Case studies are a core part of your academic writing, whether in schools, universities, or in-class discussions. However, it is one of the major skills that college students must have as in the higher level of education, most of the topics are based on case study format. Writing a case study format can be difficult and overwhelming for many as it requires you to have good analytical and writing skills.
You don’t have to worry if you have to work on a case study format and don’t know where to begin. We are here to help you. Get ready with your notes as today we will learn how to write a case study format with the help of case study format examples!
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Table of Contents
What is a Case Study?
Before getting into the ‘how to’ part, let us first understand the basics and know what is a Case Study.
As the name describes, a case study is a detailed discussion about a case or an incidence that can be related to anything. If we talk in professional terms, a Case Study refers to an elaborated and critical assessment of any event, or a person, personality, or any situation, with the motive to draw vivid conclusions.
A Case Study can also be defined as a source or sub-category for a research paper, particularly research design, which helps investigate the problems, find out the appropriate solutions, and back up your thesis statement.
You all must have come around one or another case study format in your school, but the level of school case studies is quite basic. But at the college level, for the case study writing process, you must brush up your writing skills and analytical skills to ace in writing a case study format.
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Types of Case Study
Before you sit, to begin with, your case study format, figure out which type of case study you want to work on, as there are various categories in types and formats in a case study format. Following are the different types of case studies-
1. Historical Case Study
One of the most common types of case study format is a historical case study. As the name makes it obvious, a historical case study assesses the historical events or persons of historical significance. There are many sources, research papers, academic writing about history that can provide strong evidence for your case study.
2. Descriptive Case Study
In a descriptive case study, a writer describes the event based on already existing and proven theory with the help of real-life examples. The objects are observed and presented descriptively.
3. Issue-Oriented Case Study
These types of case study formats are usually used for problem-solving-related work. The problem-oriented require an immersive examination by the writer into the question and provide viable solutions and positive results for it as well. This kind of case study is usually a vital part of socio-economical discussions and problems.
4. Intrinsic Case Study
When a researcher has a personal interest in the subject of the case study format, they are indulged in an intrinsic case study as they have and provide deep knowledge about the topic. In such a case study format, the writer has even the intrinsic details about their subject. Besides, this type of case study is often used in case study format psychology—for example, Jean Piaget’s observation of his children.
5. Cumulative and Critical Case Study
A cumulative case study format involves collecting information and making comparisons. This type of case study is best used for business case study format, for instance, to tell people about the product value of a business. On the other hand, Critical Case Studies are more about the exploration of cause and effect relation of the subject of the case study format.
Case Study Writing Process
Now that we know what the case study format is all about, we will explain the case study format for students. There are different formats that you can write a case study. One of the widely used case study formats is the APA case study format.
The case study APA format is a citation style where the writer has to add an in-text citation, with the source author’s last name and year of publication of their work. The APA format for case study is widely accepted, which requires you to follow a particular abstract, with an abstract, main body, and conclusion.
There are various other case study formats such as case study analysis format, case study report format, case study paper format, etc. All of these may vary as per the expertise and topic of your case study, such as medical case study format, case study format nursing, and so on. The initial challenge in writing a case study format is selecting the topic, type, and format of your case study. However, no matter what type or format of case study you write, the basic steps to write a great case study include-
The first and foremost and the most important step to get started with your case study format is extensive research about your topic. You cannot base your case study on assumptions or hearsay. A writer has to provide relevant facts, key points, data, background information, strong evidence and present a compelling story with a realistic solution for the potential customers or readers. The project’s success or a successful case study analyses is based largely on the quality of research done by the author.
Read and garner information from different sources that will make your case study format look critical and professional. To kick start with your research, you need to identify your objective, determine the best topic or the person for your case study, enlist credible sources for your research and examine the content to find the best solution that makes sense. Pick out what is relevant for your subject of the case study format and follow a proper outline.
To make a great case study, you can refer to press releases, research papers, raw data, historical events, blog posts, research writing to provide proposed solutions for key problems.
