- Richard G. Trefry Library
Q. Need help with writing a case study analysis?
- Textbooks & Course Materials
- Tutoring & Classroom Help
- Writing & Citing
Answered By: Coleen Neary Last Updated: Jun 02, 2023 Views: 240706
A case study analysis requires you to investigate a business problem, examine the alternative solutions, and propose the most effective solution using supporting evidenc e.
Before you begin writing, follow these guidelines to help you prepare and understand the case study:
- Take notes, highlight relevant facts, and underline key problems.
- Identify two to five key problems
- Why do they exist?
- How do they impact the organization?
- Who is responsible for them?
- Review course readings, discussions, outside research, and your experience.
- Consider strong supporting evidence, pros, and cons: is this solution realistic?
Once you have gathered the necessary information, a draft of your analysis should include these sections:
- Identify the key problems and issues in the case study.
- Formulate and include a thesis statement, summarizing the outcome of your analysis in 1–2 sentences.
- Set the scene: background information, relevant facts, and the most important issues.
- Demonstrate that you have researched the problems in this case study.
- Outline possible alternatives (not necessarily all of them)
- Explain why alternatives were rejected
- Why are alternatives not possible at this time?
- Provide one specific and realistic solution
- Explain why this solution was chosen
- Support this solution with solid evidence
- Concepts from class (text readings, discussions, lectures)
- Outside research
- Personal experience (anecdotes)
- Determine and discuss specific strategies for accomplishing the proposed solution.
- If applicable, recommend further action to resolve some of the issues
- What should be done and who should do it?
After you have composed the first draft of your case study analysis, read through it to check for any gaps or inconsistencies in content or structure: Is your thesis statement clear and direct? Have you provided solid evidence? Is any component from the analysis missing?
Source : University of Arizona Writing Center. (n.d.). Writing a case study analysis . URL: https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/writing-case-study-analysis
- For additional help with the final draft on revisions and editing, please refer to Writing@APUS, The Final Product for tips on proofreading,
- Looking for other business writing resources? See: How to Find Business Communication & Writing Resources
Questions? Contact the library .
- How do I find case studies about my research topic?
- How can I find case study articles about metaphors in organizations?
- Analyze a case study (Cenage)
- Write a case study analysis (Cenage)
- How to Write and Format a Business Case Study (ThoughtCo,)
- Boston Univerity Libguide | Open Access Business Case Studies
- Free Management Library | Basics of Developing Case Studies
- Share on Facebook
Was this helpful? Yes 98 No 7
Need personalized help? Librarians are available 365 days/nights per year! See our schedule.
Learn more about how librarians can help you succeed.
Case Study Analysis: Examples + How-to Guide & Writing Tips
A case study analysis is a typical assignment in business management courses. The task aims to show high school and college students how to analyze a current situation, determine what problems exist, and develop the best possible strategy to achieve the desired outcome.
Our specialists will write a custom essay on any topic for 13.00 10.40/page
Many students feel anxious about writing case analyses because being told to analyze a case study and provide a solution can seem like a big task. That is especially so when working with real-life scenarios. However, you can rest assured writing a case analysis paper is easier than you think. Just keep reading this article and you will find case study examples for students and the advice provided by Custom-writing experts!
- 👣 Main Steps
- 🕵 Preparing the Case
🔬 Analyzing the Case
- 📑 Format & Structure
- 🙅 Things to Avoid
- 🏁 Conclusion
👣 writing a case study analysis: main steps.
Business management is built on case analysis. Every single economic result shows that the methods and instruments employed were either well-timed and expedient, in the event of success, or not, in case of failure. These two options indicate whether the strategy is efficient (and should be followed) or requires corrections (or complete change). Such an approach to the case study will make your writing piece more proficient and valuable for the reader. The following steps will direct your plan for writing a case study analysis.
Step 1: Preliminary work
- Make notes and highlight the numbers and ideas that could be quoted.
- Single out as many problems as you can, and briefly mark their underlying issues. Then make a note of those responsible. In the report, you will use two to five of the problems, so you will have a selection to choose from.
- Outline a possible solution to each of the problems you found. Course readings and outside research shall be used here. Highlight your best and worst solution for further reference.
Step 2: Drafting the Case
- Provide a general description of the situation and its history.
- Name all the problems you are going to discuss.
- Specify the theory used for the analysis.
- Present the assumptions that emerged during the analysis, if any.
- Describe the detected problems in more detail.
- Indicate their link to, and effect on, the general situation.
- Explain why the problems emerged and persist.
- List realistic and feasible solutions to the problems you outlined, in the order of importance.
- Specify your predicted results of such changes.
- Support your choice with reliable evidence (i.e., textbook readings, the experience of famous companies, and other external research).
- Define the strategies required to fulfill your proposed solution.
- Indicate the responsible people and the realistic terms for its implementation.
- Recommend the issues for further analysis and supervision.
Step 3: Finalizing the Case
Like any other piece of writing, a case analysis requires post-editing. Carefully read it through, looking for inconsistencies and gaps in meaning. Your purpose is to make it look complete, precise, and convincing.
🕵 Preparing a Case for Analysis
Your professor might give you various case study examples from which to choose, or they may just assign you a particular case study. To conduct a thorough data analysis, you must first read the case study. This might appear to be obvious. However, you’d be surprised at how many students don’t take adequate time to complete this part.
Read the case study very thoroughly, preferably several times. Highlight, underline, flag key information, and make notes to refer to later when you are writing your analysis report.
If you don’t have a complete knowledge of the case study your professor has assigned, you won’t conduct a proper analysis of it. Even if you make use of a business case study template or refer to a sample analysis, it won’t help if you aren’t intimately familiar with your case study.
You will also have to conduct research. When it comes to research, you will need to do the following:
- Gather hard, quantitative data (e.g. 67% of the staff participated in the meeting).
- Design research tools , such as questionnaires and surveys (this will aid in gathering data).
- Determine and suggest the best specific, workable solutions.
It would be best if you also learned how to analyze a case study. Once you have read through the case study, you need to determine the focus of your analysis. You can do this by doing the following:
Compare your chosen solutions to the solutions offered by the experts who analyzed the case study you were given or to online assignments for students who were dealing with a similar task. The experts’ solutions will probably be more advanced than yours simply because these people are more experienced. However, don’t let this discourage you; the whole point of doing this analysis is to learn. Use the opportunity to learn from others’ valuable experience, and your results will be better next time.
If you are still in doubt, the University of South Carolina offers a great guide on forming a case study analysis.
Receive a plagiarism-free paper tailored to your instructions.
📑 Case Analysis Format & Structure
When you are learning how to write a case study analysis, it is important to get the format of your analysis right. Understanding the case study format is vital for both the professor and the student. The person planning and handing out such an assignment should ensure that the student doesn’t have to use any external sources .
In turn, students have to remember that a well-written case analysis provides all the data, making it unnecessary for the reader to go elsewhere for information.
Regardless of whether you use a case study template, you will need to follow a clear and concise format when writing your analysis report. There are some possible case study frameworks available. Still, a case study should contain eight sections laid out in the following format:
- Describe the purpose of the current case study;
- Provide a summary of the company;
- Briefly introduce the problems and issues found in the case study
- Discuss the theory you will be using in the analysis;
- Present the key points of the study and present any assumptions made during the analysis.
- Present each problem you have singled out;
- Justify your inclusion of each problem by providing supporting evidence from the case study and by discussing relevant theory and what you have learned from your course content;
- Divide the section (and following sections) into subsections, one for each of your selected problems.
- Present a summary of each problem you have identified;
- Present plausible solutions for each of the problems, keeping in mind that each problem will likely have more than one possible solution;
- Provide the pros and cons of each solution in a way that is practical.
- Conclusion . This is a summary of your findings and discussion.
- Decide which solution best fits each of the issues you identified;
- Explain why you chose this solution and how it will effectively solve the problem;
- Be persuasive when you write this section so that you can drive your point home;
- Be sure to bring together theory and what you have learned throughout your course to support your recommendations.
- Provide an explanation of what must be done, who should take action, and when the solution should be carried out;
- Where relevant, you should provide an estimate of the cost in implementing the solution, including both the financial investment and the cost in terms of time.
- References. While you generally do not need to refer to many external sources when writing a case study analysis, you might use a few. When you do, you will need to properly reference these sources, which is most often done in one of the main citation styles, including APA, MLA, or Harvard. There is plenty of help when citing references, and you can follow these APA guidelines , these MLA guidelines , or these Harvard guidelines .
- Appendices. This is the section you include after your case study analysis if you used any original data in the report. These data, presented as charts, graphs, and tables, are included here because to present them in the main body of the analysis would be disruptive to the reader. The University of Southern California provides a great description of appendices and when to make use of them.
When you’ve finished your first draft, be sure to proofread it. Look not only for potential grammar and spelling errors but also for discrepancies or holes in your argument.
You should also know what you need to avoid when writing your analysis.
