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
  • Acknowledgments

A case study research paper examines a person, place, event, condition, phenomenon, or other type of subject of analysis in order to extrapolate  key themes and results that help predict future trends, illuminate previously hidden issues that can be applied to practice, and/or provide a means for understanding an important research problem with greater clarity. A case study research paper usually examines a single subject of analysis, but case study papers can also be designed as a comparative investigation that shows relationships between two or more subjects. The methods used to study a case can rest within a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method investigative paradigm.

Case Studies. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010 ; “What is a Case Study?” In Swanborn, Peter G. Case Study Research: What, Why and How? London: SAGE, 2010.

How to Approach Writing a Case Study Research Paper

General information about how to choose a topic to investigate can be found under the " Choosing a Research Problem " tab in the Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper writing guide. Review this page because it may help you identify a subject of analysis that can be investigated using a case study design.

However, identifying a case to investigate involves more than choosing the research problem . A case study encompasses a problem contextualized around the application of in-depth analysis, interpretation, and discussion, often resulting in specific recommendations for action or for improving existing conditions. As Seawright and Gerring note, practical considerations such as time and access to information can influence case selection, but these issues should not be the sole factors used in describing the methodological justification for identifying a particular case to study. Given this, selecting a case includes considering the following:

  • The case represents an unusual or atypical example of a research problem that requires more in-depth analysis? Cases often represent a topic that rests on the fringes of prior investigations because the case may provide new ways of understanding the research problem. For example, if the research problem is to identify strategies to improve policies that support girl's access to secondary education in predominantly Muslim nations, you could consider using Azerbaijan as a case study rather than selecting a more obvious nation in the Middle East. Doing so may reveal important new insights into recommending how governments in other predominantly Muslim nations can formulate policies that support improved access to education for girls.
  • The case provides important insight or illuminate a previously hidden problem? In-depth analysis of a case can be based on the hypothesis that the case study will reveal trends or issues that have not been exposed in prior research or will reveal new and important implications for practice. For example, anecdotal evidence may suggest drug use among homeless veterans is related to their patterns of travel throughout the day. Assuming prior studies have not looked at individual travel choices as a way to study access to illicit drug use, a case study that observes a homeless veteran could reveal how issues of personal mobility choices facilitate regular access to illicit drugs. Note that it is important to conduct a thorough literature review to ensure that your assumption about the need to reveal new insights or previously hidden problems is valid and evidence-based.
  • The case challenges and offers a counter-point to prevailing assumptions? Over time, research on any given topic can fall into a trap of developing assumptions based on outdated studies that are still applied to new or changing conditions or the idea that something should simply be accepted as "common sense," even though the issue has not been thoroughly tested in current practice. A case study analysis may offer an opportunity to gather evidence that challenges prevailing assumptions about a research problem and provide a new set of recommendations applied to practice that have not been tested previously. For example, perhaps there has been a long practice among scholars to apply a particular theory in explaining the relationship between two subjects of analysis. Your case could challenge this assumption by applying an innovative theoretical framework [perhaps borrowed from another discipline] to explore whether this approach offers new ways of understanding the research problem. Taking a contrarian stance is one of the most important ways that new knowledge and understanding develops from existing literature.
  • The case provides an opportunity to pursue action leading to the resolution of a problem? Another way to think about choosing a case to study is to consider how the results from investigating a particular case may result in findings that reveal ways in which to resolve an existing or emerging problem. For example, studying the case of an unforeseen incident, such as a fatal accident at a railroad crossing, can reveal hidden issues that could be applied to preventative measures that contribute to reducing the chance of accidents in the future. In this example, a case study investigating the accident could lead to a better understanding of where to strategically locate additional signals at other railroad crossings so as to better warn drivers of an approaching train, particularly when visibility is hindered by heavy rain, fog, or at night.
  • The case offers a new direction in future research? A case study can be used as a tool for an exploratory investigation that highlights the need for further research about the problem. A case can be used when there are few studies that help predict an outcome or that establish a clear understanding about how best to proceed in addressing a problem. For example, after conducting a thorough literature review [very important!], you discover that little research exists showing the ways in which women contribute to promoting water conservation in rural communities of east central Africa. A case study of how women contribute to saving water in a rural village of Uganda can lay the foundation for understanding the need for more thorough research that documents how women in their roles as cooks and family caregivers think about water as a valuable resource within their community. This example of a case study could also point to the need for scholars to build new theoretical frameworks around the topic [e.g., applying feminist theories of work and family to the issue of water conservation].

Eisenhardt, Kathleen M. “Building Theories from Case Study Research.” Academy of Management Review 14 (October 1989): 532-550; Emmel, Nick. Sampling and Choosing Cases in Qualitative Research: A Realist Approach . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2013; Gerring, John. “What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good for?” American Political Science Review 98 (May 2004): 341-354; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Seawright, Jason and John Gerring. "Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research." Political Research Quarterly 61 (June 2008): 294-308.

Structure and Writing Style

The purpose of a paper in the social sciences designed around a case study is to thoroughly investigate a subject of analysis in order to reveal a new understanding about the research problem and, in so doing, contributing new knowledge to what is already known from previous studies. In applied social sciences disciplines [e.g., education, social work, public administration, etc.], case studies may also be used to reveal best practices, highlight key programs, or investigate interesting aspects of professional work.

In general, the structure of a case study research paper is not all that different from a standard college-level research paper. However, there are subtle differences you should be aware of. Here are the key elements to organizing and writing a case study research paper.

I.  Introduction

As with any research paper, your introduction should serve as a roadmap for your readers to ascertain the scope and purpose of your study . The introduction to a case study research paper, however, should not only describe the research problem and its significance, but you should also succinctly describe why the case is being used and how it relates to addressing the problem. The two elements should be linked. With this in mind, a good introduction answers these four questions:

  • What is being studied? Describe the research problem and describe the subject of analysis [the case] you have chosen to address the problem. Explain how they are linked and what elements of the case will help to expand knowledge and understanding about the problem.
  • Why is this topic important to investigate? Describe the significance of the research problem and state why a case study design and the subject of analysis that the paper is designed around is appropriate in addressing the problem.
  • What did we know about this topic before I did this study? Provide background that helps lead the reader into the more in-depth literature review to follow. If applicable, summarize prior case study research applied to the research problem and why it fails to adequately address the problem. Describe why your case will be useful. If no prior case studies have been used to address the research problem, explain why you have selected this subject of analysis.
  • How will this study advance new knowledge or new ways of understanding? Explain why your case study will be suitable in helping to expand knowledge and understanding about the research problem.

Each of these questions should be addressed in no more than a few paragraphs. Exceptions to this can be when you are addressing a complex research problem or subject of analysis that requires more in-depth background information.

II.  Literature Review

The literature review for a case study research paper is generally structured the same as it is for any college-level research paper. The difference, however, is that the literature review is focused on providing background information and  enabling historical interpretation of the subject of analysis in relation to the research problem the case is intended to address . This includes synthesizing studies that help to:

  • Place relevant works in the context of their contribution to understanding the case study being investigated . This would involve summarizing studies that have used a similar subject of analysis to investigate the research problem. If there is literature using the same or a very similar case to study, you need to explain why duplicating past research is important [e.g., conditions have changed; prior studies were conducted long ago, etc.].
  • Describe the relationship each work has to the others under consideration that informs the reader why this case is applicable . Your literature review should include a description of any works that support using the case to investigate the research problem and the underlying research questions.
  • Identify new ways to interpret prior research using the case study . If applicable, review any research that has examined the research problem using a different research design. Explain how your use of a case study design may reveal new knowledge or a new perspective or that can redirect research in an important new direction.
  • Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies . This refers to synthesizing any literature that points to unresolved issues of concern about the research problem and describing how the subject of analysis that forms the case study can help resolve these existing contradictions.
  • Point the way in fulfilling a need for additional research . Your review should examine any literature that lays a foundation for understanding why your case study design and the subject of analysis around which you have designed your study may reveal a new way of approaching the research problem or offer a perspective that points to the need for additional research.
  • Expose any gaps that exist in the literature that the case study could help to fill . Summarize any literature that not only shows how your subject of analysis contributes to understanding the research problem, but how your case contributes to a new way of understanding the problem that prior research has failed to do.
  • Locate your own research within the context of existing literature [very important!] . Collectively, your literature review should always place your case study within the larger domain of prior research about the problem. The overarching purpose of reviewing pertinent literature in a case study paper is to demonstrate that you have thoroughly identified and synthesized prior studies in relation to explaining the relevance of the case in addressing the research problem.

III.  Method

In this section, you explain why you selected a particular case [i.e., subject of analysis] and the strategy you used to identify and ultimately decide that your case was appropriate in addressing the research problem. The way you describe the methods used varies depending on the type of subject of analysis that constitutes your case study.

If your subject of analysis is an incident or event . In the social and behavioral sciences, the event or incident that represents the case to be studied is usually bounded by time and place, with a clear beginning and end and with an identifiable location or position relative to its surroundings. The subject of analysis can be a rare or critical event or it can focus on a typical or regular event. The purpose of studying a rare event is to illuminate new ways of thinking about the broader research problem or to test a hypothesis. Critical incident case studies must describe the method by which you identified the event and explain the process by which you determined the validity of this case to inform broader perspectives about the research problem or to reveal new findings. However, the event does not have to be a rare or uniquely significant to support new thinking about the research problem or to challenge an existing hypothesis. For example, Walo, Bull, and Breen conducted a case study to identify and evaluate the direct and indirect economic benefits and costs of a local sports event in the City of Lismore, New South Wales, Australia. The purpose of their study was to provide new insights from measuring the impact of a typical local sports event that prior studies could not measure well because they focused on large "mega-events." Whether the event is rare or not, the methods section should include an explanation of the following characteristics of the event: a) when did it take place; b) what were the underlying circumstances leading to the event; and, c) what were the consequences of the event in relation to the research problem.

