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What Are the Steps to Write a Great Case Study?

Oct 4, 2022

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The case study method gained popularity at the beginning of the 20th century in the field of law and medicine. The leading role in the dissemination of the case method belongs to the Harvard Business School.

Gradually, this method gained ground and began to be used as one of the most effective ways to train students and managers in common problem-solving skills. Recently, the case method has found wide application in the field of studying management and marketing.

In essence, a case study is a learning method, which is based on the consideration of specific practical examples. “Case” is something like a tool, allowing applying theoretical knowledge to solving practical problems. Tying theory with practice, case study effectively trains the ability to reasonably develop solutions in a limited time.

10 Steps to Write a Great Case Study

Regardless of whether your case study has a textual or visual (video can be very convincing) format, we recommend focusing on a ten-step model. Even if you choose to use a visual format, it should still include all the below information, but display it according to the format chosen.

  1. Title. Keep it short. Come up with a concise but interesting case study project name that describes your work on a subject area (or with a client in the case of a marketing study).
  2. Subtitle or abstract. It should be a sentence or two in length. Use it to briefly describe what has been accomplished: what you have achieved/proved in the result of your case study. Later, in the main body of your text, you will tell exactly how you did it.
  3. Summary. A summary of the entire story in a paragraph consisting of 4-5 sentences. You can include 2-3 metrics here that reflect the success of the project. In business, authors often call this chapter an executive summary – a summary intended for the top executive managers. 
  4. Description of the case study subject area (or a client in a typical marketing case study). Here you can include basic information about your studied subject area or a short description of your client’s company. The latter can be taken from the website or an open social media profile.
  5. Goals. Usually, 2-3 paragraphs that describe the difficulties faced by your studied subject (person or persons) or the client. In marketing, this section should also include the goals and objectives of the client.
  6. Solution. 2-3 paragraphs that describe how the studied person or group of persons (or a product or service) solved the problem.
  7. Results. 2-3 paragraphs about how exactly the studied phenomenon turned out to be useful to others. Provide specific numbers to quantify the results.
  8. Illustrations and quotes. Choose one or two powerful quotes and screenshots of the case study material to illustrate your story. These don’t have to be framed as a separate chapter, but rather spread out across the entire case study. Sometimes including a powerful quote into a brief summary does miracles.
  9. Future plans. Share what the studied person (persons) plans to do in the future, whether their plans are related to you or not.
  10. Call to action. Place a compelling call to action at the end of your story to give readers a chance to learn more about your case study subject (a product or service in marketing).

Find out how

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A case-study method is a tool that allows students to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world tasks. The method contributes to the development of independent thinking, listening and considering an alternative point of view, and expressing your position clearly and reasonably. With this method, students and marketing specialists have the opportunity to show and improve analytical and assessment skills, learn to work in a team, and find the most rational solution to the burning problems existing in real-world settings.

And most importantly, the case study method is the best alternative to traditional learning, which has to “retire” soon.

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