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Tuesday, july 19, 2016, case study #3: what else can i do, 2 comments:.

what else can i do case study

I totally support Glenda’s concerns. Glenda is not saying that the report is wrong but that it has not been processed according to the law. Rules are put into law by politicians to protect all, so Glenda is only wanting to follow the law. For her supervisor to tell her to go along with it and not challenge it and even go as far as telling her it would not be a good idea to mention it again. and the most concerning is for her supervisor to tell her that “the powers that be” are to be followed, not the legal path. To me I would be very worried about me being used as the fall guy/gal if there is a problem and it could be blamed on me that I didn’t follow the law. If I was Glenda I would not sign any document that says all is done correct, because obviously it has not been. I am thankful that there are people in positions of power that do the right thing because it is right to do, and not just do what they are told to keep their job. To be a whistleblower is taking a risk, but signing off on something you know is not following the law could be a bigger risk and you might lose more than just your job. With all this said there needs to be a person or division within the company/organization that is setup for just this situation that Glenda is in. She did the right thing by going to her supervisor with a problem and was told to do what she was told to do, and that she needed to not question it again. You can easily assume that her supervisor was warning her that if she did pursue it again that it could jeopardize her job. But when that turned out the way it did for Glenda then there needs to be protection in place for Glenda to have the mater looked at, and for it to be documented that she raised her concerns about the proper guide lines not being followed so if this does turn out to be a bad report and legal action are taking because it of not following the law, Glenda will have proof that she was not part of not following the law but was told by her supervisor to do what she was told and not follow the law. At this point Glenda has to decide whether she wants to find a job somewhere else or not, because to stay and do things that she knows is breaking the law, but is in her interest to keep her job, and most likely will be promoted because she will follow the “powers that be” over following the law. But if she can’t sleep at night it would be better to find a new job, because in the end it will not be the last time this kind of problem will come up. Better to accept losses earlier rather than later. The best situation is that if she has a division in the company/organization that she gave this info to anonymous and that higher ups that are of higher moral character, see the wrongdoing and step in and correct this then Glenda can carry on her duties with integrity and know she is safe inside and outside her workplace of any wrongdoing.

Wow. This is very much detailed, and now that I've read my answer to this question - I'm questioning my answer, as well. I've only worked in a Gov't agency for two years, and worked in a private sector for six months, and the rest were just online work. And through all these, I've concluded that in fact - Glenda should not sign anything that wasn't intricately processed and with just mere words of 'powers that be' which means one thing, and only one thing, fraud. When I wrote this, I wasn't that aware of a whistle blower and how effective one can be not until I changed job, and it was explained further to all of us. If you think that something was done out of the legality that it should have been done, it should already raise a red flag. Why? Because truly, something about it isn't right and no matter how much a supervisor tells you that 'it's okay' or 'don't worry about it' - you should. What if those documents that Glenda signed would be accounted for and she'd be questioned about it? Whatever reason she may express would now become questionable because she deliberately agreed and signed it - which means that she has knowledge of it, and turned a blind eye. So yeah, I wrote this in 2016 - have forgotten about it and now stumbled in this very detailed comments. And boy, this is amazing. Your trail of thoughts are in a wider array, and you've pointed out the things that I didn't give too much impression on. Kudos!

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  • What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on May 8, 2019 by Shona McCombes . 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 sometimes also used. Case studies are good for describing , comparing, evaluating and understanding different aspects of a research problem .

Table of contents

When to do a case study, step 1: select a case, step 2: build a theoretical framework, step 3: collect your data, step 4: describe and analyze the case, other interesting articles.

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. It allows you to explore the key characteristics, meanings, and implications of the case.

Case studies are often a good choice in a thesis or dissertation . They keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources to do large-scale research.

You might use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in depth, or conduct multiple case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

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Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions , you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to:

  • Provide new or unexpected insights into the subject
  • Challenge or complicate existing assumptions and theories
  • Propose practical courses of action to resolve a problem
  • Open up new directions for future research

TipIf your research is more practical in nature and aims to simultaneously investigate an issue as you solve it, consider conducting action research instead.

Unlike quantitative or experimental research , a strong case study does not require a random or representative sample. In fact, case studies often deliberately focus on unusual, neglected, or outlying cases which may shed new light on the research problem.

Example of an outlying case studyIn the 1960s the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania was discovered to have extremely low rates of heart disease compared to the US average. It became an important case study for understanding previously neglected causes of heart disease.

However, you can also choose a more common or representative case to exemplify a particular category, experience or phenomenon.

Example of a representative case studyIn the 1920s, two sociologists used Muncie, Indiana as a case study of a typical American city that supposedly exemplified the changing culture of the US at the time.

While case studies focus more on concrete details than general theories, they should usually have some connection with theory in the field. This way the case study is not just an isolated description, but is integrated into existing knowledge about the topic. It might aim to:

  • Exemplify a theory by showing how it explains the case under investigation
  • Expand on a theory by uncovering new concepts and ideas that need to be incorporated
  • Challenge a theory by exploring an outlier case that doesn’t fit with established assumptions

To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, you should conduct a literature review of sources related to the topic and develop a theoretical framework . This means identifying key concepts and theories to guide your analysis and interpretation.

There are many different research methods you can use to collect data on your subject. Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews , observations , and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data.

Example of a mixed methods case studyFor a case study of a wind farm development in a rural area, you could collect quantitative data on employment rates and business revenue, collect qualitative data on local people’s perceptions and experiences, and analyze local and national media coverage of the development.

The aim is to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of the case and its context.

In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give as complete a picture as possible of the subject.

How you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard scientific paper or thesis , with separate sections or chapters for the methods , results and discussion .

Others are written in a more narrative style, aiming to explore the case from various angles and analyze its meanings and implications (for example, by using textual analysis or discourse analysis ).

In all cases, though, make sure to give contextual details about the case, connect it back to the literature and theory, and discuss how it fits into wider patterns or debates.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Degrees of freedom
  • Null hypothesis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Control groups
  • Mixed methods research
  • Non-probability sampling
  • Quantitative research
  • Ecological validity

Research bias

  • Rosenthal effect
  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Selection bias
  • Negativity bias
  • Status quo bias

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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 Quick Guide to Case Study with Examples

Published by Alvin Nicolas at August 14th, 2021 , Revised On August 29, 2023

A case study is a documented history and detailed analysis of a situation concerning organisations, industries, and markets.

A case study:

  • Focuses on discovering new facts of the situation under observation.
  • Includes data collection from multiple sources over time.
  • Widely used in social sciences to study the underlying information, organisation, community, or event.
  • It does not provide any solution to the problem .

When to Use Case Study? 

You can use a case study in your research when:

  • The focus of your study is to find answers to how and why questions .
  • You don’t have enough time to conduct extensive research; case studies are convenient for completing your project successfully.
  • You want to analyse real-world problems in-depth, then you can use the method of the case study.

You can consider a single case to gain in-depth knowledge about the subject, or you can choose multiple cases to know about various aspects of your  research problem .

What are the Aims of the Case Study?

  • The case study aims at identifying weak areas that can be improved.
  • This method is often used for idiographic research (focuses on individual cases or events).
  • Another aim of the case study is nomothetic research (aims to discover new theories through data analysis of multiple cases).

Types of Case Studies

There are different types of case studies that can be categorised based on the purpose of the investigation.

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How to Conduct a Case Study?

  • Select the Case to Investigate
  • Formulate the Research Question
  • Review of Literature
  • Choose the Precise Case to Use in your Study
  • Select Data Collection and Analysis Techniques
  • Collect the Data
  • Analyse the Data
  • Prepare the Report

Step1: Select the Case to Investigate

The first step is to select a case to conduct your investigation. You should remember the following points.

  • Make sure that you perform the study in the available timeframe.
  • There should not be too much information available about the organisation.
  • You should be able to get access to the organisation.
  • There should be enough information available about the subject to conduct further research.

Step2: Formulate the Research Question

It’s necessary to  formulate a research question  to proceed with your case study. Most of the research questions begin with  how, why, what, or what can . 

You can also use a research statement instead of a research question to conduct your research which can be conditional or non-conditional. 

Step 3: Review of Literature

Once you formulate your research statement or question, you need to extensively  review the documentation about the existing discoveries related to your research question or statement.

Step 4: Choose the Precise Case to Use in your Study

You need to select a specific case or multiple cases related to your research. It would help if you treated each case individually while using multiple cases. The outcomes of each case can be used as contributors to the outcomes of the entire study.  You can select the following cases. 

  • Representing various geographic regions
  • Cases with various size parameters
  • Explaining the existing theories or assumptions
  • Leading to discoveries
  • Providing a base for future research.

Step 5: Select Data Collection and Analysis Techniques

You can choose both  qualitative or quantitative approaches  for  collecting the data . You can use  interviews ,  surveys , artifacts, documentation, newspapers, and photographs, etc. To avoid biased observation, you can triangulate  your research to provide different views of your case. Even if you are focusing on a single case, you need to observe various case angles. It would help if you constructed validity, internal and external validity, as well as reliability.

Example: Identifying the impacts of contaminated water on people’s health and the factors responsible for it. You need to gather the data using qualitative and quantitative approaches to understand the case in such cases.

Construct validity:  You should select the most suitable measurement tool for your research. 

Internal validity:   You should use various methodological tools to  triangulate  the data. Try different methods to study the same hypothesis.

External validity:  You need to effectively apply the data beyond the case’s circumstances to more general issues.

Reliability:   You need to be confident enough to formulate the new direction for future studies based on your findings.

Also Read:  Reliability and Validity

Step 6: Collect the Data

Beware of the following when collecting data:

  • Information should be gathered systematically, and the collected evidence from various sources should contribute to your research objectives.
  • Don’t collect your data randomly.
  • Recheck your research questions to avoid mistakes.
  • You should save the collected data in any popular format for clear understanding.
  • While making any changes to collecting information, make sure to record the changes in a document.
  • You should maintain a case diary and note your opinions and thoughts evolved throughout the study.

Step 7: Analyse the Data

The research data identifies the relationship between the objects of study and the research questions or statements. You need to reconfirm the collected information and tabulate it correctly for better understanding. 

Step 8: Prepare the Report

It’s essential to prepare a report for your case study. You can write your case study in the form of a scientific paper or thesis discussing its detail with supporting evidence. 

A case study can be represented by incorporating  quotations,  stories, anecdotes,  interview transcripts , etc., with empirical data in the result section. 

You can also write it in narrative styles using  textual analysis  or   discourse analysis . Your report should also include evidence from published literature, and you can put it in the discussion section.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Case Study

Frequently asked questions, what is the case study.

A case study is a research method where a specific instance, event, or situation is deeply examined to gain insights into real-world complexities. It involves detailed analysis of context, data, and variables to understand patterns, causes, and effects, often used in various disciplines for in-depth exploration.

You May Also Like

This post provides the key disadvantages of secondary research so you know the limitations of secondary research before making a decision.

Ethnography is a type of research where a researcher observes the people in their natural environment. Here is all you need to know about ethnography.

A meta-analysis is a formal, epidemiological, quantitative study design that uses statistical methods to generalise the findings of the selected independent studies.

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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."

what else can i do case study

Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.

what else can i do case study

Verywell / Colleen Tighe

  • 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."

How to write a case study — examples, templates, and tools

what else can i do case study

It’s a marketer’s job to communicate the effectiveness of a product or service to potential and current customers to convince them to buy and keep business moving. One of the best methods for doing this is to share success stories that are relatable to prospects and customers based on their pain points, experiences, and overall needs.

That’s where case studies come in. Case studies are an essential part of a content marketing plan. These in-depth stories of customer experiences are some of the most effective at demonstrating the value of a product or service. Yet many marketers don’t use them, whether because of their regimented formats or the process of customer involvement and approval.

A case study is a powerful tool for showcasing your hard work and the success your customer achieved. But writing a great case study can be difficult if you’ve never done it before or if it’s been a while. This guide will show you how to write an effective case study and provide real-world examples and templates that will keep readers engaged and support your business.

In this article, you’ll learn:

What is a case study?

How to write a case study, case study templates, case study examples, case study tools.

A case study is the detailed story of a customer’s experience with a product or service that demonstrates their success and often includes measurable outcomes. Case studies are used in a range of fields and for various reasons, from business to academic research. They’re especially impactful in marketing as brands work to convince and convert consumers with relatable, real-world stories of actual customer experiences.

The best case studies tell the story of a customer’s success, including the steps they took, the results they achieved, and the support they received from a brand along the way. To write a great case study, you need to:

  • Celebrate the customer and make them — not a product or service — the star of the story.
  • Craft the story with specific audiences or target segments in mind so that the story of one customer will be viewed as relatable and actionable for another customer.
  • Write copy that is easy to read and engaging so that readers will gain the insights and messages intended.
  • Follow a standardized format that includes all of the essentials a potential customer would find interesting and useful.
  • Support all of the claims for success made in the story with data in the forms of hard numbers and customer statements.

Case studies are a type of review but more in depth, aiming to show — rather than just tell — the positive experiences that customers have with a brand. Notably, 89% of consumers read reviews before deciding to buy, and 79% view case study content as part of their purchasing process. When it comes to B2B sales, 52% of buyers rank case studies as an important part of their evaluation process.

Telling a brand story through the experience of a tried-and-true customer matters. The story is relatable to potential new customers as they imagine themselves in the shoes of the company or individual featured in the case study. Showcasing previous customers can help new ones see themselves engaging with your brand in the ways that are most meaningful to them.

Besides sharing the perspective of another customer, case studies stand out from other content marketing forms because they are based on evidence. Whether pulling from client testimonials or data-driven results, case studies tend to have more impact on new business because the story contains information that is both objective (data) and subjective (customer experience) — and the brand doesn’t sound too self-promotional.

89% of consumers read reviews before buying, 79% view case studies, and 52% of B2B buyers prioritize case studies in the evaluation process.

Case studies are unique in that there’s a fairly standardized format for telling a customer’s story. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for creativity. It’s all about making sure that teams are clear on the goals for the case study — along with strategies for supporting content and channels — and understanding how the story fits within the framework of the company’s overall marketing goals.

Here are the basic steps to writing a good case study.

1. Identify your goal

Start by defining exactly who your case study will be designed to help. Case studies are about specific instances where a company works with a customer to achieve a goal. Identify which customers are likely to have these goals, as well as other needs the story should cover to appeal to them.

The answer is often found in one of the buyer personas that have been constructed as part of your larger marketing strategy. This can include anything from new leads generated by the marketing team to long-term customers that are being pressed for cross-sell opportunities. In all of these cases, demonstrating value through a relatable customer success story can be part of the solution to conversion.

2. Choose your client or subject

Who you highlight matters. Case studies tie brands together that might otherwise not cross paths. A writer will want to ensure that the highlighted customer aligns with their own company’s brand identity and offerings. Look for a customer with positive name recognition who has had great success with a product or service and is willing to be an advocate.

The client should also match up with the identified target audience. Whichever company or individual is selected should be a reflection of other potential customers who can see themselves in similar circumstances, having the same problems and possible solutions.

Some of the most compelling case studies feature customers who:

  • Switch from one product or service to another while naming competitors that missed the mark.
  • Experience measurable results that are relatable to others in a specific industry.
  • Represent well-known brands and recognizable names that are likely to compel action.
  • Advocate for a product or service as a champion and are well-versed in its advantages.

