The process of writing a case study. The structure of the paper.
People who work in business, marketing, social sciences, legal, medical, engineering, academic, and many other fields quite often need to submit reports about a person, a group of people, or a situation that they have been studying over a certain period of time. Such a published report is called case study, and in order to write good case studies one should follow specific guidelines because they have a particular style and format.
Is There Any Difference between Essay and Case Study?
You might be already familiar with essay writing. Essays differ from case studies because they answer a certain question based on research through the author’s own evaluation. Reports, in turn, present and analyze findings from practical research. While reports are usually descriptive and describe sequential events such as experiments or results from surveys, essay can be descriptive, evaluative, and discursive. The type of the essay depends on the given questions.
Because case studies are educational for readers, they have to provide information as clear as possible. The structure of this writing should be as follows:
The title should give a very accurate description of a study. It has to be very effective because its function is to let readers know what the main focus of the study is.
Since it is not a scientific paper, the abstract in this writing does not have a structure, i.e. no subheadings of methodology, conclusions, etc. You need to give a background which has to outline, for instance, the clinical condition of the study under analysis. Then you need to provide relevant details and results of the study and give an overall conclusion. The final step is to give five key words.
In this section you need to provide a brief review of the published literature relevant to your subject. The best kind of articles to use here are other review articles and the first case that was described in the literature.
If you are working in the field of medicine, for example, in this part you write about your patient’s health issues, treatment, and laboratory results. All the data has to be presented in chronological order and in figures or tables. Research ethics is crucial: your patient cannot be identified anywhere in the study. If a photo is necessary, your patient has to sign a written consent. To publish your writing you have to contact the primary care physician and come to an agreement.
In this section one presents the case and the laboratory findings. An author’s job is to relate his/her findings to the previous studies and, in case they differ, make it clear what is the reason of this difference and what your scientific opinion is. The question you should answer here is why your paper is unique.
Make a summary of what you have learnt from your study. Do not repeat the case history; just give short and informative conclusions.
If there are people who have assisted you in your study but are not co-authors, make sure to acknowledge them.
You can use only reliable sources in this section such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles. Make sure that the entire reference is accurate according to the style – MLA, APA, etc.
Tables and Figures
If you have a lot of data that you cannot mention in the discussion section, put it to tables and figures and locate them in this section of your writing. Adding tables and photographs is a great strategic decision because it makes the writing more informative and comprehensible.
Are People Taught Case Study Writing?
This type of writing is rather popular in education system and quite often happens to be a student assignment. This project is very helpful in school/university because it allows students to apply their knowledge in practice. For example, students who take courses in psychotherapy or physiology can put themselves in the role of professionals and examine how certain method can be applied to the person in the story and how your case management and counseling skills can help the client.
Not only can students pay more attention to the development of their technical writing skills, but also they can demonstrate their individual approach to a specific issue. Although teaching how to write a case study requires a lot of time, students need training in this field because the process of the case study writing is complex. A good guide will help them learn how to use their analytical skills to make a better work. Besides, you can always mention this skill during the interview with the company you want to work for.
What Is the Case Study Method?
If you are a student in a law school or are planning to get your MBA, Harvard University has prepared a lot of extremely helpful tips on case study writing for current and prospective students. For instance, Harvard Law School presents the difference between case study method and case method. While the first method uses a narrative of a legal dilemma to showcase the principles of law, the second one uses a court decision for the same purpose. The case study method requires teamwork and discussion between the participants whereas the case method uses the discussion between professor and student. Finally, the case study method analyzes the dilemma in its developments while the second method analyzes it after it has been resolved.
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A case study is different from many other types academic writings in a number of ways. First of all, a case study requires out and out research from the part of the writers. It cannot be written without reference or firsthand experience. Since researches and analyses consume much time, students find it difficult to complete the task before the stipulated time. However, timely guidelines and tips on writing case study can help them a lot to complete it on time.
What is Case Study ? :
A case study is a comprehensive study of a single individual, group or an event. The instance or the object taken for scrutiny is called a case. After identifying an ideal case, what the researchers need to do is to collect as much data as possible. All kinds of researches require extensive primary details regarding the thing to be studied.
There will always be a puzzle in a case study. The purpose of undertaking a case study is nothing but to unknot the puzzle. In order to do it, there are certain systematic principles to be applied. It starts from choosing the topic itself. The case should have enough room for exploration. It is better if you choose a challenging topic for it. If so, your paper will stand out from the rest and the evaluators approach it with interest. Hence, selecting the topic has to be done with utmost care.
Data Collection Prior to Case Study :
Adequate data collection is a crucial aspect in any kind of research. In order to come up with a first rate case study, you have to get all background information about the case. Relevant articles on the topic can be had from libraries and internet. Accession to the internet is always beneficial as you can find most recent information from it. It is desirable if you have some direct knowledge about the case. In order to get it, you can conduct surveys among people. People's opinions can be used as a means to support your claim in the paper.
Case Study Analysis :
Analyzing the accumulated data is the next step in writing your case study. Analysis must be done on scientific basis. It is all objective. For this, the entire characteristics of the case have to be understood broadly. You have to scrutinize all possible sides of the issue carefully. After doing sufficient investigations, it is a must to note down important points of the study. This is one of the most significant steps in the entire case study writing. A draft, which you have prepared, helps you a lot in the entire procedure of writing.
Prerequisite for Case Study Writing :
A Draft is an essential prerequisite for writing a case study because it contains the very essence of the entire essay. Everything is arranged systematically there. It helps the students to write the paper effortlessly. They only need to elaborate the points written in the draft. With a well written draft in hand, it is a trouble free affair for the students to complete case study writing.
Writing is all fun, only if the students know the basics of it. In order to make the academic writing tasks look excellent, the students have to follow a set of rules. Case study is a special category of academic writing which needs out and out pre planning and homework. However, effective guidelines can lead a student to write outstanding case study.
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