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Blog Beginner Guides
What is a Case Study? [+6 Types of Case Studies]
By Ronita Mohan , Sep 20, 2021
Case studies have become powerful business tools. But what is a case study? What are the benefits of creating one? Are there limitations to the format?
If you’ve asked yourself these questions, our helpful guide will clear things up. Learn how to use a case study for business. Find out how cases analysis works in psychology and research.
We’ve also got examples of case studies to inspire you.
Haven’t made a case study before? You can easily create a case study with Venngage’s customizable templates.
CREATE A CASE STUDY
Click to jump ahead:
What is a case study, what is the case study method, benefits of case studies, limitations of case studies, types of case studies, faqs about case studies.
Case studies are research methodologies. They examine subjects, projects, or organizations to tell a story.
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Numerous sectors use case analyses. The social sciences, social work, and psychology create studies regularly.
Healthcare industries write reports on patients and diagnoses. Marketing case study examples , like the one below, highlight the benefits of a business product.
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Now that you know what a case study is, we explain how case reports are used in three different industries.
What is a business case study?
A business or marketing case study aims at showcasing a successful partnership. This can be between a brand and a client. Or the case study can examine a brand’s project.
There is a perception that case studies are used to advertise a brand. But effective reports, like the one below, can show clients how a brand can support them.
Hubspot created a case study on a customer that successfully scaled its business. The report outlines the various Hubspot tools used to achieve these results.
Hubspot also added a video with testimonials from the client company’s employees.
So, what is the purpose of a case study for businesses? There is a lot of competition in the corporate world. Companies are run by people. They can be on the fence about which brand to work with.
Business reports stand out aesthetically, as well. They use brand colors and brand fonts . Usually, a combination of the client’s and the brand’s.
With the Venngage My Brand Kit feature, businesses can automatically apply their brand to designs.
A business case study, like the one below, acts as social proof. This helps customers decide between your brand and your competitors.
Don’t know how to design a report? You can learn how to write a case study with Venngage’s guide. We also share design tips and examples that will help you convert.
Related: 55+ Annual Report Design Templates, Inspirational Examples & Tips [Updated]
What is a case study in psychology?
In the field of psychology, case studies focus on a particular subject. Psychology case histories also examine human behaviors.
Case reports search for commonalities between humans. They are also used to prescribe further research. Or these studies can elaborate on a solution for a behavioral ailment.
The American Psychology Association has a number of case studies on real-life clients. Note how the reports are more text-heavy than a business case study.
Famous psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and Anna O popularised the use of case studies in the field. They did so by regularly interviewing subjects. Their detailed observations build the field of psychology.
It is important to note that psychological studies must be conducted by professionals. Psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists should be the researchers in these cases.
Related: What Netflix’s Top 50 Shows Can Teach Us About Font Psychology [Infographic]
What is a case study in research?
Research is a necessary part of every case study. But specific research fields are required to create studies. These fields include user research, healthcare, education, or social work.
For example, this UX Design report examined the public perception of a client. The brand researched and implemented new visuals to improve it. The study breaks down this research through lessons learned.
Clinical reports are a necessity in the medical field. These documents are used to share knowledge with other professionals. They also help examine new or unusual diseases or symptoms.
The pandemic has led to a significant increase in research. For example, Spectrum Health studied the value of health systems in the pandemic. They created the study by examining community outreach.
The pandemic has significantly impacted the field of education. This has led to numerous examinations on remote studying. There have also been studies on how students react to decreased peer communication.
Social work case reports often have a community focus. They can also examine public health responses. In certain regions, social workers study disaster responses.
You now know what case studies in various fields are. In the next step of our guide, we explain the case study method.
Return to Table of Contents
A case analysis is a deep dive into a subject. To facilitate this case studies are built on interviews and observations. The below example would have been created after numerous interviews.
Case studies are largely qualitative. They analyze and describe phenomena. While some data is included, a case analysis is not quantitative.
There are a few steps in the case method. You have to start by identifying the subject of your study. Then determine what kind of research is required.
In natural sciences, case studies can take years to complete. Business reports, like this one, don’t take that long. A few weeks of interviews should be enough.
The case method will vary depending on the industry. Reports will also look different once produced.
As you will have seen, business reports are more colorful. The design is also more accessible . Healthcare and psychology reports are more text-heavy.
Designing case reports takes time and energy. So, is it worth taking the time to write them? Here are the benefits of creating case studies.
- Collects large amounts of information
- Helps formulate hypotheses
- Builds the case for further research
- Discovers new insights into a subject
- Builds brand trust and loyalty
- Engages customers through stories
For example, the business study below creates a story around a brand partnership. It makes for engaging reading. The study also shows evidence backing up the information.
We’ve shared the benefits of why studies are needed. We will also look at the limitations of creating them.
Related: How to Present a Case Study like a Pro (With Examples)
There are a few disadvantages to conducting a case analysis. The limitations will vary according to the industry.
- Responses from interviews are subjective
- Subjects may tailor responses to the researcher
- Studies can’t always be replicated
- In certain industries, analyses can take time and be expensive
- Risk of generalizing the results among a larger population
These are some of the common weaknesses of creating case reports. If you’re on the fence, look at the competition in your industry.
Other brands or professionals are building reports, like this example. In that case, you may want to do the same.
There are six common types of case reports. Depending on your industry, you might use one of these types.
Descriptive case studies
Explanatory case studies, exploratory case reports, intrinsic case studies, instrumental case studies, collective case reports.
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We go into more detail about each type of study in the guide below.
Related: 15+ Professional Case Study Examples [Design Tips + Templates]
When you have an existing hypothesis, you can design a descriptive study. This type of report starts with a description. The aim is to find connections between the subject being studied and a theory.
Once these connections are found, the study can conclude. The results of this type of study will usually suggest how to develop a theory further.
A study like the one below has concrete results. A descriptive report would use the quantitative data as a suggestion for researching the subject deeply.
When an incident occurs in a field, an explanation is required. An explanatory report investigates the cause of the event. It will include explanations for that cause.
The study will also share details about the impact of the event. In most cases, this report will use evidence to predict future occurrences. The results of explanatory reports are definitive.
Note that there is no room for interpretation here. The results are absolute.
The study below is a good example. It explains how one brand used the services of another. It concludes by showing definitive proof that the collaboration was successful.
Another example of this study would be in the automotive industry. If a vehicle fails a test, an explanatory study will examine why. The results could show that the failure was because of a particular part.
Related: How to Write a Case Study [+ Design Tips]
An explanatory report is a self-contained document. An exploratory one is only the beginning of an investigation.
Exploratory cases act as the starting point of studies. This is usually conducted as a precursor to large-scale investigations. The research is used to suggest why further investigations are needed.
An exploratory study can also be used to suggest methods for further examination.
For example, the below analysis could have found inconclusive results. In that situation, it would be the basis for an in-depth study.
Intrinsic studies are more common in the field of psychology. These reports can also be conducted in healthcare or social work.
These types of studies focus on a unique subject, such as a patient. They can sometimes study groups close to the researcher.
The aim of such studies is to understand the subject better. This requires learning their history. The researcher will also examine how they interact with their environment.
For instance, if the case study below was about a unique brand, it could be an intrinsic study.
Once the study is complete, the researcher will have developed a better understanding of a phenomenon. This phenomenon will likely not have been studied or theorized about before.
Examples of intrinsic case analysis can be found across psychology. For example, Jean Piaget’s theories on cognitive development. He established the theory from intrinsic studies into his own children.
Related: What Disney Villains Can Tell Us About Color Psychology [Infographic]
This is another type of study seen in medical and psychology fields. Instrumental reports are created to examine more than just the primary subject.
When research is conducted for an instrumental study, it is to provide the basis for a larger phenomenon. The subject matter is usually the best example of the phenomenon. This is why it is being studied.
Assume it’s examining lead generation strategies. It may want to show that visual marketing is the definitive lead generation tool. The brand can conduct an instrumental case study to examine this phenomenon.
Collective studies are based on instrumental case reports. These types of studies examine multiple reports.
There are a number of reasons why collective reports are created:
- To provide evidence for starting a new study
- To find pattens between multiple instrumental reports
- To find differences in similar types of cases
- Gain a deeper understanding of a complex phenomenon
- Understand a phenomenon from diverse contexts
A researcher could use multiple reports, like the one below, to build a collective case report.
Related: 10+ Case Study Infographic Templates That Convert
What makes a case study a case study?
A case study has a very particular research methodology. They are an in-depth study of a person or a group of individuals. They can also study a community or an organization. Case reports examine real-world phenomena within a set context.
How long should a case study be?
The length of studies depends on the industry. It also depends on the story you’re telling. Most case studies should be at least 500-1500 words long. But you can increase the length if you have more details to share.
What should you ask in a case study?
The one thing you shouldn’t ask is ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. Case studies are qualitative. These questions won’t give you the information you need.