Whoever or whatever customer is selected, marketers must ensure they have the permission of the company involved before getting started. Some brands have strict review and approval procedures for any official marketing or promotional materials that include their name. Acquiring those approvals in advance will prevent any miscommunication or wasted effort if there is an issue with their legal or compliance teams.

3. Conduct research and compile data

Substantiating the claims made in a case study — either by the marketing team or customers themselves — adds validity to the story. To do this, include data and feedback from the client that defines what success looks like. This can be anything from demonstrating return on investment (ROI) to a specific metric the customer was striving to improve. Case studies should prove how an outcome was achieved and show tangible results that indicate to the customer that your solution is the right one.

This step could also include customer interviews. Make sure that the people being interviewed are key stakeholders in the purchase decision or deployment and use of the product or service that is being highlighted. Content writers should work off a set list of questions prepared in advance. It can be helpful to share these with the interviewees beforehand so they have time to consider and craft their responses. One of the best interview tactics to keep in mind is to ask questions where yes and no are not natural answers. This way, your subject will provide more open-ended responses that produce more meaningful content.

4. Choose the right format

There are a number of different ways to format a case study. Depending on what you hope to achieve, one style will be better than another. However, there are some common elements to include, such as:

  • An engaging headline
  • A subject and customer introduction
  • The unique challenge or challenges the customer faced
  • The solution the customer used to solve the problem
  • The results achieved
  • Data and statistics to back up claims of success
  • A strong call to action (CTA) to engage with the vendor

It’s also important to note that while case studies are traditionally written as stories, they don’t have to be in a written format. Some companies choose to get more creative with their case studies and produce multimedia content, depending on their audience and objectives. Case study formats can include traditional print stories, interactive web or social content, data-heavy infographics, professionally shot videos, podcasts, and more.

5. Write your case study

We’ll go into more detail later about how exactly to write a case study, including templates and examples. Generally speaking, though, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing your case study.

  • Be clear and concise. Readers want to get to the point of the story quickly and easily, and they’ll be looking to see themselves reflected in the story right from the start.
  • Provide a big picture. Always make sure to explain who the client is, their goals, and how they achieved success in a short introduction to engage the reader.
  • Construct a clear narrative. Stick to the story from the perspective of the customer and what they needed to solve instead of just listing product features or benefits.
  • Leverage graphics. Incorporating infographics, charts, and sidebars can be a more engaging and eye-catching way to share key statistics and data in readable ways.
  • Offer the right amount of detail. Most case studies are one or two pages with clear sections that a reader can skim to find the information most important to them.
  • Include data to support claims. Show real results — both facts and figures and customer quotes — to demonstrate credibility and prove the solution works.

6. Promote your story

Marketers have a number of options for distribution of a freshly minted case study. Many brands choose to publish case studies on their website and post them on social media. This can help support SEO and organic content strategies while also boosting company credibility and trust as visitors see that other businesses have used the product or service.

Marketers are always looking for quality content they can use for lead generation. Consider offering a case study as gated content behind a form on a landing page or as an offer in an email message. One great way to do this is to summarize the content and tease the full story available for download after the user takes an action.

Sales teams can also leverage case studies, so be sure they are aware that the assets exist once they’re published. Especially when it comes to larger B2B sales, companies often ask for examples of similar customer challenges that have been solved.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about case studies and what they should include, you may be wondering how to start creating great customer story content. Here are a couple of templates you can use to structure your case study.

Template 1 — Challenge-solution-result format

  • Start with an engaging title. This should be fewer than 70 characters long for SEO best practices. One of the best ways to approach the title is to include the customer’s name and a hint at the challenge they overcame in the end.
  • Create an introduction. Lead with an explanation as to who the customer is, the need they had, and the opportunity they found with a specific product or solution. Writers can also suggest the success the customer experienced with the solution they chose.
  • Present the challenge. This should be several paragraphs long and explain the problem the customer faced and the issues they were trying to solve. Details should tie into the company’s products and services naturally. This section needs to be the most relatable to the reader so they can picture themselves in a similar situation.
  • Share the solution. Explain which product or service offered was the ideal fit for the customer and why. Feel free to delve into their experience setting up, purchasing, and onboarding the solution.
  • Explain the results. Demonstrate the impact of the solution they chose by backing up their positive experience with data. Fill in with customer quotes and tangible, measurable results that show the effect of their choice.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that invites readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to nurture them further in the marketing pipeline. What you ask of the reader should tie directly into the goals that were established for the case study in the first place.

Template 2 — Data-driven format

  • Start with an engaging title. Be sure to include a statistic or data point in the first 70 characters. Again, it’s best to include the customer’s name as part of the title.
  • Create an overview. Share the customer’s background and a short version of the challenge they faced. Present the reason a particular product or service was chosen, and feel free to include quotes from the customer about their selection process.
  • Present data point 1. Isolate the first metric that the customer used to define success and explain how the product or solution helped to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 2. Isolate the second metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 3. Isolate the final metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Summarize the results. Reiterate the fact that the customer was able to achieve success thanks to a specific product or service. Include quotes and statements that reflect customer satisfaction and suggest they plan to continue using the solution.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that asks readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to further nurture them in the marketing pipeline. Again, remember that this is where marketers can look to convert their content into action with the customer.

While templates are helpful, seeing a case study in action can also be a great way to learn. Here are some examples of how Adobe customers have experienced success.

Juniper Networks

One example is the Adobe and Juniper Networks case study , which puts the reader in the customer’s shoes. The beginning of the story quickly orients the reader so that they know exactly who the article is about and what they were trying to achieve. Solutions are outlined in a way that shows Adobe Experience Manager is the best choice and a natural fit for the customer. Along the way, quotes from the client are incorporated to help add validity to the statements. The results in the case study are conveyed with clear evidence of scale and volume using tangible data.

A Lenovo case study showing statistics, a pull quote and featured headshot, the headline "The customer is king.," and Adobe product links.

The story of Lenovo’s journey with Adobe is one that spans years of planning, implementation, and rollout. The Lenovo case study does a great job of consolidating all of this into a relatable journey that other enterprise organizations can see themselves taking, despite the project size. This case study also features descriptive headers and compelling visual elements that engage the reader and strengthen the content.

Tata Consulting

When it comes to using data to show customer results, this case study does an excellent job of conveying details and numbers in an easy-to-digest manner. Bullet points at the start break up the content while also helping the reader understand exactly what the case study will be about. Tata Consulting used Adobe to deliver elevated, engaging content experiences for a large telecommunications client of its own — an objective that’s relatable for a lot of companies.

Case studies are a vital tool for any marketing team as they enable you to demonstrate the value of your company’s products and services to others. They help marketers do their job and add credibility to a brand trying to promote its solutions by using the experiences and stories of real customers.

When you’re ready to get started with a case study:

  • Think about a few goals you’d like to accomplish with your content.
  • Make a list of successful clients that would be strong candidates for a case study.
  • Reach out to the client to get their approval and conduct an interview.
  • Gather the data to present an engaging and effective customer story.

Adobe can help

There are several Adobe products that can help you craft compelling case studies. Adobe Experience Platform helps you collect data and deliver great customer experiences across every channel. Once you’ve created your case studies, Experience Platform will help you deliver the right information to the right customer at the right time for maximum impact.

To learn more, watch the Adobe Experience Platform story .

Keep in mind that the best case studies are backed by data. That’s where Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform and Adobe Analytics come into play. With Real-Time CDP, you can gather the data you need to build a great case study and target specific customers to deliver the content to the right audience at the perfect moment.

Watch the Real-Time CDP overview video to learn more.

Finally, Adobe Analytics turns real-time data into real-time insights. It helps your business collect and synthesize data from multiple platforms to make more informed decisions and create the best case study possible.

Request a demo to learn more about Adobe Analytics.

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Home » Case Study – Methods, Examples and Guide

Case Study – Methods, Examples and Guide

Table of Contents

Case Study Research

A case study is a research method that involves an in-depth examination and analysis of a particular phenomenon or case, such as an individual, organization, community, event, or situation.

It is a qualitative research approach that aims to provide a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the case being studied. Case studies typically involve multiple sources of data, including interviews, observations, documents, and artifacts, which are analyzed using various techniques, such as content analysis, thematic analysis, and grounded theory. The findings of a case study are often used to develop theories, inform policy or practice, or generate new research questions.

Types of Case Study

Types and Methods of Case Study are as follows:

Single-Case Study

A single-case study is an in-depth analysis of a single case. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to understand a specific phenomenon in detail.

For Example , A researcher might conduct a single-case study on a particular individual to understand their experiences with a particular health condition or a specific organization to explore their management practices. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of a single-case study are often used to generate new research questions, develop theories, or inform policy or practice.

Multiple-Case Study

A multiple-case study involves the analysis of several cases that are similar in nature. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to identify similarities and differences between the cases.

For Example, a researcher might conduct a multiple-case study on several companies to explore the factors that contribute to their success or failure. The researcher collects data from each case, compares and contrasts the findings, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as comparative analysis or pattern-matching. The findings of a multiple-case study can be used to develop theories, inform policy or practice, or generate new research questions.

Exploratory Case Study

An exploratory case study is used to explore a new or understudied phenomenon. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to generate hypotheses or theories about the phenomenon.

For Example, a researcher might conduct an exploratory case study on a new technology to understand its potential impact on society. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as grounded theory or content analysis. The findings of an exploratory case study can be used to generate new research questions, develop theories, or inform policy or practice.

Descriptive Case Study

A descriptive case study is used to describe a particular phenomenon in detail. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to provide a comprehensive account of the phenomenon.

For Example, a researcher might conduct a descriptive case study on a particular community to understand its social and economic characteristics. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of a descriptive case study can be used to inform policy or practice or generate new research questions.

Instrumental Case Study

An instrumental case study is used to understand a particular phenomenon that is instrumental in achieving a particular goal. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to understand the role of the phenomenon in achieving the goal.

For Example, a researcher might conduct an instrumental case study on a particular policy to understand its impact on achieving a particular goal, such as reducing poverty. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of an instrumental case study can be used to inform policy or practice or generate new research questions.

Case Study Data Collection Methods

Here are some common data collection methods for case studies:

Interviews involve asking questions to individuals who have knowledge or experience relevant to the case study. Interviews can be structured (where the same questions are asked to all participants) or unstructured (where the interviewer follows up on the responses with further questions). Interviews can be conducted in person, over the phone, or through video conferencing.

Observations

Observations involve watching and recording the behavior and activities of individuals or groups relevant to the case study. Observations can be participant (where the researcher actively participates in the activities) or non-participant (where the researcher observes from a distance). Observations can be recorded using notes, audio or video recordings, or photographs.

Documents can be used as a source of information for case studies. Documents can include reports, memos, emails, letters, and other written materials related to the case study. Documents can be collected from the case study participants or from public sources.

Surveys involve asking a set of questions to a sample of individuals relevant to the case study. Surveys can be administered in person, over the phone, through mail or email, or online. Surveys can be used to gather information on attitudes, opinions, or behaviors related to the case study.

Artifacts are physical objects relevant to the case study. Artifacts can include tools, equipment, products, or other objects that provide insights into the case study phenomenon.

How to conduct Case Study Research

Conducting a case study research involves several steps that need to be followed to ensure the quality and rigor of the study. Here are the steps to conduct case study research:

  • Define the research questions: The first step in conducting a case study research is to define the research questions. The research questions should be specific, measurable, and relevant to the case study phenomenon under investigation.
  • Select the case: The next step is to select the case or cases to be studied. The case should be relevant to the research questions and should provide rich and diverse data that can be used to answer the research questions.
  • Collect data: Data can be collected using various methods, such as interviews, observations, documents, surveys, and artifacts. The data collection method should be selected based on the research questions and the nature of the case study phenomenon.
  • Analyze the data: The data collected from the case study should be analyzed using various techniques, such as content analysis, thematic analysis, or grounded theory. The analysis should be guided by the research questions and should aim to provide insights and conclusions relevant to the research questions.
  • Draw conclusions: The conclusions drawn from the case study should be based on the data analysis and should be relevant to the research questions. The conclusions should be supported by evidence and should be clearly stated.
  • Validate the findings: The findings of the case study should be validated by reviewing the data and the analysis with participants or other experts in the field. This helps to ensure the validity and reliability of the findings.
  • Write the report: The final step is to write the report of the case study research. The report should provide a clear description of the case study phenomenon, the research questions, the data collection methods, the data analysis, the findings, and the conclusions. The report should be written in a clear and concise manner and should follow the guidelines for academic writing.

Examples of Case Study

Here are some examples of case study research:

  • The Hawthorne Studies : Conducted between 1924 and 1932, the Hawthorne Studies were a series of case studies conducted by Elton Mayo and his colleagues to examine the impact of work environment on employee productivity. The studies were conducted at the Hawthorne Works plant of the Western Electric Company in Chicago and included interviews, observations, and experiments.
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment: Conducted in 1971, the Stanford Prison Experiment was a case study conducted by Philip Zimbardo to examine the psychological effects of power and authority. The study involved simulating a prison environment and assigning participants to the role of guards or prisoners. The study was controversial due to the ethical issues it raised.
  • The Challenger Disaster: The Challenger Disaster was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. The study included interviews, observations, and analysis of data to identify the technical, organizational, and cultural factors that contributed to the disaster.
  • The Enron Scandal: The Enron Scandal was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the Enron Corporation’s bankruptcy in 2001. The study included interviews, analysis of financial data, and review of documents to identify the accounting practices, corporate culture, and ethical issues that led to the company’s downfall.
  • The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster : The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the nuclear accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011. The study included interviews, analysis of data, and review of documents to identify the technical, organizational, and cultural factors that contributed to the disaster.

Application of Case Study

Case studies have a wide range of applications across various fields and industries. Here are some examples:

Business and Management

Case studies are widely used in business and management to examine real-life situations and develop problem-solving skills. Case studies can help students and professionals to develop a deep understanding of business concepts, theories, and best practices.

Case studies are used in healthcare to examine patient care, treatment options, and outcomes. Case studies can help healthcare professionals to develop critical thinking skills, diagnose complex medical conditions, and develop effective treatment plans.

Case studies are used in education to examine teaching and learning practices. Case studies can help educators to develop effective teaching strategies, evaluate student progress, and identify areas for improvement.

Social Sciences

Case studies are widely used in social sciences to examine human behavior, social phenomena, and cultural practices. Case studies can help researchers to develop theories, test hypotheses, and gain insights into complex social issues.

Law and Ethics

Case studies are used in law and ethics to examine legal and ethical dilemmas. Case studies can help lawyers, policymakers, and ethical professionals to develop critical thinking skills, analyze complex cases, and make informed decisions.

Purpose of Case Study

The purpose of a case study is to provide a detailed analysis of a specific phenomenon, issue, or problem in its real-life context. A case study is a qualitative research method that involves the in-depth exploration and analysis of a particular case, which can be an individual, group, organization, event, or community.

The primary purpose of a case study is to generate a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the case, including its history, context, and dynamics. Case studies can help researchers to identify and examine the underlying factors, processes, and mechanisms that contribute to the case and its outcomes. This can help to develop a more accurate and detailed understanding of the case, which can inform future research, practice, or policy.

