Let me guess, you’re surfing the internet trying to figure out what on earth is a case study, probably because, you have a case study assignment due and have no clue how to go about it.
In that case, keep on reading to find out everything there is to write an informative case study and score that ‘A’ grade you’ve been dreaming of.
First let’s take a look at the definition of a case study- the term case study is a formal research methodology tool used for carrying out exhaustive, in-depth examination of the chosen topic.
Case studies are mostly analysis or systematic investigations of a person, a single company, group of people/companies, events, policies, phenomenon used for forecasting trends, providing solutions to existing issues, and testing out scientific theories and models by implementing them in real world situations.
The methods used to carry out a case study research can be qualitative, quantitative or a combination of both, the approach therefore is dependent on the field and the type of problem being examined.
Case studies have been used as a popular research method in the fields and disciplines ranging from social sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, business studies, clinical and administrative science.
When to conduct case studies?
Talking about these fields, let’s see how they utilize case studies as a research methodology. Researchers use case studies widely across the different branches of psychology such as clinical, educational, cognitive, and occupational psychology in order to find out the root causes of the issues faced by the respondents, and the impacts they had to go through.
They do this by interviewing and observing individuals or group of people in their natural environment or under controlled laboratory conditions.
This approach is used to generalize the problem and its findings in order to highlight the issues being faced by the society and by providing measures to overcome the problem.
However, there is a range of well-defined diverse methods: focus groups, document analysis, interviews, documents and archival records, physical artifacts and tools, and direct observations. Researchers choose the methods according to their discipline.
Why conduct case studies?
Apart from that mostly social scientists use case study method for process improvements, they intend to explore theories which will contribute in improving the current working of the society, this is done by carrying out interventions in order to test whether the theory will prove beneficial or not.
For instance, the researchers in the health care and nursing fields are always looking for ways for the betterment of the patients, and conduct researches which contribute in improving the healthcare facilities and the patient’s experience.
Recently, music therapies have become popular for treating surgical patients to lower their anxiety levels, this was only possible after the positive results of the multiple researches carried out by these researches who focused on musical therapies to improve their conditions prior to surgery to make the recovery process easier.
What are the types of case studies?
There are several different types of case studies, varying from explanatory, exploratory, intrinsic, instrumental, illustrative and cumulative case studies. Each of these differ from each other based on their hypothesis and it is also possible for these types to overlap.
Explanatory case studies for example, focus on the explanation of a phenomenon whereas, exploratory case study is similar to a large-scale research project, where the goal is to prove that further investigation is needed.
And the time taken to complete each type of case study differs, some might take a day, others, a month, or some might go on for a year. But, the overall purpose of the case studies remains the same, betterment of the society by creating opportunities for improvements.
Now, that you have had the basic idea about case studies and its usage let’s take a look at some of the steps needed in order to write a case study, shall we?
Before you dive in to it, you must come up with an accurate research strategy, this includes how you will gather the necessary data and find answers to your research question.
To do that ask yourself the following questions:
what questions will your study answer, who is your target audience, type of your case study etc.
Introducing the problem
The first part of the case study solely consists of the problem which you are going to tackle, provide all the details of the problem, explain it in great depth. You must also specify the reason of your interest in the chosen topic and what motivated you to conduct it.
Describing the solution
Since, the purpose of a case study is to provide solutions to the problems faced by the society, hence, making it an integral part of the case study to provide in-depth and detailed description of your proposed solution and how it will eliminate the problem from the society.
If you fail to do so, and do not provide a clear solution to the problems the purpose of the case study would not be fulfilled.
Lastly, a detailed analysis of the results and solutions of the problem should be included in the case study. This allows the researcher to apply the results of the problem on the society as a whole and to improve the existing situation.
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