Ask your client about the problems they faced. Ask them about solutions they found. Or what they think is the ideal solution. Leave room to ask them follow-up questions. This will help build out the study.
How to present a case study?
When you’re ready to present a case study, begin by providing a summary of the problem or challenge you were addressing. Follow this with an outline of the solution you implemented, and support this with the results you achieved, backed by relevant data. Incorporate visual aids like slides, graphs, and images to make your case study presentation more engaging and impactful.
Now you know what a case study means, you can begin creating one. These reports are a great tool for analyzing brands. They are also useful in a variety of other fields.
Use a visual communication platform like Venngage to design case studies. With Venngage’s templates, you can design easily. Create branded, engaging reports, all without design experience.
- About Case Study Reports
- Section A: Overview
- Section B: Planning and Researching
Section C: Parts of a Case Study
- Section D: Reviewing and Presenting
- Section E: Revising Your Work
- Section F: Resources
- Your Workspace
- Guided Writing Tools
- About Lab Reports
- Section C: Critical Features
- Section D: Parts of a Lab Report
- About Literature Review
- Section C: Parts of a Literature Review
- Section D: Critical Writing Skills
- About Reflective Writing
- Section B: How Can I Reflect?
- Section C: How Do I Get Started?
- Section D: Writing a Reflection
Case Study Report Prepared by University of Guelph
In this section, we will take a closer look at the common components of case study reports and what readers expect to find in them.
What Will I Learn?
By successfully completing this section, you should be able to:
- analyze the purpose and features of the sections of a case study report,
- develop writing and organization strategies for writing each section, and
- examine a case study report for strengths and weaknesses.
What Do I Need to Include in Each Section?
Each section of the case study report serves a unique purpose and includes key elements. While reports will vary from case to case and course to course, there are some “moves” that you will typically see writers make in each section.
In this part of the guide, we will help you learn what these moves are and how you can make them in your own case study report.
Worksheet: Case Study Report Outline
You were introduced to the Case Study Report Outline Template in Section A of this guide. It contains an outline of the major components of a case study report that you can consider using as a template when completing case study reports. If you haven’t already, it is recommended that you download the template now.
Case Study Report Outline Template
This outline sample of a Case Study Report should serve as a useful guide to help you get started.
Download the Case Study Report Outline Template .
Preview: PDF Worksheet
Tip: The components of a case study report will vary depending on the preferences of your institution and instructor. Be sure to refer to your assignment instructions in order to find out exactly what will be required when it comes to sections as well as formatting requirements for your report.
The Executive Summary
What is the purpose of an executive summary.
An executive summary typically provides a one-page snapshot of the entire report, focusing on the main highlights. It is usually included at the start of a case report before the main text. Depending on the preferences of your instructor and institution, the executive summary can be written in either paragraph- or point-form.
What should be included in an executive summary?
The executive summary of a case study report should include the following:
- Problem statement
Tell readers in 1–2 sentences what the issue at hand is.
Example: The main problem facing Company XYZ is that sales are declining and employee morale is low. Without addressing these concerns, Company XYZ will be in serious trouble and may not be able to regain their standing as an industry leader.
What should be done to address the problem?
Example : In order to solve this problem it is recommended that Company XYZ undergo a change in strategy, structure, and culture. Specifically, it is recommended that Company XYZ
- pursue a strategy that places a high level of importance on innovation;
- restructure the organization so that it is flexible, innovative, and appropriate for the size of the organization; and
- begin to reshape the company’s organizational culture and the way in which day-to-day business is conducted; managers at all levels of Company XYZ will need to emphasize the values of ethics, creativity, and trust.
Supporting arguments and evidence
Summary of all of the major sections of your report, highlighting the arguments and evidence that support your recommendation.
What is the key message you want readers to take away? Why is it important to solve this problem and what do you anticipate the outcomes will be if the recommendations are followed?
Tip: Keep these arguments in the same order they appear in the main text.
What Tips And Strategies Can I Employ to Write the Executive Summary?
The following is a list of tips and strategies for writing the executive summary section of a case study report:
- Write the executive summary after all of the other sections of the report have been written.
- Consider your role. Write from the perspective that you are asked to adopt; for example, did the case instructions ask you to assume the role of an internal organizational member? An external organizational consultant? Some other stakeholder? How will this influence the tone and content of the summary?
- Avoid repeating case facts in detail. There can be a more general, summative opening sentence but the remainder of your executive summary should focus on going beyond the case information that was provided.
- Clearly state and justify the specific recommendation that will solve the problem that is being encountered. Imagine a skeptical audience: Why should they believe you?
- Include only key financial numbers and associated costing information.
- Make the executive summary can stand alone. Readers should be able to understand the Executive Summary even if they don’t read the rest of the report.
Example: Annotated Case Study Report
Learn more about writing strategies for The Executive Summary section of your paper.
Launch the Executive Summary annotated example that you can review in your browser.
Download the Executive Summary section of the complete Case Study Report annotated example that you can review and print.
Preview: Interactive Version
Preview: PDF Version
What is the purpose of the introduction.
The introduction should briefly introduce the report to the reader and should then clearly, succinctly, and accurately identify the main problem being faced by the key decision-maker.
What Should Be Included In An Introduction?
The introduction of a case study report should include the following:
- Introductory sentence
- Details about the problem (stick to details that relate to your recommendation)
- Who are the most important decision-makers? Stakeholders?
- What are the most important issues?
- Why is this problem occurring? What are the root causes? Underlying factors?
- When does this decision need to be made by? What is the decision timeline? Due date?
- Recommendation: “It is recommended in the current report that [Company XYZ] pursue [this course of action] to address [these issues].”
- Outline or road map of the remainder of the report
What Tips And Strategies Can I Employ to Write the Introduction?
The following is a list of tips and strategies for writing the introduction section of a case study report:
- Avoid repeating case facts in detail and unnecessarily summarizing case facts that are already familiar to the reader.
- State the main problem up front—be as specific and simple as possible.
- Create a sense of urgency and importance associated with the situation by identifying the key stakeholders, problems, underlying factors, and timeline issues. Engage the reader by explaining the tension and complexity underlying the situation.
- State your recommendation so that the reader can consider the rest of your report based on the solution being proposed; this will help to provide context for your analysis and other major report sections.
- Remember: There should be no surprises when the reader gets to the actual recommendation section.
Learn more about writing strategies for the Introduction section of your paper.
Launch the Introduction annotated example that you can review in your browser.
Download the Introduction section of the complete Case Study Report annotated example that you can review and print.
What Is The Purpose Of An Analysis Section?
The analysis section of your case study report is likely to be a very substantial part of your report. In this section you will examine the problem that you identified in the preceding section through a systematic and thorough application of your course and program content.
What Should Be Included?
The analysis section of a case study report should include the following:
- Application of course and/or program content to: examine the problem being faced, and to prepare the reader for the justification and specifics of your Recommendation, Implementation Plan
- References to related exhibits, which are appendices that appear at the end of the report in order to provide further elaboration or evidence regarding your analysis (e.g., graphs, figures, tables, financial documents)
How Should The Analysis Be Structured?
Be sure to check with your instructor to verify whether there is a specific format (e.g., SWOT, PEST) that should be followed. If no format is given, here are some general guidelines:
- Begin with an examination of the problem, highlighting the most important parts. Avoid including unnecessary detail—focus only on the problem and its parts.
- Apply course concepts or theories to the problem to provide insight into causes and effects, using headings to identify each section.
- Conclude with a summary of what your analysis has revealed. Think of this final section as an answer to the question “So what?”
What Tips And Strategies Can I Employ to Write The Analysis Section?
The following is a list of tips and strategies for writing the analysis section of a case study report:
- Use headings to subdivide the section.
- Show your understanding of the course and/or program content by systematically applying what you have been learning to the specific problem.
- Avoid using academic jargon. Instead, explain the concepts in your own words while referencing key sources.
- Only include information that is directly relevant to the problem at hand. Avoid including course and program content that does not relate to the problem that you identified in the preceding section.
- Be sure to discuss course and program concepts that will have an impact on your recommendation and implementation plan.
- Use exhibits strategically to elaborate on ideas in the report; however, ensure that the exhibits expand on ideas you’ve already discussed. Avoid introducing exhibits that don’t tie into the main text.
Learn more about writing strategies for the Analysis section of your paper.
Launch the Analysis annotated example that you can review in your browser.
Download the Analysis section of the complete Case Study Report annotated example that you can review and print.
Alternatives and Decision Criteria
What is the purpose of an alternatives and decision criteria section.
This section helps decision-makers consider all the possible ways they could address the problem by:
- Presenting all viable, mutually exclusive solutions to the problem.
- Outlining the criteria that will be systematically applied to determine the best solution to the problem.
What Are “Mutually Exclusive” Alternatives?