Just 13.00 10.40/page , and you can get an custom-written academic paper according to your instructions
🙅 Things to Avoid in Case Analysis
Whenever you deal with a case study, remember that there are some pitfalls to avoid! Beware of the following mistakes:
- Excessive use of colloquial language . Even though it is a study of an actual case, it should sound formal.
- Lack of statistical data . Give all the important data, both in percentages and in numbers.
- Excessive details. State only the most significant facts, rather than drowning the reader in every fact you find.
- Inconsistency in the methods you have used . In a case study, theory plays a relatively small part, so you must develop a specific case study research methodology.
- Trivial means of research . It is critical that you design your own case study research method in whatever form best suits your analysis, such as questionnaires and surveys.
It is useful to see a few examples of case analysis papers. After all, a sample case study report can provide you with some context so you can see how to approach each aspect of your paper.
👀 Case Study Examples for Students
It might be easier to understand how a case study analysis works if you have an example to look at. Fortunately, examples of case studies are easy to come by. Take a look at this video for a sample case study analysis for the Coca-Cola Company.
If you want another example, then take a look at the one below!
Business Case Analysis: Example
CRM’s primary focus is customers and customer perception of the brand or the company. The focus may shift depending on customers’ needs. The main points that Center Parcs should consider are an increase in customer satisfaction and its market share. Both of these points will enhance customer perception of the product as a product of value. Increased customer satisfaction will indicate that the company provides quality services, and increased market share can reduce the number of switching (or leaving) customers, thus fostering customer loyalty.
Case Study Topics
- Equifax case study: the importance of cybersecurity measures .
- Study a case illustrating ethical issues of medical research.
- Examine the case describing the complications connected with nursing and residential care.
- Analyze the competitive strategy of Delta Airlines .
- Present a case study of an ethical dilemma showing the conflict between the spirit and the letter of the law.
- Explore the aspects of Starbucks’ marketing strategyin a case study.
- Research a case of community-based clinic organization and development.
- Customer service of United Airlines: a case study .
- Analyze a specific schizophrenia case and provide your recommendations.
- Provide a case study of a patient with hyperglycemia.
- Examine the growth strategy of United Healthcare.
- Present a case study demonstrating ethical issues in business .
- Study a case of the 5% shareholding rule application and its impact on the company.
- Case study of post-traumatic stress disorder .
- Analyze a case examining the issues of cross-cultural management .
- Write a case study exploring the ethical issues the finance manager of a long-term care facility can face and the possible reaction to them.
- Write a case study analyzing the aspects of a new president of a firm election.
- Discuss the specifics of supply chain management in the case of Tehindo company.
- Study a case of a life crisis in a family and the ways to cope with it.
- Case study of Tea Leaves and More: supply chain issues .
- Explore the case of ketogenic diet implementation among sportspeople.
- Analyze the case of Webster Jewelry shop and suggest some changes.
- Examine the unique aspects of Tea and More brand management .
- Adidas case study: an ethical dilemma .
- Research the challenges of Brazos Valley Food Bank and suggest possible solutions.
- Describe the case of dark web monitoring for business.
- Study a case of permissive parenting style .
- Case study of Starbucks employees .
- Analyze a case of workplace discrimination and suggest a strategy to avoid it.
- Examine a case of the consumer decision-making process and define the factors that influence it.
- Present a case study of Netflix illustrating the crucial role of management innovation for company development.
- Discuss a case describing a workplace ethical issue and propose ways to resolve it.
- Case study of the 2008 financial crisis: Graham’s value investing principles in the modern economic climate.
- Write a case study analyzing the harmful consequences of communication issues in a virtual team .
- Analyze a case that highlights the importance of a proper functional currency choice.
- Examine the case of Hitachi Power Systems management.
- Present a case study of medication research in a healthcare facility.
- Study the case of Fiji Water and the challenges the brand faces.
- Research a social problem case and suggest a solution.
- Analyze a case that reveals the connection between alcohol use and borderline personality disorder .
- Transglobal Airline case study: break-even analysis.
- Examine the case of Chiquita Brands International from the moral and business ethics points of view.
- Present a case study of applying for Social Security benefits.
- Study the case of a mass hacker attack on Microsoft clients and suggest possible ways to prevent future attacks.
- Case study of leadership effectiveness .
- Analyze a case presenting a clinical moral dilemma and propose ways to resolve it.
- Describe the case of Cowbell Brewing Company and discuss the strategy that made them successful.
- Write a case study of WeWork company and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of its strategy.
- Case study of medical ethical decision-making.
- Study the case of The Georges hotel and suggest ways to overcome its managerial issues.
🏁 Concluding Remarks
Writing a case study analysis can seem incredibly overwhelming, especially if you have never done it before. Just remember, you can do it provided you follow a plan, keep to the format described here, and study at least one case analysis example.
If you still need help analyzing a case study, your professor is always available to answer your questions and point you in the right direction. You can also get help with any aspect of the project from a custom writing company. Just tackle the research and hand over the writing, write a rough draft and have it checked by a professional, or completely hand the project off to an expert writer.
Regardless of the path you choose, you will turn in something of which you can be proud!
✏️ Case Study Analysis FAQ
Students (especially those who study business) often need to write a case study analysis. It is a kind of report that describes a business case. It includes multiple aspects, for example, the problems that exist, possible solutions, forecasts, etc.
There should be 3 main points covered in a case study analysis:
- The challenge(s) description,
- Possible solutions,
- Outcomes (real and/or foreseen).
Firstly, study some examples available online and in the library. Case study analysis should be a well-structured paper with all the integral components in place. Thus, you might want to use a template and/or an outline to start correctly.
A case study analysis is a popular task for business students. They typically hand it in the format of a paper with several integral components:
- Description of the problem
- Possible ways out
- Results and/or forecasts
Students sometimes tell about the outcome of their research within an oral presentation.
- Case Study: Academia
- Windows of vulnerability: a case study analysis (IEEE)
- A (Very) Brief Refresher on the Case Study Method: SAGE
- The case study approach: Medical Research Methodology
- Strengths and Limitations of Case Studies: Stanford University
- A Sample APA Paper: Radford University
- How to Write a Case Study APA Style: Seattle PI
- The Case Analysis: GVSU
- How to Outline: Purdue OWL
- Incorporating Interview Data: UW-Madison Writing Center
- Share to Facebook
- Share to Twitter
- Share to LinkedIn
- Share to email
Quite an impressive piece The steps and procedures outlined here are well detailed and the examples facilitates understanding.
Thank you for the great feedback, Collins!
it was very helpful. I have an assessment to write where in I need to mention different effective components that are needed to compile a high quality case study assessment.
Glad you liked our article! Your opinion means so much for us!
It is very important and helpful.
Thanks for the feedback, Abraham! Your opinion is very important for us!
Thanks a lot. A knowledge shared with a structured template. Stay the course
Thanks for the feedback!
Thanks for this valuable knowledge.I loved this. keep sharing. to know more about click Air India Case Study – Why Air India failed ?
We are glad to hear your opinion! Thank you for your feedback!
This is going to be a great help in my monthly analysis requirements for my subject. Thank you so much.
Thank you very much for this insightful guidelines… It has really been a great tool for writing my project. Thanks once again.
We are so glad to hear that! Thank you for your feedback!
This article was very helpful, even though I’ll have a clearer mind only after I do the case study myself but I felt very much motivated after reading this, as now I can at least have a plan of what to do compared to the clueless me I was before I read it. I hope if I have any questions or doubts about doing a case study I can clear it out here.
Sarmistha, I’m happy you found the article helpful 🙂
Recommended for You
10 Research Paper Hacks: Tips for Writing a Research Paper
So, have you been recently assigned a research project? Or, even worse, is it already due soon? The following research paper hacks will help you do it in record time. In the article, you’ll see ten things you can do to conduct a study and compose a piece like a...
An Impressive Persuasive Speech Outline: Examples & Guide
Eating a delicacy, watching a good movie, and proving a point to an audience are the three things that make life seem better. Today, you’ll deal with the last one. You’re about to become a professional at public speaking and attention grabbing. Here, you can learn how to write a...
Library Research Paper: Example & Writing Guide 
What is a library research paper? It’s nothing more than an academic writing project that summarizes the information on a specific topic taken from primary and secondary sources. There are numerous library research examples you can find online. But to complete this assignment, you should simply follow these essential steps:...
Research Analysis Paper: How to Analyze a Research Article 
Do you need to write a research analysis paper but have no idea how to do that? Then you’re in the right place. While completing this type of assignment, your key aim is to critically analyze a research article. An article from a serious scientific journal would be a good...
How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper: Examples & Tips
You might be wondering about how to write a conclusion paragraph for a research paper. It may seem like your readers should understand your main arguments by the end, so there is no need for it. However, there are several aspects that prove the importance of a conclusion section in...