If your subject of analysis is a person. Explain why you selected this particular individual to be studied and describe what experiences they have had that provide an opportunity to advance new understandings about the research problem. Mention any background about this person which might help the reader understand the significance of their experiences that make them worthy of study. This includes describing the relationships this person has had with other people, institutions, and/or events that support using them as the subject for a case study research paper. It is particularly important to differentiate the person as the subject of analysis from others and to succinctly explain how the person relates to examining the research problem [e.g., why is one politician in a particular local election used to show an increase in voter turnout from any other candidate running in the election]. Note that these issues apply to a specific group of people used as a case study unit of analysis [e.g., a classroom of students].

If your subject of analysis is a place. In general, a case study that investigates a place suggests a subject of analysis that is unique or special in some way and that this uniqueness can be used to build new understanding or knowledge about the research problem. A case study of a place must not only describe its various attributes relevant to the research problem [e.g., physical, social, historical, cultural, economic, political], but you must state the method by which you determined that this place will illuminate new understandings about the research problem. It is also important to articulate why a particular place as the case for study is being used if similar places also exist [i.e., if you are studying patterns of homeless encampments of veterans in open spaces, explain why you are studying Echo Park in Los Angeles rather than Griffith Park?]. If applicable, describe what type of human activity involving this place makes it a good choice to study [e.g., prior research suggests Echo Park has more homeless veterans].

If your subject of analysis is a phenomenon. A phenomenon refers to a fact, occurrence, or circumstance that can be studied or observed but with the cause or explanation to be in question. In this sense, a phenomenon that forms your subject of analysis can encompass anything that can be observed or presumed to exist but is not fully understood. In the social and behavioral sciences, the case usually focuses on human interaction within a complex physical, social, economic, cultural, or political system. For example, the phenomenon could be the observation that many vehicles used by ISIS fighters are small trucks with English language advertisements on them. The research problem could be that ISIS fighters are difficult to combat because they are highly mobile. The research questions could be how and by what means are these vehicles used by ISIS being supplied to the militants and how might supply lines to these vehicles be cut off? How might knowing the suppliers of these trucks reveal larger networks of collaborators and financial support? A case study of a phenomenon most often encompasses an in-depth analysis of a cause and effect that is grounded in an interactive relationship between people and their environment in some way.

NOTE:   The choice of the case or set of cases to study cannot appear random. Evidence that supports the method by which you identified and chose your subject of analysis should clearly support investigation of the research problem and linked to key findings from your literature review. Be sure to cite any studies that helped you determine that the case you chose was appropriate for examining the problem.

IV.  Discussion

The main elements of your discussion section are generally the same as any research paper, but centered around interpreting and drawing conclusions about the key findings from your analysis of the case study. Note that a general social sciences research paper may contain a separate section to report findings. However, in a paper designed around a case study, it is common to combine a description of the results with the discussion about their implications. The objectives of your discussion section should include the following:

Reiterate the Research Problem/State the Major Findings Briefly reiterate the research problem you are investigating and explain why the subject of analysis around which you designed the case study were used. You should then describe the findings revealed from your study of the case using direct, declarative, and succinct proclamation of the study results. Highlight any findings that were unexpected or especially profound.

Explain the Meaning of the Findings and Why They are Important Systematically explain the meaning of your case study findings and why you believe they are important. Begin this part of the section by repeating what you consider to be your most important or surprising finding first, then systematically review each finding. Be sure to thoroughly extrapolate what your analysis of the case can tell the reader about situations or conditions beyond the actual case that was studied while, at the same time, being careful not to misconstrue or conflate a finding that undermines the external validity of your conclusions.

Relate the Findings to Similar Studies No study in the social sciences is so novel or possesses such a restricted focus that it has absolutely no relation to previously published research. The discussion section should relate your case study results to those found in other studies, particularly if questions raised from prior studies served as the motivation for choosing your subject of analysis. This is important because comparing and contrasting the findings of other studies helps support the overall importance of your results and it highlights how and in what ways your case study design and the subject of analysis differs from prior research about the topic.

Consider Alternative Explanations of the Findings Remember that the purpose of social science research is to discover and not to prove. When writing the discussion section, you should carefully consider all possible explanations revealed by the case study results, rather than just those that fit your hypothesis or prior assumptions and biases. Be alert to what the in-depth analysis of the case may reveal about the research problem, including offering a contrarian perspective to what scholars have stated in prior research if that is how the findings can be interpreted from your case.

Acknowledge the Study's Limitations You can state the study's limitations in the conclusion section of your paper but describing the limitations of your subject of analysis in the discussion section provides an opportunity to identify the limitations and explain why they are not significant. This part of the discussion section should also note any unanswered questions or issues your case study could not address. More detailed information about how to document any limitations to your research can be found here .

Suggest Areas for Further Research Although your case study may offer important insights about the research problem, there are likely additional questions related to the problem that remain unanswered or findings that unexpectedly revealed themselves as a result of your in-depth analysis of the case. Be sure that the recommendations for further research are linked to the research problem and that you explain why your recommendations are valid in other contexts and based on the original assumptions of your study.

V.  Conclusion

As with any research paper, you should summarize your conclusion in clear, simple language; emphasize how the findings from your case study differs from or supports prior research and why. Do not simply reiterate the discussion section. Provide a synthesis of key findings presented in the paper to show how these converge to address the research problem. If you haven't already done so in the discussion section, be sure to document the limitations of your case study and any need for further research.

The function of your paper's conclusion is to: 1) reiterate the main argument supported by the findings from your case study; 2) state clearly the context, background, and necessity of pursuing the research problem using a case study design in relation to an issue, controversy, or a gap found from reviewing the literature; and, 3) provide a place to persuasively and succinctly restate the significance of your research problem, given that the reader has now been presented with in-depth information about the topic.

Consider the following points to help ensure your conclusion is appropriate:

  • If the argument or purpose of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize these points for your reader.
  • If prior to your conclusion, you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the conclusion of your paper to describe your main points and explain their significance.
  • Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration of the case study's findings that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction or within a new context that emerges from your case study findings.

Note that, depending on the discipline you are writing in or the preferences of your professor, the concluding paragraph may contain your final reflections on the evidence presented as it applies to practice or on the essay's central research problem. However, the nature of being introspective about the subject of analysis you have investigated will depend on whether you are explicitly asked to express your observations in this way.

Problems to Avoid

Overgeneralization One of the goals of a case study is to lay a foundation for understanding broader trends and issues applied to similar circumstances. However, be careful when drawing conclusions from your case study. They must be evidence-based and grounded in the results of the study; otherwise, it is merely speculation. Looking at a prior example, it would be incorrect to state that a factor in improving girls access to education in Azerbaijan and the policy implications this may have for improving access in other Muslim nations is due to girls access to social media if there is no documentary evidence from your case study to indicate this. There may be anecdotal evidence that retention rates were better for girls who were engaged with social media, but this observation would only point to the need for further research and would not be a definitive finding if this was not a part of your original research agenda.

Failure to Document Limitations No case is going to reveal all that needs to be understood about a research problem. Therefore, just as you have to clearly state the limitations of a general research study , you must describe the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis. For example, the case of studying how women conceptualize the need for water conservation in a village in Uganda could have limited application in other cultural contexts or in areas where fresh water from rivers or lakes is plentiful and, therefore, conservation is understood more in terms of managing access rather than preserving access to a scarce resource.

Failure to Extrapolate All Possible Implications Just as you don't want to over-generalize from your case study findings, you also have to be thorough in the consideration of all possible outcomes or recommendations derived from your findings. If you do not, your reader may question the validity of your analysis, particularly if you failed to document an obvious outcome from your case study research. For example, in the case of studying the accident at the railroad crossing to evaluate where and what types of warning signals should be located, you failed to take into consideration speed limit signage as well as warning signals. When designing your case study, be sure you have thoroughly addressed all aspects of the problem and do not leave gaps in your analysis that leave the reader questioning the results.

Case Studies. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Gerring, John. Case Study Research: Principles and Practices . New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007; Merriam, Sharan B. Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education . Rev. ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1998; Miller, Lisa L. “The Use of Case Studies in Law and Social Science Research.” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 14 (2018): TBD; Mills, Albert J., Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Putney, LeAnn Grogan. "Case Study." In Encyclopedia of Research Design , Neil J. Salkind, editor. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010), pp. 116-120; Simons, Helen. Case Study Research in Practice . London: SAGE Publications, 2009;  Kratochwill,  Thomas R. and Joel R. Levin, editors. Single-Case Research Design and Analysis: New Development for Psychology and Education .  Hilldsale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992; Swanborn, Peter G. Case Study Research: What, Why and How? London : SAGE, 2010; Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research: Design and Methods . 6th edition. Los Angeles, CA, SAGE Publications, 2014; Walo, Maree, Adrian Bull, and Helen Breen. “Achieving Economic Benefits at Local Events: A Case Study of a Local Sports Event.” Festival Management and Event Tourism 4 (1996): 95-106.

