How to choose a case for teaching What is a case How to analyze a case How to discuss a case
To draw up case studies, it is first important to understand its various aspects. For an effective case study, one must first understand the principles of a case. It is important to understand what a case is, the types of cases there are and their purposes. Following this understanding, the methods of analyzing and discussing cases must be explored. After mastering these skills, The three stages of problem, decision and evaluation are vital to the organization of the case study. 4
In all case studies we should first explore the brief synopsis of the case and its pedagogical objectives.
In a case method classroom, both the instructor and students must be active in different ways. The art of a case method instructor is to ask the right question at the right time, provide feedback on answers, and sustain a discussion that opens up meanings of the case. If students don’t come to class well-prepared, the case method will fail because the people responsible for making meaning from the case are not equipped to do it.
Case discussions are full of facts and information, but they aren’t shaped into single interpretation, the “truth”. Instructors don’t announce definitive conclusions or right answers, although they may discriminate between more and less plausible solutions. Students enter and leave the classroom responsible for the outcomes of the discussion. For students, this is a shift from the comfort of authority and single truth to the hard work of personal responsibility and the unease of ambiguity and multiple meanings.
Cases are verbal representation of reality. Real business situations involve uncertainty and don’t present selected and sorted information.
A case must have 3 characteristics:
1) a significant real world business issue or issues 2) Sufficient information on which to base conclusions
3) No stated conclusions
Many cases have these complicating properties:
1) Information that includes “Noise”- false, irrelevant… testimony by characters in the case 2) Unstated information that must be inferred from the information that is stated 3) Nonlinear structure
A well-written case must have these characteristics. Reader of the case must be able to: 1) Construct conclusion from the information in the text 2) Filter out irrelevant portions of the text. 3) Furnish missing information through inferences. 4) Associate evidence from different parts of the case and integrate it into a conclusion.
Noise is a characteristic of real situations. Today, we are flooded in information, much of it of little value. Every case, whether it has a large amount of information or very little, requires the reader to make inferences. This can be the most difficult transition from textbooks and lectures.
If memorization is the primary skill of the lecture model, inference is the primary skill of the case model. Furthermore, cases do not have a linear structure and are not presented in the most logical way.
There are 3 possible approaches to reading the case: 1) Receive it 2) Find it 3) Make it (appropriate for cases)
“Receive it” states both subject and its significance (fits a text such as news story) “Find it” states keys and clues to find the solution (fits a text such as mystery novel) On the first reading of the case, it can seem to be a whole that is less than the sum of its parts. Indeed, the most basic matters of fact are not clearly stated or are stated in multiple ways. Students have to read a case actively (Active Reading) and construct their own meaning based on pedagogical objectives of the case and the theories and concepts already discussed in the class. 16
A case is a text that refuses to explain itself; hence, a...
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