Case studies can also serve other purposes, including:

  • Illustrating a theory or concept: Case studies can be used to illustrate and explain theoretical concepts and frameworks, providing concrete examples of how they can be applied in real-life situations.
  • Developing hypotheses: Case studies can help to generate hypotheses about the causal relationships between different factors and outcomes, which can be tested through further research.
  • Providing insight into complex issues: Case studies can provide insights into complex and multifaceted issues, which may be difficult to understand through other research methods.
  • Informing practice or policy: Case studies can be used to inform practice or policy by identifying best practices, lessons learned, or areas for improvement.

Advantages of Case Study Research

There are several advantages of case study research, including:

  • In-depth exploration: Case study research allows for a detailed exploration and analysis of a specific phenomenon, issue, or problem in its real-life context. This can provide a comprehensive understanding of the case and its dynamics, which may not be possible through other research methods.
  • Rich data: Case study research can generate rich and detailed data, including qualitative data such as interviews, observations, and documents. This can provide a nuanced understanding of the case and its complexity.
  • Holistic perspective: Case study research allows for a holistic perspective of the case, taking into account the various factors, processes, and mechanisms that contribute to the case and its outcomes. This can help to develop a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of the case.
  • Theory development: Case study research can help to develop and refine theories and concepts by providing empirical evidence and concrete examples of how they can be applied in real-life situations.
  • Practical application: Case study research can inform practice or policy by identifying best practices, lessons learned, or areas for improvement.
  • Contextualization: Case study research takes into account the specific context in which the case is situated, which can help to understand how the case is influenced by the social, cultural, and historical factors of its environment.

Limitations of Case Study Research

There are several limitations of case study research, including:

  • Limited generalizability : Case studies are typically focused on a single case or a small number of cases, which limits the generalizability of the findings. The unique characteristics of the case may not be applicable to other contexts or populations, which may limit the external validity of the research.
  • Biased sampling: Case studies may rely on purposive or convenience sampling, which can introduce bias into the sample selection process. This may limit the representativeness of the sample and the generalizability of the findings.
  • Subjectivity: Case studies rely on the interpretation of the researcher, which can introduce subjectivity into the analysis. The researcher’s own biases, assumptions, and perspectives may influence the findings, which may limit the objectivity of the research.
  • Limited control: Case studies are typically conducted in naturalistic settings, which limits the control that the researcher has over the environment and the variables being studied. This may limit the ability to establish causal relationships between variables.
  • Time-consuming: Case studies can be time-consuming to conduct, as they typically involve a detailed exploration and analysis of a specific case. This may limit the feasibility of conducting multiple case studies or conducting case studies in a timely manner.
  • Resource-intensive: Case studies may require significant resources, including time, funding, and expertise. This may limit the ability of researchers to conduct case studies in resource-constrained settings.

About the author

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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case study

How to Write a Case Study: Step-by-Step Guide with Examples

  • October 7, 2022

Written by Alexandra

Content Manager at SocialBee

Why is learning how to write a case study so important?

Well, because it provides your customers with social proof and supporting evidence of how effective your products and services are. Moreover, it eliminates the doubt that usually makes clients give up on their next purchase.

That is why today we are going to talk about the step-by-step process of writing a case study . We prepared five business case study examples guaranteed to inspire you throughout the process.

Let’s get started!

What Is a Case Study?

A case study is a piece of content that focuses on a case from your business history. It describes the problems your client faced and the solutions you used to help them succeed.

The goal of a writing case study is to promote your business , so your aim should be to put together a compelling story with evidence that backs up all your claims.

Case studies use real-life examples to show your clients the quality and effectiveness of your products and services. It’s a marketing tool that provides credibility and it helps your potential clients gain confidence in your brand.

Case studies can be structured in different formats:

  • A written document
  • An infographic
  • A blog post
  • A landing page

Case Study Benefits

A great case study makes your potential customers want to benefit from the products and services that helped your client overcome their challenges. 

Here are the benefits of writing a case study:

  • It is an affordable marketing practice
  • It decreases the perceived risk of your potential clients
  • It provides transparency
  • It builds trust and credibility among prospective customers
  • It makes your potential clients relate to the problem
  • It provides your potential clients with a solution for their problems

How to Write a Case Study

Now that you know what a case study is, let’s get into the real reason why you are here — learning how to write an in-depth study.

Here is the step-by-step process of writing a case study:

  • Identify the topic of your case study
  • Start collaborating with a client
  • Prepare questions for the interview
  • Conduct the case study interview
  • Structure your case study 
  • Make it visual

Step 1: Identify the Topic of Your Case Study

A case study starts with a strategy. Choosing what you want to write about should be closely related to your business needs. More specifically, what service or product do you want to promote through your case study?

Because case studies focus on client challenges, business solutions, and results, you have to carefully pick the case that your potential clients will relate to the most. 

To communicate the benefits of your business, you should focus on a customer story that appeals to a specific segment of your audience . Consequently, you will target clients that relate to your customer example while providing a solution for their needs and pain points — your products and services.

Start by focusing all your research methods on identifying your customers’ main pain points. Then find examples of how your products or services have helped them overcome their challenges and achieve their goals .

Furthermore, to make sure you choose the best case study topic for your buyer persona , you should have a meeting with your sales/customer service team. Because they are in close contact with your customers, they will be able to tell you:

  • The main challenges your clients face 
  • The services/products that bring them the best results 

These are the main two pieces of information you want your case study to focus on.

Step 2: Start Collaborating with a Client

With a clear topic in mind, you have to find the best fit for your case study. 

However, that is not all. First, you must obtain the client’s permission. After all, your business story is theirs too.

So, craft an email to provide your client with an overview of the case study. This will help them make a decision. 

Your message should include:

  • The case study format (video, written, etc.) and where it will be published (blog, landing page , etc.)
  • The topic of the document
  • The timeline of the process
  • The information that will be included
  • The benefits they get as a result of this collaboration (brand exposure, backlinks)

Additionally, you can offer to schedule a call or a meeting to answer all their questions and curiosities and provide a means for clear and open communication.

Once you receive a positive response from your client, you can continue with the next step of the process: the actual interview.

PRO TIP: A great way to ensure a smooth and safe collaboration between you and your client is to sign a legal release form before writing the case study. This will allow you to use their information and protect you from issues that may occur in the future. Moreover, if the client is not comfortable with revealing their identity, you can always offer them anonymity.

Step 3: Prepare Questions for the Interview

Now that you have the subject for your case study, it’s time to write and organize your interview in several sets of questions.

Don’t forget that the whole structure of your case study is based on the information you get from your customer interview.

So pay attention to the way you phrase the questions. After all, your goal is to gather all the data you need to avoid creating a back-and-forth process that will consume your client’s time and energy.

To help you create the best questionnaire, we created a set of case study questions and organized them into different categories. 

Here are the five main sections your case study interview should contain:

  • The client’s background information
  • The problem
  • The start of the collaboration
  • The solution
  • The results

A. The Client’s Background Information

This part of the case study interview must give a comprehensive look into your customer’s business and allow your readers to get to know them better.

Here are some question ideas:

B. The Problem

Now it’s time to get into the reason your client came to you for assistance, the initial challenge that triggered your collaboration.

In this part of the interview process, you want to find out what made them ask for help and what was their situation before working with you.

You can ask your client the following case study questions:

C. The Start of the Collaboration

This part of the case study interview will focus on the process that made your collaboration possible. More specifically, how did your client research possible collaboration opportunities, and why they chose your business? 

This information will not only be informative for your future customers but will also give you a behind-the-scenes look into their decision-making process.

D. The Solution

It’s time to get into one of the most significant parts of the case study interview — the solution. Here you should discuss how your services have helped their business recover from the problems mentioned before.

Make sure you ask the right questions so you can really paint the picture of a satisfied customer.

Have a look at these question examples:

E. The Results

The best proof you can give to your customers is through your results. And this is the perfect opportunity to let your actions speak for themselves.

Unlike the other marketing strategies you use to promote your business, the content is provided by your customer, not by your team. As a result, you end up with a project that is on another level of reliability.

Here is how you can ask your client about their results:

Step 4: Conduct the Case Study Interview

Now that you have a great set of case study questions, it’s time to put them to good use.

Decide on the type of interview you want to conduct: face-to-face, video call , or phone call. Then, consult with your client and set up a date and a time when you are both available. 

It should be noted that during the interview it’s best to use a recording device for accuracy. Maybe you don’t have time to write down all the information, and you forget important details. Or maybe you want to be focused more on the conversational aspect of the interview, and you don’t want to write anything down while it’s happening.

Step 5: Structure Your Case Study 

The hard part is over. Now it’s time to organize all the information you gathered in an appealing format. Let’s have a look at what your case study should contain.

Here are the components of a case study:

  • Engaging title
  • Executive summary
  • Client description 
  • Introduction to the problem
  • The problem-solving process
  • Progress and results

A. Engaging Title

Putting that much work into a project, it would be a shame not to do your best to attract more readers. So, take into consideration that you only have a few seconds to catch your audience’s attention. 

You can also use a headline analyzer to evaluate the performance of your title.

The best case study titles contain:

  • Relevant keywords
  • Customer pain points
  • Clear result

Case study example :

what else can i do case study

B. Executive Summary

Your executive summary should include a thesis statement that sums up the main points of your case study. Therefore, it must be clear and concise. Moreover, to make your audience curious, you can add a statistic or a relevant piece of data that they might be interested in.

Here is what you should include in your executive summary:

  • The business you are writing about (only if the clients wants to make themselves known)
  • Relevant statistics

what else can i do case study

C. Client Description 

Here is where you start to include the information you gained from your interview. Provide your readers with a clear picture of your client and create a context for your case study.

Take your client’s answers from the “Client Background” section of the interview and present them in a more appealing format.

what else can i do case study

D. Introduction to the Problem

In this section, use your client’s interview answers to write about the problem they were experiencing before working with you.

Remember to be specific because you want your audience to fully understand the situation and relate to it. At the end of the day, the goal of the case study is to show your potential customers why they should buy your services/products.

what else can i do case study

E. The Problem-Solving Process

Next, explain how your service/product helped your client overcome their problems. Moreover, let your readers know how and why your service/product worked in their case.

In this part of the case study, you should summarize: 

  • The strategy used to solve the problem of your customer 
  • The process of implementing the solution 

what else can i do case study

F. Progress and Results

Tell your readers about what you and your client have achieved during your collaboration. Here you can include:

  • Graphics about your progress
  • Business objectives they have achieved
  • Relevant metrics 

what else can i do case study

Step 6: Make It Visual

To elevate the information you have written for your audience, you must make sure it’s appealing and easy to read. And a great way to achieve that is to use visuals that add value to your case study.

Here are some design elements that will make emphasize your text:

  • Graphic symbols that guide the eye (arrows, bullet points, checkmarks, etc.)
  • Charts, graphics, tables 
  • Relevant screenshots from business reports
  • The colors and fonts of your brand
  • Your client’s logo

Platforms like Canva can really come in handy while designing your case study. It’s easy to use and it has multiple free slide templates and graphics that save you time and money.

PRO TIP: Share Your Case Study Across All Marketing Channels

A case study is a perfect example of evergreen content that can be reshared endlessly on your social media channels .

Aside from helping you maintain a consistent posting schedule with ease, case study-related posts will increase your credibility and push leads toward the bottom of your marketing funnel . Other examples of social proof evergreen content are reviews, testimonials, and positive social media mentions.

To keep track of all your evergreen posts and have them scheduled on a continuous loop, use a social media tool like SocialBee.

SocialBee posting schedule

Create evergreen content categories where all your posts get reposted regularly on your social media channels. 

Start your 14-day trial today and start using SocialBee for free!

Aside from promoting your case study on social media, you can also feature it in your newsletter that you can create using email newsletter software , include it as a pop-up on your website, and even create a separate landing page dedicated to your customer study.

SocialBee blog CTA box visual

Share Your Case Study on Social Media with SocialBee!

Get to writing your own case study.

What do you think? Is writing a case study easier than you thought? We sure hope so.

Learning how to write a case study is a simple process once you understand the logical steps that go into it. So make sure you go over the guide a couple of times before you start documenting your customer success stories.

And remember that the goal of your case study is to attract more leads . Therefore you need to include tangible results and valuable details that will compel your audience to invest in your products and services.

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Article written by

Alexandra

Content writer at SocialBee

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Blog Marketing

How to Write a Case Study [+ Design Tips]

By Ronita Mohan , Aug 26, 2021

How to Write a Case Study [+ Design Tips] Blog Header

You need an impactful medium to share your business successes with potential customers and partners. The best way to showcase your brand is by designing a case study.

Case studies are a method of research and storytelling. They help readers gain a better understanding of a subject or process.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to write a case report that markets your business, as well as some design tips.

Don’t know how to start designing case studies?  Create a case study with Venngage’s templates. No design experience required.

START CREATING FOR FREE

Click to jump ahead:

Case study defined, what is the purpose of a case study, what is the format of a case study, how do you write a business case study, case study design tips, case study faqs.

A case study is used in business, psychology, epidemiology, as well as the medical and scientific fields. These reports are also used for social and political work.

Case studies are defined as documents that examine a person, groups of people, events, operations and processes.

For marketing purposes, a case analysis can be a document that outlines problems faced by a customer. It also shares the solutions a brand provided to solve them, such as in the case report below.

case study

USE THIS CASE STUDY TEMPLATE

Case studies usually share success stories for a business partnership or client. But case reports can also be used to analyze a process that went wrong.

This type of study will outline the need for improvements and suggest next steps. As a result, these case studies are not shared externally.

You can look at some case study examples  for inspiration to design your report. Read on to learn about the importance of case studies and how to write them.

Related:  What is a Case Study? [+6 Types of Case Studies]

Return to Table of Contents

Case studies are effective marketing tools that build trust and act as social proof for your brand.

Customers are more likely to choose your company if they know that other businesses like theirs have also benefited.

More importantly, when a customer participates in creating a case report with a brand, they endorse the company and their experience with it.

In other words, a  business report , like the example below, acts as a recommendation to anyone on the fence about working with your brand or using your products.

case study

CREATE THIS REPORT TEMPLATE

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A case study can be of varying lengths. It can also take a variety of forms, such as a simple two-page document or a Venngage business infographic like the one below.

case study

Most business case studies feature the following five sections.

Related: What is an Infographic? Examples, Templates & Design Tips

  • About the company

When creating a case study for marketing, it is best to include a small section about the company. This section can be short, sharing highlights about the company’s goals and missions.

case study

Venngage’s case study templates  offer a variety of options for customizing your report.

Overview of the case study

This is a key section of a case study. What is the study about? What was the reason for conducting it? What are the expected results?

The overview doesn’t have to be very long. Two or three paragraphs that sum up what a reader can expect from the report will suffice.

Case study research

You want to show the kind of research, strategy, and approach adopted for your case study. This is the section where you can showcase your process while conducting the analysis, like in this template.

case study

Results of the case study

By far the most important aspect of a case study is the results section. You can choose to share your findings in a few paragraphs.

Alternatively, go down a more visual route by using data visualizations  to showcase your results. You can use different types of charts and graphs  or use a single number or donut chart.