Alternatives are mutually exclusive if choosing one alternative rules out the others. Using mutually exclusive alternatives prevents a situation in which an organization has to implement multiple alternatives.
What Are “Decision Criteria”?
Key requirements that the recommendation will need to meet to successfully solve the problem.
The alternatives and decision criteria section of a case study report should include the following:
- All viable, mutually exclusive alternatives
- Decision criteria including:
- Ranking of importance in terms of which decision criterion is the most important factor in order to be confident that the recommendation will solve the problem, second most important, etc.*
- Weighting in terms of how important each of the decision criteria are in order to be confident that the recommendation will solve the problem.*
- *Not all instructors or institutions will require ranking and weighting information as it is mostly determined in a subjective manner based on your analysis of the problem; nevertheless, it may assist in helping you to decide in a more systematic manner between two or more viable alternatives.
What Tips And Strategies Can I Employ to Write The Alternatives and Decision Section?
The following is a list of tips and strategies for writing the alternatives and decision section of a case study report:
- Your instructor may make the alternatives section of a case study report optional; however, if you can think of at least one reasonable and viable alternative in addition to your recommendation, then this section should be included.
- Be sure to list all reasonable and viable alternatives (including your recommendation).
- Ensure that the alternatives listed are mutually exclusive.
- In the decision criteria section, include the criteria that will be most effective for evaluating the alternative solutions to the problem being faced.
- For a more systematic application of the decision criteria, assign importance and weighting to your decision criteria factors and then apply them to each of the alternatives.
- Be sure to convincingly demonstrate that your recommendation is in fact the best choice compared with the other alternatives. Be explicit about how the criteria apply to the recommendations—do not assume that the reader will see the connection.
Learn more about writing strategies for the Alternatives and Decision Criteria section of your paper.
Launch the Alternatives and Decision Criteria annotated example that you can review in your browser.
Download the Alternatives and Decision Criteria section of the complete Case Study Report annotated example that you can review and print.
Recommendations and Implementation Plan
What is the purpose of the recommendations and implementation plan section.
Although the reader will by now be well aware of your recommendation, in this section you will discuss all of the specifics of the recommendation for solving the problem. Moreover, you should also present a thorough and well thought-out implementation plan for executing the recommendation and ensuring its success.
The recommendations and implementation plan section of a case study report should include the following:
- Detailed explanation of what your recommendation entails. What is it that will be done? What specific steps will be involved? What equipment or expertise will be needed?
- Explanation of your implementation plan, including:
- Who will be responsible for what part of the implementation plan?
- When will the different parts of the recommendation be implemented? Short-, medium-, and long-term implementation plan?
- What will the cost be of these required actions?
- What will the impact of this recommendation be on other parts of the organization?
- What could go wrong, and what contingency plans are in place?
What Tips And Strategies Can I Employ to Write The Recommendations And Implementation Plan?
The following is a list of tips and strategies for writing the recommendations and implementation plan of a case study report:
- Be sure to include all of the details of your recommendation. You have already outlined your more general recommendation to the reader earlier in your report but now is your opportunity to provide the more specific details regarding your recommendation.
- Include a well thought-out implementation plan that includes all of the specifics that an organization would actually require in order to realistically implement your recommendation. Try to put yourself in the mindset of the organizational members responsible for implementing your recommendation; what step-by-step specifics will they need to be aware of in order to take your recommendation and ensure that it is successfully implemented?
- Including a contingency analysis of the possible problems that could arise from your recommendation. What might go wrong? How will you address these problems should they come up in order to still be able to successfully implement your recommendation?
- Also be sure to consider the expected as well as the potentially unexpected impact of your recommendation on the people within the organization.
- A good strategy would be to explain how the organizational leaders will evaluate whether your implementation plan has been successful and whether the recommendation has achieved the desired results. Be specific regarding the evaluation metrics that should be used (e.g., measures of customer satisfaction, measures of employee engagement, profitability analyses)
Learn more about writing strategies for the Recommendations and Implementation Plan section of your paper.
Launch the Recommendations and Implementation Plan annotated example that you can review in your browser.
Download the Recommendations and Implementation Plan section of the complete Case Study Report annotated example that you can review and print.
Conclusion and References
What is the purpose of the conclusion.
The purpose of the conclusion section is to leave your reader with one or two last, powerful statements that will help to reinforce the recommendation that you are proposing.
Some instructors and institutions do not require a conclusion section, but if done effectively, it can end your case report on a strong note.
The conclusion section of a case study report should include the following:
- A summary sentence that explains what we have learned from the report
- One or two impactful and memorable statements to conclude your report (what is the most important thing that the organization should take away from the report?)
What Tips And Strategies Can I Employ to Write The Conclusion?
The following is a list of tips and strategies for writing the conclusion of a case study report:
- Avoid an abrupt ending to your written case report. Provide a few sentences to help draw things to a natural close.
- Persuasively summarize how your recommendation will solve the problem at hand.
- Ensure that you yourself are persuaded and convinced by the concluding statement; for example, would you believe that this solution will work if you were the person reading your report?
Learn more about writing strategies for the Conclusion and References section of your paper.
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Citing Your Sources
What sources should you cite.
You should use in-text citations for any idea that is not your own. Moreover, these citations should be reflected in your references list, which you will be required to provide at the end of your case study report. Your institution will have their own plagiarism and academic misconduct policies, which you should familiarize yourself with; however, a best practice will be to be cautious and ensure that all of the following are appropriately cited and referenced throughout your work:
- Ideas from sources other than your own thinking
- Direct quotations, which you should use infrequently in your case study reports
- Paraphrasing and/or summarizing the work of others
- Course and/or program specific definitions, theories, models, etc.
- Information from popular press articles
- Data, financial documents, etc. from annual reports, company webpages
What Are The Common Citation Styles?
It is likely that your instructor will let you know what his/her preferences are in terms of a citation style; however, some of the most common citation styles include:
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago)
- Modern Language Association (MLA)
Key Takeaways and References
Now that you've completed this section, keep the following things in mind:
- The key to most case study reports is logic. There is usually not just one desired correct response to a case study, but rather, there are more and less logical, practical, and reasonable responses. Incorporating sound and strong logic throughout your report is paramount.
- Ensure that your report is written at a level that would appeal to a business audience rather than an academic one.
- Lastly, can you confidently stand behind, advocate for, and answer questions regarding your case response? If so, then your work is likely in a good position!
- The next steps for this set of modules will involve helping you to take all of the work that has gone into your written report in order to prepare a verbal presentation of your work.
American Psychological Association (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Lipson, C. (2011). Cite right: A quick guide to citation styles—MLA, APA, Chicago, the sciences, professions, and more (2nd ed.). Chicago: The University Of Chicago Press.
Modern Language Association (2008). MLA style manual and guide to scholarly publishing (3rd ed.). New York: Modern Language Association of America.
Modern Language Association (2009). The MLA handbook for writers of research papers (7th ed.). New York: Modern Language Association of America.
University of Chicago Press Staff. (2010). The Chicago manual of style: The essential guide for writers, editors, and publishers (16th ed.). Chicago: The University Of Chicago Press.
University of Guelph. (2015). Case Study Report Outline Template .
University of Guelph. (2015). The Executive Summary. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (Interactive Activity).
University of Guelph. (2015). The Executive Summary. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (PDF).
University of Guelph. (2015). The Introduction. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (Interactive Activity).
University of Guelph. (2015). The Introduction. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (PDF).
University of Guelph. (2015). Analysis. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (Interactive Activity).
University of Guelph. (2015). Analysis. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (PDF).
University of Guelph. (2015). Alternatives and Decision Criteria. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (Interactive Activity).
University of Guelph. (2015). Alternatives and Decision Criteria. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (PDF).
University of Guelph. (2015). Recommendations and Implementation Plan. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (Interactive Activity).
University of Guelph. (2015). Recommendations and Implementation Plan. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (PDF).
University of Guelph. (2015). Conclusion and References. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (Interactive Activity).
University of Guelph. (2015). Conclusion and References. Example: Annotated Case Study Report . (PDF).
Next Section Overview
In Section D: Reviewing and Presenting , we will explore understanding and meeting your instructor's expectations for the report and presentation.
Case Study Format in 2023: 6 Key Elements for Better Results
Need content for your business? Find top writers on WriterAccess!
A case study is a way of showing how your business’ solutions can help customers solve their problems. Besides that, it will tell an inspiring story about a successful instance and will make it easier to nurture and convert leads.
According to the B2B Marketing report , 66% of marketers surveyed answered that case studies were the most effective content format in their strategies. In Eccolo Media’s B2B Technology Content Survey Report , case studies are the third-most influential content format, just behind white papers and datasheets.
An efficient case study format includes a problem to be solved, an environmental analysis — problems and opportunities that must be examined by the leader —, and how products and services from businesses help solve the original point.
Making sure all the elements of a case study are there to convince and engage the audience is as important as telling a story. To make sure you cover all topics, in this article, you will find out about:
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What Is the Best Case Study Format?