Writing Tip

At Least Five Misconceptions about Case Study Research

Social science case studies are often perceived as limited in their ability to create new knowledge because they are not randomly selected and findings cannot be generalized to larger populations. Flyvbjerg examines five misunderstandings about case study research and systematically "corrects" each one. To quote, these are:

Misunderstanding 1 :  General, theoretical [context-independent] knowledge is more valuable than concrete, practical [context-dependent] knowledge. Misunderstanding 2 :  One cannot generalize on the basis of an individual case; therefore, the case study cannot contribute to scientific development. Misunderstanding 3 :  The case study is most useful for generating hypotheses; that is, in the first stage of a total research process, whereas other methods are more suitable for hypotheses testing and theory building. Misunderstanding 4 :  The case study contains a bias toward verification, that is, a tendency to confirm the researcher’s preconceived notions. Misunderstanding 5 :  It is often difficult to summarize and develop general propositions and theories on the basis of specific case studies [p. 221].

While writing your paper, think introspectively about how you addressed these misconceptions because to do so can help you strengthen the validity and reliability of your research by clarifying issues of case selection, the testing and challenging of existing assumptions, the interpretation of key findings, and the summation of case outcomes. Think of a case study research paper as a complete, in-depth narrative about the specific properties and key characteristics of your subject of analysis applied to the research problem.

Flyvbjerg, Bent. “Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research.” Qualitative Inquiry 12 (April 2006): 219-245.

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A Case for the Case Study: How and Why They Matter

  • Original Paper
  • Published: 06 June 2017
  • Volume 45 , pages 189–200, ( 2017 )

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writing a social work case study

  • Jeffrey Longhofer 1 ,
  • Jerry Floersch 1 &
  • Eric Hartmann 2  

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In this special issue we have asked the contributors to make a case for the case study. The guest editors, Jeffrey Longhofer, Jerry Floersch and Eric Hartmann, intergrate ideas from across the disciplines to explore the complexties of case study methods and theory. In education, Gary Thomas explores the importance of ethnographic case studies in understanding the relationships among schools, teachers, and students. Lance Dodes and Josh Dodes use the case study to articulate a psychoanalytic approach to addiction. In policy and generalist practice, Nancy Cartwright and Jeremy Hardie elaborate a model for a case-by-case approach to prediction and the swampy ground prediction serves up to practitioners. Christian Salas and Oliver Turnbull persuasively write about the role of the case study in neuro-psychoanalysis and illustrate it with a case vignette. In political science, Sanford Schram argues for a bottom up and ethnographic approach to studying policy implementation by describing a case of a home ownership program in Philadelphia. Eric Hartman queers the case study by articulating its role in deconstructing normative explanations of sexuality. In applied psychology, Daniel Fishman describes a comprehensive applied psychology perspective on the paradigmatic case study. Richard Miller and Miriam Jaffe offer us important ways of thinking about writing the case study and the use of multi-media. Each contributor brings a unique perspective to the use of the case study in their field, yet they share practical and philosophical assumptions.

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Longhofer, J., Floersch, J. & Hartmann, E. A Case for the Case Study: How and Why They Matter. Clin Soc Work J 45 , 189–200 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10615-017-0631-8

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Learning Goals

  • Define case notes in context of child welfare
  • Explain purpose of case notes
  • Identify characteristics of well written case notes

Intro to Case Notes for new social workers

Case notes are records of information and form a foundation for other core documents.  They are records of interactions with the children, families, and persons relevant to a given case or incident.  Good case notes employ strategic, insightful inquiry and an understanding of larger case processes.  When well written, case notes provide accurate, objective descriptions grounded in fact and evidence.  They leverage a social worker's assessments and opinions thoughtfully, but never include an undue amount of either.  In light of those criteria, it is apparent that writing case notes well is not an easy task.  What information needs to be recorded? How can case notes effectively remain objective while emphasizing important details by use of assessment?  

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module you should be able to: 

  • Recognize final, good quality case notes
  • Identify concise writing in the context of writing / editing case notes

What are case notes?

Case notes are the chronological record of interactions, observations and actions involving a specific person and / or family. [1]

Case notes provide a record of all the things that have happened during a family’s involvement with Child Welfare, including phone calls, face-to-face contacts, contacts with service providers, team meetings, court hearings, and visits.  This record is important for social work continuity, for legal discovery purposes and for historical record.

Information recorded about a person or family should be impartial, accurate and complete with care taken to ensure that:

  • Only details relevant to investigation, assessment, or the provision of a support or service are recorded
  • Case notes do not include derogatory or emotive language
  • Subjective opinions are qualified with relevant background information, theory or research
  • Relevant information is not omitted [2]

[1]  Adapted from Australian Association of Social Workers Ethical Guideline for Case Notes. Downloaded from:  http://www.aasw.asn.au/document/item/2356 (Links to an external site.)  on 9/5/13

[2]  Adapted from Australian Association of Social Workers Ethical Guideline for Case Notes. Downloaded from:  http://www.aasw.asn.au/document/item/2356 (Links to an external site.)  on 9/5/13

See what case notes look like

Below are some examples of actual case notes.  Hover over a section or paragraph will expose a box around that section.  Click on the boxed section to zoom in for more details.  

As you explore the case notes example document, consider the following:

  • Are the individual paragraphs, or sentences, written differently?
  • What purposes do you think these case notes serve? How might that have influenced the way in which the author wrote them?
  • How would you describe the style of writing used in this example?

Watch case notes being written following an interview

Compare interview notes to final case notes.

After watching the previous interview, take a look below at how notes taken during the interview with Crystal are edited to become the formal case notes entered into official records.  Hover over a section and it becomes highlighted.  Click on any highlighted section to see the social workers thoughts about why she wrote interview notes or the final case notes in the given manner.  What differences do you see between the sections?

Reflect on defining characteristics of case notes

In the previous exercise you were asked to reflect upon the process of writing case notes.  Here is your opportunity to PRACTICE writing your own case notes using the video video below (same as you saw earlier, without quiz questions).  Watch a section of the interview and then write the corresponding case notes as though you were the social worker.  

Use the above template to record your notes.  Only a few paragraphs are needed at most.

* The videos used in this resource were created by The Academy for Professional Excellence at San Diego State University, and have been remixed by CalSWEC with permission.  Source video available at <https://www.oercommons.org/courses/physical-abuse-investigative-interview-crystal-dawn-smith>

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What Is a Case Study?

Weighing the pros and cons of this method of research

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

writing a social work case study

Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.

writing a social work case study

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  • Pros and Cons

What Types of Case Studies Are Out There?

Where do you find data for a case study, how do i write a psychology case study.

A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in many different fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

The point of a case study is to learn as much as possible about an individual or group so that the information can be generalized to many others. Unfortunately, case studies tend to be highly subjective, and it is sometimes difficult to generalize results to a larger population.

While case studies focus on a single individual or group, they follow a format similar to other types of psychology writing. If you are writing a case study, we got you—here are some rules of APA format to reference.  

At a Glance

A case study, or an in-depth study of a person, group, or event, can be a useful research tool when used wisely. In many cases, case studies are best used in situations where it would be difficult or impossible for you to conduct an experiment. They are helpful for looking at unique situations and allow researchers to gather a lot of˜ information about a specific individual or group of people. However, it's important to be cautious of any bias we draw from them as they are highly subjective.

What Are the Benefits and Limitations of Case Studies?

A case study can have its strengths and weaknesses. Researchers must consider these pros and cons before deciding if this type of study is appropriate for their needs.

One of the greatest advantages of a case study is that it allows researchers to investigate things that are often difficult or impossible to replicate in a lab. Some other benefits of a case study:

  • Allows researchers to capture information on the 'how,' 'what,' and 'why,' of something that's implemented
  • Gives researchers the chance to collect information on why one strategy might be chosen over another
  • Permits researchers to develop hypotheses that can be explored in experimental research

On the other hand, a case study can have some drawbacks:

  • It cannot necessarily be generalized to the larger population
  • Cannot demonstrate cause and effect
  • It may not be scientifically rigorous
  • It can lead to bias

Researchers may choose to perform a case study if they want to explore a unique or recently discovered phenomenon. Through their insights, researchers develop additional ideas and study questions that might be explored in future studies.

It's important to remember that the insights from case studies cannot be used to determine cause-and-effect relationships between variables. However, case studies may be used to develop hypotheses that can then be addressed in experimental research.

Case Study Examples

There have been a number of notable case studies in the history of psychology. Much of  Freud's work and theories were developed through individual case studies. Some great examples of case studies in psychology include:

  • Anna O : Anna O. was a pseudonym of a woman named Bertha Pappenheim, a patient of a physician named Josef Breuer. While she was never a patient of Freud's, Freud and Breuer discussed her case extensively. The woman was experiencing symptoms of a condition that was then known as hysteria and found that talking about her problems helped relieve her symptoms. Her case played an important part in the development of talk therapy as an approach to mental health treatment.
  • Phineas Gage : Phineas Gage was a railroad employee who experienced a terrible accident in which an explosion sent a metal rod through his skull, damaging important portions of his brain. Gage recovered from his accident but was left with serious changes in both personality and behavior.
  • Genie : Genie was a young girl subjected to horrific abuse and isolation. The case study of Genie allowed researchers to study whether language learning was possible, even after missing critical periods for language development. Her case also served as an example of how scientific research may interfere with treatment and lead to further abuse of vulnerable individuals.

Such cases demonstrate how case research can be used to study things that researchers could not replicate in experimental settings. In Genie's case, her horrific abuse denied her the opportunity to learn a language at critical points in her development.

This is clearly not something researchers could ethically replicate, but conducting a case study on Genie allowed researchers to study phenomena that are otherwise impossible to reproduce.