This case study template is a great example of how to highlight results.

case study

This is also a good section to include a testimonial or quote from your client as social proof.

Related: How to Choose the Best Types of Charts

Conclusion of the case report

You can choose to add a separate conclusion to your case study following the results section. This is where you sum up the process you used in the analysis.

Also, share why the process or campaign was effective and how your brand achieved these results.

Writing a case study requires research and revision. You should have a single objective decided before you start writing.

Case studies in marketing, like the below example, are meant to highlight your company’s successes. Choosing a client to showcase is also an important step in the writing process.

case study

Below, we share the top steps to complete when writing a case study to promote your business.

Determine your objective

Before you start writing case studies, decide what the main objective for this exercise is. Case reports don’t have the potential to go viral, nor are they shareable on social media.

But a case study is an effective tool for converting prospects into customers. They can also encourage business partners to take that final step and sign on the dotted line.

You need to approach your case analysis differently than all other content. This is why you need to have an objective for undergoing the process of writing a case study.

For example, this report shows how the fictional company Toy Crates used the services of Ad Factory to significantly increase its sales.

case study

The main objective of your case study is to highlight your business processes. You should also show the benefits of using your product. But there needs to be a relatable angle for whoever is reading your study.

Possible angles for a case study can be:

  • Audience growth
  • Launch of a new type of product
  • Entry into a new market
  • Improvements in conversion rates
  • Increased revenue
  • Increased traffic or social media impressions
  • Technology or software adoption

This case study focuses on lead generation. The report showcases the efforts behind boosting the client’s lead generation program and the successes achieved.

case study

Once you determine the best objective for your analysis, you can move onto the next step. Look for a client that best showcases positive aspects of your company.

Choose the right client

You need a particular type of client as the subject of your case study. This client will be a loyal customer. They should be willing to participate in the study. The client should also align with the objective of your study.

Pick a customer who knows your product inside and out. They should not be someone who used your product once and had success with it.

You want to showcase consistent and high-quality results over a period of time. In this example, the fictional Ad Factory also showcased Loot Box as a client that had success with their brand.

case study

USE THIS CASE REPORT TEMPLATE

You also want to choose customers who have had success directly from using your product. If a brand has seen overall growth and your product was just part of that success, it won’t make for a compelling case study.

Contacting your client for the case study

The customer you choose for your case study should know what the process entails.

Be open in your communication about what you need to put together the case report. This could be communicated through calls, email conversations, or a project management tool.

Set a deadline and share a project timeline  so the client knows what the process will look like. Let them know what documentation or statistics you will need for them before you start writing.

Offer something in exchange for participating in the case study. These could be product discounts, a temporary upgrade, a mention in your newsletter, social media, or increased brand awareness.

case study

USE THIS CASE REPORT TEMPLATE

It is imperative that you let the customer know how their information and data will be used. Tell them if you’re posting the case analysis to your blog, sharing it on YouTube, or with your email subscribers.

Some clients may not want their professional information shared with large audiences, so clarify this step of the process first.

Related:  40+ Timeline Template Examples and Design Tips

Research your case study

Once your client agrees to participate in the case analysis, you can begin researching. Remember the objective of your case study and research the subject accordingly.

For example, we wanted to show how infographics help businesses grow their audience. We contacted our user, ChadSan , who had seen massive growth after adding infographics to their marketing campaigns.

We put our findings into a  research infographic  along with quotes from the client, charts and graphs.

case study

To do this, we researched the content ChadSan created before and compared their traffic to when they started using infographics.

It’s also important to look at the industry your client is in so you have an idea of what success looks like in that sector.

Client interviews

Conducting interviews with clients is a good way to get information for your case report.

You can hold interviews via video call, which you should record to double-check later or conduct the interview via email.

Email interviews might require follow-ups if you need further clarification on particular questions.

Asking the right questions is crucial during the research phase. You don’t want ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as an answer. You need qualified information and data to build out a case study, like the one below.

case study

USE THIS CASE REPORT TEMPLATE

For example, we asked our contact at ChadSan for her experience using infographics in her marketing. We also asked about her main challenges, why she had chosen Venngage and the benefits of using Venngage.

This is also the stage when you can ask for concrete examples of how your product benefited your client.

We asked ChadSan to share some examples of the infographics they had created using our templates. This helped show our product in use, further social proof of the advantages of using Venngage infographics.

Create the case study outline

With the client interview completed, gather the data you have and start writing the outline for the case report. Remember the case study format  we shared earlier when you’re preparing the outline.

This will help you design a case study that is memorable, like this example.

Purple SAAS Business Case Study Template

For a case study blog post, you should prepare the following:

  • Overview of the study
  • The results, with charts
  • Call to action

Write a few notes for each point that you can elaborate on in the next writing stage. By following this process, you can build out a case study like this example.

Social Media Business Case Study template

Draft your case report

The outline is your starting point for drafting the case report. Like any other piece of content you create, a case study needs to be engaging. It also needs a beginning, a middle and an end.

Use classic marketing storytelling approaches when writing case studies. Introduce your characters (the client), the conflict (the business problem), the resolution (the benefits of your product).

By using this technique, you can write a case study like this example.

case study

Conclude with an analysis of your success and a testimonial recommending your product and brand.

Finalize your case study

Revise your study and ask one or two colleagues to glance over it to catch any mistakes you may have missed.

You should send the report to the client you’re showcasing for their approval. When you and the client are satisfied with the case study, an infographic study like the one below is ready to be published.

Digital Ducats Case Study Venngage

Share a link to the case study with the client to promote on their platforms. You can share the case report on your social channels, with partners and to your email subscribers.

Now that you know how to write your case report, here are some tips on case study design. Improving the aesthetics and usability of your study will make it memorable to read. In the long run, the study will help boost brand awareness.

Use a case study template

Make the case study design process easier by using a template. Venngage offers a variety of customizable case study templates , like this one, to make any study attractive and engaging.

LISG Case Study Venngage

Choose a template from Venngage’s library and edit it to fit your needs. Change the text, upload visuals or choose images from our stock photo integration. Pick icons from the 40,000+ icons available to better reflect your story.

With Venngage for Business , you can get priority support while designing your study.

You can also access  real-time collaboration  features so you can design your case study with team members.

Incorporate white space

A great way to make your case study engaging is to incorporate one important rule of design: use plenty of white space.

White space is all the blank areas around your text and visuals. This space gives your information room to breathe and makes it easier for readers to absorb your story.

Take a look at this template for inspiration. There is plenty of room around each element. This makes the study easier to navigate.

case study

Write short paragraphs of two or three lines and use bullet points to create more space around your text. Leave room around your visuals, as well, so users can move through the sections easily.

Related:  The Ultimate Guide to Design Thinking

Visualize data for your case study

Case studies include a great deal of information but that doesn’t mean they need to be packed full of text. Visuals are a great way to catch the eye and keep users interested in your report.

Statistics are a key element of case reports but numbers on their own can get lost. Instead, visualize your data using Venngage’s chart maker and graph maker .

Design pie charts, bar graphs, donut charts, line and area graphs, or maps to visualize numerous types of data for your case studies, like in this example.

case study

Related:  How to Tell a Story With Data: A Guide for Beginners

Add branding to case reports

Branding is an important facet of case reports. Anybody reading the study should know which companies were involved, both the client and your brand.

Add recognizable brand elements such as your logo and the client’s logo. Use your brand colors and brand fonts  throughout your case study design.

Ensure that your design adheres to your  brand guidelines , including your brand voice.

Take a look at this case study infographic Venngage created with Baptist Care. We incorporated both our logos in the infographic. We also used the brand colors and fonts of both companies.

case study

You can easily add your branding to case report templates using Venngage’s  My Brand Kit  tool. Input your website and the Autobrand feature will apply your branding across all your designs.

What subjects are covered in a case study?

Depending on the field of study, case reports can examine a variety of subjects, including:

  • a group of people
  • an organization or business

For example, case studies in psychology may be focused on a person or groups of people. Medical case reports might study events or groups of patients.

Businesses can examine other organizations, as in this example, or events.

case study

What are the characteristics of a case study?

Case studies are characterized by the units or subjects they examine. These units need to be studied in totality. Every aspect of the person, organization or event needs to be included.

Reports should also be qualitative as well as quantitative. This means that case study research describes problems and solutions.

It also backs those assumptions up with data. Both aspects must be included in the analysis, as in this example.

case study

How can you design a case study with Venngage?

Venngage makes it easy to design case studies by offering numerous editable templates. Create an account with Venngage and browse the library for a template.

Customize the template, like the one below, in the easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor. Add text, pick colors , icons, add photos and charts and graphs.

case study

Upload photos with Venngage. Drag and drop images into the Venngage editor and customize your reports in seconds.

Use a case study to highlight your brand’s successes

A case study can be a powerful marketing tool that showcases the advantages of using your product.

By highlighting real clients and their successes, you can provide social proof to potential customers and partners.

Designing case studies has never been easier. Use Venngage’s templates to create engaging reports to impress your audiences and help you grow your client base.

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How to Write a Case Study | Examples & Methods

what else can i do case study

What is a case study?

A case study is a research approach that provides an in-depth examination of a particular phenomenon, event, organization, or individual. It involves analyzing and interpreting data to provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject under investigation. 

Case studies can be used in various disciplines, including business, social sciences, medicine ( clinical case report ), engineering, and education. The aim of a case study is to provide an in-depth exploration of a specific subject, often with the goal of generating new insights into the phenomena being studied.

When to write a case study

Case studies are often written to present the findings of an empirical investigation or to illustrate a particular point or theory. They are useful when researchers want to gain an in-depth understanding of a specific phenomenon or when they are interested in exploring new areas of inquiry. 

Case studies are also useful when the subject of the research is rare or when the research question is complex and requires an in-depth examination. A case study can be a good fit for a thesis or dissertation as well.

Case study examples

Below are some examples of case studies with their research questions:

These examples demonstrate the diversity of research questions and case studies that can be explored. From studying small businesses in Ghana to the ethical issues in supply chains, case studies can be used to explore a wide range of phenomena.

Outlying cases vs. representative cases

An outlying case stud y refers to a case that is unusual or deviates significantly from the norm. An example of an outlying case study could be a small, family-run bed and breakfast that was able to survive and even thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic, while other larger hotels struggled to stay afloat.

On the other hand, a representative case study refers to a case that is typical of the phenomenon being studied. An example of a representative case study could be a hotel chain that operates in multiple locations that faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as reduced demand for hotel rooms, increased safety and health protocols, and supply chain disruptions. The hotel chain case could be representative of the broader hospitality industry during the pandemic, and thus provides an insight into the typical challenges that businesses in the industry faced.

Steps for Writing a Case Study

As with any academic paper, writing a case study requires careful preparation and research before a single word of the document is ever written. Follow these basic steps to ensure that you don’t miss any crucial details when composing your case study.

Step 1: Select a case to analyze

After you have developed your statement of the problem and research question , the first step in writing a case study is to select a case that is representative of the phenomenon being investigated or that provides an outlier. For example, if a researcher wants to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry, they could select a representative case, such as a hotel chain that operates in multiple locations, or an outlying case, such as a small bed and breakfast that was able to pivot their business model to survive during the pandemic. Selecting the appropriate case is critical in ensuring the research question is adequately explored.

Step 2: Create a theoretical framework

Theoretical frameworks are used to guide the analysis and interpretation of data in a case study. The framework should provide a clear explanation of the key concepts, variables, and relationships that are relevant to the research question. The theoretical framework can be drawn from existing literature, or the researcher can develop their own framework based on the data collected. The theoretical framework should be developed early in the research process to guide the data collection and analysis.

To give your case analysis a strong theoretical grounding, be sure to include a literature review of references and sources relating to your topic and develop a clear theoretical framework. Your case study does not simply stand on its own but interacts with other studies related to your topic. Your case study can do one of the following: 

  • Demonstrate a theory by showing how it explains the case being investigated
  • Broaden a theory by identifying additional concepts and ideas that can be incorporated to strengthen it
  • Confront a theory via an outlier case that does not conform to established conclusions or assumptions

Step 3: Collect data for your case study

Data collection can involve a variety of research methods , including interviews, surveys, observations, and document analyses, and it can include both primary and secondary sources . It is essential to ensure that the data collected is relevant to the research question and that it is collected in a systematic and ethical manner. Data collection methods should be chosen based on the research question and the availability of data. It is essential to plan data collection carefully to ensure that the data collected is of high quality

Step 4: Describe the case and analyze the details

The final step is to describe the case in detail and analyze the data collected. This involves identifying patterns and themes that emerge from the data and drawing conclusions that are relevant to the research question. It is essential to ensure that the analysis is supported by the data and that any limitations or alternative explanations are acknowledged.

The manner in which you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard academic paper, with separate sections or chapters for the methods section , results section , and discussion section , while others are structured more like a standalone literature review.

Regardless of the topic you choose to pursue, writing a case study requires a systematic and rigorous approach to data collection and analysis. By following the steps outlined above and using examples from existing literature, researchers can create a comprehensive and insightful case study that contributes to the understanding of a particular phenomenon.

Preparing Your Case Study for Publication

After completing the draft of your case study, be sure to revise and edit your work for any mistakes, including grammatical errors , punctuation errors , spelling mistakes, and awkward sentence structure . Ensure that your case study is well-structured and that your arguments are well-supported with language that follows the conventions of academic writing .  To ensure your work is polished for style and free of errors, get English editing services from Wordvice, including our paper editing services and manuscript editing services . Let our academic subject experts enhance the style and flow of your academic work so you can submit your case study with confidence.

Business growth

Marketing tips

5 tips for creating a case study that converts

Hero image with a screenshot of case studies

I've created two series so far and have another ticking away in the background, but I'm still new at it. So for anyone else who's also new to writing case studies , here are a few things I learned that can make the process a lot easier. 

Lean into the social proof

Even the most trusted marketers will tell you how much case studies have boosted their business— Neil Patel says three case studies increased his sales by 185%. That's because reading a case study is like reading a review. When you see a five-star detailed review , you're a little relieved, right? 

We had a call last week from one of our uncertain clients. They told us they decided to give us a shot after reading our case studies to "find out if we were real." Turns out we are real, and we're now working with them.

But remember: what sets a case study apart from a testimonial or a sales one-pager is that it relies on storytelling . Sure, a case study might not play on your mind for years the way a novel or movie would, but it needs to be memorable in order to push uncertain leads to book that first call, send an email, or sign up. 

Think in terms of client and topic

An example of a case study from DigitalGrads

What comes first, the client or the topic? 

It depends. Most people would say start with the client—that's where the story is. But there are some cases where starting with the topic will actually yield the best results:

Milestones. If you have a milestone coming up—ours was placing 100 grads into jobs —you can absolutely lead with that and then highlight some clients within the milestone celebration.

New products. Maybe you just launched a new product or service and you want to highlight it. You only have a couple customers to choose from, but that's ok—as long as those customers are happy and willing to participate, you're golden.

Specific use cases. If there's a use case that you serve but that doesn't seem to be resonating with your audience, you can write a case study about it and find clients who fit the bill to highlight.

