The main aim of writing a case study is to present an issue/ problem, provide some background information on it (for the reader to get the main idea of what the actual problem is), and describe the solution as well as the means of reaching it. Besides, the purpose of a case study might be to enable the reader to arrive at their own solution to the given problem or to find a new perspective to the already existing one. When writing a case study, a writer should as closely as possible make the reader experience the same vision/ feelings on the problem as the writer had while researching the case.
Before starting to write the case study, a few steps should be taken into account:
- Carefully choose an issue/ situation you want to write about;
- Collect as much data as possible about it;
- Thoroughly analyze different aspects of the chosen situation;
- Identify the final solution implemented;
- Gather information regarding why the solution turned out to be successful or not.
The aforementioned steps will assist you in organizing the body of the case study.
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Provide a Description of the Issue/ Problem
It should be clear from your case study which problem/ issue you are focusing on and why it deserves attention and specific measures. Therefore, you can provide an explicit statement of the problem and start with quoting somebody who has a close connection with the issue or who has thoroughly investigated it. Or you can raise a question:
- Mercy West Hospital is estimated to have a higher post-operational infection rate than in other healthcare centers in the adjacent areas.
- The Chief of Nursing at Mercy West Hospital states that, “Although we are adhering to rigid standards, there still exists a pressing problem of high post-surgical infection rates.”
- What is the reason that the post-surgical rate of infections at Mercy West Hospital is more persistent than in other healthcare facilities in the area?
Such sentences set the tone of the whole case study: the reader bears the actual problem in mind while reading the text of the case study. Another aim of such openings is that the reader gets the necessary information for an in-depth understanding of the situation.
Focus on the Background
The background information refers to the data you have gathered that indicates why the situation, event or issue is actually a problem. Here you might present facts and figures taken from reliable sources: use charts, graphs, tables or audio and video files if needed. Any information that proves the severity of the problem will be useful here. Moreover, you might include quotes from interviews or some anecdotal information.
The background section provides readers with the information that they can consider when arriving at their own conclusion. In other words, like in writing some thrillers or detective stories, you provide specific “clues” that the reader can use for finding the missing part of the puzzle. Then from all the facts and evidence you provide, the reader can get the idea of what makes this specific problem topical and urgent.
At the same time, it is a misconception that the case study tells readers what they should think. A good case study does not do that. On the contrary, it gives readers food for thought and guides them through the thinking process of coming up with the final solution and conclusion. Thus, readers can make their own conclusion and point out some logical fallacies that they might find in the case study. All this is perfectly normal as there is no single solution – readers might have their individual perspective on the issue.
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In this section, you discuss the solution and state how it was derived (in other words, you focus on the analytical process before arriving at the solution). By focusing on the steps how you came to the solution, you make it clearer to the readers how the solution was reached. Thus, it would be recommended to include the writer’s opinions here. Both subjective thinking and solid facts can be included in this section. You should provide the major elements that led you to the presented solution. Clearly identify the goals of the solution: is it aimed to eliminate the problem, reduce it or simply slow down its effects?
Analyze Potential Reaction to the Solution
If the case study deals with the current situation/ event, then you will not be able to determine and analyze the overall effect of the solution presented as the problem might be in the process of tackling. However, if the solution has been at the implementation stage for some time, then there are more chances to collect and evaluate facts. In this case, you will need to summarize how successful the solution has been so far.
Narrate the Whole story
Writing a case study deals with focusing on the problem that has been solved. The writer should put emphasis on providing sufficient evidence and a proper approach to find a solution.