American Antiquity Style Guide: Citation Rules & Examples 
American Antiquity is a professional quarterly journal, which contains various papers on the American archeology. It is incredibly popular among archeologists and the students majoring in history. The organization adopted the rules of The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) citation style. As a result: The journal includes numerous references that...
Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments
- Annotated Bibliography
- Analyzing a Scholarly Journal Article
- Group Presentations
- Dealing with Nervousness
- Using Visual Aids
- Grading Someone Else's Paper
- Types of Structured Group Activities
- Group Project Survival Skills
- Leading a Class Discussion
- Multiple Book Review Essay
- Reviewing Collected Works
- Writing a Case Analysis Paper
- Writing a Case Study
- About Informed Consent
- Writing Field Notes
- Writing a Policy Memo
- Writing a Reflective Paper
- Writing a Research Proposal
- Generative AI and Writing
Definition and Introduction
Case analysis is a problem-based teaching and learning method that involves critically analyzing complex scenarios within an organizational setting for the purpose of placing the student in a “real world” situation and applying reflection and critical thinking skills to contemplate appropriate solutions, decisions, or recommended courses of action. It is considered a more effective teaching technique than in-class role playing or simulation activities. The analytical process is often guided by questions provided by the instructor that ask students to contemplate relationships between the facts and critical incidents described in the case.
Cases generally include both descriptive and statistical elements and rely on students applying abductive reasoning to develop and argue for preferred or best outcomes [i.e., case scenarios rarely have a single correct or perfect answer based on the evidence provided]. Rather than emphasizing theories or concepts, case analysis assignments emphasize building a bridge of relevancy between abstract thinking and practical application and, by so doing, teaches the value of both within a specific area of professional practice.
Given this, the purpose of a case analysis paper is to present a structured and logically organized format for analyzing the case situation. It can be assigned to students individually or as a small group assignment and it may include an in-class presentation component. Case analysis is predominately taught in economics and business-related courses, but it is also a method of teaching and learning found in other applied social sciences disciplines, such as, social work, public relations, education, journalism, and public administration.
Ellet, William. The Case Study Handbook: A Student's Guide . Revised Edition. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2018; Christoph Rasche and Achim Seisreiner. Guidelines for Business Case Analysis . University of Potsdam; Writing a Case Analysis . Writing Center, Baruch College; Volpe, Guglielmo. "Case Teaching in Economics: History, Practice and Evidence." Cogent Economics and Finance 3 (December 2015). doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/23322039.2015.1120977.
How to Approach Writing a Case Analysis Paper
The organization and structure of a case analysis paper can vary depending on the organizational setting, the situation, and how your professor wants you to approach the assignment. Nevertheless, preparing to write a case analysis paper involves several important steps. As Hawes notes, a case analysis assignment “...is useful in developing the ability to get to the heart of a problem, analyze it thoroughly, and to indicate the appropriate solution as well as how it should be implemented” [p.48]. This statement encapsulates how you should approach preparing to write a case analysis paper.
Before you begin to write your paper, consider the following analytical procedures:
- Review the case to get an overview of the situation . A case can be only a few pages in length, however, it is most often very lengthy and contains a significant amount of detailed background information and statistics, with multilayered descriptions of the scenario, the roles and behaviors of various stakeholder groups, and situational events. Therefore, a quick reading of the case will help you gain an overall sense of the situation and illuminate the types of issues and problems that you will need to address in your paper. If your professor has provided questions intended to help frame your analysis, use them to guide your initial reading of the case.
- Read the case thoroughly . After gaining a general overview of the case, carefully read the content again with the purpose of understanding key circumstances, events, and behaviors among stakeholder groups. Look for information or data that appears contradictory, extraneous, or misleading. At this point, you should be taking notes as you read because this will help you develop a general outline of your paper. The aim is to obtain a complete understanding of the situation so that you can begin contemplating tentative answers to any questions your professor has provided or, if they have not provided, developing answers to your own questions about the case scenario and its connection to the course readings,lectures, and class discussions.
- Determine key stakeholder groups, issues, and events and the relationships they all have to each other . As you analyze the content, pay particular attention to identifying individuals, groups, or organizations described in the case and identify evidence of any problems or issues of concern that impact the situation in a negative way. Other things to look for include identifying any assumptions being made by or about each stakeholder, potential biased explanations or actions, explicit demands or ultimatums , and the underlying concerns that motivate these behaviors among stakeholders. The goal at this stage is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the situational and behavioral dynamics of the case and the explicit and implicit consequences of each of these actions.
- Identify the core problems . The next step in most case analysis assignments is to discern what the core [i.e., most damaging, detrimental, injurious] problems are within the organizational setting and to determine their implications. The purpose at this stage of preparing to write your analysis paper is to distinguish between the symptoms of core problems and the core problems themselves and to decide which of these must be addressed immediately and which problems do not appear critical but may escalate over time. Identify evidence from the case to support your decisions by determining what information or data is essential to addressing the core problems and what information is not relevant or is misleading.
- Explore alternative solutions . As noted, case analysis scenarios rarely have only one correct answer. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that the process of analyzing the case and diagnosing core problems, while based on evidence, is a subjective process open to various avenues of interpretation. This means that you must consider alternative solutions or courses of action by critically examining strengths and weaknesses, risk factors, and the differences between short and long-term solutions. For each possible solution or course of action, consider the consequences they may have related to their implementation and how these recommendations might lead to new problems. Also, consider thinking about your recommended solutions or courses of action in relation to issues of fairness, equity, and inclusion.
- Decide on a final set of recommendations . The last stage in preparing to write a case analysis paper is to assert an opinion or viewpoint about the recommendations needed to help resolve the core problems as you see them and to make a persuasive argument for supporting this point of view. Prepare a clear rationale for your recommendations based on examining each element of your analysis. Anticipate possible obstacles that could derail their implementation. Consider any counter-arguments that could be made concerning the validity of your recommended actions. Finally, describe a set of criteria and measurable indicators that could be applied to evaluating the effectiveness of your implementation plan.
Use these steps as the framework for writing your paper. Remember that the more detailed you are in taking notes as you critically examine each element of the case, the more information you will have to draw from when you begin to write. This will save you time.
NOTE : If the process of preparing to write a case analysis paper is assigned as a student group project, consider having each member of the group analyze a specific element of the case, including drafting answers to the corresponding questions used by your professor to frame the analysis. This will help make the analytical process more efficient and ensure that the distribution of work is equitable. This can also facilitate who is responsible for drafting each part of the final case analysis paper and, if applicable, the in-class presentation.
Framework for Case Analysis . College of Management. University of Massachusetts; Hawes, Jon M. "Teaching is Not Telling: The Case Method as a Form of Interactive Learning." Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education 5 (Winter 2004): 47-54; Rasche, Christoph and Achim Seisreiner. Guidelines for Business Case Analysis . University of Potsdam; Writing a Case Study Analysis . University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center; Van Ness, Raymond K. A Guide to Case Analysis . School of Business. State University of New York, Albany; Writing a Case Analysis . Business School, University of New South Wales.
Structure and Writing Style
A case analysis paper should be detailed, concise, persuasive, clearly written, and professional in tone and in the use of language . As with other forms of college-level academic writing, declarative statements that convey information, provide a fact, or offer an explanation or any recommended courses of action should be based on evidence. If allowed by your professor, any external sources used to support your analysis, such as course readings, should be properly cited under a list of references. The organization and structure of case analysis papers can vary depending on your professor’s preferred format, but its structure generally follows the steps used for analyzing the case.
The introduction should provide a succinct but thorough descriptive overview of the main facts, issues, and core problems of the case . The introduction should also include a brief summary of the most relevant details about the situation and organizational setting. This includes defining the theoretical framework or conceptual model on which any questions were used to frame your analysis.
Following the rules of most college-level research papers, the introduction should then inform the reader how the paper will be organized. This includes describing the major sections of the paper and the order in which they will be presented. Unless you are told to do so by your professor, you do not need to preview your final recommendations in the introduction. U nlike most college-level research papers , the introduction does not include a statement about the significance of your findings because a case analysis assignment does not involve contributing new knowledge about a research problem.
Background analysis can vary depending on any guiding questions provided by your professor and the underlying concept or theory that the case is based upon. In general, however, this section of your paper should focus on:
- Providing an overarching analysis of problems identified from the case scenario, including identifying events that stakeholders find challenging or troublesome,
- Identifying assumptions made by each stakeholder and any apparent biases they may exhibit,
- Describing any demands or claims made by or forced upon key stakeholders, and
- Highlighting any issues of concern or complaints expressed by stakeholders in response to those demands or claims.
These aspects of the case are often in the form of behavioral responses expressed by individuals or groups within the organizational setting. However, note that problems in a case situation can also be reflected in data [or the lack thereof] and in the decision-making, operational, cultural, or institutional structure of the organization. Additionally, demands or claims can be either internal and external to the organization [e.g., a case analysis involving a president considering arms sales to Saudi Arabia could include managing internal demands from White House advisors as well as demands from members of Congress].