Of course, if you don't have anything specific in mind, then default to the client. In order to pick who to spotlight, we asked ourselves:

Who are our most well-known clients? If people recognize the name of your customer (assuming it's a trusted brand), they're more likely to trust their opinion.

Who are our repeat customers? Someone who's purchased from you or used your services multiple times (or, in the case of a subscription model, has been a long-time customer) is more likely to have lots to contribute to the conversation.

Who have we worked with recently? Clients will be more likely to give you a quote or accept an interview invitation immediately after you've closed on a deal or sale.

Who has a topical or particularly relatable story? If you helped someone with an issue that a lot of people are struggling with, that's going to draw people in. For example, our upcoming case study series is focused on how we helped women land jobs in exciting roles at tech companies.

Get multiple points of view

It's pretty common for case studies to include quotes from just one person. And it makes sense—getting an interview booked can be a hassle, so talking to more than one person isn't a simple task. Remember, though, that you can always send a form in place of a live interview or just exchange a few emails.

Talking to multiple people will give you more perspectives, of course, which gives you more options for how to tell the story in the way that works best for your brand. You're not tied to one person's interpretation of the relationship, and you might get more—or different—nuance from different people. Plus, outputs from different contacts will vary massively. Some people love a one-word answer while others love to chat. If the one person you speak to doesn't give you much to work with, you're stuck.

If your client used your product or service for a business purpose, talk to more than one employee. Even if only one person at the company used your product or service, you might get insights about the business from someone else that could help you form an engaging narrative.

Get quotes from your own colleagues. Did anyone work directly with the customer? If so, talk to that person to get more insight. If not, find someone who knows the aspect of the product or service you're highlighting and ask them to speak to it. 

Do the heavy lifting yourself. Gather as much information as possible before you start. That way, even if you don't get anything incredible from anyone else, you know you have something to work with. (Just always be sure you send the case study to the client to review before you publish it.)

Tag everyone when promoting

Of course you'll promote your case studies across your marketing channels . When you promote them on social, be sure to tag everyone involved. Anyone who you quoted and anyone who offered you their time or resources to contribute to the article should get a shout-out. For starters, it's polite! But it'll also help with engagement since people will be excited to see their story in the limelight.

A comment on LinkedIn from someone featured in a case study

Also be sure to engage when they reshare . Comment on their post to help maintain that relationship and show other potential customers that you're engaged with your audience and truly want to promote the success of your clients.

We were initially worried that our 100 Hires case study series would reveal that we're actually a small, young company—only 100 hires so far. But it's been a huge success. 

You want to be sure you're accurately representing your product or service, your brand, and the customer you're profiling. The goal isn't to win over every single person who reads your case study—it's to win over the people who will be successful with your business.

After you've put in the blood, sweat, and tears (from yourself or, in my case, your boss), make your case studies work for you. Promote them, reuse them in different formats, and even use them to remind your team of the great work you've done.

This was a guest post from Daisy Hanson, a content marketing executive at DigitalGrads, the graduate training and recruitment platform. DigitalGrads  is on a mission to match talented university graduates with innovative employers. Search for your  ideal junior hire  today! Want to see your work on the Zapier blog? Read our guidelines , and get in touch.

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Daisy Hanson

Daisy Hanson is a Content Marketing Executive at DigitalGrads, the graduate training and recruitment platform.

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what else can i do case study

All You Wanted to Know About How to Write a Case Study

what else can i do case study

What do you study in your college? If you are a psychology, sociology, or anthropology student, we bet you might be familiar with what a case study is. This research method is used to study a certain person, group, or situation. In this guide from our dissertation writing service , you will learn how to write a case study professionally, from researching to citing sources properly. Also, we will explore different types of case studies and show you examples — so that you won’t have any other questions left.

What Is a Case Study?

A case study is a subcategory of research design which investigates problems and offers solutions. Case studies can range from academic research studies to corporate promotional tools trying to sell an idea—their scope is quite vast.

What Is the Difference Between a Research Paper and a Case Study?

While research papers turn the reader’s attention to a certain problem, case studies go even further. Case study guidelines require students to pay attention to details, examining issues closely and in-depth using different research methods. For example, case studies may be used to examine court cases if you study Law, or a patient's health history if you study Medicine. Case studies are also used in Marketing, which are thorough, empirically supported analysis of a good or service's performance. Well-designed case studies can be valuable for prospective customers as they can identify and solve the potential customers pain point.

Case studies involve a lot of storytelling – they usually examine particular cases for a person or a group of people. This method of research is very helpful, as it is very practical and can give a lot of hands-on information. Most commonly, the length of the case study is about 500-900 words, which is much less than the length of an average research paper.

The structure of a case study is very similar to storytelling. It has a protagonist or main character, which in your case is actually a problem you are trying to solve. You can use the system of 3 Acts to make it a compelling story. It should have an introduction, rising action, a climax where transformation occurs, falling action, and a solution.

Here is a rough formula for you to use in your case study:

Problem (Act I): > Solution (Act II) > Result (Act III) > Conclusion.

Types of Case Studies

The purpose of a case study is to provide detailed reports on an event, an institution, a place, future customers, or pretty much anything. There are a few common types of case study, but the type depends on the topic. The following are the most common domains where case studies are needed:

Types of Case Studies

  • Historical case studies are great to learn from. Historical events have a multitude of source info offering different perspectives. There are always modern parallels where these perspectives can be applied, compared, and thoroughly analyzed.
  • Problem-oriented case studies are usually used for solving problems. These are often assigned as theoretical situations where you need to immerse yourself in the situation to examine it. Imagine you’re working for a startup and you’ve just noticed a significant flaw in your product’s design. Before taking it to the senior manager, you want to do a comprehensive study on the issue and provide solutions. On a greater scale, problem-oriented case studies are a vital part of relevant socio-economic discussions.
  • Cumulative case studies collect information and offer comparisons. In business, case studies are often used to tell people about the value of a product.
  • Critical case studies explore the causes and effects of a certain case.
  • Illustrative case studies describe certain events, investigating outcomes and lessons learned.

Need a compelling case study? EssayPro has got you covered. Our experts are ready to provide you with detailed, insightful case studies that capture the essence of real-world scenarios. Elevate your academic work with our professional assistance.

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Case Study Format

The case study format is typically made up of eight parts:

  • Executive Summary. Explain what you will examine in the case study. Write an overview of the field you’re researching. Make a thesis statement and sum up the results of your observation in a maximum of 2 sentences.
  • Background. Provide background information and the most relevant facts. Isolate the issues.
  • Case Evaluation. Isolate the sections of the study you want to focus on. In it, explain why something is working or is not working.
  • Proposed Solutions. Offer realistic ways to solve what isn’t working or how to improve its current condition. Explain why these solutions work by offering testable evidence.
  • Conclusion. Summarize the main points from the case evaluations and proposed solutions. 6. Recommendations. Talk about the strategy that you should choose. Explain why this choice is the most appropriate.
  • Implementation. Explain how to put the specific strategies into action.
  • References. Provide all the citations.

How to Write a Case Study

Let's discover how to write a case study.

How to Write a Case Study

Setting Up the Research

When writing a case study, remember that research should always come first. Reading many different sources and analyzing other points of view will help you come up with more creative solutions. You can also conduct an actual interview to thoroughly investigate the customer story that you'll need for your case study. Including all of the necessary research, writing a case study may take some time. The research process involves doing the following:

  • Define your objective. Explain the reason why you’re presenting your subject. Figure out where you will feature your case study; whether it is written, on video, shown as an infographic, streamed as a podcast, etc.
  • Determine who will be the right candidate for your case study. Get permission, quotes, and other features that will make your case study effective. Get in touch with your candidate to see if they approve of being part of your work. Study that candidate’s situation and note down what caused it.
  • Identify which various consequences could result from the situation. Follow these guidelines on how to start a case study: surf the net to find some general information you might find useful.
  • Make a list of credible sources and examine them. Seek out important facts and highlight problems. Always write down your ideas and make sure to brainstorm.
  • Focus on several key issues – why they exist, and how they impact your research subject. Think of several unique solutions. Draw from class discussions, readings, and personal experience. When writing a case study, focus on the best solution and explore it in depth. After having all your research in place, writing a case study will be easy. You may first want to check the rubric and criteria of your assignment for the correct case study structure.

Read Also: 'CREDIBLE SOURCES: WHAT ARE THEY?'

Although your instructor might be looking at slightly different criteria, every case study rubric essentially has the same standards. Your professor will want you to exhibit 8 different outcomes:

  • Correctly identify the concepts, theories, and practices in the discipline.
  • Identify the relevant theories and principles associated with the particular study.
  • Evaluate legal and ethical principles and apply them to your decision-making.
  • Recognize the global importance and contribution of your case.
  • Construct a coherent summary and explanation of the study.
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical-thinking skills.
  • Explain the interrelationships between the environment and nature.
  • Integrate theory and practice of the discipline within the analysis.

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Case Study Outline

Let's look at the structure of an outline based on the issue of the alcoholic addiction of 30 people.

Introduction

  • Statement of the issue: Alcoholism is a disease rather than a weakness of character.
  • Presentation of the problem: Alcoholism is affecting more than 14 million people in the USA, which makes it the third most common mental illness there.
  • Explanation of the terms: In the past, alcoholism was commonly referred to as alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is now the more severe stage of this addiction in the disorder spectrum.
  • Hypotheses: Drinking in excess can lead to the use of other drugs.
  • Importance of your story: How the information you present can help people with their addictions.
  • Background of the story: Include an explanation of why you chose this topic.
  • Presentation of analysis and data: Describe the criteria for choosing 30 candidates, the structure of the interview, and the outcomes.
  • Strong argument 1: ex. X% of candidates dealing with anxiety and depression...
  • Strong argument 2: ex. X amount of people started drinking by their mid-teens.
  • Strong argument 3: ex. X% of respondents’ parents had issues with alcohol.
  • Concluding statement: I have researched if alcoholism is a disease and found out that…
  • Recommendations: Ways and actions for preventing alcohol use.

Writing a Case Study Draft

After you’ve done your case study research and written the outline, it’s time to focus on the draft. In a draft, you have to develop and write your case study by using: the data which you collected throughout the research, interviews, and the analysis processes that were undertaken. Follow these rules for the draft:

How to Write a Case Study

  • Your draft should contain at least 4 sections: an introduction; a body where you should include background information, an explanation of why you decided to do this case study, and a presentation of your main findings; a conclusion where you present data; and references.
  • In the introduction, you should set the pace very clearly. You can even raise a question or quote someone you interviewed in the research phase. It must provide adequate background information on the topic. The background may include analyses of previous studies on your topic. Include the aim of your case here as well. Think of it as a thesis statement. The aim must describe the purpose of your work—presenting the issues that you want to tackle. Include background information, such as photos or videos you used when doing the research.
  • Describe your unique research process, whether it was through interviews, observations, academic journals, etc. The next point includes providing the results of your research. Tell the audience what you found out. Why is this important, and what could be learned from it? Discuss the real implications of the problem and its significance in the world.
  • Include quotes and data (such as findings, percentages, and awards). This will add a personal touch and better credibility to the case you present. Explain what results you find during your interviews in regards to the problem and how it developed. Also, write about solutions which have already been proposed by other people who have already written about this case.
  • At the end of your case study, you should offer possible solutions, but don’t worry about solving them yourself.

Use Data to Illustrate Key Points in Your Case Study

Even though your case study is a story, it should be based on evidence. Use as much data as possible to illustrate your point. Without the right data, your case study may appear weak and the readers may not be able to relate to your issue as much as they should. Let's see the examples from essay writing service :

‍ With data: Alcoholism is affecting more than 14 million people in the USA, which makes it the third most common mental illness there. Without data: A lot of people suffer from alcoholism in the United States.

Try to include as many credible sources as possible. You may have terms or sources that could be hard for other cultures to understand. If this is the case, you should include them in the appendix or Notes for the Instructor or Professor.

Finalizing the Draft: Checklist

After you finish drafting your case study, polish it up by answering these ‘ask yourself’ questions and think about how to end your case study:

  • Check that you follow the correct case study format, also in regards to text formatting.
  • Check that your work is consistent with its referencing and citation style.
  • Micro-editing — check for grammar and spelling issues.
  • Macro-editing — does ‘the big picture’ come across to the reader? Is there enough raw data, such as real-life examples or personal experiences? Have you made your data collection process completely transparent? Does your analysis provide a clear conclusion, allowing for further research and practice?

Problems to avoid:

  • Overgeneralization – Do not go into further research that deviates from the main problem.
  • Failure to Document Limitations – 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.
  • 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.

How to Create a Title Page and Cite a Case Study

Let's see how to create an awesome title page.

Your title page depends on the prescribed citation format. The title page should include:

  • A title that attracts some attention and describes your study
  • The title should have the words “case study” in it
  • The title should range between 5-9 words in length
  • Your name and contact information
  • Your finished paper should be only 500 to 1,500 words in length.With this type of assignment, write effectively and avoid fluff

Here is a template for the APA and MLA format title page:

There are some cases when you need to cite someone else's study in your own one – therefore, you need to master how to cite a case study. A case study is like a research paper when it comes to citations. You can cite it like you cite a book, depending on what style you need.

Citation Example in MLA ‍ Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing, 2008. Print.
Citation Example in APA ‍ Hill, L., Khanna, T., & Stecker, E. A. (2008). HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing.
Citation Example in Chicago Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies.

Case Study Examples

To give you an idea of a professional case study example, we gathered and linked some below.

Eastman Kodak Case Study

Case Study Example: Audi Trains Mexican Autoworkers in Germany

To conclude, a case study is one of the best methods of getting an overview of what happened to a person, a group, or a situation in practice. It allows you to have an in-depth glance at the real-life problems that businesses, healthcare industry, criminal justice, etc. may face. This insight helps us look at such situations in a different light. This is because we see scenarios that we otherwise would not, without necessarily being there. If you need custom essays , try our research paper writing services .

Get Help Form Qualified Writers

Crafting a case study is not easy. You might want to write one of high quality, but you don’t have the time or expertise. If you’re having trouble with your case study, help with essay request - we'll help. EssayPro writers have read and written countless case studies and are experts in endless disciplines. Request essay writing, editing, or proofreading assistance from our custom case study writing service , and all of your worries will be gone.

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  • Case Study | Definition, Examples & Methods

Case Study | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on 5 May 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 30 January 2023.

A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organisation, 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 sometimes also used. Case studies are good for describing , comparing, evaluating, and understanding different aspects of a research problem .

Table of contents

When to do a case study, step 1: select a case, step 2: build a theoretical framework, step 3: collect your data, step 4: describe and analyse the case.

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. It allows you to explore the key characteristics, meanings, and implications of the case.

Case studies are often a good choice in a thesis or dissertation . They keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources to do large-scale research.

You might use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in depth, or conduct multiple case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions , you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to:

  • Provide new or unexpected insights into the subject
  • Challenge or complicate existing assumptions and theories
  • Propose practical courses of action to resolve a problem
  • Open up new directions for future research

Unlike quantitative or experimental research, a strong case study does not require a random or representative sample. In fact, case studies often deliberately focus on unusual, neglected, or outlying cases which may shed new light on the research problem.

