skills Development
Quick Guide for Students
Writing a case study
What is in this guide
What is a case study? Writing a case study Writing a case study in report format Writing a case study in essay format Related Quick Guides
What is a case study?
Case studies require you to apply theory to a real-world example. Generally a case study provides a description of a particular practice, for example a business problem, scenario or situation, as a basis for a critical analysis, review and/or evaluation. Importantly, the critical analysis/review/evaluation of the case in point is then undertaken by applying the relevant theory to a real-world example. According to Summers and Smith (2003, p. 48), the main aim of case study type assignments centres around: assisting students in learning to apply selected theories through simulated problem solving and decision-making, allowing students to learn actively (by doing) rather than passively (by simply listening to lecturers or reading); and reinforcing the applicability of theory to practical situations.
Writing a case study
There are a variety of ways in which case studies are used. Hence there are a number of different ways that they can be structured. Two common ways of writing case studies are to write them as a report or as an essay. You can use the same information for either structure, you just present it differently. If you are set a case study as an assignment, make sure you ask your lecturer or tutor which format you are supposed to use.
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[last edited on 25/3/2013]
Writing a case study in report format
A formal case report is generally organized into sections with headings. These are usually numbered as in the example below:
Letter of transmittal (not always required)
References: Source: Summers, J & Smith, B (2003). Communication skills handbook, Milton, Qld, Australia: John Wiley & Sons.
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