There are a few different types of case studies that psychologists and other researchers might use:

  • Collective case studies : These involve studying a group of individuals. Researchers might study a group of people in a certain setting or look at an entire community. For example, psychologists might explore how access to resources in a community has affected the collective mental well-being of those who live there.
  • Descriptive case studies : These involve starting with a descriptive theory. The subjects are then observed, and the information gathered is compared to the pre-existing theory.
  • Explanatory case studies : These   are often used to do causal investigations. In other words, researchers are interested in looking at factors that may have caused certain things to occur.
  • Exploratory case studies : These are sometimes used as a prelude to further, more in-depth research. This allows researchers to gather more information before developing their research questions and hypotheses .
  • Instrumental case studies : These occur when the individual or group allows researchers to understand more than what is initially obvious to observers.
  • Intrinsic case studies : This type of case study is when the researcher has a personal interest in the case. Jean Piaget's observations of his own children are good examples of how an intrinsic case study can contribute to the development of a psychological theory.

The three main case study types often used are intrinsic, instrumental, and collective. Intrinsic case studies are useful for learning about unique cases. Instrumental case studies help look at an individual to learn more about a broader issue. A collective case study can be useful for looking at several cases simultaneously.

The type of case study that psychology researchers use depends on the unique characteristics of the situation and the case itself.

There are a number of different sources and methods that researchers can use to gather information about an individual or group. Six major sources that have been identified by researchers are:

  • Archival records : Census records, survey records, and name lists are examples of archival records.
  • Direct observation : This strategy involves observing the subject, often in a natural setting . While an individual observer is sometimes used, it is more common to utilize a group of observers.
  • Documents : Letters, newspaper articles, administrative records, etc., are the types of documents often used as sources.
  • Interviews : Interviews are one of the most important methods for gathering information in case studies. An interview can involve structured survey questions or more open-ended questions.
  • Participant observation : When the researcher serves as a participant in events and observes the actions and outcomes, it is called participant observation.
  • Physical artifacts : Tools, objects, instruments, and other artifacts are often observed during a direct observation of the subject.

If you have been directed to write a case study for a psychology course, be sure to check with your instructor for any specific guidelines you need to follow. If you are writing your case study for a professional publication, check with the publisher for their specific guidelines for submitting a case study.

Here is a general outline of what should be included in a case study.

Section 1: A Case History

This section will have the following structure and content:

Background information : The first section of your paper will present your client's background. Include factors such as age, gender, work, health status, family mental health history, family and social relationships, drug and alcohol history, life difficulties, goals, and coping skills and weaknesses.

Description of the presenting problem : In the next section of your case study, you will describe the problem or symptoms that the client presented with.

Describe any physical, emotional, or sensory symptoms reported by the client. Thoughts, feelings, and perceptions related to the symptoms should also be noted. Any screening or diagnostic assessments that are used should also be described in detail and all scores reported.

Your diagnosis : Provide your diagnosis and give the appropriate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual code. Explain how you reached your diagnosis, how the client's symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s), or any possible difficulties in reaching a diagnosis.

Section 2: Treatment Plan

This portion of the paper will address the chosen treatment for the condition. This might also include the theoretical basis for the chosen treatment or any other evidence that might exist to support why this approach was chosen.

  • Cognitive behavioral approach : Explain how a cognitive behavioral therapist would approach treatment. Offer background information on cognitive behavioral therapy and describe the treatment sessions, client response, and outcome of this type of treatment. Make note of any difficulties or successes encountered by your client during treatment.
  • Humanistic approach : Describe a humanistic approach that could be used to treat your client, such as client-centered therapy . Provide information on the type of treatment you chose, the client's reaction to the treatment, and the end result of this approach. Explain why the treatment was successful or unsuccessful.
  • Psychoanalytic approach : Describe how a psychoanalytic therapist would view the client's problem. Provide some background on the psychoanalytic approach and cite relevant references. Explain how psychoanalytic therapy would be used to treat the client, how the client would respond to therapy, and the effectiveness of this treatment approach.
  • Pharmacological approach : If treatment primarily involves the use of medications, explain which medications were used and why. Provide background on the effectiveness of these medications and how monotherapy may compare with an approach that combines medications with therapy or other treatments.

This section of a case study should also include information about the treatment goals, process, and outcomes.

When you are writing a case study, you should also include a section where you discuss the case study itself, including the strengths and limitiations of the study. You should note how the findings of your case study might support previous research. 

In your discussion section, you should also describe some of the implications of your case study. What ideas or findings might require further exploration? How might researchers go about exploring some of these questions in additional studies?

Need More Tips?

Here are a few additional pointers to keep in mind when formatting your case study:

  • Never refer to the subject of your case study as "the client." Instead, use their name or a pseudonym.
  • Read examples of case studies to gain an idea about the style and format.
  • Remember to use APA format when citing references .

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach .  BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011;11:100.

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach . BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011 Jun 27;11:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-100

Gagnon, Yves-Chantal.  The Case Study as Research Method: A Practical Handbook . Canada, Chicago Review Press Incorporated DBA Independent Pub Group, 2010.

Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . United States, SAGE Publications, 2017.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Case Study Examples Social Work: Real-Life Insights

writing a social work case study

In the field of social work, case studies play a crucial role in educating and training future professionals. These real-life scenarios provide valuable insights into the varied issues that social workers confront and the strategies they employ to address them.

Table of Contents

In this article, we will explore case study examples in social work, focusing on how social workers assess and intervene in different situations. We will also discuss the importance of ethical considerations and the impact of intervention strategies on outcomes.

What is a Case Study?

A case study is an in-depth analysis of a particular individual, family, or community, aiming to understand the complexities of their situation and the challenges they face. It provides an opportunity for social workers to apply theories, skills, ethics, and supervision to real-life scenarios.

By examining case studies, social workers can learn from effective intervention strategies, ethical considerations, and the outcomes achieved.

case study examples social work - Importance of Case Studies in Social Work Education - case study examples social work

Importance of Case Studies in Social Work Education

Case studies are an integral part of social work education programs, both at the undergraduate and master’s levels. They offer invaluable examples of real-life practice in diverse settings, including public child welfare.

These case studies provide detailed information that allows students to explore various aspects of social work practice, such as assessment, intervention, and collaboration with other professionals.

case study examples social work - Assessing and Intervening in Child Welfare Cases - case study examples social work

Assessing and Intervening in Child Welfare Cases

Child welfare presents a complex and challenging area for social workers. Case studies in this context shed light on the core competencies required to address the needs of children and families.

For example, one case study examines the experience of caring for a child with a mental health problem and the impact it has on the caregiver’s education.

The child welfare core competencies are based on underlying assumptions and skills that all social work graduates should possess. Through case studies, students can gain a deeper understanding of these competencies and how to apply them in practice.

They provide a bridge between theory and real-life situations, preparing students for the complex challenges they may face in their careers.

case study examples social work - Real-Life Examples: Integrating Child Welfare Practice - case study examples social work

Real-Life Examples: Integrating Child Welfare Practice

The Real Cases Project is a comprehensive collection of case studies illustrating the integration of child welfare practice across the social work curriculum. This resource includes the full text of the case studies, teaching guides, and additional resources for social work educators and students.

It offers a unique opportunity to explore the application of social work theories, skills, ethics, and supervision in real-life scenarios.

case study examples social work - Learning from Case Studies - case study examples social work

Learning from Case Studies

By examining case study examples, social workers can gain valuable insights into various issues they may encounter in their practice. These examples offer an opportunity to learn about effective intervention strategies, ethical considerations, and the outcomes achieved.

They provide a platform for reflection, discussion, and continued professional development.

case study examples social work - Recommended Product:Social Work Case Studies: Concentration Year - case study examples social work

Recommended Product: Social Work Case Studies: Concentration Year

One highly recommended product for social work students and professionals is the book “Social Work Case Studies: Concentration Year.” This comprehensive resource includes a collection of case studies that cover a wide range of social work concentrations. It offers detailed analyses of complex scenarios, providing valuable learning opportunities and practical insights.

In conclusion, case study examples are a vital tool in social work education and practice. They allow social workers to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of real-life situations, develop effective intervention strategies, and consider the ethical implications of their work.

By learning from these examples, social workers can enhance their skills and contribute to positive outcomes for individuals, families, and communities. For further exploration of case studies in social work, we highly recommend the book “Social Work Case Studies: Concentration Year” as a valuable resource.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write a good case study for social work, what are the principles for writing social work case studies, how do you write a case study report in social work, can you provide an example of case work in social work, what is the relationship between social case work and group work, related posts.

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  • Topics: Best Practices , Case Notes , CaseWorthy Features , Social Work

Social Work Case Note Templates and Best Practices

As a case manager for a nonprofit, you understand that social work case notes are crucial to maintaining integrity in client services. Case notes can help you focus on your clients’ specific treatment goals and action plans while documenting their progress over time. 

However, manually documenting case notes without structure or a template can be time-consuming and often lead to missing or incorrectly entering important client information. 

In this article, we’ll provide you with two social work case note templates, the best practices for writing case notes, and what technological advances are available to streamline note-taking.

What are Case Notes in Social Work?

Case notes in social work document anything of note regarding a client’s case. Social workers must keep detailed, accurate records of the services provided and observations of a client and their situations.

Details logged in case notes can also help protect the social worker if they need to appear in court. Case notes provide a documented record of care that can be used in legal cases or during a client or social work organization audit.