2. Create Outline
Once you are done with your research, the next step is to create an outline or a rough draft of major points related to your case study and follow it for your case study format. Treat it as a step-by-step guide for your final work to not get distracted and make a neat case study format. To learn how to create an outline, you can take a look at the sample case study format or free template available online. However, we will discuss the outline for the case study in the next segment.
Case Study Outline
After research, when you have a plethora of information based on your study, you can easily get lost or confused with what to write and under what heading you should write it, which leads to a chaotic and messy case study format. To avoid such a situation, one should always briefly outline the main points of the subject that you garnered from your research.
An outline is an executive summary that eases your case study writing process. All have to make or draw a rough idea and decide which information should go in which part of the case study- the abstract, introduction, main body, or the conclusion. You can also refer to the free case study template available online to get an idea about the outline. Once you have enlisted all the major points, you can easily write your final draft of the case study format without any confusion and mistake with the help of your case study outline.
There are majorly three parts in a case study format–
Just like essay writing or any other academic writing style, a case study format begins with an Introduction. In the introductory paragraph, you have to explain the topic in your own words and briefly explain what the case study is about and what you aim to find with your case study format. Like the thesis statement in a research paper, the introduction of the case study gives the statement, which presents the problem. The introduction of a case study format also includes giving your hypothesis, a brief assessment of your literature, and describing the significance of your study.
The body is the main part of a case study templates. This is where you illustrate key points, make the case study analysis, present research questions, and give different perspectives about your topic based on your research work and suggest further action. The focus is on the pain point in the body paragraphs, which grabs the reader’s attention.
You give the background information of the case study format and the topic that the introduction identify. Presentation of data analysis and surveys and other such data goes in one of the body paragraphs of your case study format. Give proper arguments for your cause or the topic and support them with factual and solid evidence.
A body is where you paint the entire picture for your prospective customers, aka the readers. Still, you need to make sure that you add only valuable, concise, and relevant information about your subject.
The body paragraphs are followed by the concluding paragraphs. This is where you summarize and give a brief assessment of your topic. A good conclusion consists of your findings, answers to your hypotheses, and research questions, along with recommendations and possible solutions to the garnered results. Do not forget to give a strong concluding statement that leaves a mark on the reader.
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How To Format a Case Study Report? A Step By Step Guide
The basic outline of a case study includes an Introduction, Body paragraphs, and conclusion. But do not confuse the outline with the format. As stated above, an outline is an executive summary, but a format provides a vivid structure to your case study. It’s not just about introducing, explaining, and concluding the topic, but other elements go into the case study, such as literature review, methodology, solutions, etc. Therefore, you must know how to format a case study report!
Here is a brief guide about how to format a case study report-
As we discussed, the introduction is the beginning of any case study or analysis, research, or essay writing. It provides the reader an overview of what the case study is about, what it aims to find out, and how. This is where you include the thesis statement as well.
2. Literature Review
The literature review provides all the background information. This portion is all research-based findings of your topic. This is where you provide your arguments based on existing researches, other data, and outside research, in addition to the findings of the topic. You need to cite the author and the content that you have procured the information from. The literature review is where the APA format for a case study comes into use. You add relevant facts and figures in the literature review, which work as the basis for your case study, and provide evidence.
3. Discussions and Findings
In this part of the case study format, you focus on a specific case or survey or data that you have picked to support your case study and present your main findings, specific strategies, and conclusions. This portion can either go with a literature review. But sometimes, if the content in this part is too long, you may have to give a separate heading for or separate section for this portion.
4. Solutions and Recommendations
After you have presented the literary background and discussions, testable evidence, and enough data, the next step is you provide the potential and alternative solutions. Give a brief explanation of your proposed solutions. Make sure you give realistic solutions and recommendations from different perspectives and then suggest the best solution out of it. Testable evidence is required here a well to back your solutions. Also, give space for clear and open communication with your reader.
