How to Write a Case Study - Steps, Examples & Case Study Format

Written by

Rickey Clarke

9 mins read
case study format

Are you a student who has been asked to write a case study? Or, are you looking for information on how to write a case study so that you can be prepared if you ever have to write one?

Either way, this blog post is for you!

In it, we will discuss the steps involved in writing a case study, as well as provide some examples to help you get started. We will also outline the format of a case study so that you can be sure your finished product meets expectations.

So, whether you are just getting started or need some clarification on what is expected of you, keep reading for everything you need to know about writing a case study!

What is a Case Study?

The case study is a type of research that seeks to solve problems and offer solutions. They can range from academic studies, which are mostly found in universities, or corporate promotional tools trying to sell an idea. Their scope covers just about any topic you could imagine!

Difference Between a Case Study and a Research Paper

When you're writing a research paper, it's important to pay attention and be meticulous. Case studies take things one step further by requiring students to examine issues closely with different methods.

Case studies are a great way to get your hands-on practical information. The length of the case study depends entirely upon what they're looking for, but it's usually much shorter than an average research paper - about 500-900 words rather than 10 pages or more!

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Types of Case Studies

The purpose of a case study is to provide in-depth reports on an event, institution, or place. There are many different types depending upon what topic you're studying.

The following list includes some common types of case studies:

  • Historical Case Study: Using historical case studies to learn from is an excellent way of getting different perspectives on events. These cases give you a chance for gaining insight into what happened and why. This can be extremely useful in understanding modern parallels or how various factors may have influenced past outcomes.
  • Problem-Oriented Case Study: Problem-oriented case studies are an excellent way to get inside the head of your characters, and understand their problems. This is especially vital when it comes time for socio-economical discussions - these cases give you relevant insight into how people deal with challenges in different settings.
  • Cumulative Case Study: Cumulative case studies provide a wealth of information and insights to help you make better decisions. They're perfect for sharing with clients or other stakeholders who want the benefits that your products offer, but don't have time to do all this research themselves.
  • Critical Case Study: A critical case study explores the causes and effects of a certain event or situation.
  • Illustrative Case Study: Illustrative cases studies provide a detailed and complete account of events, often using real people to give an accurate representation.

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How to Format a Case Study?

The case study format can seem complicated, but it's actually quite simple. There are eight parts of a well-formatted case study. Here is a detail of these eight parts:

  • 1. Executive Summary: In this section, you need to explain what the case study will examine. You should write an overview of the field that’s being researched and make a thesis statement about it as well. Summarize the main goal in 2 sentences or less.
  • 2. Background: The background section of your paper is an opportunity to provide context for what you are discussing. Isolate any key issues and explain them in-depth, while also providing relevant facts that will help the reader follow along with ease!
  • 3. Case Evaluation: This is the part where you need to explain why something's working or not. In this part, you will be focusing on what isn't working for your product and how it can be improved.
  • 4. Proposed Solution: The goal of this section is to provide solutions that will help your readers understand the issue better and find a way out. To do so, you need evidence-based answers with real impacts on their lives in order for them not just to read but take action!
  • 5. Conclusion: The conclusion is where you summarize the main points from your case evaluations and proposed solutions.
  • 6. Recommendations: Here you need to talk about the strategy that you should choose. Explain why this choice is the most appropriate.
  • 7. Implementation: Now that you have chosen the strategy, you need to explain how to put it into action. This will involve taking specific steps and using certain tools in order to achieve the desired outcome.
  • 8. References: This is the last part of the case study where you need to provide all the citations and referenced sources.

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How to Write a Case Study?

To put it simply, a case study can be written in three stages. These three stages and the steps to be followed in each stage to write an excellent case study are mentioned below.