If you find yourself aiming to simultaneously investigate and solve an issue, consider conducting action research . As its name suggests, action research conducts research and takes action at the same time, and is highly iterative and flexible. 

However, you can also choose a more common or representative case to exemplify a particular category, experience, or phenomenon.

While case studies focus more on concrete details than general theories, they should usually have some connection with theory in the field. This way the case study is not just an isolated description, but is integrated into existing knowledge about the topic. It might aim to:

  • Exemplify a theory by showing how it explains the case under investigation
  • Expand on a theory by uncovering new concepts and ideas that need to be incorporated
  • Challenge a theory by exploring an outlier case that doesn’t fit with established assumptions

To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, you should conduct a literature review of sources related to the topic and develop a theoretical framework . This means identifying key concepts and theories to guide your analysis and interpretation.

There are many different research methods you can use to collect data on your subject. Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews, observations, and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data .

The aim is to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of the case and its context.

In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give as complete a picture as possible of the subject.

How you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard scientific paper or thesis, with separate sections or chapters for the methods , results , and discussion .

Others are written in a more narrative style, aiming to explore the case from various angles and analyse its meanings and implications (for example, by using textual analysis or discourse analysis ).

In all cases, though, make sure to give contextual details about the case, connect it back to the literature and theory, and discuss how it fits into wider patterns or debates.

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A generative AI reset: Rewiring to turn potential into value in 2024

It’s time for a generative AI (gen AI) reset. The initial enthusiasm and flurry of activity in 2023 is giving way to second thoughts and recalibrations as companies realize that capturing gen AI’s enormous potential value is harder than expected .

With 2024 shaping up to be the year for gen AI to prove its value, companies should keep in mind the hard lessons learned with digital and AI transformations: competitive advantage comes from building organizational and technological capabilities to broadly innovate, deploy, and improve solutions at scale—in effect, rewiring the business  for distributed digital and AI innovation.

About QuantumBlack, AI by McKinsey

QuantumBlack, McKinsey’s AI arm, helps companies transform using the power of technology, technical expertise, and industry experts. With thousands of practitioners at QuantumBlack (data engineers, data scientists, product managers, designers, and software engineers) and McKinsey (industry and domain experts), we are working to solve the world’s most important AI challenges. QuantumBlack Labs is our center of technology development and client innovation, which has been driving cutting-edge advancements and developments in AI through locations across the globe.

Companies looking to score early wins with gen AI should move quickly. But those hoping that gen AI offers a shortcut past the tough—and necessary—organizational surgery are likely to meet with disappointing results. Launching pilots is (relatively) easy; getting pilots to scale and create meaningful value is hard because they require a broad set of changes to the way work actually gets done.

Let’s briefly look at what this has meant for one Pacific region telecommunications company. The company hired a chief data and AI officer with a mandate to “enable the organization to create value with data and AI.” The chief data and AI officer worked with the business to develop the strategic vision and implement the road map for the use cases. After a scan of domains (that is, customer journeys or functions) and use case opportunities across the enterprise, leadership prioritized the home-servicing/maintenance domain to pilot and then scale as part of a larger sequencing of initiatives. They targeted, in particular, the development of a gen AI tool to help dispatchers and service operators better predict the types of calls and parts needed when servicing homes.

Leadership put in place cross-functional product teams with shared objectives and incentives to build the gen AI tool. As part of an effort to upskill the entire enterprise to better work with data and gen AI tools, they also set up a data and AI academy, which the dispatchers and service operators enrolled in as part of their training. To provide the technology and data underpinnings for gen AI, the chief data and AI officer also selected a large language model (LLM) and cloud provider that could meet the needs of the domain as well as serve other parts of the enterprise. The chief data and AI officer also oversaw the implementation of a data architecture so that the clean and reliable data (including service histories and inventory databases) needed to build the gen AI tool could be delivered quickly and responsibly.

Our book Rewired: The McKinsey Guide to Outcompeting in the Age of Digital and AI (Wiley, June 2023) provides a detailed manual on the six capabilities needed to deliver the kind of broad change that harnesses digital and AI technology. In this article, we will explore how to extend each of those capabilities to implement a successful gen AI program at scale. While recognizing that these are still early days and that there is much more to learn, our experience has shown that breaking open the gen AI opportunity requires companies to rewire how they work in the following ways.

Figure out where gen AI copilots can give you a real competitive advantage

The broad excitement around gen AI and its relative ease of use has led to a burst of experimentation across organizations. Most of these initiatives, however, won’t generate a competitive advantage. One bank, for example, bought tens of thousands of GitHub Copilot licenses, but since it didn’t have a clear sense of how to work with the technology, progress was slow. Another unfocused effort we often see is when companies move to incorporate gen AI into their customer service capabilities. Customer service is a commodity capability, not part of the core business, for most companies. While gen AI might help with productivity in such cases, it won’t create a competitive advantage.

To create competitive advantage, companies should first understand the difference between being a “taker” (a user of available tools, often via APIs and subscription services), a “shaper” (an integrator of available models with proprietary data), and a “maker” (a builder of LLMs). For now, the maker approach is too expensive for most companies, so the sweet spot for businesses is implementing a taker model for productivity improvements while building shaper applications for competitive advantage.

Much of gen AI’s near-term value is closely tied to its ability to help people do their current jobs better. In this way, gen AI tools act as copilots that work side by side with an employee, creating an initial block of code that a developer can adapt, for example, or drafting a requisition order for a new part that a maintenance worker in the field can review and submit (see sidebar “Copilot examples across three generative AI archetypes”). This means companies should be focusing on where copilot technology can have the biggest impact on their priority programs.

Copilot examples across three generative AI archetypes

  • “Taker” copilots help real estate customers sift through property options and find the most promising one, write code for a developer, and summarize investor transcripts.
  • “Shaper” copilots provide recommendations to sales reps for upselling customers by connecting generative AI tools to customer relationship management systems, financial systems, and customer behavior histories; create virtual assistants to personalize treatments for patients; and recommend solutions for maintenance workers based on historical data.
  • “Maker” copilots are foundation models that lab scientists at pharmaceutical companies can use to find and test new and better drugs more quickly.

Some industrial companies, for example, have identified maintenance as a critical domain for their business. Reviewing maintenance reports and spending time with workers on the front lines can help determine where a gen AI copilot could make a big difference, such as in identifying issues with equipment failures quickly and early on. A gen AI copilot can also help identify root causes of truck breakdowns and recommend resolutions much more quickly than usual, as well as act as an ongoing source for best practices or standard operating procedures.

The challenge with copilots is figuring out how to generate revenue from increased productivity. In the case of customer service centers, for example, companies can stop recruiting new agents and use attrition to potentially achieve real financial gains. Defining the plans for how to generate revenue from the increased productivity up front, therefore, is crucial to capturing the value.

Upskill the talent you have but be clear about the gen-AI-specific skills you need

By now, most companies have a decent understanding of the technical gen AI skills they need, such as model fine-tuning, vector database administration, prompt engineering, and context engineering. In many cases, these are skills that you can train your existing workforce to develop. Those with existing AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities have a strong head start. Data engineers, for example, can learn multimodal processing and vector database management, MLOps (ML operations) engineers can extend their skills to LLMOps (LLM operations), and data scientists can develop prompt engineering, bias detection, and fine-tuning skills.

A sample of new generative AI skills needed

The following are examples of new skills needed for the successful deployment of generative AI tools:

  • data scientist:
  • prompt engineering
  • in-context learning
  • bias detection
  • pattern identification
  • reinforcement learning from human feedback
  • hyperparameter/large language model fine-tuning; transfer learning
  • data engineer:
  • data wrangling and data warehousing
  • data pipeline construction
  • multimodal processing
  • vector database management

The learning process can take two to three months to get to a decent level of competence because of the complexities in learning what various LLMs can and can’t do and how best to use them. The coders need to gain experience building software, testing, and validating answers, for example. It took one financial-services company three months to train its best data scientists to a high level of competence. While courses and documentation are available—many LLM providers have boot camps for developers—we have found that the most effective way to build capabilities at scale is through apprenticeship, training people to then train others, and building communities of practitioners. Rotating experts through teams to train others, scheduling regular sessions for people to share learnings, and hosting biweekly documentation review sessions are practices that have proven successful in building communities of practitioners (see sidebar “A sample of new generative AI skills needed”).

It’s important to bear in mind that successful gen AI skills are about more than coding proficiency. Our experience in developing our own gen AI platform, Lilli , showed us that the best gen AI technical talent has design skills to uncover where to focus solutions, contextual understanding to ensure the most relevant and high-quality answers are generated, collaboration skills to work well with knowledge experts (to test and validate answers and develop an appropriate curation approach), strong forensic skills to figure out causes of breakdowns (is the issue the data, the interpretation of the user’s intent, the quality of metadata on embeddings, or something else?), and anticipation skills to conceive of and plan for possible outcomes and to put the right kind of tracking into their code. A pure coder who doesn’t intrinsically have these skills may not be as useful a team member.

While current upskilling is largely based on a “learn on the job” approach, we see a rapid market emerging for people who have learned these skills over the past year. That skill growth is moving quickly. GitHub reported that developers were working on gen AI projects “in big numbers,” and that 65,000 public gen AI projects were created on its platform in 2023—a jump of almost 250 percent over the previous year. If your company is just starting its gen AI journey, you could consider hiring two or three senior engineers who have built a gen AI shaper product for their companies. This could greatly accelerate your efforts.

Form a centralized team to establish standards that enable responsible scaling

To ensure that all parts of the business can scale gen AI capabilities, centralizing competencies is a natural first move. The critical focus for this central team will be to develop and put in place protocols and standards to support scale, ensuring that teams can access models while also minimizing risk and containing costs. The team’s work could include, for example, procuring models and prescribing ways to access them, developing standards for data readiness, setting up approved prompt libraries, and allocating resources.

While developing Lilli, our team had its mind on scale when it created an open plug-in architecture and setting standards for how APIs should function and be built.  They developed standardized tooling and infrastructure where teams could securely experiment and access a GPT LLM , a gateway with preapproved APIs that teams could access, and a self-serve developer portal. Our goal is that this approach, over time, can help shift “Lilli as a product” (that a handful of teams use to build specific solutions) to “Lilli as a platform” (that teams across the enterprise can access to build other products).

For teams developing gen AI solutions, squad composition will be similar to AI teams but with data engineers and data scientists with gen AI experience and more contributors from risk management, compliance, and legal functions. The general idea of staffing squads with resources that are federated from the different expertise areas will not change, but the skill composition of a gen-AI-intensive squad will.

Set up the technology architecture to scale

Building a gen AI model is often relatively straightforward, but making it fully operational at scale is a different matter entirely. We’ve seen engineers build a basic chatbot in a week, but releasing a stable, accurate, and compliant version that scales can take four months. That’s why, our experience shows, the actual model costs may be less than 10 to 15 percent of the total costs of the solution.

Building for scale doesn’t mean building a new technology architecture. But it does mean focusing on a few core decisions that simplify and speed up processes without breaking the bank. Three such decisions stand out:

  • Focus on reusing your technology. Reusing code can increase the development speed of gen AI use cases by 30 to 50 percent. One good approach is simply creating a source for approved tools, code, and components. A financial-services company, for example, created a library of production-grade tools, which had been approved by both the security and legal teams, and made them available in a library for teams to use. More important is taking the time to identify and build those capabilities that are common across the most priority use cases. The same financial-services company, for example, identified three components that could be reused for more than 100 identified use cases. By building those first, they were able to generate a significant portion of the code base for all the identified use cases—essentially giving every application a big head start.
  • Focus the architecture on enabling efficient connections between gen AI models and internal systems. For gen AI models to work effectively in the shaper archetype, they need access to a business’s data and applications. Advances in integration and orchestration frameworks have significantly reduced the effort required to make those connections. But laying out what those integrations are and how to enable them is critical to ensure these models work efficiently and to avoid the complexity that creates technical debt  (the “tax” a company pays in terms of time and resources needed to redress existing technology issues). Chief information officers and chief technology officers can define reference architectures and integration standards for their organizations. Key elements should include a model hub, which contains trained and approved models that can be provisioned on demand; standard APIs that act as bridges connecting gen AI models to applications or data; and context management and caching, which speed up processing by providing models with relevant information from enterprise data sources.
  • Build up your testing and quality assurance capabilities. Our own experience building Lilli taught us to prioritize testing over development. Our team invested in not only developing testing protocols for each stage of development but also aligning the entire team so that, for example, it was clear who specifically needed to sign off on each stage of the process. This slowed down initial development but sped up the overall delivery pace and quality by cutting back on errors and the time needed to fix mistakes.

Ensure data quality and focus on unstructured data to fuel your models

The ability of a business to generate and scale value from gen AI models will depend on how well it takes advantage of its own data. As with technology, targeted upgrades to existing data architecture  are needed to maximize the future strategic benefits of gen AI:

  • Be targeted in ramping up your data quality and data augmentation efforts. While data quality has always been an important issue, the scale and scope of data that gen AI models can use—especially unstructured data—has made this issue much more consequential. For this reason, it’s critical to get the data foundations right, from clarifying decision rights to defining clear data processes to establishing taxonomies so models can access the data they need. The companies that do this well tie their data quality and augmentation efforts to the specific AI/gen AI application and use case—you don’t need this data foundation to extend to every corner of the enterprise. This could mean, for example, developing a new data repository for all equipment specifications and reported issues to better support maintenance copilot applications.
  • Understand what value is locked into your unstructured data. Most organizations have traditionally focused their data efforts on structured data (values that can be organized in tables, such as prices and features). But the real value from LLMs comes from their ability to work with unstructured data (for example, PowerPoint slides, videos, and text). Companies can map out which unstructured data sources are most valuable and establish metadata tagging standards so models can process the data and teams can find what they need (tagging is particularly important to help companies remove data from models as well, if necessary). Be creative in thinking about data opportunities. Some companies, for example, are interviewing senior employees as they retire and feeding that captured institutional knowledge into an LLM to help improve their copilot performance.
  • Optimize to lower costs at scale. There is often as much as a tenfold difference between what companies pay for data and what they could be paying if they optimized their data infrastructure and underlying costs. This issue often stems from companies scaling their proofs of concept without optimizing their data approach. Two costs generally stand out. One is storage costs arising from companies uploading terabytes of data into the cloud and wanting that data available 24/7. In practice, companies rarely need more than 10 percent of their data to have that level of availability, and accessing the rest over a 24- or 48-hour period is a much cheaper option. The other costs relate to computation with models that require on-call access to thousands of processors to run. This is especially the case when companies are building their own models (the maker archetype) but also when they are using pretrained models and running them with their own data and use cases (the shaper archetype). Companies could take a close look at how they can optimize computation costs on cloud platforms—for instance, putting some models in a queue to run when processors aren’t being used (such as when Americans go to bed and consumption of computing services like Netflix decreases) is a much cheaper option.

Build trust and reusability to drive adoption and scale

Because many people have concerns about gen AI, the bar on explaining how these tools work is much higher than for most solutions. People who use the tools want to know how they work, not just what they do. So it’s important to invest extra time and money to build trust by ensuring model accuracy and making it easy to check answers.

