How to Format Case Study
Barnes, Christensen, and Hansen, 1994, p. 44 describe a case study as “a partial, historical, clinical study of a situation which has confronted a practicing administrator or managerial group. Presented in a narrative form to encourage student involvement, it provides data—substantive and process—essential to analysis of a specific situation, for the framing of alternative action programs, and for their implementation, recognizing the complexity and ambiguity of the practical world.” Sometimes you will be required to structure it as a report where each part deals with a specific aspect of the case. Generally, when you are given a case study you are expected to format case study as:
- Describe a situation, event, or problem.
- Identify and focus on key issues in the case.
- Use relevant and practical theoretical concepts to analyze the case.
- Recommend a practical solution to your case.
Case study reports can be either problem-solving or descriptive.
Problem-solving case studies
Problem-solving case studies involve investigating a problem or situation and proposing a solution. This solution should be based on theories and analysis of relevant materials to your area of study. For a case study to be problem-solving, there has to be a problem that can be solved. It also has a specific structure. Take the example below:
“Brian (88 years old) is a resident at a high dependency aged care facility (nursing home). He has developed infectious conjunctivitis in his right eye. His eye was found to be red and swollen with a purulent and sticky discharge on examination. His vision was unaffected; however, he did complain that his eye was painful. The doctor prescribed gentamicin eye drops which were to be administered to both eyes.”
Using the supplied template, the format case study should answer the following questions.
- Q1. Background of the case study (Total: 5 marks)
- Q2. Mechanism of action of the drug and adverse reactions (Total: 5 marks)
- Q3. Mediators of signs and symptoms (Total: 10 marks).
- Q4. Infection control issues (Total 5 marks)
- Q5. Transmission of infection (Total: 5 marks)
- Q6. Breaking the chain of infection (Total: 5 marks)
- 6.1 Describe two procedures nurses will need to prevent the infection from Brian’s eye from being transmitted to another individual. Clearly explain how each procedure will effectively break the chain of infection (5 marks).
Descriptive case studies
Describing why a situation happened, its different aspects, and analyzing it through relevant theories, descriptive case studies are used to understand a situation better. They are instrumental in helping people make informed decisions in the future. Here is an example:
For this assignment, you are to select an organization of your choice that addresses an issue you are passionate about (e.g., environmental protection, social justice). The selected organization will be your case study, to which you will apply what you have learned so far about leadership. You will apply the relevant leadership theories discussed in Workshop 2 and critically examine the different dimensions of leadership at play within your organization. While you may use your creativity to structure the case study, a template with suggested headings will be made available in the Assessments folder.
Tips for your case study report
Students’ common mistake is rushing into the writing process without putting much thought into the case study report writing process. To help you avoid the agony that comes with case study assignments, we share some useful tips to guide you through case study report writing:
- Identify the problems
Analyze the case study and identify some of the pertinent issues and problems. Pick out the consequences and causes of these problems and highlight them in your notes. Note the relationship between these problems and specific events and situations.
There are many analysis tools out there, depending on your field. If you are not sure about the tool, or method to use, consult your professor. While analyzing, note down all the findings that will be useful in writing your case study report.
- Make recommendations
Recommendations refer to a statement of the action to be taken to solve or remove the case study problem. In writing your recommendation, you should ask yourself: Will the solution work? Who will conduct/perform this solution? When will it be implemented? And how much the implementation will cost.
- Form conclusions
In your conclusion, sum up your problem, analysis, proposed solutions, and recommendations. Also, indicate some of your recommendation’s shortcomings.
- Prepare an outline
Before you start writing the report, have a structure outlined. Depending on the institution, your case study report’s structure may vary. Be sure to refer to your study guide and your instructor’s instructions before embarking on your case study report writing journey. However, most case studies contain the following components: A Cover page that includes the student’s and class information; Table of contents to show where the report’s key information will be found; An executive summary that consists of the key points of your case study such as the proposed solutions and recommendations; An introduction of the problem being explored in your study; An examination and thorough analysis of the said problem; Possible solutions of the problem posed by the case study report; A recommendation to solving the problem; An implementation plan detailing how the recommendation can be applied; Reference list of all the sources used in writing the report.
- Develop a timetable
Prepare a writing and editing schedule for each of your report’s sections. Give yourself some allowance in case you experience some problems down the line. Some people prefer to write their introductions, executive summary, and conclusions last. Find out what works for you and stick to it.
- Consider your audience
Reports are often addressed to an imaginary person. Therefore, make sure that your language and style suites it. By considering your audience, you will decide what to include and what to leave out.
After you finish writing your report, go through it thoroughly. Correct any structural, grammatical, and spelling mistakes. A helpful hack is reading your report out loud. You can use editing tools such as Grammarly or our academic writing service for proofreading.
- Reference properly
A reference list is a list of all the books, journals, newspapers, etc., basically overall materials that you have referred to in your report. Failure to include these references could lead to plagiarism and subsequent loss or worse. Plagiarism is the act of stealing or copying another person’s intellectual property and presenting it as your own. A serious offence can lead to suspension, dismissal from your program, and less severe failure. Our professional academic writing services will help you properly reference and cite all these sources at an affordable fee.
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