How to conduct a case study

Before we get a greater understanding of how to conduct a case study let us first identify when is a case study necessary. Case studies are directly related to the real world and therefore all the aspects of it are going to relevant as per present times. If you’re wondering “why is a case study important”, the answer is simple. It is a means of gaining in-depth knowledge about a subject. Case studies are a good option when a student is given the task of writing a dissertation or thesis. They are helpful in maintaining focus on the ultimate aim of any given thesis/dissertation. There is always a time constraint while writing such extensive assignments, case studies are a good way of canceling out any unneeded research work. A student might only highlight one particular case study that he or she might feel is substantial enough to cover the topic they have chosen. Every time a research question is proposed, there are going to some related case studies as well.

Steps involved in conducting a case study:

1) Mentioning the problem statement: 

The first step is to state the problem statement and write down all the research-related questions. A research problem is any specific issue that is addressed through the research.

2) Selecting a case: 

Next, it is decided what “case” the student would like to highlight and discuss through their case study. The case study should be unique, which means that there shall not be a case study that directly revolves around the same problem statement. However, if there are any theories or assumptions that have been before then the case study must challenge them. A good case study acts as a stepping stone for future research. For example: If there is an observation that there are particular places in Europe that have close to no tourists visiting them then it is an important case study to understand why their state of tourism is so poor.

3)  Work on the theory: 

A case study shall be connected to the theories which are similar or related to it. This ensures that readers are able to gain some knowledge about the topic. One must attempt to create new concepts so that they are further incorporated into existing theories. It is not necessary that a case study is only going to agree and add upon the previously presented theories. A literature review is done in order to construct a theoretical framework. Papers/case studies from various organizations and authors can be analyzed to identify essential concepts which ease the process of interpretation.

4) Collection of data:

 There are multiple methods of data collection. Case studies are a part of qualitative data which includes observing, conducting interviews, and analyzing primary & secondary sources of data. A case study may also include quantitative data. For example: For a case study of real estate development in an urban area, one could collect quantitative data on the kind of properties which are preferred most and collect qualitative data related to their experiences.

5) Analysis of data: 

The final stage of a case study is to create a report about the findings. The type of research done is what decides how the findings will be presented. Certain case studies are structured like a thesis wherein there are clearly bifurcated sections that have information about the method of research, results found, and an excerpt which is termed as the discussion. On the other hand, there is also a narrative style of presenting data that aims to study a topic from different angles. However, the analysis must also give the reader details about the case and the literature that is reviewed.  

The general structure of a case study is as follows:

1) Title page:

 It contains the title of the case study, the name of the author/authors, and the name of the institution or organization. In some cases, keywords are written for the convenience of search tools.

2) Abstract:

 Abstract is a summary of the whole study which helps the readers understand and know whether the subsequent pages that they will view will provide the answer to the questions which they have listed.  

3) Introduction:

 The introduction aims to give a tentative idea to readers about why the study is unique.  Examples can also be added in the introduction which showcases that are similar or other significant historical events.

4) Presentation:

 This part of the case study has all the raw information which is collected. The person who is writing the case study should attempt to make it interesting.  

5) Outcomes:

 Outcomes depict what is the answer to the problem statement which is composed in the initial stages.All recommendations mentioned need to also have credible sources.

6) Conclusion: 

This includes what is inferred from all the analysis and observation after the literature review.  

7) References:

 This section lists down all the sources from where data is taken.

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