With advances in social work practices and technology, social workers are encouraged to capture and enter notes digitally with  case management software . Most digitally recorded social work case notes are created, stored, and shared through regulated and secure cloud-based servers like CaseWorthy’s to ensure client privacy.

Best Practices for Writing Social Work Case Notes

Effective social work case notes can improve treatment outcomes, lead to more efficient client service, and ultimately aid in clients accomplishing a goal. Here are six tips for writing social work case notes: 

Make time for case notes

Incorporate case note-taking into your daily schedule so you can enter case notes on the same day. Some social workers schedule 10 minutes after each session to complete notes while the information is still fresh. Recording case notes while speaking with a client is also good practice so long as the client feels comfortable with you doing so in front of them.

Maintain objectivity

Social workers must be mindful of their biases and avoid dismissive or judgemental comments. For example, stating that the “client seemed sad and depressed” is not objective. However, “the client expressed that they have been unable to sleep, feel empty inside, and had a PHQ-9 score of 22 indicating severe depression,” is more objective and provides additional details about the symptoms they are experiencing.

Stay to the point

Case notes need to be detailed, accurate, and concise. So stick to the core facts and any information that will help you remember a discussion during a specific session, but leave out all unnecessary details. 

Social workers must consider their client’s privacy when taking notes. A social worker may be legally obligated to hand over case notes if there is a court order or information request—meaning unnecessary details in a note may be used against the client.

Refer back to previous case notes

Before each session, take a few minutes to review previous notes to jog your memory about what you need to follow up on next. This review process makes sessions more efficient by knowing where you left off with a client last and what are the next steps.

Take notes in a way that works for you

Case management software  like CaseWorthy can streamline the case note-taking process with templated forms and dashboards. These structured workflows make it easier for social workers to ensure they’ve addressed all necessary criteria in their notes without missing anything. CaseWorthy’s case management software also offers mobile and speech-to-text case note-taking, making it easier to capture observations quickly from anywhere.

Ensure your notes are secure

Social workers manage large amounts of sensitive and personal information about their clients. Case notes documenting a client’s medical information are also protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)—meaning they must be stored in a HIPAA-compliant manner. 

CaseWorthy’s protected case management platform is HIPAA compliant with HMIS and LIHEAP functionality. All case notes are stored on private, proprietary cloud-based servers with 24/7 support.

Social Work Case Notes Templates

Social work case note templates vary based on the specific field of service and guidelines unique to an organization. Social workers will ask a client various questions based on their specific circumstances to establish an adequate, legally defensible record. 

Since the main purpose of case notes is to provide documentation of individual encounters, social workers must often work within a template while using their best judgment to capture critical client information.

Here are two social work case note templates you can utilize with your clients: 

Homeless assistance case note template.

HMIS social worker professionals must capture specific information to provide the best possible care to their clients. Because individuals experiencing homelessness require a diverse set of possible needs, social workers must capture that information in a specific model to assist them.

As we said at the beginning of this article, structure and proven practices combine to make case note recording more effective and efficient. Below is a case note template example to document information during an initial visit with a client experiencing homelessness.

Homeless Assistance Intake and Case Note Template Example Entries:

Chief Complaint / Presenting Problems:  Do they need temporary shelter, permanent housing, or transitional housing services? Are they experiencing financial or food insecurity? Do they have any physical or mental health concerns? Are they currently safe?

Clinical Observations:  Is the client well-groomed? Are they behaving as though they are afraid? Remain entirely objective when summarizing the client’s appearance and behavior.

Referral Information:  Which organization referred them to your office, and have any other referrals been made?

Demographics: What is their age, sex, and race? Are they married or single?

Want access to the full case note template?

Simply click the button below to get a fillable copy for yourself that you can start using today!

SOAP Case Note Template

Some social workers use the SOAP framework to organize their case notes. The SOAP process starts with documenting the client’s  subjective  thoughts and feelings. Then, the caseworker will notate their  objective  observations about the client’s circumstances. The social worker will provide an  assessment  of the goals and any challenges they will need to address first, as well as an action  plan  to meet those goals. 

The SOAP framework can be conducive for unexpected encounters or encounters without clear guidelines to follow regarding documentation. Check out one of our social work case note templates with example information below to see the SOAP framework in action.

  • Subjective:  “I am feeling jittery, sad, and unable to work these days. I’m not sleeping and I was fired.”
  • Objective:  The client is a 26-year-old male and has a history of anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. PHQ-9 score was 22 for severe depression, and GAD-7 score was 14 for moderate anxiety.
  • Assessment:  The client’s mental health needs to be addressed through therapy first. Then employment can be secured. 
  • Plan:  Client was referred to behavioral health for follow-up and will be seen by a licensed clinical social worker this week to begin an intensive short-term therapy plan. Client provided with groceries, food stamps, and 30-day bus pass. Client was referred to employment assistance.

Want access to the case note template?

Caseworthy’s flexible platform can adapt to countless case note configurations and case management workflows.

CaseWorthy is built for social workers like you to serve your clients more efficiently and effectively. Our scalable and user-friendly platform features customizable reporting, dashboards, case note templates, mobile functionality, and case management workflows. If you like these templates provided above, we have good news–our team would love to help you build out your own case note templates within CaseWorthy.

Our case management platform experts can help your organization streamline case note-taking and administrative tasks. Schedule a walkthrough demo of our platform to see how CaseWorthy can benefit your organization.

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writing a social work case study

Reading and Case Study Analysis for Social Work

Professor betty kramer, social work 821.

The purpose of this initial assignment is to demonstrate your understanding of the readings and your ability to apply course content to the mental health challenges faced by an elder and their family.

Instructions:

  • Review lecture notes from Week 1 and all required readings for Week 1 and Week 2.
  • Read the attached case study.
  • Preliminary Assessment (Suspicions): Given what Vanessa shares with you, what might you initially suspect is causing her mother’s symptoms and why?  Be specific and provide and cite evidence from the reading to support your preliminary assessment.
  • Engagement & the Clinical Interview: You will need to do a home visit to initiate the assessment.  What will you do in advance to prepare for the interview? How will you approach Mrs. Johnson?  What will want to accomplish during this home visit?
  • Please list the various domains that you believe will be important to investigate as part of the assessment to determine the cause of Mrs. Johnson’s symptoms and the most appropriate care plan. Be sure to list the mental status tests and medical tests that you feel should be completed (see Ch. 4 McKinnis, 2009; Ch. 6 in Zarit & Zarit).  [Note: it is acceptable to provide bulleted list of points in response to these particular questions]
  • Describe how that data will be collected (and by whom)?
  • Provide a brief rationale for the assessment domains that will be included.
  • Possible Recommendations: Assuming your preliminary assessment turns out to be correct, name 2-3 primary recommendations that you might make to Mrs. Johnson and her family? 
  • Submit paper to Learn@UW dropobox by 9:00 a.m. before week 2 of class.

Daughter Requests Case Manager Consultation for her mother: Mrs. Johnson

Mrs. Johnson (Mrs. J.) is a 78-year-old, African American woman who lives in a small Midwestern city. About a year ago, her husband died suddenly of a stroke, leaving Mrs. J. to live alone in her home of 52 years. It was the home where she had raised her three children, all of whom graduated from college, have professional careers, and now live in other parts of the state. Her family is a source of pride, and her home has numerous pictures of her children and grandchildren.

About 3 months ago, Mrs. J.’s oldest daughter, Vanessa, got a call from one of the neighbors. Vanessa lives a 4-hour drive from her mother—a drive that can often be longer in bad weather. The neighbor stated that Mrs. J. had walked to the neighborhood store in her pajamas and slippers. Because Mrs. J. has lived in the community for several years, people have been watching out for her since her husband died, and someone gave her a ride back home. Mrs. J. doesn’t drive, and the temperature was fairly chilly that day.

As a result of the call, Vanessa went to Mrs. J.’s home for a visit. Although she and her siblings had been calling Mrs. J. regularly, no one had been to the family home in about 7 months. Vanessa was shocked at what she saw. Mrs. J. had been a cook in a school cafeteria earlier in life and always kept her own kitchen spotless. But now the house was in disarray with several dirty pots and pans scattered throughout different rooms. In addition, odd things were in the refrigerator such as a light bulb and several pieces of mail. Many of the food products were out of date, and there was a foul smell in the kitchen. Trash covered the counters and floor.

Vanessa contacted her siblings to ask them if their mother had told any of them that she wasn’t feeling well. Her brother, Anthony, remarked that their mother would often talk about Mr. J. in the present tense—but he thought that it was just her grief about his death. The younger brother, Darius, reported that his wife was typically the one who called their mother—about once a month. He didn’t know if there had been any problems—his wife never said anything about it to him. Vanessa also contacted the pastor of her church, Rev. M. He stated that Mrs. J. had been walking to church on Sundays, as usual, but he did notice that she left early a few times and other times seemed to come to service late. But like the brother, Anthony, he thought that this behavior was probably a grief reaction to the loss of her husband.

A final shock to Vanessa was when she went through her mother’s mail. There were several overdue bills and one urgent notice that the electricity was going to be cut off if the balance wasn’t paid. She owed several hundred dollars in past due heating, electric, and telephone bills.