First and foremost, the best case study format is a realistic one.
Do not write about things that never happened or do not make case studies bigger to appear better. Using some data, you can improve the narrative and convince your reader.
Storytelling is the most important narrative to give life to your case study and to set you apart. To do this, follow the classic narrative arc: using between 200 and 300 words, introduce the client as well as the problems they are trying to resolve.
Then, you can talk about the solution, with a brief explanation of what drove the client to seek out the products, before going into more depth about how they use it. You could add direct quotes and data to be highly effective in the end.
When using storytelling in your case study, you need a conclusion to follow from the main body. Avoid needless words and be a professional writer: use a persuasive discourse with action words, such as discover, learn, or unveil.
Following this structure — problem, solution, result, and conclusion, just like a hero’s journey —, you can drive more clients to know and like your brand.
What to Consider When Preparing Your Case Study
The case study writing process includes written planning and information structuring. In this first step, you have to identify your subject, considering how much does the customer or organization uses your product or service.
Also, think about how long they’ve been using this and if they had a positive result that would make a good story. Your sales team could suggest who might be willing to participate.
Ask for an authorization to talk about it. You can write a permission letter to do this and here is a template you can adapt to your needs:
Hi, [name of person],
We are conducting a case study and my team would like to tell the story of [name of company]. Would you be interested in working with us to create a case study around the use of our product? Here’s a description of our process and what we would need from you.
The process begins with an interview: it could be at your office or by phone or video call. Our marketing team will build a story out of it. We would also need to use some email conversations — to gather extra information —, a high-resolution company logo, images of your team and your company office, and some stats — before and after you used our products and/or services.
Once the final draft is complete, we will send it over to you for review. We will also create a landing page and build a campaign around it. In the end, we will share the final story with you.
Then, you can schedule the interview and formulate questions to do it. Make sure that you have a way to document it — a recording device or even note-taking.
The questionnaire will help you get the necessary information to develop the story of your case study. Check out some potential questions below:
- What does your company do?
- What is your work process?
- What are your goals as a business?
- How long have you been using our product or service?
- What problem did you experience before using our product or service?
- Did your problem happen suddenly or did it occur over time?
- Why did you select our product or service over a competitor?
- What solutions did you try before you came to us?
- What materials did you read or watch that influenced your decision?
- How did our product/service solve a problem you were experiencing?
- What tasks did our product or service simplify for you?
- How much time did you save?
- What tasks did our product or service eliminate?
- What difficulties did you face in the transition process?
- What advice do you have for anyone implementing our product into their work process now?
- Could you share some data and metrics to demonstrate this success?
Structuring Your Customer Story For Utmost Engagement
Downloadable PDF is the most common study case format, but it could be shared as a website page section, a video, or a slide presentation.
Although the content itself is more important than the appearance, some rules could organize ideas to make reading more attractive and fluid. Check out which items are essential for this:
- title : it should include the company or product name, identify the customer, and the result, but it must not exceed 67 characters;
- executive summary : this is a section summarizing the content;
- the subject : could be about the company or its product or service;
- problem or challenge : what did the client have difficulty achieving before using your product or service;
- solution : how did the company or product solve the problem or challenge;
- results : describe the results and use statistics, if possible.
- quotes : pick some quotes to feature in strategic parts of the case study;
- plans : in the end, tell what your subject requires for the future.
- CTA : not every case study needs a call to action, but this could induce the readers to pay attention to the website, or product.
Make your conclusion action-oriented: tell the reader what to do next and how to do it. You can use interactive content to make your case story format truly engaging.
Elements of a Case Study: 6 Tips to Build Brand Trust
The following elements are considered essentials not only because they make the content more pleasant and more accurate, but also because they make your brand trustworthy .
They prove that your company goes beyond idealizations and implements practical solutions. Make sure this is all covered when writing a case study !
1. How to set up the strategy?
Any type of content you share should come with a plan. The customer journey itself is part of a bigger marketing plan , after all. Therefore, the first step to building a case study is establishing where you are going with it.
Of course, you want all the benefits that come with this material, but it is even better to define the main goals. Do you want to generate more leads, or maybe nurture the ones you already have? Assist the sales team or orient the public to take the initiative?
All of that can happen, but if you decide exactly what is better for your company at the moment, you can make the entire content leading up to that specific result!
2. What is there to know about storytelling?
Ultimately, a case study is (or, at least, has to be) a well-told story. Even though you’ll need numbers and other kinds of data, actually what engages the reader is a good narrative . For that, you have to consider the basic aspects of storytelling: characters, scenarios, and beginning-to-end chronology.
The main character is, of course, the client on which the study is being based. If you can’t or don’t want to use their real name, you can still give it a backstory and, if possible, even a personality. That is what’s going to make the narrative plausible and appealing, with a strong emotional connection.
The scenario is the situation in which your client was before meeting your company’s solution. Remember to make it realistic, so that anyone who reads it can imagine it happening to them.
With that all set, the story should fluidly be constructed. You will present a challenge in the first chapter, then move on to the solution found by the character, and finally, the results lead up to a happy ending.
3. Why do you use relatable testimonials?
If this is B2B content , you may encounter a common problem: creating a face for a company. In this situation, the best way out is to work even more with testimonials, from owners to workers.
Yes, testimonials are some key elements of a case study, and they will appear no matter what. However, are they relatable? If your storytelling is based upon that, absolutely you should make sure that they are.
Once you get a chance to interview someone for the case study, choose the interviewee wisely. Who is the person most capable of telling valuable info about the time before, during, and after the use of your services? And who is the person that most resembles your target audience? Once you cross those lines, you will have found the perfect testimonial.
Therefore, when the conversation takes place, don’t forget to ask about both aspects that brought you to that person. You do need data, facts, and comparisons, but you also need to make the readers feel like they could be giving that testimonial themselves.
4. Why should you always use reliable data?
Even though storytelling is a major part of the process of writing a case study, it can not be mistaken for the average storytelling applied to other marketing strategies. Data is used in all situations, but case studies require a lot of specifics — not to mention you are talking about an existing client, and they will know if something is off.
You will have to gather every kind of fact, number, and proof before you start writing the content. Instead of just saying the client “doubled the results”, for example, include the exact numbers and graphics to show how and when that happened.
For this step, the collaboration with the customer being used as an example is massive. You just have to display proof of how they were before they had your product or service as a solution. If not, how will the reader believe that the results were so promising?
5. What is the importance of interactiveness?
Going through 2020 and seeking the best during the next years means one thing: interactiveness. More specifically, interactive content ― that is, if you want a differential to your case study.
We’re talking about a type of content that requires action from the audience. It has been some time since this trend started and it doesn’t seem like it’s going away anytime soon. Users like to be a part of the things they consume, whether it’s by commenting and making their voices be heard, whether it’s by being entertained.
There are a lot of different kinds of interactive media and content that your company can use on case studies. From apps and videos to quizzes and infographics, it all depends on how it fits with your services and the public.
- Do you want the reader to find out if the case study he just read can work out his numbers? There’s an ROI calculator for that!
- Or maybe you want to provide information that your company knows all about? Try an interactive white paper !
The list goes on and on.
6. How to choose the right channels to promote your content
Although it can — and should — be posted on your website and social media, a case study may be way more effective if spread to other channels as well.
For starters, send it to your sales team, along with a description and guidelines about the best circumstances to use it. Other coworkers should also have access to it, especially if they are frequently in touch with clients and potential customers. A link for the content can be placed on their emails’ signatures, for example.
A few extra tips:
- write a complementary blog post to attract traffic;
- create landing pages or add the case study to relevant, existing ones;
- place a button or banner on your homepage, leading to the right page;
- send it as a part of your newsletter or as an exclusive email to all relevant contacts;
- insert it into long presentations, when you feel it is called for.
What Are the Benefits of Publishing a Case Study?
All of this may sound like a lot of work, but don’t lose focus on what is important: the results! Let us briefly remind you of some major benefits that come from successful case studies.
It creates useful resources for the sales team
We said earlier that you should hand the case study to your sales team, and that’s no joke: it can help them a lot .
Convincing strangers that they would be better off with your services is a hard task, but a good story with great data can, sometimes, do the trick.
It nurtures and converts leads
Since it is bottom-of-funnel content, the case study will be the most strategic piece in the customer journey.
Some leads can be generated, depending on the promotion put in place, but the number one task here is to finish the client’s journey. It will likely get them to feel convinced and make a move to buy that product that seems so good for others like them.
It reinforces the peer-to-peer influence
People are naturally skeptical of businesses talking about themselves. They want the content for learning about what you do but need other perspectives to find out if the company is reliable.
A case study is just that: a way of showing your product does work, by the words of those who bought it.
It shows your brand evangelists
There is no better way of testing the quality of the services you provide than asking customers to talk sincerely about it. When building a case study, you will inevitably find out who are the evangelists among your clients!