One insurance company, for example, created a gen AI tool to help manage claims. As part of the tool, it listed all the guardrails that had been put in place, and for each answer provided a link to the sentence or page of the relevant policy documents. The company also used an LLM to generate many variations of the same question to ensure answer consistency. These steps, among others, were critical to helping end users build trust in the tool.

Part of the training for maintenance teams using a gen AI tool should be to help them understand the limitations of models and how best to get the right answers. That includes teaching workers strategies to get to the best answer as fast as possible by starting with broad questions then narrowing them down. This provides the model with more context, and it also helps remove any bias of the people who might think they know the answer already. Having model interfaces that look and feel the same as existing tools also helps users feel less pressured to learn something new each time a new application is introduced.

Getting to scale means that businesses will need to stop building one-off solutions that are hard to use for other similar use cases. One global energy and materials company, for example, has established ease of reuse as a key requirement for all gen AI models, and has found in early iterations that 50 to 60 percent of its components can be reused. This means setting standards for developing gen AI assets (for example, prompts and context) that can be easily reused for other cases.

While many of the risk issues relating to gen AI are evolutions of discussions that were already brewing—for instance, data privacy, security, bias risk, job displacement, and intellectual property protection—gen AI has greatly expanded that risk landscape. Just 21 percent of companies reporting AI adoption say they have established policies governing employees’ use of gen AI technologies.

Similarly, a set of tests for AI/gen AI solutions should be established to demonstrate that data privacy, debiasing, and intellectual property protection are respected. Some organizations, in fact, are proposing to release models accompanied with documentation that details their performance characteristics. Documenting your decisions and rationales can be particularly helpful in conversations with regulators.

In some ways, this article is premature—so much is changing that we’ll likely have a profoundly different understanding of gen AI and its capabilities in a year’s time. But the core truths of finding value and driving change will still apply. How well companies have learned those lessons may largely determine how successful they’ll be in capturing that value.

Eric Lamarre

The authors wish to thank Michael Chui, Juan Couto, Ben Ellencweig, Josh Gartner, Bryce Hall, Holger Harreis, Phil Hudelson, Suzana Iacob, Sid Kamath, Neerav Kingsland, Kitti Lakner, Robert Levin, Matej Macak, Lapo Mori, Alex Peluffo, Aldo Rosales, Erik Roth, Abdul Wahab Shaikh, and Stephen Xu for their contributions to this article.

This article was edited by Barr Seitz, an editorial director in the New York office.

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The Alarming Findings Inside a Mass Shooter’s Brain

An attack by an army reservist prompted a search for answers about whether the soldier’s service could have been a factor..

This transcript was created using speech recognition software. While it has been reviewed by human transcribers, it may contain errors. Please review the episode audio before quoting from this transcript and email [email protected] with any questions.

From “The New York Times,” I’m Sabrina Tavernise. And this is “The Daily.” [MUSIC PLAYING]

A mass shooting last fall by an army reservist in Maine prompted my colleague, Dave Philipps, to search for answers about whether the soldier’s service could have been a factor. Today, the surprising answer Dave found and how it may change our understanding of the effects of modern warfare on the human brain.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

It’s Wednesday, March 13.

So, Dave, you’ve been working on a series of stories on injuries to soldiers in the US military. And last week, there was a sudden and unexpected discovery related to that reporting you’d been doing. Tell me about it.

So what I’ve been looking into for a couple of months was the idea that soldiers can be injured just by firing their own weapons, by standing next to the blast of a mortar or launching a rocket from a shoulder-fired rocket launcher. Some of these big, heavy weapons, the blast wave is strong enough to really injure their brains.

And I’d been working on that over a couple of months because it’s very new. And there’s a lot of uncertain stuff. And I was still working on it in October when I got a call from “The New York Times” national desk. And they said, hey, there’s been a mass shooting in Maine. We need your help. The suspect was in the military. So I dropped everything and got on it.

Right, because you’re the guy who covers military affairs. So they call you.

Right. And the situation was that there’s a 40-year-old man in Maine named Robert Card. He’d been a Sergeant First Class in the Army Reserves for almost 20 years. And he killed several people in a small town in Maine, Lewiston, in a restaurant and in a bowling alley. Then he goes on the Lam. And the whole region is in lockdown for two days. And after a massive manhunt, they eventually find his body 15 minutes away from the shooting site. He had shot himself in the head.

And in the aftermath, his family said that he had been hearing voices. It started right after he had gotten some hearing aids last spring. And he grew to have these nearly constant paranoid delusions that people at the supermarket, people on the street, even people in his own family were saying terrible things about him, essentially saying that he was a pedophile. And he grew obsessed with these delusions that just simply were not happening.

The Army saw this and they tried to intervene. And in fact, he was actually hospitalized for two weeks by the Army. But ultimately, it was not enough. And he committed these shootings, which killed 18 people. And so whenever any veteran is involved in any crime, our first move is generally to ask the Pentagon for that person’s background. We want to know, is there anything in their military record that can help us understand the present by looking at their military past?

And so did you find anything in this Maine shooter’s military records?

In the case of Robert Card, the answer is really no. Remember, we’ve been at war for more than 20 years. And more than a million people have deployed, many of them multiple times. He had been in the military that whole time and he had never deployed.

Never in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Never in Iraq or Afghanistan. Never even in Germany or Korea.

And he also had a really humdrum job. The official title for it was Petroleum Supply Specialist.

What does that mean?

Essentially, you’re the gas guy, who makes sure that the tanks, and the Humvees, and everything else has enough fuel to run. Pretty dull. And so there was nothing at all in his service that suggested it had anything to do with what had happened.

So at this point, you’re like, OK, nothing to see here. This mass shooting is probably totally unrelated to his time in the military because he never deployed?

Well, not quite. I actually picked up one thing that I thought might be really tied to this and potentially extremely important. And that was his hearing aids.

What was it about his hearing aids?

Well, here’s a guy who’s 40 years old, a young, fit guy who has hearing aids. I would expect that from somebody who worked around artillery cannons or worked around mortars, worked around tanks. In the military, you see it all the time. But this guy didn’t seem to have any of that. He’s like a petroleum supply guy. And so I was thinking, OK, something here doesn’t make sense.

And I was able to track down some people who had actually served next to Robert Card in his platoon. And they said, yes, he had been a petroleum supply specialist years ago. But in 2014, he switched over to a training battalion, where he was exposed to lots and lots of blasts. And basically, what this battalion did is, every summer, they held a summer camp for cadets at West Point that taught them how to use all sorts of weapons, taught them how to use machine guns, grenade launchers, shoulder-fired rockets, and hand grenades.

And that’s where Robert Card worked, I learned. Every year in the summer, he was on the hand grenade range, where about 1,200 cadets would come through. And most of them threw two grenades. So every year, he’s getting exposed in the course of a few weeks to 2,000 grenade blasts. Now, according to the military, this is safe. This is fine. No problem. Move along.

But emerging research, like the stuff that I’ve been reporting about in the previous months, had shown that this repetitive blast from firing your own weapons can be really damaging. And so I thought, OK, Robert Card was exposed to a lot of blasts. Maybe that could help explain what happened to him.

So what did you do next? How do you start to answer that question?

Well, we knew that the answer would be in Robert Card’s brain, that if he did have a brain injury from repeated blast exposure, you can see it. And what I learned soon after was that the Maine State Medical Examiner knew that too. And in fact, after he died, they had saved his brain and then shipped it to Boston, where one of the best brain labs that looks at traumatic brain injury is at Boston University. These folks specialize specifically in documenting CTE in football players and other contact sports athletes.

So, Dave, is the thinking here that maybe Robert Card had something like CTE, that it’s that kind of injuries like we see in football players?

Well, they didn’t know. And the only way to figure it out was to essentially slice his brain into slices that are about the tenth of a thickness of a piece of paper. And then they look at it under two microscopes, a normal optical microscope and a really detailed electron microscope that can look at things on a subcellular level.

And in the first microscope, they’re looking for CTE, which is easy to see. They can stain it brown and it creates these floral patterns around blood vessels in the brain. But when they looked at it, they didn’t find that. And if you’re just exposed to blast, maybe that’s not a big surprise because the research suggests that blast exposure leads to something else, something that really doesn’t have an accepted name yet, but in a sense is damage to the wiring that’s deep in the brain.

And under the second microscope, that’s essentially what they found in Robert Card’s brain. And what they’re looking at is the cables in the brain. So your brain has outside of the brain gray matter, which is where thoughts happen. And inside the brain is white matter that is essentially wiring that connects all that gray matter together. So it can talk to itself. It can understand itself. It can act.

But it turns out that when blast waves surge through the brain, those long, stringy pieces of white matter essentially get whipped really hard, hard enough that they get frayed or broken. Think of it like the cable you use to charge your iPhone. You can twist that, and twist it up, and untwist it, and it’ll be fine.

But it’s the repetitive over and over that causes problems. So imagine twisting your iPhone cable 10,000 times. And then it might still be there, but you plug it in and it doesn’t work anymore. And so that’s what they’re looking at in Robert Card’s brain.

So the results were definitive. Despite never having served in combat, Card really suffered pretty severe brain damage from these repetitive blasts at this training camp, it seems like.

Right. And we have to be careful because we can’t definitively say with Robert Card right now that not only those grenade blasts caused this injury, but that injury caused his behavior. What we can say is that it’s a very, very good match. It certainly seems that that’s the case.

And, Dave, what is the implication of this?

Well, this is something that means so much more than just what happened to Robert Card or what happened in a shooting in Maine. And that’s because, for years, the military has known that blasts from combat, from roadside bombs, from enemy attacks are dangerous and they can damage the brain.

But they haven’t known what the effect of training is because most of the people who served in the military also went overseas. They might have gotten hit by an IED. They might have experienced something traumatic in combat. And so if they come back with brain injuries, it’s very hard to say, are those brain injuries tied to firing their own weapons?

But Robert Card’s almost like a control study. We know that he never went overseas. He also never played football in high school. He was never in a serious car accident. He didn’t do a lot of things that could have caused a brain injury to him. As far as we know, the only thing that could have damaged his brain is this blast injury of working on the grenade range. And so if that is true, that means that a lot of the brain injury that is happening in the military is being caused by the military. That’s a big deal.

We’ll be right back.

So, Dave, what exactly did the military know about brain damage caused by blasts? And when did it know it?

Well, it starts with the IUD problem. During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, around 2005, 2006, if you remember, roadside bombs were the leading way that insurgents were hurting American forces.

And so the United States poured a ton of money into trying to understand, OK, these blasts that these guys are experiencing, these men and women, they appear fine. They get up and walk away. But there’s something going on there.

It’s not like you’re missing a limb or something. So when someone walks by, you may look absolutely normal. But it’s a very invisible wound.

The military started gathering these stories and even shared some of these interviews.

When I came home, I was not the same person.

And when I got out, I didn’t think that I had any issues or mental health issues that would affect me in the civilian life. I found that I was having trouble controlling my emotions, sometimes, my anger.

Soldiers were coming home complaining to military leaders of all sorts of problems, feeling different, acting different, thinking different.

I ended up losing a job because I was getting violent. I started another job, was getting violent there. I was real irritable, hard to deal with.

I was self-medicating, trying to hide feelings and things like that. I had the suicidal thoughts.

They’re almost coming back as different people. And the Defense Department poured hundreds of millions of dollars into this starting probably around 2008, trying to answer the question of, what kind of blast is dangerous? And why? And they started getting answers, but it was still really murky. And so in 2012, they set up a brain bank to essentially collect brains from anyone and everyone they could get who was in uniform because this injury couldn’t be seen through an MRI, through a PET scan, through the normal things that we think of for imaging the brain. It was too subtle.

But you could slice it up and see it in the brain. And what they were seeing was this telltale scarring in the white matter. And at the same time, there were a lot of families that got results back from this brain bank and saw that characteristic scarring in the white matter. And they knew that their loved ones had been affected by blast. And they also knew that enemy blasts were only a small fraction of what their loved one experienced. And so how could you untangle? What was training caused? And what was caused by the enemy?

And so a lot of these families, they started taking this information to Congress. In 2018, they said to Congress, the military is not taking blasts seriously enough. They don’t understand it. They can’t tell who’s injured. They need to do something. Congress at that point passed a law forcing the military to look at this research and figure out how we can track this. But here we are in 2024 and a lot of those questions are still not answered.

And then, of course, came Card, which seems to give us something of a new data point, a new answer.

That’s right, because the military, for all of this time, they had been saying, well, this is complicated. We did some studies, but we still don’t have clear answers. And they would hem and haw and essentially use the lack of a definitive answer as a way to postpone action. But here’s Robert Card. And he’s really important because the only thing he’s been exposed to is grenade blasts. And that’s supposed to be safe.

Something did happen after all those years of research. The military, they finally put in place a safety threshold that basically said, above this power of blast, there could be hazard. And they use a number for that. They measure blasts in four pounds per square inch. That’s the strength of the blast wave hitting anybody.

But you can think of that four as a safety level. Anything higher, probably dangerous. Anything lower, supposed to be safe. And that’s why Card is so important because, if he was only exposed to grenades and he has a blast injury, those grenades come in not at four, not even at 3.9. They come in at one PSI or maybe 1 and a half. So that suggests that this safety threshold that got put in place is way off.

And that’s really important, not just for Robert Card, but for all sorts of troops who are training right now because there are many weapons out there, mortars, shoulder-fired rocket launchers, big artillery that come in at higher levels, some of them as high as eight or nine PSI. And what that threshold doesn’t take into account is that we’re not just talking about one blast. We’re talking about hundreds or thousands of blasts. And how does that change how any blast is a threat or a hazard?

So essentially, all of this study and research didn’t actually translate into procedures that kept soldiers safer.

Right. It’s sometimes frustrating for me to see this research because there are brilliant people who are building computer models that model how energy waves go through brain matter. Or they are very carefully blowing up lab rats and then cutting open their brains to see the effects. And none of that expensive and time-consuming research has many — any difference to the people in uniform.

Dave, how many vets are we talking about here? How many people may be suffering or at risk of this kind of brain damage? Do we know the scale here?

That’s a really hard question to answer. We know that more than 450,000 people have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury by the military since 2000. But that probably leaves out tens of thousands of people who, like Robert Card, were exposed to repeated blasts and may have a brain injury, but never were diagnosed.

So the universe is potentially very large.

That’s why this is such a huge deal.

Dave, stepping back for a second, it seems like what we’re learning here through this example of Robert Card is bringing us into a moment where we’re rethinking what it means to have combat trauma, that it might actually have a lot more to do with the physical blast than with the mental or psychological trauma that one goes through in, say, a combat deployment.

One thing that I’ve been reporting about for years is when soldiers come home different and why. And I started out really focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder and just the horror of war and how that can change and erode your character. And then I learned that traumatic brain injury can be a big part of that and that those two things may be tangled together in ways that are impossible to unravel.

But what’s really interesting about Robert Card and other people I’ve talked to who’ve never deployed, but they’ve been around a lot of blasts, is if you sent them into a typical Army clinic and had them list their symptoms, they would probably get diagnosed with PTSD. They’re sleepless. They have anxiety. They have panic attacks. They are socially withdrawn. They’re depressed.

So there are all these things that we have long thought are products of war, of combat, that may actually be an underlying condition that is not related to war at all. To put it in the plainest terms possible, it’s basically related to a workplace safety issue that we haven’t acknowledged or addressed.