Vanessa contacted her mother’s primary care physician (Dr. P.) who said that he had last seen Mrs. J. for her regular checkup 6 months earlier and that she had missed her last appointment a week ago. Dr. P. said that her staff had called to make another appointment but that her mother hadn’t called them back yet.  Mrs. J. is being treated with medication for arthritis, hypertension, and gastroesophogeal reflux (GERD). Her weight was stable, and her only complaint was some difficulty staying asleep at night. Dr. P. reported that her mother’s mood was sad but had improved some in the month before the last visit. The doctor asked about memory and concentration, but her mother denied having any problems with memory. Imagine that you a case manager at the local Senior Coalition.  Vanessa is calling you to seek advice about what to do. She would like you to do an assessment to help her determine what is wrong and how she can best help her mother.

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Writing a Case Study

  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • What Is Scholarly vs. Popular?
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Dealing with Nervousness
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper
  • Types of Structured Group Activities
  • Group Project Survival Skills
  • Multiple Book Review Essay
  • Reviewing Collected Essays
  • Writing a Case Study
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
  • Writing a Policy Memo
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Bibliography

The term case study refers to both a method of analysis and a specific research design for examining a problem, both of which are used in most circumstances to generalize across populations. This tab focuses on the latter--how to design and organize a research paper in the social sciences that analyzes a specific case.

A case study research paper examines a person, place, event, phenomenon, or other type of subject of analysis in order to extrapolate  key themes and results that help predict future trends, illuminate previously hidden issues that can be applied to practice, and/or provide a means for understanding an important research problem with greater clarity. A case study paper usually examines a single subject of analysis, but case study papers can also be designed as a comparative investigation that shows relationships between two or among more than two subjects. The methods used to study a case can rest within a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method investigative paradigm.

Case Studies . Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010 ; “What is a Case Study?” In Swanborn, Peter G. Case Study Research: What, Why and How? London: SAGE, 2010.

How to Approach Writing a Case Study Research Paper

General information about how to choose a topic to investigate can be found under the " Choosing a Research Problem " tab in this writing guide. Review this page because it may help you identify a subject of analysis that can be investigated using a single case study design.

However, identifying a case to investigate involves more than choosing the research problem . A case study encompasses a problem contextualized around the application of in-depth analysis, interpretation, and discussion, often resulting in specific recommendations for action or for improving existing conditions. As Seawright and Gerring note, practical considerations such as time and access to information can influence case selection, but these issues should not be the sole factors used in describing the methodological justification for identifying a particular case to study. Given this, selecting a case includes considering the following:

  • Does the case represent an unusual or atypical example of a research problem that requires more in-depth analysis? Cases often represent a topic that rests on the fringes of prior investigations because the case may provide new ways of understanding the research problem. For example, if the research problem is to identify strategies to improve policies that support girl's access to secondary education in predominantly Muslim nations, you could consider using Azerbaijan as a case study rather than selecting a more obvious nation in the Middle East. Doing so may reveal important new insights into recommending how governments in other predominantly Muslim nations can formulate policies that support improved access to education for girls.
  • Does the case provide important insight or illuminate a previously hidden problem? In-depth analysis of a case can be based on the hypothesis that the case study will reveal trends or issues that have not been exposed in prior research or will reveal new and important implications for practice. For example, anecdotal evidence may suggest drug use among homeless veterans is related to their patterns of travel throughout the day. Assuming prior studies have not looked at individual travel choices as a way to study access to illicit drug use, a case study that observes a homeless veteran could reveal how issues of personal mobility choices facilitate regular access to illicit drugs. Note that it is important to conduct a thorough literature review to ensure that your assumption about the need to reveal new insights or previously hidden problems is valid and evidence-based.
  • Does the case challenge and offer a counter-point to prevailing assumptions? Over time, research on any given topic can fall into a trap of developing assumptions based on outdated studies that are still applied to new or changing conditions or the idea that something should simply be accepted as "common sense," even though the issue has not been thoroughly tested in practice. A case may offer you an opportunity to gather evidence that challenges prevailing assumptions about a research problem and provide a new set of recommendations applied to practice that have not been tested previously. For example, perhaps there has been a long practice among scholars to apply a particular theory in explaining the relationship between two subjects of analysis. Your case could challenge this assumption by applying an innovative theoretical framework [perhaps borrowed from another discipline] to the study a case in order to explore whether this approach offers new ways of understanding the research problem. Taking a contrarian stance is one of the most important ways that new knowledge and understanding develops from existing literature.
  • Does the case provide an opportunity to pursue action leading to the resolution of a problem? Another way to think about choosing a case to study is to consider how the results from investigating a particular case may result in findings that reveal ways in which to resolve an existing or emerging problem. For example, studying the case of an unforeseen incident, such as a fatal accident at a railroad crossing, can reveal hidden issues that could be applied to preventative measures that contribute to reducing the chance of accidents in the future. In this example, a case study investigating the accident could lead to a better understanding of where to strategically locate additional signals at other railroad crossings in order to better warn drivers of an approaching train, particularly when visibility is hindered by heavy rain, fog, or at night.
  • Does the case offer a new direction in future research? A case study can be used as a tool for exploratory research that points to a need for further examination of the research problem. A case can be used when there are few studies that help predict an outcome or that establish a clear understanding about how best to proceed in addressing a problem. For example, after conducting a thorough literature review [very important!], you discover that little research exists showing the ways in which women contribute to promoting water conservation in rural communities of Uganda. A case study of how women contribute to saving water in a particular village can lay the foundation for understanding the need for more thorough research that documents how women in their roles as cooks and family caregivers think about water as a valuable resource within their community throughout rural regions of east Africa. The case could also point to the need for scholars to apply feminist theories of work and family to the issue of water conservation.

Eisenhardt, Kathleen M. “Building Theories from Case Study Research.” Academy of Management Review 14 (October 1989): 532-550; Emmel, Nick. Sampling and Choosing Cases in Qualitative Research: A Realist Approach . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2013; Gerring, John. “What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good for?” American Political Science Review 98 (May 2004): 341-354; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Seawright, Jason and John Gerring. "Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research." Political Research Quarterly 61 (June 2008): 294-308.

Structure and Writing Style

The purpose of a paper in the social sciences designed around a case study is to thoroughly investigate a subject of analysis in order to reveal a new understanding about the research problem and, in so doing, contributing new knowledge to what is already known from previous studies. In applied social sciences disciplines [e.g., education, social work, public administration, etc.], case studies may also be used to reveal best practices, highlight key programs, or investigate interesting aspects of professional work. In general, the structure of a case study research paper is not all that different from a standard college-level research paper. However, there are subtle differences you should be aware of. Here are the key elements to organizing and writing a case study research paper.

I.  Introduction

As with any research paper, your introduction should serve as a roadmap for your readers to ascertain the scope and purpose of your study . The introduction to a case study research paper, however, should not only describe the research problem and its significance, but you should also succinctly describe why the case is being used and how it relates to addressing the problem. The two elements should be linked. With this in mind, a good introduction answers these four questions:

  • What was I studying? Describe the research problem and describe the subject of analysis you have chosen to address the problem. Explain how they are linked and what elements of the case will help to expand knowledge and understanding about the problem.
  • Why was this topic important to investigate? Describe the significance of the research problem and state why a case study design and the subject of analysis that the paper is designed around is appropriate in addressing the problem.
  • What did we know about this topic before I did this study? Provide background that helps lead the reader into the more in-depth literature review to follow. If applicable, summarize prior case study research applied to the research problem and why it fails to adequately address the research problem. Describe why your case will be useful. If no prior case studies have been used to address the research problem, explain why you have selected this subject of analysis.
  • How will this study advance new knowledge or new ways of understanding? Explain why your case study will be suitable in helping to expand knowledge and understanding about the research problem.

Each of these questions should be addressed in no more than a few paragraphs. Exceptions to this can be when you are addressing a complex research problem or subject of analysis that requires more in-depth background information.

II.  Literature Review

The literature review for a case study research paper is generally structured the same as it is for any college-level research paper. The difference, however, is that the literature review is focused on providing background information and  enabling historical interpretation of the subject of analysis in relation to the research problem the case is intended to address . This includes synthesizing studies that help to:

  • Place relevant works in the context of their contribution to understanding the case study being investigated . This would include summarizing studies that have used a similar subject of analysis to investigate the research problem. If there is literature using the same or a very similar case to study, you need to explain why duplicating past research is important [e.g., conditions have changed; prior studies were conducted long ago, etc.].
  • Describe the relationship each work has to the others under consideration that informs the reader why this case is applicable . Your literature review should include a description of any works that support using the case to study the research problem and the underlying research questions.
  • Identify new ways to interpret prior research using the case study . If applicable, review any research that has examined the research problem using a different research design. Explain how your case study design may reveal new knowledge or a new perspective or that can redirect research in an important new direction.
  • Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies . This refers to synthesizing any literature that points to unresolved issues of concern about the research problem and describing how the subject of analysis that forms the case study can help resolve these existing contradictions.
  • Point the way in fulfilling a need for additional research . Your review should examine any literature that lays a foundation for understanding why your case study design and the subject of analysis around which you have designed your study may reveal a new way of approaching the research problem or offer a perspective that points to the need for additional research.
  • Expose any gaps that exist in the literature that the case study could help to fill . Summarize any literature that not only shows how your subject of analysis contributes to understanding the research problem, but how your case contributes to a new way of understanding the problem that prior research has failed to do.
  • Locate your own research within the context of existing literature [very important!] . Collectively, your literature review should always place your case study within the larger domain of prior research about the problem. The overarching purpose of reviewing pertinent literature in a case study paper is to demonstrate that you have thoroughly identified and synthesized prior studies in the context of explaining the relevance of the case in addressing the research problem.

