48+ Sample Case Study

What Is a Case Study? 

A case study is a form of research that focuses on a particular person, group, event or phenomenon; then attempts to do a deep dive on the subject. It is done for the purpose of both assessing and addressing problems surrounding the subject. 

In a news article published on its official website, Yale School of Management released its top 40 most popular case studies of 2020. A case study on Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands took the top spot. The yearly review was led by the school’s Case Research and Development Team (SOM CRDT). The study covered the famous resort’s marketing, operations and sustainability practices. 

Fields That Use Case Studies  

Different areas of work make use of the case study research method to make sense of information; and hopefully gain constructive perspective on a chosen subject. The following fields are commonly known to fund and publish case studies:   

Psychology- Psychiatrists and psychologists, in both the public and private sector, typically study a particular group or individual by gathering observations, conducting experiments and using other data collection techniques. Probably the most common studies involve mental illnesses, deviant behavior, and addictions. A graduate student might decide to pursue a case study about a person who suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder and exhibits bipolar tendencies. She documents the case and explores how the person’s disorder affects her everyday functioning and interpersonal relationships. Medicine- Medicine is a broad field. Researchers and healthcare practitioners may often do case studies to study newly emerging diseases then publish their findings to the medical community. Some do case studies to explore a potential vaccine’s effectivity in treating certain illnesses. The evolving field of medical technology would prompt many doctors and scientists to study medicine in greater depth and continuously add to the ever evolving body of knowledge that is science. Anthropology- We may have heard of cultural anthropologists doing extensive field work on indigenous peoples. We tend to picture a social scientist with an isolated tribe that is cut off from the rest of the world. Anthropologists immerse themselves in their quest to understand man in relation to society; and how that relationship shapes him and vice-versa. An anthropological case study, therefore, would entail an intensive inquiry into the social, economical, and cultural dynamics of a particular community or cultural phenomena. Political Science- Although it is less common, the field of political science may also utilize the case study method; especially if it is directed towards uncovering and establishing information that might support a certain political belief. For instance, a democratic party may commission a case study focused on a set of voters with a particular demographic (e.g. female African-Americans, low-income white households). Using a variety of data gathering techniques, this will hopefully allow the researchers to better understand the group’s voting patterns and political attitudes or inclinations. Social Work- In the area of social work, we hear the phrase ‘case to case basis’ quite often. This is especially true when it comes to trauma victims; because not all suffering can be generalized. Social and welfare workers may sometimes do case studies if it helps them establish useful and significant data about the people they cater to. A government social worker might do a thorough study of a young woman who has suffered prolonged sexual trauma. He makes the argument in his paper explaining which coping mechanisms and trauma responses hold the greatest potential benefits to victims of sexual abuse.Business/Marketing- When private corporations have the resources and time, some opt to conduct case studies in the hope that it might translate to better business practices and boosted sales. In the retail industry for instance, businesses go out of their way to gain a deeper understanding of who they serve. Market strategists may do a more in-depth case study using vital customer profile information. The goal for the company in using the case study approach would essentially be to gain more insight about the market. This is done by narrowing in on a particular subject and using the data collected to improve products and services.

Parts of a Case Study

Depending on your chosen format, some case studies may consist of more sections compared to others. However, the purpose remains the same. It should present a rigorous and detailed examination of a particular subject. The following are typically included in a case study’s table of contents

Title: A formal case study would require a title page with the name of the author or authors. A brief description and a table of contents may be included, but are not absolutely necessary. Summary/Synopsis: This may also be referred to as an abstract. Formal academic papers require a brief summary. The gist of your case study should describe your main hypotheses and contain only the key points. An abstract or synopsis of a paper should inform the reader of the objective of the study and an overview of the topic. Findings: Your case study should describe the findings you were able to gather from the data collected. Present your data in such a way that it is objective. Save your personal input and opinions for the discussion section of your research. Data collected from interviews or survey forms are your primary sources and therefore, should be retained in their original form and free from personal bias. Discussion: What are the problems you want to address? What concepts and professional opinions can best support your main ideas? With the evidence and observations derived from your findings, what might be the most plausible course of action? You may want to discuss alternative solutions or expound on the causal effect. The point of this section is to thoroughly discuss and provide an in-depth analysis on the data; in relation to your chosen group, individual, or phenomenon. Conclusion: Summarize your findings and expound on why the case study is relevant to your field and connect the individual or group to the larger issue and bigger picture. A case study is not meant to generalize and does not necessarily mean it will guarantee the appropriate solutions. It may bring awareness and attempt to address an issue, but it does not always solve the problem. If anything, it will open the door to more studies and further research for others to build upon. Recommendations: You can opt to focus on the most realistic solution and justify it. Identify the persons or institutions who are direct stakeholders and have the greatest potential in delivering lasting change and positive impact. For example, in a case study centered on an orphan, who are the people directly involved in the decision making and future of the child? What can the federal government and social services do differently? Is lack of funds or poor training perhaps the main problem? What role does the child’s school play? Those who are in the position to effectively improve the situation should be mentioned in the case study. References: Be sure to properly cite your primary and secondary sources. Always be mindful of your format. Your reference section should be able to aid your readers in their own supplementary reading. Appendix: Attach relevant supporting documents such as questionnaires, interview transcripts, figures or graphs, photographs, and anything supplementary that was utilized in your research. Make sure to label and arrange them appropriately.