Throughout this section, present all relevant evidence from the case that supports your analysis. Do not simply claim there is a problem, an assumption, a demand, or a concern; tell the reader what part of the case informed how you identified these background elements.
Identification of Problems
In most case analysis assignments, there are problems, and then there are problems . Each problem can reflect a multitude of underlying symptoms that are detrimental to the interests of the organization. The purpose of identifying problems is to teach students how to differentiate between problems that vary in severity, impact, and relative importance. Given this, problems can be described in three general forms: those that must be addressed immediately, those that should be addressed but the impact is not severe, and those that do not require immediate attention and can be set aside for the time being.
All of the problems you identify from the case should be identified in this section of your paper, with a description based on evidence explaining the problem variances. If the assignment asks you to conduct research to further support your assessment of the problems, include this in your explanation. Remember to cite those sources in a list of references. Use specific evidence from the case and apply appropriate concepts, theories, and models discussed in class or in relevant course readings to highlight and explain the key problems [or problem] that you believe must be solved immediately and describe the underlying symptoms and why they are so critical.
This section is where you provide specific, realistic, and evidence-based solutions to the problems you have identified and make recommendations about how to alleviate the underlying symptomatic conditions impacting the organizational setting. For each solution, you must explain why it was chosen and provide clear evidence to support your reasoning. This can include, for example, course readings and class discussions as well as research resources, such as, books, journal articles, research reports, or government documents. In some cases, your professor may encourage you to include personal, anecdotal experiences as evidence to support why you chose a particular solution or set of solutions. Using anecdotal evidence helps promote reflective thinking about the process of determining what qualifies as a core problem and relevant solution .
Throughout this part of the paper, keep in mind the entire array of problems that must be addressed and describe in detail the solutions that might be implemented to resolve these problems.
Recommended Courses of Action
In some case analysis assignments, your professor may ask you to combine the alternative solutions section with your recommended courses of action. However, it is important to know the difference between the two. A solution refers to the answer to a problem. A course of action refers to a procedure or deliberate sequence of activities adopted to proactively confront a situation, often in the context of accomplishing a goal. In this context, proposed courses of action are based on your analysis of alternative solutions. Your description and justification for pursuing each course of action should represent the overall plan for implementing your recommendations.
For each course of action, you need to explain the rationale for your recommendation in a way that confronts challenges, explains risks, and anticipates any counter-arguments from stakeholders. Do this by considering the strengths and weaknesses of each course of action framed in relation to how the action is expected to resolve the core problems presented, the possible ways the action may affect remaining problems, and how the recommended action will be perceived by each stakeholder.
In addition, you should describe the criteria needed to measure how well the implementation of these actions is working and explain which individuals or groups are responsible for ensuring your recommendations are successful. In addition, always consider the law of unintended consequences. Outline difficulties that may arise in implementing each course of action and describe how implementing the proposed courses of action [either individually or collectively] may lead to new problems [both large and small].
Throughout this section, you must consider the costs and benefits of recommending your courses of action in relation to uncertainties or missing information and the negative consequences of success.
The conclusion should be brief and introspective. Unlike a research paper, the conclusion in a case analysis paper does not include a summary of key findings and their significance, a statement about how the study contributed to existing knowledge, or indicate opportunities for future research.
Begin by synthesizing the core problems presented in the case and the relevance of your recommended solutions. This can include an explanation of what you have learned about the case in the context of your answers to the questions provided by your professor. The conclusion is also where you link what you learned from analyzing the case with the course readings or class discussions. This can further demonstrate your understanding of the relationships between the practical case situation and the theoretical and abstract content of assigned readings and other course content.
Problems to Avoid
The literature on case analysis assignments often includes examples of difficulties students have with applying methods of critical analysis and effectively reporting the results of their assessment of the situation. A common reason cited by scholars is that the application of this type of teaching and learning method is limited to applied fields of social and behavioral sciences and, as a result, writing a case analysis paper can be unfamiliar to most students entering college.
After you have drafted your paper, proofread the narrative flow and revise any of these common errors:
- Unnecessary detail in the background section . The background section should highlight the essential elements of the case based on your analysis. Focus on summarizing the facts and highlighting the key factors that become relevant in the other sections of the paper by eliminating any unnecessary information.
- Analysis relies too much on opinion . Your analysis is interpretive, but the narrative must be connected clearly to evidence from the case and any models and theories discussed in class or in course readings. Any positions or arguments you make should be supported by evidence.
- Analysis does not focus on the most important elements of the case . Your paper should provide a thorough overview of the case. However, the analysis should focus on providing evidence about what you identify are the key events, stakeholders, issues, and problems. Emphasize what you identify as the most critical aspects of the case to be developed throughout your analysis. Be thorough but succinct.
- Writing is too descriptive . A paper with too much descriptive information detracts from your analysis of the complexities of the case situation. Questions about what happened, where, when, and by whom should only be included as essential information leading to your examination of questions related to why, how, and for what purpose.
- Inadequate definition of a core problem and associated symptoms . A common error found in case analysis papers is recommending a solution or course of action without adequately defining or demonstrating that you understand the problem. Make sure you have clearly described the problem and its impact and scope within the organizational setting. Ensure that you have adequately described the root causes w hen describing the symptoms of the problem.
- Recommendations lack specificity . Identify any use of vague statements and indeterminate terminology, such as, “A particular experience” or “a large increase to the budget.” These statements cannot be measured and, as a result, there is no way to evaluate their successful implementation. Provide specific data and use direct language in describing recommended actions.
- Unrealistic, exaggerated, or unattainable recommendations . Review your recommendations to ensure that they are based on the situational facts of the case. Your recommended solutions and courses of action must be based on realistic assumptions and fit within the constraints of the situation. Also note that the case scenario has already happened, therefore, any speculation or arguments about what could have occurred if the circumstances were different should be revised or eliminated.
Bee, Lian Song et al. "Business Students' Perspectives on Case Method Coaching for Problem-Based Learning: Impacts on Student Engagement and Learning Performance in Higher Education." Education & Training 64 (2022): 416-432; The Case Analysis . Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors. Grand Valley State University; Georgallis, Panikos and Kayleigh Bruijn. "Sustainability Teaching using Case-Based Debates." Journal of International Education in Business 15 (2022): 147-163; Hawes, Jon M. "Teaching is Not Telling: The Case Method as a Form of Interactive Learning." Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education 5 (Winter 2004): 47-54; Georgallis, Panikos, and Kayleigh Bruijn. "Sustainability Teaching Using Case-based Debates." Journal of International Education in Business 15 (2022): 147-163; .Dean, Kathy Lund and Charles J. Fornaciari. "How to Create and Use Experiential Case-Based Exercises in a Management Classroom." Journal of Management Education 26 (October 2002): 586-603; Klebba, Joanne M. and Janet G. Hamilton. "Structured Case Analysis: Developing Critical Thinking Skills in a Marketing Case Course." Journal of Marketing Education 29 (August 2007): 132-137, 139; Klein, Norman. "The Case Discussion Method Revisited: Some Questions about Student Skills." Exchange: The Organizational Behavior Teaching Journal 6 (November 1981): 30-32; Mukherjee, Arup. "Effective Use of In-Class Mini Case Analysis for Discovery Learning in an Undergraduate MIS Course." The Journal of Computer Information Systems 40 (Spring 2000): 15-23; Pessoa, Silviaet al. "Scaffolding the Case Analysis in an Organizational Behavior Course: Making Analytical Language Explicit." Journal of Management Education 46 (2022): 226-251: Ramsey, V. J. and L. D. Dodge. "Case Analysis: A Structured Approach." Exchange: The Organizational Behavior Teaching Journal 6 (November 1981): 27-29; Schweitzer, Karen. "How to Write and Format a Business Case Study." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-write-and-format-a-business-case-study-466324 (accessed December 5, 2022); Reddy, C. D. "Teaching Research Methodology: Everything's a Case." Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods 18 (December 2020): 178-188; Volpe, Guglielmo. "Case Teaching in Economics: History, Practice and Evidence." Cogent Economics and Finance 3 (December 2015). doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/23322039.2015.1120977.
Ca se Study and Case Analysis Are Not the Same!
Confusion often exists between what it means to write a paper that uses a case study research design and writing a paper that analyzes a case; they are two different types of approaches to learning in the social and behavioral sciences. Professors as well as educational researchers contribute to this confusion because they often use the term "case study" when describing the subject of analysis for a case analysis paper. But you are not studying a case for the purpose of generating a comprehensive, multi-faceted understanding of a research problem. R ather, you are critically analyzing a specific scenario to argue logically for recommended solutions and courses of action that lead to optimal outcomes applicable to professional practice.