  • 1. Preparing the Case

    Before you begin writing, make sure that you understand the case study. To do this, follow these guidelines:

    • 1. Read and Analyze the Case: You should read and examine the case thoroughly. Take notes, highlight relevant facts, and underline key problems. This will help you understand the case better and be able to answer any questions that might come up.
    • 2. Focus Your Analysis: To create a focus of your analysis in the case study, find the answer to the following questions
    • Point out two to five major problems. Find the source of the problems. See how do they impact the organization or the subject. Check who is responsible for creating the problem.
    • 3. Research the Possible Solutions: Course readings, discussions, and outside research can all be sources of information. Reviewing what you have learned so far is an important first step in uncovering possible solutions.
    • 4. Pick the Best Solution: You should consider the strength of each solution and make a well-informed decision. You will need to weigh the pros against the cons if you are unsure.
  • 2. Drafting the Case

    There are different sections that your analysis should have, depending on what you are studying and what your instructions say. A marketing case study about a product or a service may have a different research method than a scientific case study. But typically, a draft of your analysis includes the following:

    • 1. Introduction
      • Identify the key problems being discussed in the case study.
      • Create a thesis statement that summarizes the outcome of your analysis in one or two sentences.
    • 2. Background
      • Explain the case to the reader. Do this by providing background information, relevant facts, and significant issues.
      • Also, depict your research of the problems being highlighted in the case study.
    • 3. Analysis of the Case
      • Outline the significant points of the case that you are evaluating.
      • Analyze these significant details and explain what is working and what isn’t.
      • Write why certain parts of the case study are not working well.
    • 4. Propose Possible Solutions
      • Provide realistic and applicable solutions or changes that should be made to counter the problems.
      • Tell the reason why this is the most optimum solution.
      • Support the chosen solution with other case studies, external research, anecdotes, real-life examples, or other facts and figures.
    • 5. Recommendations
      • Propose and explain strategies that can be followed to accomplish the proposed solution or changes.
      • You can also recommend further actions to resolve the issue.
      • Also, tell who can resolve the issue and who should implement the solution.
  • 3. Finalizing the Case

    When you are done with the first draft of your case study analysis, read through it again and proofread it to make sure that there aren't any gaps or inconsistencies in content or structure. You need to check:

      Is the thesis statement clear and concise?

      Is there solid evidence to prove your analysis?

      Is any component from the analysis missing?

    If you find any lacking in your case study then edit it to create the final draft before submitting it.

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How to Format the Title Page of a Case Study?

Your title page is the first thing that readers see when they open your case study. It's also what grabs their attention. So, it needs to be clear without being too long or complicated.

  • Write a title that grabs the reader’s attention and explains your case study.
  • Make sure to include the word “case study” in the title.
  • Keep the title between 5 to 9 words.

Add your name and contact information on the title page. Remember that the title page is not included in the total word length of the paper. Your case study should be 500 to 1500 words in length. Try to avoid fluff because a case study is a formal document.

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How to Cite a Case Study in Different Formats?

A case study is like a research paper when it comes to citations. You can cite them in different ways depending on what style you need for your own work. However, there are some common practices that every author should follow if they want their case study cited correctly.

Citations are important for academic papers and case studies alike. When you want to quote someone else's work on your own, it is best practice (and required) that the proper citation format should be used.

There are different citation formats like MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. Here are a few citation examples to cite credible sources:

  • MLA Citation Example: Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing, 2008. Print.
  • APA Citation Example: Hill, L., Khanna, T., & Stecker, E. A. (2008). HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing.
  • Chicago Citation Example: Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies.

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Case Study Format Examples

Here are examples of case study format for students

APA Case Study Format

Here is a case study format APA example for you to learn.

APA Case Study Format

APA Case Study Format

Business Case Study Format

Business Case Study Format

The above-mentioned steps and examples will help you write a well-formatted case study. Remember that a great case study focuses on some key problems that need to be addressed.

Writing a case study requires strong analytical skills, but if you lack those you can take help from a professional essay writer at YourEssayWriter.net. They will not only conduct in-depth research but will also write a well-curated case study paper for you.