So those are all the benefits and key elements of a case study. Did you find this article helpful and want more on the subject? The next step is already here: discover examples of great case studies from Ion!
Get Your Case Study Written by Professionals
Outsourcing the writing of case studies can be a game-changer for your company. Crafting compelling narratives and gathering reliable data requires a specialized skill set that professional writers possess. That’s where WriterAccess comes in.
With our platform, you can easily connect with experienced writers who are well-versed in creating engaging case studies. Our pool of talented writers can bring your client stories to life, capturing the essence of your brand and showcasing the results you’ve achieved.
Whether you need downloadable PDFs, website sections, videos, or slide presentations, our writers can deliver high-quality case studies in various formats. Trust WriterAccess to handle your case study writing needs and elevate your brand’s credibility.
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All You Wanted to Know About How to Write a 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:
- 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.
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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.
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.
- 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:
- 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.
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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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6 Essential Case Study Elements: Turning That Client Love Into Social Proof (Examples Included)
Case studies serve as social proof for B2B companies. But they’re also time-consuming and challenging to create. If you’re going to write case studies (and you should), here are six essential elements.
Case studies don’t get the credit they’re due. In fact, they just might be the most important piece of content for B2B marketers.
Survey results from Demand Gen Report have shown that 78% of companies use case studies to research B2B purchasing decisions, which was more than any other type of content.
And when compared with other sales content, DocSend found that case studies showed an 83% completion rate, an average that left all other content in the dust. (Completion rate = number of people who read to the end.)
Okay, yes, they’re mission critical. So let’s dive into six key elements each case study must include.
Element #1. Use a headline that highlights a qualitative or quantitative goal you helped a client achieve
There’s no time to waste in a case study – and no reason to hold out for a dramatic finish. That’s why a compelling headline, one that’s specific and powerful enough to motivate people to read on, is so critical. Consider the following ways that can be accomplished.
Metrics integrated into the headline. If the case study has impressive quantified results, they should be put front and center, not buried at the end. Sure, you can share them in the “results” section of your case study, too. Just don’t assume everyone will read that far.
Example: Thysse used the “3X” number to showcase increased productivity from a client.
A relevant detail when metrics aren’t possible. Satisfied clients don’t always have metrics available to share. If that’s the case, a specific detail can deliver impact in the headline.
Just make sure it really is specific. That means going beyond saying your company helped a client “be successful” or “be more effective.”
Example: Delta ModTech used this case study headline to convey a specific – and industry-relevant – detail of how the company helps their client.
Pro tip: Use formulas to help create an effective headline. It can be tricky to articulate the headline details succinctly. If you need help, you may want to set up basic phrase structures, plug in the details, and see what works. Here are four formats courtesy of case study guru Joel Klettke .
- How [service/company] helped [client] [result]
- [Result] for [client]
- [Client] gets [result] with [service]
- How [client] eliminated [pain] with [service]
Element #2. Include charts and graphics to tell a more convincing story
Effective case studies leverage the power of images, especially the type of graphics you’d see in a PowerPoint presentation to a CEO or to a group of potential investors.
Example: Check out how the SEO company BrightEdge uses the following two charts to vividly illustrate a manufacturing client’s increases in organic rankings and keywords. Even without accompanying text, the graphics deliver an immediate message of improvement.
Next, here’s how HubSpot presents impressive data textually in a simple but bold visual format:
And if you have a physical product to show that can illustrate your point, by all means include it. Rocket Industrial shows the plastic corrugated container they designed to improve a client’s packaging.
Element #3. Capture your client’s voice
Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media has said it best (and I’m paraphrasing): If you say it, it’s marketing. If your customer says it, it’s social proof.
That’s why the hallmark of effective case studies is enabling the client’s own words to tell the story as much as possible.
Example: Note how Robots and Pencils (R&P) lets the client’s quotes do the heavy lifting in this case study.
And check out this quote from a manufacturing client about us. It’s real dialogue, not a polished piece of prose. That’s why it works.
It also illustrates how you can take select client quotes a step further. Here we used a block quote plus a photo to add authenticity.
Element #4. Keep it short and sweet for the skimmers
This holds true for any type of content, but particularly for case studies. Sure, they’re interesting reads — but only if it doesn’t take long to read them. So write for the skimmers.
We like the Challenge, Solution, Results format because it’s predictable and you get what you came for — quickly. Beyond that, keep paragraphs one to three lines in length, and use pull quotes and bullet points to help tell your story.
Example: In the following from Looop , you not only see how the client’s quotes move the story along effectively (addressed above), you also see how short paragraphs (often one line!) and bullets keep the case study reader-friendly.
Element #5. Leverage the power of video and audio
There’s just something about that play button. When tweets have video, they’re six times more likely to get retweeted.
And with case study videos, viewers can get a powerful glimpse of a satisfied customer’s insights. These videos can also create an emotional appeal through music and deliver informative B-roll that shows the product or result in action.
Example: The high-speed demands of a Carlsberg beer canning factory – and the laser coding solution that Domino Printing provided – are on dramatic display in this video case study. You can watch the full video or get a strong sense of the story from the video stills further below.
Element #6. Craft a story-specific call to action
The best case studies culminate with a CTA that actually relates to the story just told – rather than a generic and unconvincing “contact us for more information” kind of message.
Example: Here’s a CTA that’s specific and powerful from Rankings.io .
Get excited about creating your next case study
To the right audience, a well-crafted case study – with compelling components like the ones above – serves as strong evidence for a company to make the next move and contact you.
Hopefully, the above tips and examples have you excited to do your next case study.
And you really should be excited. Case studies are possibly the most overlooked yet most valuable type of content you can produce!
For more information on case studies, check out How to Write a Marketing Case Study: A Guide for Creating the Ultimate B2B Social Proof .
Author: Greg Mischio
Greg Mischio is the founder and chief strategist for Winbound, a manufacturing marketing firm specializing in content marketing. He has over 25 years experience as a writer and digital marketing strategist. He lives in Madison, WI with his wife and assortment of pets. Learn more about his company at https://www.winbound.com.
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Case Study Format
Following are the main Components/Parts of a Case Study;
Introduction, alternatives and decision criteria, recommendations and implementation plan, conclusion and references, citing sources.
Writing a case study is not a simple process as it can take several months to write it successfully. There are many stages you need to complete first and after that, you finally come at the stage of writing your case study like selecting the topic, a lot of research ( qualitative research, quantitative research or interview with subjects etc), etc. While writing a case study, bear in mind that all the case studies aren’t the same for sure and vary largely in size, type, and design. It is necessary for a writer to follow a proper case study format while writing it, no matter what.
If you are going to write your very first case study, you need to know that every case study has a specific format, as mentioned above. Students or businesses all over the globe must follow that format in order to make their case study successful. However, one may choose to be a little bit different but the basics remain the same for everyone. Here we are going to discuss different case study sections. The purpose of every section in case study format is different from other and comprise of several unique key elements.
You may also study: How To Write a Case Study
It will definitely assist you to write your own case study with the utmost ease. The sections that are included in the case study are executive summary, introduction, analysis, alternatives and decision criteria, recommendations and implementation plan, conclusions and references, citing sources.
Before moving towards a detailed view of the case study format , let us have a look at the case study benefits.
Value of Case Study
Have you ever think why case studies are developed? This is the question you must ask yourself before writing your very first case study. Knowing the answers and keeping all that stuff in mind will let you write a successful and worth-reading case study.
It is the best way to put the students or learners in an active learning mode. Instead of just testing their memory, case study challenges the students to test their learning via practice, which is usually the easiest approach. In short, case studies proffer students a great opportunity to analyze and resolve the real-world problem with a practical approach. It makes the interpretation as well as problem-solving tasks easy for the learners.
A detailed look at the Case Study Format
Executive summary for a case study is usually similar to the general summary. It is basically a short snapshot that shed the image of your entire case precisely, which consists of a page, most of the time. It doesn’t include too much detail about your case but focuses on key elements or main highlights of your case study. Reading the executive summary of your case study must give the reader an idea about the entire case study and its key elements. There are two approaches adopted to write case studies.
- The first approach is to write the case study’s executive summary in short paragraphs.
- On the other hand, the second approach is to write it in form of points.
Key Points to Cover in an Executive Summary
There are a few things which are necessary to include in your case study’s executive summary i.e. problem statement, recommendation, evidence and supporting arguments, and last but not the least conclusion.
All these things comprise to form a perfect executive summary, which let the reader walk through the entire case study, just by reading it.
- The first thing to include in a case study format is an executive summary, as mentioned above. The very first thing to add in executive summary is problem statement. It let the reader know about the key issue discussed in the entire case in just a few lines. Problem statement usually comprises of one or two statement but may vary according to the case.
- The second thing to add is recommendation after stating the problem statement. What is this recommendation about? It presents one or a few ideas to resolve the problem stated in problem statement.