To avoid any confusion, here are twelve characteristics that delineate the differences between writing a paper using the case study research method and writing a case analysis paper:
- Case study is a method of in-depth research and rigorous inquiry ; case analysis is a reliable method of teaching and learning . A case study is a modality of research that investigates a phenomenon for the purpose of creating new knowledge, solving a problem, or testing a hypothesis using empirical evidence derived from the case being studied. Often, the results are used to generalize about a larger population or within a wider context. The writing adheres to the traditional standards of a scholarly research study. A case analysis is a pedagogical tool used to teach students how to reflect and think critically about a practical, real-life problem in an organizational setting.
- The researcher is responsible for identifying the case to study; a case analysis is assigned by your professor . As the researcher, you choose the case study to investigate in support of obtaining new knowledge and understanding about the research problem. The case in a case analysis assignment is almost always provided, and sometimes written, by your professor and either given to every student in class to analyze individually or to a small group of students, or students select a case to analyze from a predetermined list.
- A case study is indeterminate and boundless; a case analysis is predetermined and confined . A case study can be almost anything [see item 9 below] as long as it relates directly to examining the research problem. This relationship is the only limit to what a researcher can choose as the subject of their case study. The content of a case analysis is determined by your professor and its parameters are well-defined and limited to elucidating insights of practical value applied to practice.
- Case study is fact-based and describes actual events or situations; case analysis can be entirely fictional or adapted from an actual situation . The entire content of a case study must be grounded in reality to be a valid subject of investigation in an empirical research study. A case analysis only needs to set the stage for critically examining a situation in practice and, therefore, can be entirely fictional or adapted, all or in-part, from an actual situation.
- Research using a case study method must adhere to principles of intellectual honesty and academic integrity; a case analysis scenario can include misleading or false information . A case study paper must report research objectively and factually to ensure that any findings are understood to be logically correct and trustworthy. A case analysis scenario may include misleading or false information intended to deliberately distract from the central issues of the case. The purpose is to teach students how to sort through conflicting or useless information in order to come up with the preferred solution. Any use of misleading or false information in academic research is considered unethical.
- Case study is linked to a research problem; case analysis is linked to a practical situation or scenario . In the social sciences, the subject of an investigation is most often framed as a problem that must be researched in order to generate new knowledge leading to a solution. Case analysis narratives are grounded in real life scenarios for the purpose of examining the realities of decision-making behavior and processes within organizational settings. A case analysis assignments include a problem or set of problems to be analyzed. However, the goal is centered around the act of identifying and evaluating courses of action leading to best possible outcomes.
- The purpose of a case study is to create new knowledge through research; the purpose of a case analysis is to teach new understanding . Case studies are a choice of methodological design intended to create new knowledge about resolving a research problem. A case analysis is a mode of teaching and learning intended to create new understanding and an awareness of uncertainty applied to practice through acts of critical thinking and reflection.
- A case study seeks to identify the best possible solution to a research problem; case analysis can have an indeterminate set of solutions or outcomes . Your role in studying a case is to discover the most logical, evidence-based ways to address a research problem. A case analysis assignment rarely has a single correct answer because one of the goals is to force students to confront the real life dynamics of uncertainly, ambiguity, and missing or conflicting information within professional practice. Under these conditions, a perfect outcome or solution almost never exists.
- Case study is unbounded and relies on gathering external information; case analysis is a self-contained subject of analysis . The scope of a case study chosen as a method of research is bounded. However, the researcher is free to gather whatever information and data is necessary to investigate its relevance to understanding the research problem. For a case analysis assignment, your professor will often ask you to examine solutions or recommended courses of action based solely on facts and information from the case.
- Case study can be a person, place, object, issue, event, condition, or phenomenon; a case analysis is a carefully constructed synopsis of events, situations, and behaviors . The research problem dictates the type of case being studied and, therefore, the design can encompass almost anything tangible as long as it fulfills the objective of generating new knowledge and understanding. A case analysis is in the form of a narrative containing descriptions of facts, situations, processes, rules, and behaviors within a particular setting and under a specific set of circumstances.
- Case study can represent an open-ended subject of inquiry; a case analysis is a narrative about something that has happened in the past . A case study is not restricted by time and can encompass an event or issue with no temporal limit or end. For example, the current war in Ukraine can be used as a case study of how medical personnel help civilians during a large military conflict, even though circumstances around this event are still evolving. A case analysis can be used to elicit critical thinking about current or future situations in practice, but the case itself is a narrative about something finite and that has taken place in the past.
- Multiple case studies can be used in a research study; case analysis involves examining a single scenario . Case study research can use two or more cases to examine a problem, often for the purpose of conducting a comparative investigation intended to discover hidden relationships, document emerging trends, or determine variations among different examples. A case analysis assignment typically describes a stand-alone, self-contained situation and any comparisons among cases are conducted during in-class discussions and/or student presentations.
The Case Analysis . Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors. Grand Valley State University; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Ramsey, V. J. and L. D. Dodge. "Case Analysis: A Structured Approach." Exchange: The Organizational Behavior Teaching Journal 6 (November 1981): 27-29; Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . 6th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2017; Crowe, Sarah et al. “The Case Study Approach.” BMC Medical Research Methodology 11 (2011): doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-11-100; Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research: Design and Methods . 4th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing; 1994.
- << Previous: Reviewing Collected Works
- Next: Writing a Case Study >>
- Last Updated: Sep 15, 2023 9:37 AM
- URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/assignments
- PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
- EDIT Edit this Article
- EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
- Browse Articles
- Learn Something New
- Quizzes Hot
- This Or That Game New
- Train Your Brain
- Explore More
- Support wikiHow
- About wikiHow
- Log in / Sign up
- Education and Communications
How to Analyse a Case Study
Last Updated: October 10, 2022 Fact Checked
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 19 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 406,651 times. Learn more...
Case studies are used in many professional education programs, primarily in business school, to present real-world situations to students and to assess their ability to parse out the important aspects of a given dilemma. In general, a case study should include, in order: background on the business environment, description of the given business, identification of a key problem or issue, steps taken to address the issue, your assessment of that response, and suggestions for better business strategy. The steps below will guide you through the process of analyzing a business case study in this way.
- Describe the nature of the organization under consideration and its competitors. Provide general information about the market and customer base. Indicate any significant changes in the business environment or any new endeavors upon which the business is embarking.
- Analyze its management structure, employee base, and financial history. Describe annual revenues and profit. Provide figures on employment. Include details about private ownership, public ownership, and investment holdings. Provide a brief overview of the business's leaders and command chain.
- In all likelihood, there will be several different factors at play. Decide which is the main concern of the case study by examining what most of the data talks about, the main problems facing the business, and the conclusions at the end of the study. Examples might include expansion into a new market, response to a competitor's marketing campaign, or a changing customer base.  X Research source
- Draw on the information you gathered and trace a chronological progression of steps taken (or not taken). Cite data included in the case study , such as increased marketing spending, purchasing of new property, changed revenue streams, etc.
- Indicate whether or not each aspect of the response met its goal and whether the response overall was well-crafted. Use numerical benchmarks, like a desired customer share, to show whether goals were met; analyze broader issues, like employee management policies, to talk about the response as a whole.  X Research source
- Suggest alternative or improved measures that could have been taken by the business, using specific examples and backing up your suggestions with data and calculations.
- Always read a case study several times. At first, you should read just for the basic details. On each subsequent reading, look for details about a specific topic: competitors, business strategy, management structure, financial loss. Highlight phrases and sections relating to these topics and take notes. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- In the preliminary stages of analyzing a case study, no detail is insignificant. The biggest numbers can often be misleading, and the point of an analysis is often to dig deeper and find otherwise unnoticed variables that drive a situation. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you are analyzing a case study for a consulting company interview, be sure to direct your comments towards the matters handled by the company. For example, if the company deals with marketing strategy, focus on the business's successes and failures in marketing; if you are interviewing for a financial consulting job, analyze how well the business keeps their books and their investment strategy. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- Do not use impassioned or emphatic language in your analysis. Business case studies are a tool for gauging your business acumen, not your personal beliefs. When assigning blame or identifying flaws in strategy, use a detached, disinterested tone. Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 4
Things You'll Need
You might also like.
- ↑ https://plato.acadiau.ca/courses/Busi/IntroBus/CASEMETHOD.html
- ↑ https://www.gvsu.edu/cms4/asset/CC3BFEEB-C364-E1A1-A5390F221AC0FD2D/business_case_analysis_gg_final.pdf
- ↑ https://bizfluent.com/12741914/how-to-analyze-a-business-case-study
- ↑ http://www.business-fundas.com/2009/how-to-analyze-business-case-studies/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/writing-case-study-analysis
About This Article
- Send fan mail to authors
Did this article help you?
- Do Not Sell or Share My Info
- Not Selling Info
wikiHow Tech Help Pro:
Level up your tech skills and stay ahead of the curve
The Ultimate Guide on Writing an A+ Case Study Analysis + 15 Examples
Struggle with writing a case study analysis? You are in the right place! Below, we will show you nuts and bolts of this type of paper, how to write it, and share 15 distinct essay examples. Plus, you will find the case study checklist to keep your writing on track.