5. Executive Summary & References
As we have discussed, the executive summary is the summary of key points and main findings from your evaluations of the case study format. After conclusion, a separate page goes for bibliography and cited references. This is where you enlist all the sources of information used in your case study, be it a research paper, blog post, academic writing, research writing, survey, official data, etc.
What are Examples of Case Studies?
This part will help you to easily comprehend what we have discussed so far, as we are now going to share some case study examples with you. So before beginning with your case study, take a look at these examples to make the process easy for you.
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Case Study Introduction Example
An introduction is a part that a readers judges and decides whether to go ahead and read the rest of the case study. A compelling case study has an introduction that keeps the reader hooked to your piece of work. Here is an example to understand and learn how to write a good introduction. To understand what a good introduction looks like, you can go through the introduction section of the Eastman Kodak Case Study, the company known for its changing dynamics of technological transitions. For a good introduction, you can also lookup for and refer to the case study of Audi Trains Mexican Autoworkers in Germany.
As we established earlier that there are different types of case studies. A case study can be about any topic or industry, or category. Below are some of the best case studies by different companies that helped their previous customers and helped them attract future customers.
1. Bitly: Vissla
Suppose you are working on a business-oriented case study. In that case, you can refer to the case study titled “Bitly: Vissla,” which is an online e-commerce company, which works with huge data across multiple marketing platforms to make marketing platforms. With this case study, Bitly provided a successful way to consolidate data and link channels together with the motive to display all the information on a single dashboard. This is one of the best business case study examples that you will come across in the business world.
2. LeadGnome’s: Host Analytics
Regarding marketing case study examples, we suggest you refer to LeadGnome’s: Host Analytics case study. To give a little background, Host Analytics moved to an account-based marketing strategy in 2015. However, they noticed that a large number of low-quality needs limited the marketing efforts for their onboarding process. The case study presents how their problem was solved when they used an automated email marketing approach from LeadGnome to qualify leads via email marketing.
3. Adobe: Royal Bank of Scotland
This study is a technical case study, which focuses on the solutions provided by Adobe for the Royal Bank of Scotland. As presented in the case study, their top challenges included fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making. They were also challenged by the requirement for eliminating disjointed systems to ensure the deliverance of digital experiences which are relevant and easy to use for potential customers.
This approach by Adobe’s led to a 20 percent increase in conversion. Additionally, it also improved their internal communications, resulted in faster optimization, and helped reduce their content management footprint.
4. OutBrain: Lane Bryant
If you are looking for a case study example related to a topic for a social cause, check out the OutBrain: Lane Bryant case study.
Lane Bryant is a leading retailer for women sized 14 – 28. They launched a campaign intending to celebrate all women and spread body positivity. Aiming to redefine the traditional and rugged notion of sexy, the retailer launched this campaign with a simple message that ALL women are sexy.
Their campaign aimed to amplify the campaign and drive traffic and engagement. In fact, the entire campaign went viral and had over 48,500,000 impressions in two short weeks.
5. LevelEleven: Staples
This particular case study is a great example for you if you are a sales professional and want to boost the working of your section or team. LevelEleven helped Staples to make sure their teams focus on the critical sales activities that matter. The result was mind-blowing as their team managed to understand the KPIs better, which matters. Moreover, they experienced an increase of 182% in key selling activities.
6. LifeSize: Rackspace
The case study by Rackspace is yet another great example of tech-oriented case studies. Rackspace, a world leader in hybrid cloud computing with offices throughout the world, was looking to collaborate and communicate across offices.
To sort this out, LifeSize created a video solution for Rackspace, which helped them to build stronger relationships across international offices.
7. Gravitate: Global Expeditions Group
The Gravitate: Global Expeditions Group is one of the best online case studies that you can refer to. This has proven to be a great example if you are looking to understand how to break up a detailed case study to make it easier for the reader to understand and comprehend. Focusing on a particular content marketing strategy, the company classified different parts of the case study under different sections. Certainly, they found a great way to entice their potential customers to keep them wanting to learn how they managed to do it.
