There are numerous different approaches to composing case studies. They can be divided into four groups: exploratory (mostly investigates), illustrative (describing events), critical (analyze the causes and effects of a particular theme), and cumulative (overall data juxtaposition. Before diving into writing a case study, it is necessary to examine each type and distinguish which one is the most suitable for your topic and purposes. There are also several sets of rules and instructions that can help you with this process and make it more smooth and comprehensive. Here is a thorough guide on how to write a case study that illustrates your studies and depicts achievements.
Stage I – The Beginning
Step 1 – Decide which type and style of the case study are the most appropriate for your subject and general aim.
· Big firms usually prefer illustrative case studies as they exhibit the amount of work that has been conducted for their client. Educational establishments often fancy cumulative or critical types, law students and legal firms may focus on exploratory case studies as a good technique to present a variety of evidence.
· It doesn’t matter which type you would eventually choose, you have to make sure it fits your goals and the nature of the “case” involved. No matter what is the focus of your attention – corporation, country, a person or anything else really – the case study suppose to reveal some previously unknown or neglected information.
Step 2 – Decide on the theme of your future case study.
· Right after you have come to terms with the topic of the case study, you have to choose general main points of your research, what it will focus on, and the case site (the place where it will happen).
· Begin your investigation in the library or on the various Internet sources to begin diving into an issue and gather general data. The key is to try to focus on the particular issue and discover as much information as possible from different places. Do not neglect the old-fashioned sources and check magazines, DVDs, old newspapers, archives.
Step 3 – Analyze other case studies of the same or relevant themes.
· To avoid repetition conduct an extensive research and find out whether your niche has been taken.
· This research work can also indicate the knowledge gaps that should be filled or other issues that might be explored, so you can set the tone to your own investigative work.
· Reviewing similar materials will help you to get the idea on the style and outline of the future case study.
Stage II – Arrangements for the questionnaires and interviews
Step 1 – Choose people who you will include in your case study.
· Mainly your subjects of interest should be related to the topic of a study and exhibit a deep knowledge of the problematic and history of the issue in question.
· You need to think ahead on whether there should be a group interview or individual questioning depending on the type and purpose of your particular case study.
· Collect information about your interviewees beforehand to achieve the best result.
Step 2 – Create an outline or a plan for the interview and choose how the whole process will be executed.
· Choose the means of the interview, whether it is going to be a real meeting, skype call, phone interview or an email correspondence.
Carefully compose a question that will help clearly reflect interviewee's opinions and views. Try to ask questions that could give you some additional data otherwise unavailable.
Step 3 – Make sure to inform your experts about the nature of your case study.
· In order to avoid any misunderstandings and possible confusions, try t fully disclose the essential points of your case study to interviewees. In some instances, waivers should be used. Do not hesitate to include details and make sure experts clearly understand your goals and themes.
Study III – Getting the information
Step 1 – Do the questionings.
· Ask similar or the same questions to a variety of people to get a wide opinion range and different angles to the problem.
· Try to avoid yes/no questions; they do not give the full picture and do not provide a complete view on the issue. Instead, focus on the broader questions with a room for a more detailed answer.
· If needed request the additional facts and proofs relevant to your case study, taking into account that they will add Request data and materials from subjects as applicable to add validity to your research.
Step 2 – Structure and evaluate all collected information including the written and Internet materials, etc.
Try to rearrange and organize all available data in order to be able to navigate it easily.
· Do not just mindlessly include everything. Pick only the data that is most relevant and precious to your research. The quantity is not the key, try to concentrate on quality instead. Sorting out the acquired data is an important step towards the successful and thorough case study.
Step 3 – Put your ideas into a few short statements.
· After having an overview of all acquired information, try putting the main patterns and ideas into short statements.
This technique will ensure your focus on the most important and impactful aspects of your research. It will help you with the proper arrangement of the data that mirrors the essence of your case study.
Stage IV – Composing the text of your research
Step 1 – Write the case study including all data and interview materials.
· Your body of text should include 4 parts: a clear introduction, the explanatory part on why this case study should take place, an exhibit of your discoveries during this case study and a conclusive part with all the references and details.
· The introduction should be written in a brief and sharp manner, setting a tone and theme for the whole research. You should raise the questions you will explore later in the introduction.
· Explain why your range of the interviewees is a good sample for your research. Give background information about the choice of the study site and present any interactive materials that will further support your claims.
After presenting all the background basic information that will give the readers a panoramic observation of the theme of your case study, it is time for the acquired data exhibition. All of the research conducted via interviews and observations acquired by studying the relevant materials should be put here. It’s a good idea to include graphs and bars to represent the data in the best way. This is the part where you back up your claims and explain the process to the readers. Avoid the repetition and try to make sure and make yourself clear and include all the essential data in a most consumable way for the readers.
· Be analytical and logical. These points should lead to the potential resolutions of the issues you have focused on. Or at least present readers with a full-blown fact-backed research that will ensure they can find possible solutions and draw conclusions themselves. The main aim is not to offer an answer, but to supply a reader with the fullest possible overview of the available data and information about the problem.
Step 2 – Include references.
· Similar to the most academic writings and papers it is essential to state used resources. The good idea to include the most prominent references first, and arrange those not directly affiliated with your topic at the end.
· In the section with Notes or Appendix, you can make any additional explanatory remarks that should be given for the better understanding of the material.
Step 3 – Make revisions and cuts.
· Not everything can be planned; so if your text transforms here and there along the way, just edit and cut (or add) anything and change what has to be changed.
· An additional tip is to see the formatting and styling. Anything that feels out of place and disturbs the "flow" of the narrative should be deleted or put in the appendix part.
Step 4 – Editing process.
· This is a time for grammar remarks and orthography corrections. There are numerous apps that can help you with this task. Every word and statement should be clear and efficient.
· It is a good idea to let someone else go through your text. A fresh eye can see what you might have missed.
There numerous templates and patterns that can help you in organizing your case study in the most efficient way.
Do not forget to ask for permission if you are using any participant’s names and personal info.
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