What is a Case Study Analysis?
- Important Aspects
You might ask, what is a case study analysis ? With this type of work, you take an actual situation from a specific discipline, such as business or education. The goal is to find a solution, analyze the outcomes of the situation, or evaluate it.
Case study analysis does not target one specific theory or piece of knowledge. It requires a universal application of several theories and methods for research and review. Hence, it can be helpful for many disciplines at once. If you need to look at some examples, head over to our essay database .
There are several steps you need to take for a successful analysis depending on the type of your case study. Here are the most critical universal points:
- Analyze the problem from different perspectives. Use the theories and methods you have learned about in the classroom.
- Devise a series of solutions or outcomes. You need to analyze their advantages and weaknesses.
- Provide the best solution according to your analysis. You must present solid arguments for why you have suggested it.
- Demonstrate well-grounded research in your case study analysis You should not make claims without proof.
- Provide credible references for any theory that you mention in your analysis. You do not want your work to be discarded because of plagiarism.
If you want to start the business in the future, case study analysis is essential for your education. It can give you a taste of what your career is might include.
Are you panicking because you have never written anything like this before? Don’t worry! After going through the guidelines in this article, you will get a better sense of what is required from you. It will not seem as scary anymore. 😊
15 Case Study Analysis Examples
We have prepared 15 examples of case study analysis, so you can get an idea of how they should look. The disciplines are broad and there is something here for everyone. Check out the table below!
Let’s concentrate on the format for case study analysis!
Case Study Analysis: Format
In this section, we will get you acquainted with different types of case studies. We will focus on the difference between multiple and single case study analysis. Additionally, we will show you how to organize all of your ideas into an outline. Hence, your work will be understandable and complete.
- Types of Case Studies
There are several distinct types of case studies , each with its nuances. The choice will depend on the needs of your investigation. We will focus on Illustrative, Exploratory, Cumulative, and Critical Instance studies. Let’s explore each of them one by one.
- Illustrative Case Studies Illustrative case studies are the most common type. They are very descriptive, and the main goal is to help you understand the situation. You are typically given one or two instances of an event. Illustrative case studies answer two questions: What is happening? Why is it happening? The case study is explained in great detail, including location, key players, roles, influence, and involvement. The focus of illustrative case studies is to maintain the reader’s interest. Hence, the language should be understandable, but it should not be oversimplified. It is not preferred to quote more than two instances as the case study might become too complicated.
- Exploratory Case Studies Exploratory case studies are mainly used in Social Sciences. They tend to focus on real-life contexts for situations. They are implemented before a large-scale investigation to help develop the case for more advanced research processes. Exploratory case studies aim to research a specific topic in detail to help you reach a complete understanding of it. You need to identify questions that can later be answered as part of a more extensive examination. Your initial research might reveal very persuasive details. However, it is crucial to remember that concluding before the large-scale investigation is counterproductive.
- Cumulative Case Studies The idea of a cumulative case study is to gather information and details from many data sources to claim a general phenomenon. Cumulative case studies eliminate the need for additional and expensive new studies, which are simply repetitions of the old ones. If you properly analyze all of the case study data that exists, you will realize that everything you are looking for is already there. However, it is essential to look at the existing research from a new perspective to ensure it fits the current challenges and needs.
- Critical Instance Case Studies Critical instance case studies are similar to cumulative but work oppositely. Instead of defining a general phenomenon based on little research, it tries to understand a specific case based on generalized findings. Critical instance case studies help answer cause and effect questions. The adequate specification of your evaluation question is the most crucial part of your analysis.
- Single vs. Multiple Case Study
Your case study can either include a single case or multiple cases . In this section, we will discuss the benefits of both:
- Single Case Study Single case studies are less expensive and do not take as much time. When examining one case, it is easier to put all of your energy into it and get a deeper understanding of the subject. Since the study is more careful, you can look at one thing from many different perspectives. Usually, in a single case study, the case is more critical and unique , and it is possible to focus on a more longitudinal research.
- Multiple Case Study When studying several cases, you can understand the critical similarities and differences among them. If you base your research on many cases, it will be more robust and reliable. Such analysis allows you to form broader research questions. Hence, you can end up with a more convincing theory.
Now, let’s talk about the backbone of every study: the outline!
Case Study Outline
Before writing any paper, you should first prepare an outline. It not only makes your job easier but also enhances the organization of your paper. You should put all of your ideas down and try to understand which order and format will best suit your analysis.
We have tried to simplify the process by preparing a sample outline for your case study analysis. It will help you understand what your paper should include.
- Introduction Firstly, you should introduce your reader to the case, assuming they have no prior knowledge. Describe all the challenges and mention the most important details.
- Answers to the Questions There will probably be some questions about your case. It would be best if you answered all of them in an organized manner. Make sure not to make it too obvious. Answer them in such a way that it seems like a part of your analysis.
- Challenges Though you talk about the challenges in your introduction a little bit, it is essential to go into more detail within the main paragraphs to make sure your readers understand them. It will improve the comprehension of solutions later.
- Solutions Introduce each solution you have devised. Evaluate those based on different theories and mechanisms. All of your propositions need to be solid and well-designed. Your case study evaluation should be informative and engaging.
- Final Statement In this part of your paper, you should state which solution best fits the case according to your broader analysis. You should compare it with the others and explain why you have chosen it.
- Conclusion The conclusion is the last thing you need to write. There is nothing specific that should be included. Make sure that your paper comes to a logical end.
- References Of course, you need to reference all of the theories and practices mentioned in your paper for your analysis to be solid and well-grounded. The style of your references will depend on the format assigned by your instructor.
This is how a typical case study analysis should look like. We mentioned this format for you to imagine the standard thought process that goes into making outlines. First, organize your research and divide it into parts to achieve an exciting and compelling paper. The type of case study analysis with which you are dealing also matters.
Now, here’s how you start writing!
How to Write Case Study Analysis: Important Aspects
In this section, you will find everything you need to kickstart writing your paper. Firstly, we will go through the things you need to have ready before you start. Then, we will show you how to do adequate research. Finally, we will give you a case study checklist to make it easier to complete the tasks throughout your analysis.
Before You Start
It is vital to choose an appropriate case study topic first. It should be exciting and relevant to your area of study. Once you select your topic, you need to choose an applicable case study . There are several criteria that you need to keep in mind in your search of a case study:
- The case study should complement your topic of research For example, if the topic you have chosen is related to marketing, it would be weird if your case study was about banking. However, a case study about how a famous company handles its marketing would be very acceptable.
- The case study should apply to the phenomena that you have chosen to research Make sure that the way the company handles its marketing can be generalized to benefit other companies. It needs to be universally reusable.
- The case study cannot be outdated You need to know that you can apply the outcome of your research to the modern world. Everything needs to be analyzed from the perspective of today.
- Decide whether you need a single or multiple case study You can go through the comparison above once again. Try to understand which one suits your topic best.
Do you already have the topic? Let’s get your researching skills up to date!
Case Study Research
When doing case study research, simply googling something rains down tons of sources full of information. However, most of those sources cannot be trusted, especially when writing an academic paper. The references are the most crucial part of such papers. If they are poor, then your essay has no reliable basis. Hence, you need to look for official sources, such as university websites or scholarly articles. Remember that Wikipedia is not a valid source !
Throughout the process, have your research question in mind. It is easy to get carried away and read every exciting article on the topic. Nonetheless, it would be best to have a specific goal to ensure your research is practical and not wasting your time.
Finally, keep your research up to date! Remember that you are looking for information that applies to the current world and its challenges. You need to look for modern solutions to the given problem.
We are almost there! Let’s make sure you can tick off every item in this checklist !
Checklist for Case Study Analysis
Go through this checklist. It will help you keep your case study research and writing on track.
- Choose the topic.
- Decide whether you are going to do single or multiple case study.
- Identify the type of your case study.
- They are relevant to the topic.
- Their outcome can be generalized to fit other cases within the same area of research.
- They are not outdated.
- Define a clear case study research question.
- Make sure that the sources of your research are credible and up to date.
- Identify the theories and methodologies you are going to use to analyze the case.
- Use more than one point of view to examine the case, and look at it from different perspectives.
- Have a clear outline of what you are going to include in your paper.
- Write and proofread your paper.
Have you completed every item on this list? Congratulations! You are done with your case study analysis!
❓ What is the difference between case study and case analysis?
Case study and case analysis both provide you with a topic and require extensive research. However, a case study must be taken from real life. For example, a student might analyze Coca-Cola’s financial results and come up with brilliant results that can significantly impact the company. If you send this kind of case study analysis to the company, you might even get a reward. Case analysis focuses more on problems and solutions, whereas case studies can include general research and evaluation.
❓ What are the stages of a case study?
There are four main stages of a case study:
- analyzing the case,
- identifying its challenges,
- devising a set of possible solutions or outcomes,
- evaluating those outcomes.