- The next thing to add in the executive summary is supporting arguments and evidence. It is all about highlighting key areas of your entire case and the arguments of the case. Moreover, it also states one or a few pieces of evidence that support your recommendation section.
- This is the last thing to add in the executive summary is conclusion that definitely concludes everything stated here in this portion. You must let the reader know the key message you want to deliver. Also, state why it is essential to resolve this problem and what are the expected outcomes if the reader follows your recommendations you stated in your case study.
The introduction section of the case study is somehow different from the introduction section of research paper . What is this section intended to have? It is usually here to formulate the stage for your entire case study. It must not only introduce the report of your case but also should state the key problem being faced and discussed thoroughly in a clear and accurate tone.
One thing which is worth-mentioning here is that case study is not like a scientific research report, which is only read by the experts or scientists. It must be written in such a way that a layperson could read and understand it well. Reading the introduction section of case study must let the user know about full case study i.e. what it is about, what are the key areas discussed in this and how the reader will get benefit from it etc. It must not be short enough to miss the necessary details. On the other hand, it must not be long enough that it becomes boring.
Don’t include irrelevant or unnecessary details in it. Just be precise and accurate, and try to include the following:
- A perfect and well-written introductory sentence.
- A short but precise problem statement.
- All necessary problem details.
- The best recommendations for the stated problem.
- And last but not the least: roadmap of the entire case study.
The next section of the case study, when it comes to case study format is analysis. It is usually a detailed section of your case study and it is supposed to examine the problem (which is identified in the previous section) in detail.
When it comes to the right way to structure the analysis section, make sure to ask from your instructor about this, whether there is any format to follow specifically when writing it i.e. SWOT or PEST etc? If your instructor tells you to write it generally, here are a few important things you need to know.
- Start with examining the problem and try to focus on its most crucial or sensitive parts. Here, you are not meant to include any irrelevant or unnecessary details. Your main focus should be the main problem and its critical areas.
- Make sure to mention the causes as well as effects, or any other detail you think is necessary to include. Also, make use of headings to highlight every single portion.
- Here, you are also meant to provide a meaningful conclusion to your analysis. It must conclude all the points, ideas and thoughts you discussed previously into some meaningful ending.
This section of the case study format addresses two key areas. The first one is alternatives and the second one is the decision criteria.
As the name suggests, alternatives must mention all the potential ways the identified problem can be addressed. It let the reader think about the different directions (which are successful as well) to solve the problem. Knowing all the alternatives or the available options to solve the problem, the reader can definitely identify the best possible solution to the problem, as per knowledge and thinking criteria.
One thing which is worth mentioning here is that all the presented solutions to the problems in the alternatives portion must be mutually exclusive. Why is it important to present the mutually exclusive alternatives? What are basically mutually exclusive alternatives?
Mutually exclusive alternatives refer to the situation in which selecting one alternative eliminate all others. There is a specific and a single solution to the identified problem. Mutually exclusive alternatives prevent a scenario in which it becomes essential to implement several available alternatives. When the alternatives will be mutually exclusive, it means that choosing one will eliminate the chances of selection of all others and thus, one alternative will be implemented.
The second thing which needs to be stated here in this portion is decision criteria. It means that you must state precisely your decisive factor i.e. key requirements one need to meet successfully for solving the problem. It is the most important thing here in this portion and you must state it in easy to read and simple words so that the reader could understand it well.
In this section of the case study format , the reader is well aware of all the recommendations for sure. So, there is no need to introduce the reader to the basics of the recommendations again. Rather, you are supposed to let the reader know the specifics of recommendation for solving the identified problem. In this regard, the reader will automatically get all the aspects of the recommended solution to the problem and will see how it will take you to the path of success i.e. towards the path of resolving the problem. For executing the recommendation in a successful manner, here you need to proffer the reader a well thought-out and a comprehensive implementation plan so that the reader could execute the recommended solution, making sure the success.
The recommendations and implementation plan is supposed to include a few things must, which are the following:
A detailed overview of what your recommendation entails, which are necessary steps to follow to implement this successfully and also, the required expertise or a list of equipment needed.
When it comes to the implementation plan, here are a few things which are essential to state here:
- The most important parts of the entire plan of implementation, and who will be accountable for those parts separately.
- Whether it is short term, long term or medium term implementation plan.
- The overall cost required to implement the recommendation.
- The effects of the implementation of recommendation on the entire organization.
- The last but not the least thing to mention here is the potential things which could fail while implementation and plan to recover that failure, if any.
This is the portion of your case study where you are going to make a final ending note for your reader in a few easy to understand yet powerful statements. These statements must emphasize the proposed recommendations. As per common observation, a few instructors don’t suggest you to include this portion of conclusion in your case study but it is helpful in providing a strong endnote to your case study.
There are a few things which are essential to add in this conclusion section, which are the following:
- If the purpose of your case is complex, make sure to summarize it here, in point form, so that the reader could have a review at the entire case again, before approaching the conclusion.
- If you haven’t yet stated the importance of your findings, make sure to do it here in this conclusion section.
- A few concluding sentences that shed the case’s summary and let the reader know what he has learned from this. Moreover, choose to finalize with a few memorable and impactful sentences.
However, the conclusion is the most important section of your case study as you are going to give your entire case an end note, so here are a few things you must keep in your mind while writing this portion.
- A few people give an abrupt ending to the case study, which is one of the biggest mistakes ever. The reason is that the ending must be impactful and must not leave the reader disappointed. So, formulate a few sentences to create a path towards a natural close.
- While stating your recommendation, try to summarize the ways problem will be resolved at hand.
- Make sure everything you write in conclusion portion is convincing enough to persuade the reader to believe that the recommended solution will work the best for solving the particular problem.
As per universal rule, you must cite any idea, though, or expression that is not yours and is presented by someone else. These citations are must to include at the end of your case study. The plagiarism policies or academic misconduct policies vary from one institute to another so you must familiarize yourself with the ones of your institute. Other than this, try your level best to make your case study written in a perfect manner and make sure to cite all of the following:
- Ideas presented by others, which are originally not by you.
- Use of quotations is not recommended while writing the case study. But, if you do, make sure to cite it properly.
- Any summarized work by any other writer.
- Definitions, models or theories etc presented by others must also be properly cited.
- Any information from company websites, annual reports, or press releases must also be cited in a proper manner.
What is the Proper Way to Write Citations?
If you are going to write the citation for the very first time, you need to know that these aren’t written generally. Rather, there is a specific format to follow while writing them. There are a few citations styles which are used by the students universally but before finalizing, you must ask your instructor to suggest you the best one.
A few most commonly used citation styles are the following:
An Ideal Case Study should be LOGICAL, ALL INCLUSIVE & THOROUGH
There are a few characteristics your case study must possess, which are the following:
The first and foremost thing is that each and every section or part of your case study must be logical. Any guesses or estimations must not be included in your case study as everything is supposed to be logical and authentic. However, you can choose to write your observation generally in your case study but it must not state any sort of assumptions made from that.
The next thing is that your case study must not miss any data or findings. It should be all inclusive i.e. you aren’t given the authority to choose data or findings to include or skip. You are liable to put everything in it. Otherwise, it could fail to be a successful case study.
The last thing to mention here is that your case study must be thorough. You aren’t just meant to write down all the observations during your research but rather, you must proffer the in-depth detail to every observation as well.
So, this is all about writing your case study as well as the right case study format to follow while writing it. Keep all the above-listed things in mind and start your writing process now.
Case Study Format Example 01:
Case study format example 02:, case study format example 03:.
Lots of Luck!
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Case Analysis: Format, Structure, & Examples for Students
Do you want to find out how to write a case analysis?
It is a challenging assignment, including both theory and practice. Strategic managers use this analysis tool to improve the performance of a company. For example, Netflix conducts case studies regularly, which lets them implement new strategies.
And there’s no need to tell how successful they are, right?
This article is a guide for students who want to write a perfect case analysis. You will find information on the structure and purposes of your writing. Look for report examples at the end!
- 📌 Case Analysis Definition
- 📑 Case Analysis Structure
- 👔 Case Analysis Examples
📌 What Is a Case Analysis?
Case analysis allows you to use the knowledge gained in class in an actual situation. You need to demonstrate your understanding of the theory and how you can use it.
We will discuss the objectives and case analysis format below.
Case Analysis Definition
A case analysis is a thorough study of an issue, primarily used in business & marketing. It is an effective decision-making tool and requires attention to the following aspects. Consider all costs, risks, and benefits to the potential choices you might make. In the corporate world, businesses and project managers use case analysis to develop their strategies.
Is a Business Case Analysis Any Different from a Business Case?
Yes, it is. A business case refers just to the presented report. A business case analysis is an overall approach to research, its procedures, and results.
Case Analysis Purpose
While being a handy tool for managers and researchers, a case analysis presents the following purposes.