8. Five9: WeedMan
WeedMan is a popular lawn care company, which wanted to connect with more prospects and sales teams reps. So, the company had an idea to use their phone-based reps to connect with prospective customers. Five9 assisted WeedMan in achieving that by migrating their data to the Cloud, and the case study shows how small businesses like WeedMan should adopt storing business data on Cloud.
9. Red Hat: North Carolina State Websites
The North Carolina Department of Information Technology, mandated by the governor, was needed to update the website of the states to ease the complex processes with limited technical sources.
10. CoSchedule: English Heritage
If you want to adopt a different way of writing your case study format, you can refer to the CoSchedule: English Heritage case study. CoSchedule treats or presents their case studies as customer stories. They highlight their customers and state how they helped their customers. To do so, CoSchdeule has added snapshots and quotes from their English Heritage Employees, which helped readers to visualize what the company is talking about.
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How Long Should a Case Study Report be?
A writer is required to add all the relevant and necessary points into the case study to make sure that the case study format is neither too long nor too short. A long case study might demotivate the reader from reading it, but a short case study would lack quality information.
So how long a case study should be? The experts suggest that the length of a case study report ideally should be two to five pages. However, this is a loose recommendation as the length of your case study completely depends on the topic, analysis, and all other input you have proposed in your case study format.
Nonetheless, your case study must be long enough to tell the whole story. You can also make the length of your case study based on your target audience and how you are planning to use your case study.
What are the Steps to Make a Case Study?
We have already gone through the outline and format for a case study format. However, these are some additional suggestions or steps that you must take before actually writing anything-
- Choose the right situation/subject to write your case study on.
- Run a case study research and gather as much relevant information as possible about the situation.
- Do an adequate analysis of all the elements surrounding the situation and your case study.
- Based on your finding and research, determine the final solution to be implemented to tackle the problem.
- Make sure you gather information about why the solution suggested by you would work or not work.
- Also, once you get done with your final draft, make sure you cross the points of this checklist.
- Make sure you follow the correct case study format as per your subject and case study requirements.
- Check the consistency of your references and citation style. If you have followed the APA case study format, you must write all your citations in the same format throughout your work.
- Proofread and check the grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Do macro-editing. In simple terms, go through your case study and question yourself whether your work will pop the bigger picture in your reader’s mind. Make sure there is no biased notion, and the data collection process must be transparent.
- Avoid chaos and irrelevant points, which could lead your work on a different track.
What Is the Difference Between a Case Study and a Research Paper?
All that we have studied so far must remind you of the process of writing a research paper. But mind you, although the process may seem similar, case studies and research papers are different from each other.
|A research paper is more action-oriented and focuses on an immediate problem. It may turn the readers' attention to a particular problem.||A Case study goes beyond a problem and is about an in-depth exploration of the subject.|
|Research Paper is more direct in context.||A Case Study often follows a storytelling narrative.|
|The length of a research paper can reach up to 100 pages.||The length of a case study is way less than a research paper, which goes on for about hundreds of pages.|
|For a research paper, a writer simply follows the outline, there is no particular formula.||For a case study, you can refer to the basic formula- Problem (Act I): > Solution (Act II) > Result (Act III) > Conclusion.|
|A Research Paper covers a broad context. In fact, we can use a case study as the source or evidence to explain one of the topics under the research paper.||A case study covers a specific case and the questions, analysis, and findings are about that particular case only.|
|In a research paper, it is necessary to cite all the sources and other similar works that you used as references and sources for your work.||In a case study, it is not necessary to separately cite your sources, unless you are using a particular citation formation such as APA format for a case study.|
A case study, as we established, is a great way to learn deeply about a topic, event, or anything at all, which provides us all the details and possible perspectives compiled in one place. It gives us an overview of the topic being discussed and analyzed. A case study explains what happened to a person, at a place, or about any situation in practice. We can get in-depth knowledge about any sector or environment related to business, criminal activities/justice, healthcare sector, social event, technological space, or anything. Therefore, writing a good case study format becomes important not only for the students but also for people in professional spheres.
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