To ensure the success of your analysis, you should go over all of these stages with equal diligence.
❓ What is the purpose of a case study?
The purpose of a case study analysis is to describe a case in detail and identify the main issues with it. Afterwards, these issues need to be analyzed based on appropriate theories from the discipline that you have learned about in class. Finally, you need to recommend a list of actions that should be performed for that case.
❓ What are the qualities of a good case study?
Here are some qualities of a good case study:
- It is written in a formal, academic language with good grammar and coherent structure.
- All of the claims made in the case study have a reasonable basis and can be proven.
- The case study does not overload the readers with unnecessary information. It is clear and to the point.
- The information is passed to the reader in an organized manner. It has flow, and it is easy to keep up with the extensive academic research.
- What is a Case Study Analysis
- Illustrative Case Studies
- Exploratory Case Study Example
- Definition of Cumulative Case Studies
- Definition of Critical Instance Case Studies
- A Comparative Study of Single and Multiple Case Studies
- How to Choose an Applicable Study
- Case Study Checklist
- Share to Facebook
- Share to Twitter X
- Share to LinkedIn
You might also like
Being productive at home: 25 tips for students & remote workers, the future is here: assistive technology for learning disabilities, dual degree vs. double major: what’s the difference & are they worth it.
- Monash Online
Student Academic Success
- 1:1 Consultation 1:1 Consultation
- Study better Study better
- Build digital capabilities Build digital capabilities
- Understand assessments Understand assessments
- Excel at writing Excel at writing
- Enhance your thinking Enhance your thinking
- Present confidently Present confidently
- Collaborate with others Collaborate with others
- Improve your academic English Improve your academic English
- Maintain academic integrity Maintain academic integrity
- Advance your graduate studies Advance your graduate studies
- Workshops Workshops
- Feedback studio Feedback studio
- About us About us
- Skip to content
- Skip to navigation
Case study example
Atlanta public schools case study.
In 2011, an external investigation of the performance evaluation strategies of the Atlanta Public Schools System revealed that schools had been cheating to obtain high results. For this example case analysis, the student has identified the problems faced by the organisation, outlined factors that contributed to the problem, and proposed solutions and recommendations.
The following case analysis is annotated with tips and explanations in each section. Click the icons to display the annotations. Note that for your actual assignment you may not be required to include all sections in the example case analysis here – check your assignment instructions carefully.
This resource has demonstrated the main steps in producing a case study assignment.
These steps will help you to identify what has happened in a case situation, why it happened, and apply relevant theory. Remember that some case studies require you to evaluate and recommend solutions.
You will need to:
- identify the problems in a case, and
- analyse the problems.
You may also need to:
- develop and evaluate alternative solutions, and
- make recommendations for action.
Remember to check your assignment instructions carefully to determine the type of case study you are required to write. Some units may require you to follow a particular style or structure. Check unit information for templates or guides to ensure that you meet these expectations.
Kimberley, N. (2016). StudentQ Manual (6th ed.) . Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University.
Van Weelden, S. J. & Busuttil, L. (2018). Student guide to the case method . Ivey Publishing.
Navigating this resource
You can navigate the pages in this resource by either clicking on the page links here or by clicking the navigation buttons below.
What is a case study
Six steps to approaching a case study, how to write up a case study, your feedback matters.
We want to hear from you! Let us know what you found most useful or share your suggestions for improving this resource.
WCU » WCU Student Resources » Research and Writing » Writing a Case Study Analysis
Guidelines for Writing a Case Study Analysis
A case study analysis requires an investigation to a problem. Then, examine the alternative solutions. Next, propose the most effective solution using supporting evidence.
Preparing the Case
Before you begin writing, follow these guidelines to help you prepare and understand the case study:
- Read and examine the case thoroughly Take notes, highlight relevant facts, and underline key problems.
- Focus your analysis Identify key issues. Who or what are responsible?
- Detect solutions Review: course readings, discussions, outside research, and your experience.
- Select solution[s] Consider all supporting evidence, pros, and cons: is this solution genuine?
Drafting the Case
A draft of your analysis should include these sections:
- Introduction Identify the key problems and issues in the case study. â€¢ Formulate and include a thesis statement, summarizing the outcome of your analysis in 1â€“2 sentences.
- Background Set the scene: background information, relevant facts, and the most important issues. Demonstrate that you have researched the problems in this case study.
- Choices Explain why alternatives were rejected or not possible at this time.
- Solution[s] Provide one specific and realistic solution. Explain why this solution was chosen. Support this solution with solid evidence.
- Recommendations Determine and discuss specific strategies for accomplishing the proposed solution. What should be done and who should do it?
Finalizing the Case
Read through your work to check for any gaps or inconsistencies in content. I suggest reading it out loud. It can bring the inconsistencies or gaps to light much faster than reading it in silence to yourself.
WCU Student Resources
- Canvas vs. Blackboard Terminology
- Writing a Case Study Analysis
- My Student Success Advisor
- Technical Requirements for Online Classes
- Virtual Bookstore for Campus Programs
- VitalSource E-Text (Online Programs)
- Student Portal
- Welcome Video
- Why Employers Hire WCU Graduates
- How to Search
- Advisory Group
- Editorial Board
- OEC Fellows
- History and Funding
- Using OEC Materials
- Research Ethics Resources
- Ethics Projects
- Communities of Practice
- Get Involved
- Submit Content
- Open Access Membership
- Become a Partner
Sample Case Analysis
This page shows a sample case analysis for the course Genomics, Ethics, and Society .
Below is a "model" answer to the whitebark pine case . The case doesn't focus on genomics, but nonetheless, the way the model answer is laid out should help you to see what's being asked for. You should refer back to this model when you are writing up case studies of your own. While undergraduates should find this model useful, it's more like a graduate case study in terms of length and complexity. By a "model" answer, we don't mean that this answer is perfect; and obviously there's much more that could be said. But an answer with this kind of structure, content, and use of resources, would get a strong A.
When you analyse a case study, you're usually considering a complex situation where many different interests and values are at stake. This makes it easy to get tangled up in your answer too: so here's some tips for answering the case study well.
- Write a clear introduction in which you (a) identify what you are going to talk about (b) give some idea of how you are going to structure the paper by setting up "signposts"; and (c) outline what view or policy position you're going to argue for. (Usually case studies ask you to recommend a view, policy or position.) You may be able to say much more than you have room for; if so, be explicit at the beginning about what you're not discussing for space reasons, so the person grading knows you did think about it!
- Stick to the structure you've outlined.
- In the course of analyzing the case, be sure to explain what values you think are at stake, where appropriate, who the stakeholders are, and why this case is likely to be contested.
- In some cases it may be useful to consider the perspectives of different stakeholders and different ethical theories: for instance, will someone who is worried about violating rights regard the ethical issues differently from someone who is concerned about maximizing overall good (say in terms of human welfare?)
- Where you use terms such as "liberty" "utilitarianism" "wildness" or "rights" make sure that you explain how you are using them as if to someone who is unfamiliar with the terms.
- Make an argument for which approach or approaches you think is/are best in the particular situation being described, and why. However, while doing so you should also explain the difficulties with the view for which you’re arguing, what someone might say who disagreed with the argument, and why their objection is not a good one/there’s a good response to it, etc. If you are really ambivalent about the case, say so and explain why.
- You should reference carefully, both in-text and in the reference section. If you quote or paraphrase anything, or you're dependent on a publication, you must provide an in-text reference. We don't mind what referencing system you use in your references, but your references should be detailed enough for us to find them (ie not just author and title).
Drawing on the whitebark pine case, here's just an example how you might find the ethics assessment process useful:
Ethics Assessment Process and the Whitebark Pine Case
1) seeing the problem.
What are the main ethical issues and conflicts presented in the case?
The case asks us to focus on the selection of rust-resistant strains and the assisted migration of WBP. While the selection of rust resistant strains doesn't raise all the ethical problems that GM does, it still means that there's enhanced human intervention and deliberate action involved in what trees end up existing (which may raise value questions about loss of wildness). Assisted migration raises a number of ethical issues and potential conflicts, primarily (a) the value of protecting a species from extinction (b) the possible ecological disvalues (and values) of deliberately introducing a species into a new area (c) the possible loss of wildness (d) cultural, historical and aesthetic values - could these be preserved? (e) questions about who owns the land where the trees would be moved (property rights, perhaps indigenous peoples, questions of environmental justice) and relevant consultative processes (f) potential effects on sentient animals, especially Clark’s Nutcrackers. From some ethical perspectives there could be "in principle" objections here. For instance, it might be argued that in principle humans shouldn't "interfere" in nature to move things, or that if moving WBP infringes on the rights of indigenous peoples, it is unethical in principle. On the other hand, an ethical approach that focuses on consequences will attempt to weigh and balance the values involved and make a decision based on what is likely to bring about the best outcome overall.
Who are the stakeholders and what are their respective positions? What decisions and/or impacts do they face?