So when Johnny comes home different from the war, it might not actually be the war.

It might not actually be the war.

But I also think that there’s a broader implication beyond the military. And we can see it in Robert Card. Here was a man whose blast injury wasn’t understood, who did something horrendous. And so I think we have to think about, what is the cost of not doing anything here? Now, of course, we don’t know for sure that Robert Card did this because of his blast injury. But we do know that he had profound injuries deep in his brain.

And we also know from talking to people that he served with that it’s not just Robert Card. Other people that served with him on the grenade range are also struggling. A number of them are getting help for pretty persistent mental health problems. And one of his best friends was just recently hospitalized for a psychiatric crisis. And he’s now facing a domestic violence charge. So how do we look at those people differently now after seeing Card? And how do we look at this problem in a way that tries to prevent that from happening?

Dave, I’m curious if you’ve heard from the family of Robert Card since his diagnosis. And I wonder what this diagnosis has meant to them, if anything.

Well, they didn’t get a choice when his brain went to the lab. That was the decision of the state, which really wanted to understand in whatever way it could what had happened. But when they got these results back and the family sat around their kitchen table listening to the doctor who had looked into his brain and learned there was damage, in a way that I think was really surprising to them, it allowed them to have some forgiveness, to not see their brother, their son, as a monster, but to see him as somebody who was hurt.

It gives them a different story about their brother.

Absolutely.

Dave, thank you.

Here’s what else you should know today.

My assessment in the report about the relevance of the president’s memory was necessary, and accurate, and fair.

On Tuesday, in a tense appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, former special counsel Robert Hur testified about his investigation and February report into President Biden’s handling of classified documents.

You could have written your report with comments about his specific recollection as to documents or a set of documents. But you chose a general pejorative reference to the president.

The four-hour session quickly descended into a brutal partisan fight. In his report, Hur had called Biden, quote, “An elderly man with a poor memory,” a conclusion that had infuriated Democrats. Republicans, for their part, grilled Hur about his conclusion that the evidence was insufficient to charge Biden with a crime —

Here’s what I see, Biden and Trump should have been treated equally. They weren’t. And that is the double standard that I think a lot of Americans are concerned about.

— and accused Hur of protecting Biden.

You exonerated him.

— would be a conviction.

I know that —

It did not exonerate him.

— the term willful retention has a —

That word does not appear in the report, Congresswoman.

Mr. Hur, it’s my time.

But Hur made clear during the testimony that his report had not cleared Biden of wrongdoing, rejecting a suggestion by Democrats that it had. Today’s episode was produced by Jessica Cheung, Clare Toeniskoetter, and Olivia Natt, with help from Sydney Harper. It was edited by MJ Davis Lin, contains original music by Dan Powell and Marion Lozano, and was engineered by Chris Wood. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly.

That’s it for “The Daily.” I’m Sabrina Tavernise. See you tomorrow.

The Daily logo

  • March 15, 2024   •   35:20 A Journey Through Putin’s Russia
  • March 14, 2024   •   28:21 It Sucks to Be 33
  • March 13, 2024   •   27:44 The Alarming Findings Inside a Mass Shooter’s Brain
  • March 12, 2024   •   27:30 Oregon Decriminalized Drugs. Voters Now Regret It.
  • March 11, 2024   •   29:07 The Billionaires’ Secret Plan to Solve California’s Housing Crisis
  • March 10, 2024 The Sunday Read: ‘Can Humans Endure the Psychological Torment of Mars?’
  • March 8, 2024   •   29:40 The State of the Union
  • March 7, 2024   •   32:31 The Miseducation of Google’s A.I.
  • March 6, 2024   •   23:07 The Unhappy Voters Who Could Swing the Election
  • March 5, 2024   •   32:02 A Deadly Aid Delivery and Growing Threat of Famine in Gaza
  • March 4, 2024   •   26:06 An F.B.I. Informant, a Bombshell Claim, and an Impeachment Built on a Lie
  • March 3, 2024 The Sunday Read: ‘How Tom Sandoval Became the Most Hated Man in America’

Hosted by Sabrina Tavernise

Featuring Dave Philipps

Produced by Jessica Cheung ,  Clare Toeniskoetter and Olivia Natt

With Sydney Harper

Edited by M.J. Davis Lin

Original music by Dan Powell and Marion Lozano

Engineered by Chris Wood

Listen and follow The Daily Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music

Warning: this episode contains descriptions of violence and self harm.

Last fall, an Army reservist killed 18 people at a bowling alley and restaurant in Lewiston, Maine, before turning the gun on himself.

Dave Philipps, who covers military affairs for The Times, had already been investigating the idea that soldiers could be injured just by firing their own weapons. Analyzing the case of the gunman in Lewiston, Dave explains, could change our understanding of the effects of modern warfare on the human brain.

On today’s episode

what else can i do case study

Dave Philipps , who covers war, the military and veterans for The New York Times.

Two people wearing military uniforms stand on a cement platform. One of them is throwing a grenade into a wooded area.

Background reading

Profound damage was found in the Lewiston gunman’s brain , possibly from explosions.

The finding has broad implications for treatment strategies in veterans and for criminal justice.

There are a lot of ways to listen to The Daily. Here’s how.

We aim to make transcripts available the next workday after an episode’s publication. You can find them at the top of the page.

The Daily is made by Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Dan Powell, Sydney Harper, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Rob Szypko, Elisheba Ittoop, Mooj Zadie, Patricia Willens, Rowan Niemisto, Jody Becker, Rikki Novetsky, John Ketchum, Nina Feldman, Will Reid, Carlos Prieto, Ben Calhoun, Susan Lee, Lexie Diao, Mary Wilson, Alex Stern, Dan Farrell, Sophia Lanman, Shannon Lin, Diane Wong, Devon Taylor, Alyssa Moxley, Summer Thomad, Olivia Natt, Daniel Ramirez and Brendan Klinkenberg.

Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Paula Szuchman, Lisa Tobin, Larissa Anderson, Julia Simon, Sofia Milan, Mahima Chablani, Elizabeth Davis-Moorer, Jeffrey Miranda, Renan Borelli, Maddy Masiello, Isabella Anderson and Nina Lassam.

Dave Philipps writes about war, the military and veterans and covers The Pentagon. More about Dave Philipps

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How much COVID is going around in Central Texas? What to know four years after first case.

what else can i do case study

Congratulations, Austin. We made it through another year of COVID-19, and, this year, COVID-19 played out like most other respiratory viruses and influenza, Austin doctors tell the American-Statesman.

During the fall and winter cold and flu season, COVID-19 cases didn't fill up hospitals. COVID-19 didn't make headlines. Most of us were exposed often and didn't get sick. If we did get sick, most of us recovered fairly well.

To mark the decrease in serious cases, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created new COVID-19 guidelines.

Here's where we are in COVID-19, four years after Central Texas saw our first cases:

How much COVID-19 is in Central Texas?

Austin clinics saw a surge of COVID-19 cases in December and January, but, in the last few weeks, cases have started to slow in local clinics and hospitals, the doctors said.

Other respiratory viruses such as rhinoviruses and human metapneumovirus have started to kick up, said Dr. Meena Iyer, the chief medical officer of Dell Children's Medical Center. Earlier it was RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and flu. "We treat them the same way," Iyer said.

Central Texas has remained in the CDC's low level of concern because our hospitals have had a low level of beds taken up by people with COVID-19.

Wastewater surveillance, though, still shows a high level of COVID-19 in samples. Nationally, that is starting to decrease, but not in the Austin area just yet.

While COVID-19 is still here, the number of deaths from it have fallen. In February 2020, Travis County had 113 deaths from COVID that month. In February 2024, just three.

Are people still being hospitalized for COVID-19?

"Hospitalizing someone for COVID has become very infrequent," said Dr. Manish Naik, the chief medical officer at Austin Regional Clinic.

Yes, there are still COVID-19 cases coming into the hospitals, but the cases have been similar to serious flu cases: people who are older than 65 or have other underlying conditions, especially lung diseases, or are on immunosuppression medications.

"It's felt pretty normal for more than a year now," said Dr. Brian Metzger, the medical director of infectious diseases at St. David's HealthCare, about hospital admissions.

What are the new COVID-19 recommendations?

The CDC's new recommendations treat COVID-19 more like we treat any other cold or flu .

The goal is to have one recommendation to follow for all those viruses, said Dr. Charu Sawhney, an internal medicine doctor with Harbor Health.

If you have COVID-19, the CDC recommends:

  • Stay home and away from others until you are fever-free without fever-reducing medications for 24 hours and your symptoms have improved for 24 hours. If your symptoms get better and then worsen, you start the count again.
  • Wear a mask for five days after you are fever-free, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently.

How do you judge if your symptoms are getting better?

Fever and having symptoms typically occur when your viral load is greater and you are more contagious, said Dr. Shimona Thakrar, a pediatric hospitalist at Texas Children's Hospital in Austin.

Symptoms like a cough can be confusing, Sawhney said, because it can linger for weeks. Usually with COVID-19, there is a day when you notice you feel better, she said. Maybe the fatigue is less, the fever is gone, the congestion has lessened. At that point, wait 24 hours, and, if it doesn't worsen, you can go about but wear a mask.

If you're not sure, call your primary care doctor, she said.

Are these precautions enough?

Some people feel these changes didn't come soon enough and others feel like they came too soon, Thakrar said, but it's all about the trends nationally and regionally, she said.

"The more we get away from the original variant, the more it seems like another viral illness," Sawhney said.

COVID-19 is still highly contagious, but the severity of the symptoms has lessened for most people because of the differences in the variants and the immunity people have built up by vaccination or natural infection. People now also have the option of taking antivirals to protect against severe infections.

Because we have home tests, take a test before being around people, Sawhney said, and wear a mask in a crowded space if you are not comfortable.

Home tests do have limits, Naik said. If you get a positive test, you probably have COVID-19, but if you are sick and have a fever and test negative, you might not be able to rule out COVID-19. The tests in a clinic have a higher specificity, Naik said, and should be used if you remain sick even after a home test reads negative.

COVID-19 tests can continue to show positive even after you have improved and no longer need to isolate following the CDC's guidelines, Naik said.

What else can people do to avoid a pandemic return?

Instead of thinking about the vaccine as getting a booster, Sawhney said, we should think of it as getting a flu shot: "I got my COVID shot this year," she said.

Manufacturers also are developing a combination flu and COVID-19 shot .

COVID-19 cases have consistently spiked around the winter holidays into January and then again in summer.

For that reason, Naik believes it could be a regular, annual COVID-19 shot in fall for most people, with a second COVID-19 shot in spring for people at higher risk for serious disease.

What's next on the infectious disease horizon?

Metzger does not see anything at pandemic levels but is keeping an eye on dengue fever and chikungunya virus , which are spread by mosquitoes and have pushed inward into the U.S. Both of those diseases have a vaccine, should they become a problem.

Other old-fashioned diseases such as measles, mumps and polio are starting to resurface as more parents opt out of vaccinating their children. "It's worrisome," Metzger said.

Why do women go through menopause? Scientists find fascinating clues in a study of whales.

what else can i do case study

The existence of menopause in humans has long been a biological conundrum, but scientists are getting a better understanding from a surprising source: whales.

Findings of a new study suggest menopause gives an evolutionary advantage to grandmother whales’ grandchildren. It's a unique insight because very few groups of animals experience menopause.

A paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature looked at a total of 32 whale species, five of which undergo menopause. The findings could offer clues about why humans, the only land-based animals that also goes through menopause, evolved the trait.

“They’ve done a great job of compiling all the evidence,” said Michael Gurven, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara who studies human evolution and societies. “This paper quite elegantly gets at these very difficult issues.”

Whales might seem very distant from humans, but they have important similarities. Both are mammals, both are long-lived, and both live in family and social groups that help each other.

How long does menopause last? Menopause questions and concerns, answered.

Studying these toothed whale species offers a way to think about human evolution, said Gurven, who was not involved in the study.

In five species of toothed whales – killer whales, beluga whales, narwhals, short-finned pilot whales and false killer whales – the researchers’ findings suggest menopause evolved so grandmothers could help their daughters' offspring, without competing with them for mates.

Only daughters' offspring are aided because in these whales, while the males stay with their family group, they mate with females in other groups. But mothers do tend to give more support to their male offspring than to their female offspring.

Post-reproductive-age females help their family group in many ways. Off the coast of Washington state and British Columbia in Canada, grandmother killer whales catch salmon and "break the fish in half and share that catch with their families. So they're actively feeding their families,” said Darren Croft, a professor of behavioral ecology at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom and senior author on the paper.

The whale grandmothers also store ecological knowledge about when and where to find food in times of hardship by using the experience they have gained over the lifetime of their environments.

“We see just the same patterns in (human) hunter-gatherer societies,” Croft said. “In times of a drought or in during times of social conflict, the people would turn to the elders of that community. They would have the knowledge.”

The 'grandmother hypothesis'

The researchers’ findings support what’s known as “the grandmother hypothesis .” It states that menopause is evolutionarily useful because while older women are no longer able to have children, they can instead focus their efforts on supporting their children and grandchildren. This means their family lines are more likely to survive, which has the same effect as having more children.

“What we showed is that species with menopause have a much longer time spent to live with their grand offspring, giving them many more opportunities for intergenerational health due to their long life,” said Samuel Ellis, an expert in human social behavior at the University of Exeter and the paper’s first author.

The difference in humans, Gurven said, is that both grandmothers and grandfathers contribute to the well-being of their children and grandchildren.

“In the human story, I think it’s multigenerational cooperation on steroids,” he said.

Though the study doesn’t prove once and for all that the grandmother hypothesis is the reason for menopause in women, it does lay out the evidence, he said. “It’s part of the story, but no one would say it tells the whole story,” Gruven said.

Does menopause lead to a longer life in humans?

There are two proposed pathways for how menopause evolved in humans: the live-long hypothesis and the stop-early hypothesis.

The live-long hypothesis suggests menopause increased total life span, but not how long a woman could have children. That leads to a prediction that species with menopause would live longer but have the same reproductive life span as species without menopause.

In the stop-early hypothesis, the theory is that menopause evolved by shortening the reproductive life span while the total life span remained unchanged. For this to be true, it would be likely that similar species without menopause would have the same life span as those that have menopause, but a shorter reproductive life span.

In looking at species of toothed whales that don’t have menopause and five that do, the researchers' findings make the long-life hypothesis seem most likely.

“This comparative work we’ve been able to do shows that females minimize this competition over reproduction by not also lengthening their reproductive period. Instead, they've evolved a longer lifespan while keeping a shorter reproductive life span,” Croft said.

This appears to be exactly what humans did.

“One of the striking features of this work is the fact that we find this really incredible and rare life-history strategy that we see human societies and in the ocean, but not elsewhere in mammal societies,” he said.

Whale study doesn't reflect men's life spans

The similarities with humans are not across the board, which is good news for men.

No one knows why in humans only females undergo menopause even though both sexes live to be approximately the same ages.

That’s not the case in some of these whales species, where male life spans are typically much shorter than those of females.

“In the killer whale population, for example, females regularly live into their 60s and 70s," Croft said. "The males are all dead by 40.”

COMMENTS

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