If you want to realize how to approach a special paper known as a case study, you have to learn the basics first. Under the basics, definition, purpose, and special features are meant.
The process basically consists of only two stages, but they can be divided into many sub-stages. The necessity to timetable sufficient time to work on each step makes students nervous. Usually, they lack time management skills. The only thing to say is that it is important to start gathering information as soon as you receive this type of assignment. You might need even more information than you usually search when working on a research paper. It is not that easy to find the answers to all possible questions sometimes. Mind that some stages of the process have to be revisited to provide a deep analysis. Thinking and writing turn into the cyclical procedure.
Case Study Definition and Meaning
First, let’s ensure that you understand the definition of the word. A case is a specific situation while a study is almost the same as research. You can guess how to identify these two words together. Right, a case study describes both analysis technique and a particular research design used to examine the existing problem. Both are usually applied to generalize across populations. The tab is focused on the latter meaning how to design and structure an academic paper in the social sciences, medicine, and law. The goal is to analyze the given subject.
A full name of this scientific or academic assignment is a case study research paper. On the whole, a case study alone includes the situation and instructions only. A writer has to find a possible solution and demonstrate significant results to prove the solution is effective. The essay of this type takes a look at a person, location, event, or another kind of subject of analysis. The description and further analysis of the subject are included to extrapolate the main topics and results that might help to forecast the trends, changes in them, illuminate facts which were unknown before, apply new theories to practice, and provide the ground for understanding a critical research problem. In short, a case study is one of the best ways to understand something better. Another form of the paper is a comparative observation that demonstrates relationships between several subjects.
Anyway, when you are not assigned the proper topic to explore, you can search for the good ideas in the informative articles like this one.
There are three paradigms that come along with study methods:
Process of Writing – Brief Guide
- Identify the task
First, it is important to take a look at the case, go through the instructions, and think about all possible ways to get the required information.
Students are encouraged to use the checklist as a guide. It would be better to print out the checklist and put a tick in front of each point whenever you’re done with it. Keep a record of the task definition on the separate paper. It may be useful to contrast and talk about the understanding of the assignment with your peers or colleagues. Visualization is a great support for your case study as experts have proved a strong correlation between visualization and learning. Make an attempt to visualize all the components of the project problem by using mind-maps to chart the basic issues on a big piece of paper.
A good example of the checklist is given in the table below:
Checklist to identify your goal
- Describe theories and research tools which may be used to solve the problem
The following sources/tools may identify the correct methodology for your case study paper:
- Course notes
- Homework assignments
- Findings of other people in their research papers
- Journal articles
A possibly helpful source with a lot of valuable information to be applied to risk management is at Carnegie Mellon University USA. A sample from their risk management guidebook can be seen here.
- Make recommendations before deciding on the outcomes
- Start writing the report body
- Develop a bibliography
The bibliography appears at the end of any academic or scientific paper. It is also known as a reference list, or works cited page depending on the format you work with.
- Leave your cover or title page to the end
- Final proofread and edit
To get more detailed information on the process of writing a case study, you may turn to the famous WikiHow. The article includes fewer steps, however.
How to Approach the Process of Developing Your Paper?
The process of deciding what to investigate includes more than selecting the research problem. A case study covers an issue contextualized around the usage of detailed analysis, explanation, description, and discussion. It often results in specific advice or call-to-action for further improvement of the conditions. Time and access to the required information can impact case decision, but those are not the only factors. Picking a case includes the next factors:
- Does the situation demonstrate an atypical example of a research problem which needs to be studied more?
- Is there an important insight to the problem which remained in the shadows before?
- Does the case suggest a controversial point to prevailing admittance?
- Does the situation provide a chance to pursue an action which may bring a researcher to the problem solution?
- Is there an opportunity to find a new approach/technique in future research?