Some of the issues here involve very general groups of stakeholders: eg those who maintain that all species are valuable, so will want to protect the WBP; those who value the unusual aesthetics of the whitebark pine (these may be hikers and photographers) so may want it to be saved (this will depend on whether the aesthetic value is tied to current geographic location; if it is then moving it won’t save the value). It might be argued that future generations of humans are stakeholders; they would never get to see or enjoy landscapes created by this iconic species. More specific groups of stakeholders include: biologists doing the research, both those working on genetic selection of the tree and those involved in planning assisted migration – they are likely to be in favor of both actions, and to see it as developing their research and conservation work. There are also likely to be biologists who oppose all plans for assisted migration, primarily because they are concerned about moved organisms becoming invasive. All those who generally oppose genetic selection of wild organisms are likely to oppose it in this case. Those who own/live near potential relocation sites have a clear stake in what may happen, though these individuals may be in favor of or opposed to the relocation, depending on the predicted ecological/cultural consequences of moving it and the forms of consultation involved. If sentient non-humans can be stakeholders, Clark’s Nutcrackers should be considered, but it’s difficult to make sense of what the relocation might mean for individual Clark’s Nutcrackers, since the relocation would not occur until the trees were mature enough to have seeds. The nutcrackers then moved will likely be harmed; but either they or their offspring may over time also be benefited. It could be argued by some that species themselves are stakeholders, though that view would be difficult to defend.
2) Empirical Issues
What empirical information is most important for addressing the main ethical questions?
What empirical facts are widely accepted, based on scientific evidence and peer review, about this issue? What empirical issues are contested or uncertain? How good is the information we have? Is it reliable?
Is there other information it would be useful to have? How could we go about obtaining this information? What should we check on or verify? Are there obvious ways of doing this?
There is some reasonably uncontested empirical information: that the WBP is threatened, that climate change means its climate envelope will move (though there is disagreement about the precision of climate models). Research suggests that rust resistant WBP is possible, and there are already strains of WBP in existence that are more resistant than others. The most important empirical information needed in terms of the relocation is: what are the ecological impacts of relocating likely to be? Also needed is empirical information about how people in recipient communities would regard the relocation. This information could be collected, though trial sites would take a long time to become established.
3) Conflicting Values
What values are at stake in the case?
Values at stake include:
- Wildness : (loss of wildness/naturalness in selecting strains; loss of wildness in human-caused relocation; possible loss of wildness in relocation site)
- Aesthetic value : whitebark pine has high aesthetic value
- Cultural/historical value: the iconic value of the tree as a symbol of the harshness and challenges of the American West
- Justice : Might be a cause of procedural and distributional environmental injustice if transplanted onto indigenous lands without adequate consultation or against their will (or other private lands)
- Species values : If it’s thought that species have moral status, then causing extinction is wrong (and this is human-caused, even if not intentionally). On the other hand, if assisted migration of WBP threatened other species then assisted migration would be problematic for this reason.
- Suffering and welfare: On many ethical views, suffering is a disvalue. If translocating Clark’s Nutcrackers causes them or individuals of other species suffering, that would be a problem. If translocating WBP provided habitat or food for other species eg individual bears and enhanced their welfare, that would be positive.
Which values have priority for which stakeholders?
Will particular decisions lead to the sacrifice of specific values? Is there any way of avoiding this?
Any decision here is going to involve the loss of wildness, which may be of concern to wilderness defenders – at least, those who value places fee of human influence. This wildness loss can’t be avoided. Any context-related value will be lost too, whatever is decided. It may be possible to avoid justice problems at the relocation site by adequate consultation & respect for local residents’ and indigenous peoples’ concerns and preferences. There may also be ways of minimizing suffering to Clark's nutcrackers, but this is likely to make the operation more expensive. Not acting to save the WBP will involve loss of its aesthetic value for present and future generations.
4) Moral Imagination
Given the goals and objectives of the decision-makers, are there alternative courses of action that could be taken that fall outside the obvious parameters of this case? Can these be adopted without sacrificing any other goals or objectives?
When there are threats from climate change, organisms have to either adapt where they are or move. WBP additionally faces current problems from rust and beetles. Natural adaptation in situ alone is unlikely to happen, and moving the WBP without making it rust-resistant risks the same problems following it to the new location. And it’s unlikely the species will survive in its current locations, even if rust-resistant strains were introduced. So, the remaining alternative option (given that climate change is unlikely to stop) is just to let the tree become extinct and do nothing. This sacrifices species and aesthetic values, but is less ecologically risky in the reception ecosystem, is unlikely to cause new suffering (after all, the animals that lose WBP seeds for food in its current range will lose the seeds even if there is new WBP 600 miles north; and nutcrackers won’t have to be relocated) and avoids any justice concerns at the relocation site.
5) Moral Justification
Among the available alternatives, which can be reasonably ethically defended?
Of the ethically defensible alternatives, is there one that's clearly the best?
Both the main options (do nothing; move) can be ethically defended. For particular empirical reasons in this case, “move” may look best. However, judgment about this really depends on which values are prioritized and how precautionary you are.
6) Moral Criteria
Taking each alternative response to the case in turn (may not all be relevant to every case).
NB: In this case, whatever is done, some things are lost. For instance, those who value WBP as important cultural symbols of the American West, in their particular geographical locations, are going to lose this value whatever happens, since they can’t be preserved in their current location
Harm and Benefit : Does this alternative cause harm? Does it cause less harm than the other alternatives? Does it bring about benefits?
- Do nothing: Likely extinction of WBP. If species can be harmed, this causes species harm, but this argument is difficult to defend. If future people can be harmed, and if loss of a species can harm them, WBP extinction does harm them.
- Move without rust selection This risks future harm to trees through WPBR and beetle, even in the new location. It’s possible that if ecosystems/species can be harmed that WBP in the new location could harm them (but there’s also a possibility of benefit). Possible harms to nutcrackers.
- Select and move : Less risk of harm to trees in future. Small risk of harm to other species/systems from relocation. Also risk of harm to nutcrackers.
Justice : How does this alternative distribute harms and benefits or other natural and social goods? Are those affected meaningfully involved in decision-making?
- Do nothing : The species going extinct may affect some people’s interests, but it’s not really an injustice. It would be difficult to consult about not saving the tree, other than by surveys.
- Move (select or not) : The main location of a possible injustice to people lies in the move to new habitat without consultation or against the will of those who live there or own the land.
Other human values : Does this alternative have significant impacts on privacy, liberty, or other human values?
Moving could impact on property rights.
Environmental values : Does this alternative have significant impact on the non-human world?
All options have significant impacts on the non-human world, either by letting a species go extinct, or by selecting forms resistant to disease/ moving them to a new ecosystem. This is really a case where different environmental values are in conflict AND sometimes the same values are in conflict (eg moving WBP may save one species and threaten others, may protect one aesthetic value while changing another etc)
Ethical theories : What might different ethical theories say about what should be done?
- Consequentialist approaches will sum values; what values count will depend on the approach. Utilitarians, for instance, will sum pleasure net of pain over time; this will include humans and sentient animals. So the impacts gains/losses of values on human happiness will matter; so also impacts on Clark’s nutcrackers and other animals that use WBP for food or habitat.
- Rights theories: Relocation, if not handled appropriately, could violate property rights, or the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination over their own land. If animals have rights, relocation of Clark’s nutcrackers, if this constituted a serious harm to individual birds, would violate their rights. If rights are regarded as inviolable or virtually inviolable, these hurdles would have to be overcome for the relocation to be ethically permissible. If it could be argued that species have rights (which is doubtful) then the WBP might be argued to have a compensatory “right” to relocation, since humans are in part at least responsible for their being endangered.
- Virtue theory: As this is primarily a policy issue rather than a personal or professional issue, virtue theory is less helpful in thinking about this case.
7) Other Criteria
Practicality : Are specific alternatives really feasible?
All the considered alternatives are at least plausible. The relocation has had trials and is short-term successful (over a couple of years); selected rust resistance is currently being trialed. There may be hurdles to both, but not evident at the moment.
Publicity : How would the public react to different alternatives?
Reactions will be mixed. Some will want to save the species. Others will regard the relocation as unacceptable interference in "nature" or the wild, with potentially bad consequences.
Collegiality : How would one's peers react to different alternatives?
Not so relevant here.
Reversibility : Can a decision made be revisited?
If the tree goes extinct, while de-extinction is perhaps possible, it’s unlikely. If it’s relocated, and proves to be invasive, it’s easy to remove (slow growing, slow to reproductively mature, easy to locate, needs nutcrackers). It seems likely that most of the potential ecological harms of any move could be reversed.
Continue to Sample Case Response
NB: The case study and case analysis here draws on: Palmer, C. & Larson, B. 2014. "Should we move the Whitebark Pine?" Environmental Values 23: 641-662.
Submit Content to the OEC Donate
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. 2055332. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.