III.  Method

In this section, you explain why you selected a particular subject of analysis to study and the strategy you used to identify and ultimately decide that your case was appropriate in addressing the research problem. The way you describe the methods used varies depending on the type of subject of analysis that frames your case study.

If your subject of analysis is an incident or event . In the social and behavioral sciences, the event or incident that represents the case to be studied is usually bounded by time and place, with a clear beginning and end and with an identifiable location or position relative to its surroundings. The subject of analysis can be a rare or critical event or it can focus on a typical or regular event. The purpose of studying a rare event is to illuminate new ways of thinking about the broader research problem or to test a hypothesis. Critical incident case studies must describe the method by which you identified the event and explain the process by which you determined the validity of this case to inform broader perspectives about the research problem or to reveal new findings. However, the event does not have to be a rare or uniquely significant to support new thinking about the research problem or to challenge an existing hypothesis. For example, Walo, Bull, and Breen conducted a case study to identify and evaluate the direct and indirect economic benefits and costs of a local sports event in the City of Lismore, New South Wales, Australia. The purpose of their study was to provide new insights from measuring the impact of a typical local sports event that prior studies could not measure well because they focused on large "mega-events." Whether the event is rare or not, the methods section should include an explanation of the following characteristics of the event: a) when did it take place; b) what were the underlying circumstances leading to the event; c) what were the consequences of the event.

If your subject of analysis is a person. Explain why you selected this particular individual to be studied and describe what experience he or she has had that provides an opportunity to advance new understandings about the research problem. Mention any background about this person which might help the reader understand the significance of his/her experiences that make them worthy of study. This includes describing the relationships this person has had with other people, institutions, and/or events that support using him or her as the subject for a case study research paper. It is particularly important to differentiate the person as the subject of analysis from others and to succinctly explain how the person relates to examining the research problem.

If your subject of analysis is a place. In general, a case study that investigates a place suggests a subject of analysis that is unique or special in some way and that this uniqueness can be used to build new understanding or knowledge about the research problem. A case study of a place must not only describe its various attributes relevant to the research problem [e.g., physical, social, cultural, economic, political, etc.], but you must state the method by which you determined that this place will illuminate new understandings about the research problem. It is also important to articulate why a particular place as the case for study is being used if similar places also exist [i.e., if you are studying patterns of homeless encampments of veterans in open spaces, why study Echo Park in Los Angeles rather than Griffith Park?]. If applicable, describe what type of human activity involving this place makes it a good choice to study [e.g., prior research reveals Echo Park has more homeless veterans].

If your subject of analysis is a phenomenon. A phenomenon refers to a fact, occurrence, or circumstance that can be studied or observed but with the cause or explanation to be in question. In this sense, a phenomenon that forms your subject of analysis can encompass anything that can be observed or presumed to exist but is not fully understood. In the social and behavioral sciences, the case usually focuses on human interaction within a complex physical, social, economic, cultural, or political system. For example, the phenomenon could be the observation that many vehicles used by ISIS fighters are small trucks with English language advertisements on them. The research problem could be that ISIS fighters are difficult to combat because they are highly mobile. The research questions could be how and by what means are these vehicles used by ISIS being supplied to the militants and how might supply lines to these vehicles be cut? How might knowing the suppliers of these trucks from overseas reveal larger networks of collaborators and financial support? A case study of a phenomenon most often encompasses an in-depth analysis of a cause and effect that is grounded in an interactive relationship between people and their environment in some way.

NOTE:   The choice of the case or set of cases to study cannot appear random. Evidence that supports the method by which you identified and chose your subject of analysis should be linked to the findings from the literature review. Be sure to cite any prior studies that helped you determine that the case you chose was appropriate for investigating the research problem.

IV.  Discussion

The main elements of your discussion section are generally the same as any research paper, but centered around interpreting and drawing conclusions about the key findings from your case study. Note that a general social sciences research paper may contain a separate section to report findings. However, in a paper designed around a case study, it is more common to combine a description of the findings with the discussion about their implications. The objectives of your discussion section should include the following:

Reiterate the Research Problem/State the Major Findings Briefly reiterate the research problem you are investigating and explain why the subject of analysis around which you designed the case study were used. You should then describe the findings revealed from your study of the case using direct, declarative, and succinct proclamation of the study results. Highlight any findings that were unexpected or especially profound.

Explain the Meaning of the Findings and Why They are Important Systematically explain the meaning of your case study findings and why you believe they are important. Begin this part of the section by repeating what you consider to be your most important or surprising finding first, then systematically review each finding. Be sure to thoroughly extrapolate what your analysis of the case can tell the reader about situations or conditions beyond the actual case that was studied while, at the same time, being careful not to misconstrue or conflate a finding that undermines the external validity of your conclusions.

Relate the Findings to Similar Studies No study in the social sciences is so novel or possesses such a restricted focus that it has absolutely no relation to previously published research. The discussion section should relate your case study results to those found in other studies, particularly if questions raised from prior studies served as the motivation for choosing your subject of analysis. This is important because comparing and contrasting the findings of other studies helps to support the overall importance of your results and it highlights how and in what ways your case study design and the subject of analysis differs from prior research about the topic.

Consider Alternative Explanations of the Findings It is important to remember that the purpose of social science research is to discover and not to prove. When writing the discussion section, you should carefully consider all possible explanations for the case study results, rather than just those that fit your hypothesis or prior assumptions and biases. Be alert to what the in-depth analysis of the case may reveal about the research problem, including offering a contrarian perspective to what scholars have stated in prior research.

Acknowledge the Study's Limitations You can state the study's limitations in the conclusion section of your paper but describing the limitations of your subject of analysis in the discussion section provides an opportunity to identify the limitations and explain why they are not significant. This part of the discussion section should also note any unanswered questions or issues your case study could not address. More detailed information about how to document any limitations to your research can be found here .

Suggest Areas for Further Research Although your case study may offer important insights about the research problem, there are likely additional questions related to the problem that remain unanswered or findings that unexpectedly revealed themselves as a result of your in-depth analysis of the case. Be sure that the recommendations for further research are linked to the research problem and that you explain why your recommendations are valid in other contexts and based on the original assumptions of your study.

V.  Conclusion

As with any research paper, you should summarize your conclusion in clear, simple language; emphasize how the findings from your case study differs from or supports prior research and why. Do not simply reiterate the discussion section. Provide a synthesis of key findings presented in the paper to show how these converge to address the research problem. If you haven't already done so in the discussion section, be sure to document the limitations of your case study and needs for further research.

The function of your paper's conclusion is to: 1)  restate the main argument supported by the findings from the analysis of your case; 2) clearly state the context, background, and necessity of pursuing the research problem using a case study design in relation to an issue, controversy, or a gap found from reviewing the literature; and, 3) provide a place for you to persuasively and succinctly restate the significance of your research problem, given that the reader has now been presented with in-depth information about the topic.

Consider the following points to help ensure your conclusion is appropriate:

  • If the argument or purpose of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize these points for your reader.
  • If prior to your conclusion, you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the conclusion of your paper to describe your main points and explain their significance.
  • Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration of the case study's findings that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction or within a new context that emerges from your case study findings.

Note that, depending on the discipline you are writing in and your professor's preferences, the concluding paragraph may contain your final reflections on the evidence presented applied to practice or on the essay's central research problem. However, the nature of being introspective about the subject of analysis you have investigated will depend on whether you are explicitly asked to express your observations in this way.

Problems to Avoid

Overgeneralization One of the goals of a case study is to lay a foundation for understanding broader trends and issues applied to similar circumstances. However, be careful when drawing conclusions from your case study. They must be evidence-based and grounded in the results of the study; otherwise, it is merely speculation. Looking at a prior example, it would be incorrect to state that a factor in improving girls access to education in Azerbaijan and the policy implications this may have for improving access in other Muslim nations is due to girls access to social media if there is no documentary evidence from your case study to indicate this. There may be anecdotal evidence that retention rates were better for girls who were on social media, but this observation would only point to the need for further research and would not be a definitive finding if this was not a part of your original research agenda.

Failure to Document Limitations No case is going to reveal all that needs to be understood about a research problem. Therefore, just as you have to clearly state the limitations of a general research study , you must describe the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis. For example, the case of studying how women conceptualize the need for water conservation in a village in Uganda could have limited application in other cultural contexts or in areas where fresh water from rivers or lakes is plentiful and, therefore, conservation is understood differently than preserving access to a scarce resource.

Failure to Extrapolate All Possible Implications Just as you don't want to over-generalize from your case study findings, you also have to be thorough in the consideration of all possible outcomes or recommendations derived from your findings. If you do not, your reader may question the validity of your analysis, particularly if you failed to document an obvious outcome from your case study research. For example, in the case of studying the accident at the railroad crossing to evaluate where and what types of warning signals should be located, you failed to take into consideration speed limit signage as well as warning signals. When designing your case study, be sure you have thoroughly addressed all aspects of the problem and do not leave gaps in your analysis.

Case Studies . Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Gerring, John. Case Study Research: Principles and Practices . New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007; Merriam, Sharan B. Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education . Rev. ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1998; Miller, Lisa L. “The Use of Case Studies in Law and Social Science Research.” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 14 (2018): TBD; Mills, Albert J., Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Putney, LeAnn Grogan. "Case Study." In Encyclopedia of Research Design , Neil J. Salkind, editor. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010), pp. 116-120; Simons, Helen. Case Study Research in Practice . London: SAGE Publications, 2009;  Kratochwill,  Thomas R. and Joel R. Levin, editors. Single-Case Research Design and Analysis: New Development for Psychology and Education .  Hilldsale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992; Swanborn, Peter G. Case Study Research: What, Why and How? London : SAGE, 2010; Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research: Design and Methods . 6th edition. Los Angeles, CA, SAGE Publications, 2014; Walo, Maree, Adrian Bull, and Helen Breen. “Achieving Economic Benefits at Local Events: A Case Study of a Local Sports Event.” Festival Management and Event Tourism 4 (1996): 95-106.