How to Write a Case Study

Any type of research requires thoughtful planning. Learn how to produce a substantial and thought-provoking case study by following the practical step-by-step guide below. 

Step 1: Data Collection

Research, research, research. Any researcher- whether amateur or seasoned- should know that to begin to understand a topic, you need hard data. Thankfully, information these days is more accessible compared to generations ago. Once you’ve decided on a topic and have zeroed in on your subject, the next step is looking for primary and secondary sources. There are several data collection techniques that can be used. These include key informant interviews, survey forms, professional journals, legitimate online and print resources, etc. Compile your data and document them religiously.  

Step 2: Format and Outline

Before sharing your ideas and findings, ensure your case study has structure. Now that you’ve gathered the necessary data, it’s time to organize it into one coherent output. Decide on one particular format and maintain it all throughout your paper. Outline the sections of your case study so it’s easier for you to arrange your thoughts and track your development. If your case study is quite long, it might be best to include a table contents to guide your audience. Otherwise, a table of contents is optional.    

Step 3: First Draft

With your outline as a guide, start writing your first draft. There is no rule that says you always need to write them in order. Many writers allow themselves to skip sections then come back to the earlier ones at another time. A first draft is not intended to be perfect; which is why there are editing and revising phases that come after.

Step 4: Review and Revise 

After you’ve completed each section, go over your work again. It’s wise to have it proofread or peer reviewed. An unbiased second opinion may spot errors and inconsistencies that you may have overlooked. One of the most fundamental things you can do for any written material, regardless if it’s a reflective essay or case study, is to edit and refine your work. There is a major difference between an unrevised and disorganized first draft and a polished and thoughtful final output. When you’re satisfied with your case study, don’t forget to cite and format your sources accordingly. Your case study can also be packaged in different forms for easier readability. A condensed power point presentation or engaging infographic version can both work well to reach a wider audience.  


What is a case study example?

One prime example of a case study in the field of anthropology would be the study of a group of death row inmates. A researcher, with the intent of shedding light on the futile goal of the death penalty, may choose to do an in-depth study of those awaiting execution in a maximum security prison. In order to do a comprehensive case study, she would need to interview the inmates, know their stories, familiarize herself with law enforcement culture and the correctional penal system.

What is a case study research method?

A case study is a type of research approach that delves deeper into a particular issue or phenomenon. However, majority of case studies typically involve the study of individuals and small groups. This is especially true in the fields of psychology or social work where a ‘case’ takes into consideration not just the current underlying factors surrounding the subject; but the history, inclinations, narrative and the subjective nature of the case.

Is a case study qualitative?

In many cases, yes. Since case studies seek to provide an overall and extensive analysis of a subject, most qualitative research involves descriptive narratives and often subjective sources of information (e.g. news articles, interviews, etc.). But statistics and other quantitative data may also be used for case studies.

How do you write a case study?

Case studies require sound planning and careful selection of a subject. After choosing a group, individual or phenomenon to focus on, plan your data gathering strategy. Create an outline of your paper so you know what to include in your study. Your discussions and findings will make up the bulk of your paper, so ensure that your reasoning and arguments are logical and are grounded on the data you gathered.

Case studies often prove that one-size does not fit all. What is applicable in one situation, may not apply to other cases. The importance of a case study is to examine different scenarios and occurrences, each with its own unique set of circumstances. Embarking on a research as rigorous as a case study may seem daunting at first. But as long as you use the right tools, you can create an impactful and relevant study. Check out the helpful templates above to get started!