Structure and Writing Format
The main goal of a case study research paper is to examine a subject in order to discover a new vision of the existing research problem. By showing the results based on the collected information, it is possible to contribute new skills to the information gathered during the studies conducted before. In general, the structure of the case study paper is not very different from the common high school or college essay. Here we go with the key components of structuring and managing a research paper.
The first piece of the content should figure as a roadmap for your readers to specify the scope and goal of your experiment. The first paragraph should not simply describe the main problem and its role in the society. Tell your readers why the case is being used and the way it is connected with the addressed issue. The two factors must be linked. By keeping this in your mind, a good introduction content should refer to the following questions:
- What was I researching? Highlight the existing problem and point out the analysis you have selected to state the problem. Interpret the way they are related and what sections/components of the case study will help to enrich the experience and understanding of the topic.
- Why was this issue critical to explore? Tell about the role of the research issue in your community. Explain why the research design and the analyzed topic are appropriate in referring to the problem.
- What information did you have about the subject before getting involved in the study? Provide background information that would help the reader to get to the detailed and in-depth literature review in case he or she gets interested in the given problem. If it is possible, prepare a summary of the initial case study research paper used in the study and give reasons why it fails to address the research problem properly. Give reasons why your case might be useful for both society and other scientists. If no initial case studies have been provided to explore the problem, tell why you have chosen the particular issue of analysis.
- In what way will this observation advance brand new knowledge or approaches to understanding the issue? Write down when your investigation might be appropriate for developing further understanding of the existing problem.
Unlike an essay or research paper, the first section of the case study paper may involve more than one paragraph. The content can include up to 5 paragraphs as far as there are 4-5 questions to answer.
- Literature Review
You should identify each source you used to cite or recall in your entire case study paper. Each time some facts or statistics appear in your content, you should write down the full resource name to add it to your bibliography. The bibliography appears on the last page of your paper. However, it is also important to provide a detailed literature review before writing the study itself. It will save a plenty of time of your readers who wish to learn more about the given topic. Here are essential steps to writing this section.
Put down relevant, up-to-date, and credible works in the context of their contribution to the investigation of the problem.
- Place relevant works in the context of their contribution to understanding the case study being investigated. Summarize previous related studies and their conclusions.
- Show the correlation between all projects that possess information for the reader and explain why this case is applicable.
- Define the new approaches to interpreting prior study with the help of the given case. Review a research which has tested the existing issue within different time frames and research designs. Make a conclusion to add it in your paper.
- Solve the conflicts that take place among controversial studies that were conducted before. Think about how the subject of analysis can resolve previous conflicts.
- Decide on the way in which a demand for extra study can be fulfilled. Point the way in fulfilling a need for additional research. Examine whether your study can reveal the new perspectives on the corresponding problem.
- Expose any gaps that take place in the literature that the case study could help to reduce or delete. Prepare a review of any literature which shows how your main issue adds up to the general understanding as well as how the specific case invests to a new approach that initial research has failed to do.
- Place your personal research within the context of possible literature! You see, the wider purpose of the literature review is to show and prove you have thoroughly explored and synthesized the research conducted before in the context of identifying the importance of the case in answering the research problem.
The basic thing about this section is that the author has to tell why he or she has picked a certain subject of analysis to work on as well as the strategy you applied to define and decide that your case was relevant for the given research problem. How you interpreted the methods used may change depending on the type of discussed problem:
- Incident or event
The evidence you use should be linked to the findings. Make sure to insert direct and indirect citations to support the facts with the proper evidence and show that you have a deep understanding of the research problem.
- This section is all about explaining and drawing conclusions. This content is pretty much the same as in any other research paper.
- State the basic findings of your experiment.
- Interpret the meaning of the findings and why they might be helpful for the society.
- Connect the findings with the similar studies taking all time period into account.
- Think about other possible explanations of the findings.
- Acknowledge the research limitations.
- Offer the fields for future observations and analysis.
Base the content of the final paragraphs on the results/findings and your discussion. Do not forget to restate the thesis statement.
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