Writing Tip

At Least Five Misconceptions about Case Study Research

Social science case studies are often perceived as limited in their ability to create new knowledge because they are not randomly selected and findings cannot be generalized to larger populations. Flyvbjerg examines five misunderstandings about case study research and systematically "corrects" each one. To quote, these are:

Misunderstanding 1 :  General, theoretical [context-independent knowledge is more valuable than concrete, practical (context-dependent) knowledge. Misunderstanding 2 :  One cannot generalize on the basis of an individual case; therefore, the case study cannot contribute to scientific development. Misunderstanding 3 :  The case study is most useful for generating hypotheses; that is, in the first stage of a total research process, whereas other methods are more suitable for hypotheses testing and theory building. Misunderstanding 4 :  The case study contains a bias toward verification, that is, a tendency to confirm the researcher’s preconceived notions. Misunderstanding 5 :  It is often difficult to summarize and develop general propositions and theories on the basis of specific case studies [p. 221].

While writing your paper, think introspectively about how you addressed these misconceptions because to do so can help you strengthen the validity and reliability of your research by clarifying issues of case selection, the testing and challenging of existing assumptions, the interpretation of key findings, and the summation of case outcomes. Think of a case study research paper as a complete, in-depth narrative about the specific properties and key characteristics of your subject of analysis applied to the research problem.

Flyvbjerg, Bent. “Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research.” Qualitative Inquiry 12 (April 2006): 219-245.

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Essay Assignment Writing Tips for Students of MBA, Masters, PhD Level

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How To Write A Case Study Report In Social Work?

Social work is one of the most important branches or streams of study for students in Australia and around the world. The subject has become so important that even reputed colleges and universities of Australia are offering graduation and postgraduate degree courses in social work.

How-to-Write-a-Case-Study-Report-in-Social-Work

The institute assigns students large assignments on social work during the courses. In this blog, we will discuss some useful tips for writing an excellent case study report on social work to impress your faculty and get the top grades .

Tips To Write an Effective Case Study Report in Social Work

  • Choose an interesting subject: First, you need to choose a very interesting and updated subject for your social work case study. Some such subjects might be domestic violence, corruption, women’s empowerment, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse.
  • Do an in-depth analysis: After that, you need to analyse the chosen subject or topic in-depth. You need to explain each and every fact related to that topic. No fiction should be there. Only try, and you will accept the current facts.
  • Treat delicate matters likewise: A study on social work is one of the most delicate types of studies in the world. Thus, you need to write your report by treating the matter as seriously as possible and avoiding all types of fluffy language.
  • Carry out extensive study and research: You always need to do extensive study and research while writing your case study report on social work. You need to note all the legal, social, and political status of the country, territory, or region in which you are doing your social study.
  • Write only true facts: You must always write only true facts in your case study. Writing wrong facts can be very harmful to your paper. You always need to depict a very true picture of the scenario.
  • Know how you can help others: The ultimate aim of your social study work is to help the people of your society. Each class of people suffers from particular issues or problems. You need to deal with their issues likewise to solve their problems. Thus, you always need to know the right methods to solve various problems of the suffering people.
  • Give proper solutions: You must always give proper solutions to the suffering people of your society to overcome their problems. These solutions must be strictly within the legal limits of your nation. You must keep in mind that people truly benefit from the suggestions and solutions provided by you in your social work case study report.
  • Give a picture of future success: In your case study report on social work, you need to depict a true picture of your social work project’s success in the long run and how it will benefit people in the concluding part.
  • Always give a proper introduction and conclusion: The introduction and concluding part of your social work case study report are of high importance. The introductory part makes the first impression on your readers. If your concluding part is interesting enough, it will create an everlasting good impression on your reader faculty. Thus, you are bound to get good grades.
  • Carry out long surveys: The subject of social work is very much related to practical surveys and studies. Thus, you need to conduct a lot of surveys among the people of society to learn about their real problems in life and find effective solutions for them.
  • Take expert consultation: To write an ideal case study report, it is advisable to seek consultation and help from a social service expert. You need to do this under the supervision of an expert social worker.
  • Study the reports of various NGOs: There are a number of NGOs or non-government organisations involved in various social studies. You can read their published reports to get an idea of how to do proper social work with true success.

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What Common Mistakes Should Be Avoided While Writing a Case Study Report?

You need to avoid certain common mistakes while writing a case study report on social work or any other subject. Some of these are listed below:

  • Many errors are often present in the case study paper. You always need to remove these errors by properly proofreading and editing the papers. Manual checking is preferred in this regard rather than any error-detecting software.
  • You always need to avoid plagiarism in your report work. You can also use any kind of updated and advanced plagiarism-checking software technology in this regard in order to make your paper a hundred per cent plagiarism-free
  • Always submit all your case study papers before the deadlines. If you cross the deadlines, your paper will come under the defaulter list, and you will lose your grades
  • Try to complete all your assignment papers within specified time frames
  • Do not repeat any idea more than once in any of your case study papers. Add new ideas with to-the-point explanations. This will make your paper more interesting.

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How do you avail yourself of the Case Study Report Writing Services?

Writing a good case study report on social work is not an easy task. Thus, you always need expert help in this regard. You can get the best case study report on social work writing help from the most reputed C aseStudyHelp.com online organisation.

We have a team of the best writers with extensive experience in the social service case report writing field. Thus, students can always expect the best service from them. You can easily avail of our services by registering online on the CaseStudyHelp.com official website . We are always here to provide the best solutions for writing social work case study reports.

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  1. Writing a Case Study

    The purpose of a paper in the social sciences designed around a case study is to thoroughly investigate a subject of analysis in order to reveal a new understanding about the research problem and, in so doing, contributing new knowledge to what is already known from previous studies. In applied social sciences disciplines [e.g., education, social work, public administration, etc.], case ...

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    The main concern in evaluating a case study is to accurately assess its quality and ultimately to offer clients social work interventions informed by the best available evidence. To assess the quality of a case study, we propose criteria, including transferability/external validity, credibility/internal validity, confirmability/construct ...

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    uncomfortable; for others these exercise might seem irrelevant. The following two case studies are adapted from real experiences of students who participated in research into social work student writing (Rai, 2008) and illustrate how powerful language and writing histories can be, and how they can influence our development as writers. Case Study

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    Revised on November 20, 2023. A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organization, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research. A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods, but quantitative methods are ...

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    As you read case studies across the disciplines, you will find that patterns emerge in the framing and production of cases. The paradigmatic approach in social work and psychology connects a specific clinical theory—e.g., psychodynamic, family systems, cognitive-behavioral—to specific client contexts or outcomes. The humanistic approach offers first-person practitioner accounts of ...

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    This paper describes a joint social work and creative writing project which analysed case studies from textbooks on reading lists for the Bachelor of Social Work course at Edith Cowan University.

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    The main concern in evaluating a case study is to accurately assess its quality and ultimately to offer clients social work interventions informed by the best available evidence. To assess the ...

  10. Intro to Case Notes for new social workers

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    Drawing on research in creative writing craft, as well as analysis of the textbook case studies, principles for writing engaging text-book case studies were developed and the paper concludes by arguing for the use of these principles when crafting social work case studies.

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    The study involves five local authorities in the U.K., exploring both the range of written texts produced and the writing practices of social workers. 4 The research centers on the three main domains of social work—children's care, adults' care (generic), and adults' mental health care—and seeks to characterize the nature of ...

  13. Case Study: Definition, Examples, Types, and How to Write

    A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in many different fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

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    A case study is an in-depth analysis of a particular individual, family, or community, aiming to understand the complexities of their situation and the challenges they face. It provides an opportunity for social workers to apply theories, skills, ethics, and supervision to real-life scenarios. By examining case studies, social workers can learn ...

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    Case notes provide a documented record of care that can be used in legal cases or during a client or social work organization audit. With advances in social work practices and technology, social workers are encouraged to capture and enter notes digitally with case management software. Most digitally recorded social work case notes are created ...

  16. Reading and Case Study Analysis for Social Work

    Instructions: Review lecture notes from Week 1 and all required readings for Week 1 and Week 2. Read the attached case study. Given what you have learned during our first class session and the Week 1 and 2 readings in a 4-5 page double-spaced (12 pt. font; 1" margins) written report, use the following headings to concisely answer these questions:

  17. PDF Case Studies

    Case Studies The following case studies were included to highlight different ways that social workers can assess and intervene with issues of social isolation. These cases are free to you to use, modify, and incorporate into your teaching. They include: The case of George, which demonstrates the need to examine our cases with

  18. Writing a Case Study

    In applied social sciences disciplines [e.g., education, social work, public administration, etc.], case studies may also be used to reveal best practices, highlight key programs, or investigate interesting aspects of professional work.

  19. How To Write A Case Study Report In Social Work?

    Carry out extensive study and research: You always need to do extensive study and research while writing your case study report on social work. You need to note all the legal, social, and political status of the country, territory, or region in which you are doing your social study. Write only true facts: You must always write only true facts ...

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    The paper is a social development case study report of a student who has been relying his education on scholarship. Unfortunately, challenges had been haunting him ever since he was young.

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