- Finding existing and potential problems of a business. You need to analyze all the factors that influence the business’ performance to find issues.
- Evaluating possible solutions and decisions. To do that, consider the previous strategies that the company used. At this stage, you need to compare all the potential factors and pay attention to the details that might influence the results.
- Choosing the best strategy for a business. After you have assessed all the available options, you need to find out which is the best one. Then it’s time to prove the critical point of case analysis to the readers.
📑 Case Analysis Format & Structure
Now you know what a case analysis is so that we can move on.
A typical case analysis incorporates seven parts. We will explain what to write in each of them and how to avoid common mistakes.
Here, we will focus on business cases. Read the passages below to know everything about the report format.
1. Executive Summary
An executive summary is a short review of the whole research, covering the main points. Better write it last, and here’s why: once you have a complete case analysis in front of you, it is easier to highlight the key information.
Here are the main points that you need to mention in the executive summary:
- The purpose of your paper.
- The field of research you have chosen.
- Key issues and findings.
- Your theory and suggested course of action.
Always think about the readers – there is no need to include details they already know. At the same time, ensure to show your deep understanding of the problem and the business needs.
In this part, include a detailed description of the case study analysis problems. Mention the purposes of the research. Add the background information and aspects you haven’t covered before.
At the end of the introduction, state your hypothesis. It should include an explanation of the problems and the suggested solution strategies.
Try to fit your introduction in 2-4 paragraphs.
A case study method is how you gather and use the information in the study.
Here are some standard methods:
- Documentary analysis
Each method defines certain boundaries of the case. In other words, you state your data gathering method and the scope you want to cover. It can be a specific place, period, market, etc. At this point, there should be clear answers to these questions: What are the characteristics of your case? Which data do you need to collect? How are you going to do it?
4. Solutions & Assumptions
According to the case analysis structure, this is the section to describe the solutions. Reveal those solutions that were briefly mentioned in the introduction. To show that you’ve researched your case correctly, provide as many details as possible. All the solutions should be realistic and achievable in the existing circumstances.
Also, assume what the consequences of these solutions might be. Explain your predictions with the help of the gathered evidence. The best idea is to rely on scientific data, research results, or interviews conducted.
In this part, share your thoughts in a persuasive tone to convince the audience. If you have chosen one strategy that you think works best, describe how to implement it. If not, share ideas on several strategies a business can use to succeed.
An excellent bonus will be to mention minor problems you’ve noticed during the research. Offer ways to eliminate these problems. And don’t forget to refer to the theory you’ve learned in the classroom.
The case analysis format requires more than just summarizing the main points. The goal here is to synthesize the key findings of the case study: show the role of each and how they work together. Remind your readers about the importance of the research and its results.
It is essential to share the insights you’ve had while studying the issue. State if the case needs further research and its possible directions. You might address a controversy or knowledge gap you’ve found while researching.
7. References & Appendices
Gather all the external sources used during the analysis. You need to be careful with the formatting at this stage. A reference list is usually made in APA, MLA, or Chicago citation styles. If you are not sure how to use them, find guidelines on your college’s website. Or check this mini-guide about three major referencing styles of academic writings .
Appendices that come in the very end contain charts, graphs, tables, etc. These data would be destructive to the readers if you placed it in the main body.
👔 Case Analysis Examples for Students
We hope it was a helpful structure manual. Now we are ready to provide you with some case study samples for high school and college students.
We will take a look at three popular companies: Starbucks, Netflix, and Tesla. While being successful, all of them have issues and need adjustments constantly. Solve these puzzles with us!
Starbucks Case Analysis
A closer look at the specifics of Starbucks’ operations in the target environment revealed some problems. Although Starbucks has become a household name for a significant part of the population across the world, it had seen its dark days, when the company’s leaders were trying to find the solution that would make the company unique and memorable, while at the same time expanding into the global economy and catering to a broader audience (Koehn et al. 1-3). […]
Read how Starbucks has dealt with the problems that occurred during the crisis of 2008.
Netflix Case Analysis
Throughout the years, Netflix has been expanding to new markets by developing relationships with partners and creating its media content (“Long-term view,” n.d.). These measures can ensure the organization’s sustainable development in the long-term perspective. It might be assumed that Netflix is the leader in the market because the company focuses both on internal and external processes. […]
Check the full version of the Netflix case analysis to figure out the company’s position in the competitive environment.
Tesla Motors Case Analysis
Tesla is an excellent example of how a developing and successful company might fall behind on producing a new product and become unable to keep up with demand. The company executives believe lack of motivation and ineffective training to be the significant factors contributing to the team’s slow progress and poor quality of the finished product. Considering these problems to be influencing the final product significantly, this case analysis will be dedicated to creating a training plan to address the situation. The main focus will be on shaping the company’s strategies, changing the leadership approach, and executing a motivational system for employees. […]
Continue reading about Tesla’s ways to deal with the business decline and rising demand.
More Case Study Examples
- Rocket Internet company case study .
- Chick-Fill-A: The firm’s international expansion challenges .
- Analysis of Goya Foods company case .
- The Enron Corporation scandal analysis .
- The Netflix case of 2011: Mistakes and solutions .
- TOMS Shoes: 4Ps, innovation, and marketing recommendations .
- Walmart corporation’s case of using robots .
- Apple Inc. in 2020: SWOT analysis and VRIO framework .
- Training at Brighten Inc.: Case study .
- Peloton Interactive Inc.’s crisis and solution .
- Volkswagen emission scandal: Case analysis .
- What helps Crocs to achieve success in the market .
- Square Solar Inc.’s intellectual assets & property security .
- Strategic planning: McDonald’s case .
- Markets of YA.SI.GA.MO.MA.GE: Case study .
- PepsiCo: Operation and supply chain management strategies .
- Nokia’s 5G coverage in the North American region .
- Google company’s human resource management .
- Unilever company and the risks it can face .
- P&G: The development of the data governance and management strategies .
- The CJ Industries and heavey pumps contract case .
- Valero Energy Corporation (VLO): Issues and their solutions .
- Vision, mission, and change: Microsoft’s acquisition of CloudKnox Security .
- The controversy of nicotine and its effects on Altria .
- The Covid-19 impact on Microsoft’s productivity .
- Operations management of Boeing .
- Amazon’s foreign direct investment in Finland .
- General Motors company: Case analysis and solutions .
- Fitbit firm’s competitive advantage, opportunities, and threats .
- Zara: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability .
- Environmental analysis: A case study of Apple Inc .
- Tesla’s vertically integrated supply chain .
- Case study: Consulting firm’s lost paradise .
- Post-covid reality in the case of Wirkkala company .
- JetBlue’s opportunities for sustainable value creation .
- Green Energy and Environmental Services Co. W.L.L: Case study .
- Passenger Rail Agency’s (PRASA) organizational change .
- Agthia Group’s critical success factors, valuable resources, and competitive advantages .
- Off-White case study: Summary of success .
- Fisher-Price case and corporate public apology .
Case Analysis Checklist for Students
To wrap the discussion, we’ve made this checklist for you. Go through each step to ensure your case analysis is done qualitatively.
- Define the issue that you will study. Choose the specific problem and dig into its main defects.
- Research the issue. Find more data about this particular case or compare it with similar ones.
- Filter the data that you will use. Not all the information you’ve found is necessary to your case analysis.
- Think about how to solve the issue. It is enough to have at least three solutions or strategies.
- Compare the solutions. Define their advantages, disadvantages, risks, and costs.
- Take a look at examples. Use them as references, and don’t forget to check credibility.
- Study the structure. Check the requirements for your paper and make a list of the sections you will need.
- Draft your case analysis. Note the main thoughts for each section. Then you can make everything you’ve written more detailed and sophisticated.
- Make sure you don’t repeat yourself. Your thoughts should flow in one direction, but don’t use the same words. Try to at least paraphrase everything that looks similar.
- Proofread your paper. Start with the cover page and end with the last one. Everything has to be perfect.
Well, that’s all for today. Thank you for being so attentive and motivated to read this article till the end. We hope you’ve found all the information you need to write a perfect case analysis. Take some notes on the most important moments of this article and begin your journey.
You have a lot of work ahead, but we believe you can make it.
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9 Components of a Case Study You Absolutely Need to Include
SaaS case studies help you educate prospects on the value of your products and the results your customers have achieved. To make your case study creation process easier, it’s crucial to follow a format. In this post, learn the 9 components of a case study you need to include in order to provide the social proof your prospects are looking for.
This is the first post in a 9-part series on how to write a B2B case study .
Must-have components of a case study
1. a compelling executive summary.
One of the most important components of a case study is a powerful executive summary . It lets your reader know what they’re getting into, and how they might relate to and benefit from what they’ll learn. Firstly, it needs to introduce your customer and their challenges. Secondly, it should highlight how your B2B SaaS company helped deliver the right solution. And be sure to include a preview of the results your customer saw from your products.
