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How to Write a Great Academic Case Study

Writing a case study can be challenging, but there is a trick to doing it right. Have a look at the guide below to get a feel for how an excellent case study should be done.

Be Prepared Before You Start

Get all of your resources in order. Make all of the arrangements you need to make before you begin. This will allow you to plan everything out and fit together a tight schedule so that you can roll with the momentum and get it all done as quickly as possible.

That’s not to say that if you have some kind of delay holding you back with preparations that you should relax and wait for it to resolve itself. Keep pushing to get everything in order as soon as you can, so that you can take advantage of a time that you’re making great progress and you’re really in the mood to finish as much of it as you can. Catching that motivational wave can be the difference between getting it done early and having time to comb over your results, and finishing your case study the night before it’s due with no time for last-minute additions or changes.

Two Types of Case Studies

There are two types, the analytical approach and the problem-oriented approach. The analytical approach only aims to analyze and understand what happened, not necessarily propose solutions to any problems.

The problem-oriented approach is used to identify and solve problems. Check with your professor to make sure which type they expect. This guide will focus on the most common type, the problem-oriented approach.

What a Great Case Study Looks Like

A case study ought to:

  • Put theories or methods learned in the classroom into practice;
  • Clearly identify the problems and their causes;
  • Put forth viable suggestions for solving these problems;
  • Dictate the most important problems to solve first and the best way to do so.

Case studies may include dynamic variables in which there are factors that cannot be accounted for, but if this is the case, you should do your best to come up with the most practical scenarios to deal with those unknowns.

The utmost effort should be evident in your approach for your professor to recognize and give you credit for. With a case study, you don’t always get the results you expected, but the idea is that you went about it in the most logical and best way you could to gain whatever insight you could. In other words, do your best and your professor will respect your case study no matter what your findings turn out to be.

The Components of a Successful Case Study:


This section should be used as your introduction and also lay out the methods used and material your case study is based on. You should give an overall summary here as well. Make sure to keep it concise.

Findings and Interpretation

Here is where you should discuss your case study in detail and go over the results. Your professor will be checking to see if you properly implemented their methods and class content, so be sure to mention some terms learned in class and discuss how your findings tie in with the class material.

Also, give your take on what you discovered and how you interpret it. What could your results be indicative of on a broader scale? Were you surprised by these findings? If so, why?

Conclusion and Suggested Solutions

Be sure to have some kind of discovery of new knowledge to share. You’re going to have to analyze what you have in order to come up with something your professor will appreciate. Try to talk about how class content helped you come to this new understanding.

Resources, References, and Appendices

Be sure to cite everything used and document all resources. This is essential to the validity of your project!