2. Outline your customer’s challenges
Illustrating the obstacles your customer faced that prompted them to seek out a B2B SaaS solution is one of the most crucial components of a case study. For example, maybe their business processes were a drain on time, resources or budgets—or all of the above. This section is an ideal spot to use a customer quote and let them share their story in their words. Remember to paint your customer in a positive light. And focus on how they wanted to improve their business, and avoid overly negative language.
3. Lead your reader along your customer’s journey
Help your reader picture themselves in your customer’s shoes. Lay out the steps your customer took to try to solve their problem, including an overview of the other products they investigated before they decided on yours. But be mindful not to toot your own horn—you’re simply recapping the facts.
4. The moment of discovery
The core elements of a case study wouldn’t be complete without a section on how your customer decided on your specific B2B SaaS solution. First, provide insight into which of their business requirements it met. Then include any other reasons the partnership was a good fit—perhaps your companies shared similar organizational values. This is an area where case study testimonials make for powerful storytelling . They allow you to set your case study up to dive into how you and your product solved your customer’s challenges.
5. Spend some time on the solution
In the “solution” component of your case study, you get to pitch your products without the fear of sounding like a used car salesman. Remember, you didn’t rush in and save the day—this is about your customer’s goals and how your solution helped them reach their objectives. As a result, you simply need to outline the products your customer purchased and the benefits they provided.
6. Walk your reader through the implementation
Change can be daunting, especially when it comes to the unknown, so it’s crucial that you give your reader a clear sense of how the implementation process went for your customer. For example, if problems arose, don’t be afraid to be transparent about them, but tie the storyline back to how you and your customer overcame the challenges. This is one of the most important components of a case study, and is an opportunity to let your customer service shine.
7. Celebrate your customer’s results
77% of SaaS companies include metrics in at least 50% of their case studies . Metrics are where you can show off the data—hard numbers like revenue gains and time saved that illustrate the return on investment your customer gained from your solution. Showcase how well your products solved the customer’s problems. Find out what to do if you don’t have case study metrics to work with.
8. Close the loop with a call to action
Using the right components of a case study so far has helped keep your reader’s attention until the end of the piece, creating an important opportunity for you to guide them to the next step you want them to take. You can accomplish this by including a clear call to action (CTA) that speaks directly to them at the end of your B2B SaaS case study. See these case study CTA examples to learn how to make your calls to action stand out.
9. Don’t get too caught up in using the perfect format
A lot of experts will tell you that your content needs to include all of the components of a case study and follow a structured formula. But don’t stress over this.
A creative story doesn’t lock itself into anything too prescriptive. And you don’t have to chunk your content into specific modules like some ’90s business plan. The most interesting and compelling stories take a creative approach to case study layout , and they play with perspective.
9 components of a case study: did you include them all?
Now that you know the 9 parts of a case study, take a look back through your own case studies. Have you included each of the components?
And last, but certainly not least, have you squeezed every last ounce of value from your case studies? Here are 8 ways to fully leverage your case studies for maximum results.
Get help writing your case studies
Partnering with a SaaS content marketing agency like Uplift Content allows you to produce a consistent flow of high-quality marketing and sales collateral that generates and nurtures leads—and closes sales faster. Check out our case study writing services .
As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads her team in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and blog posts for high-growth SaaS companies like ClickUp, Calendly and WalkMe. Connect with Emily on Linkedin
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Writing a case study
What is a case study.
A case study requires you to analyse a specific situation and discuss how its different elements relate to theory. The case can refer to a real-life or hypothetical event, organisation, individual or group of people and/or issue. Depending upon your assignment, you will be asked to develop solutions to problems or recommendations for future action.
Generally, a case study is either formatted as an essay or a report. If it is the latter, your assignment is often divided into sections with headings and subheadings to ensure easy access to key points of interest.
There are different approaches to case studies, so always check the specific instructions you have been given. There are two main types of case studies: descriptive and problem-solving .
Case study types accordion
Descriptive case studies.
- ask you to explore a specific event or issue to identify the key facts, what happened and who was/is involved.
- can be used to compare two instances of an event to illustrate how one is similar to the other.
- generally does not include solutions or recommendations as its main purpose is to help the reader or stakeholder to gain greater insight into the different dimensions of the event, etc. and/or to make an informed decision about the event, etc.
- In Nursing, you could be asked to select a medical clinic or hospital as your case study and then apply what you have studied in class about wound care approaches. You would then identify and apply the relevant theories of wound care management discussed in class to your case.
Problem-solving case studies
- ask you to critically examine an issue related to a specific individual or group, and then recommend and justify solutions to the issue, integrating theory and practice.
- In Business and Economics, you could be asked to describe a critical incident in the workplace. Your role as the manager is to apply your knowledge and skills of key intercultural communication concepts and theories in management to determine the causes of the conflict and propose relevant communication strategies to avoid and/or resolve it.
Tips for undertaking a problem-based case study View
Writing to your audience.
Your language expression should be persuasive and user-centred communication. To do this, you need to carefully research your audience, or your stakeholders . Your stakeholders are not only those people who will read your writing, but also people who will be impacted by any decisions or recommendations you choose to include. In other words, your audience may be varied with different needs and perspectives. This applies to both your case study as an assessment task and a report in your workplace.
Understanding your audience will help you to edit how you express your information, including tailoring your language expression, tone and style to meet the expectations of your stakeholders. For example, if your case study is written for the Minister of Health, then your tone will need to be formal, ensuring that any technical terms are clearly and concisely explained with concrete examples.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Who will read my case study and why?
- What are the stakeholders’ needs, preferences, expectations and goals?
- How can I write clearly and concisely for this particular audience?
- How will the stakeholders use my case study in their work?
- What are the relevant technical terms and have I explained them in clear and concise language?
Writing up your case study
If your case study is in the form of a report, you can divide it into 8 main sections, as outlined below. However, these vary depending on discipline-specific requirements and assessment criteria.
1. Executive Summary/Synopsis
- Introduce the topic area of the report.
- Outline the purpose of the case study.
- Outline the key issue(s) and finding(s) without the specific details.
- Identify the theory used.
- Summarise recommendations.
- Summarise the your task
- Briefly outline the case to identify its significance.
- State the report's aim(s).
- Provide the organisation of the main ideas in the report.
- Briefly describe the key problem and its significance (You usually do not need to provide details of findings or recommendations. However, it is best to first check your assessment task instructions.)
- presenting the central issue(s) under analysis,
- providing your reasoning for your choices such as supporting your findings with facts given in the case, the relevant theory and course concepts
- highlighting any underlying problems.
- Identify and justify your methodology and analytical tools.This might not be applicable to your assessment, so you will need to check your assessment instructions.
This section is often divided into sub-sections. Your headings and subheadings need to be informative and concise as they act as a guide for the reader to the contents of that section.
- Summarise the major problem(s).
- Identify alternative solutions to these major problem(s).
- Briefly outline each alternative solution where necessary and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages.
- Depending on your assessment criteria, you might need to refer to theory or professional practice here.
Note that as a case study is based on a specific situation, it is difficult to generalise your findings to other situations. Make sure that your discussion focuses on your case and what can be learnt from your specific case analysis for your stakeholders.
- Restate the purpose of the report
- Sum up the main points from the findings, discussion and recommendations.
- Restate the limitations if required.
- Choose which of the alternative solutions should be adopted.
- Briefly justify your choice, explaining how it will solve the major problem/s.
- Remember to integrate theory and practice as discussed in your unit with respect to the case.
- If needed, suggest an action plan, including who should take action, when and what steps, and how to assess the action taken.
- If appropriate include a rough estimate of costs (both financial and time).
This section is sometimes divided into Recommendations and Implementation with details of the action plan placed in the Implementation section.
Recommendations should be written in a persuasive, audience-centred style that communicates your suggestions clearly, concisely and precisely .
- List in alphabetical order all the references cited in the report.
- Make sure to accurately format your references according to the specified referencing style for your unit.
8. Appendices (if any)
- Attach any original data that relates to your analysis and the case but which would have interrupted the flow of the main body.
Ivančević-Otanjac, M., & Milojević, I. (2015). Writing a case report in English. Srpski arhiv za celokupno lekarstvo , 143 (1-2), 116-118.
Take it further
Buseco: report writing.
This resource is designed to assist you in completing a business report. It provides a guide to approaching and structuring your report and includes annotated examples with written feedback.
Engineering: Lab report
This resource expands on the general report structure and provides useful tips and examples on how to turn practical work and lab experiments into a written lab report.
Engineering: Technical report
This resource expands on the general report structure and provides useful tips and examples on how to write a report for key stakeholders, using experimental and practical data.
This resource provides information about what reports look like in IT, and how you might consider structuring your IT report. It includes student samples for each possible section of an IT report, along with video and written feedback.
MNHS: Health sciences case report
This resource provides a guide to approaching and structuring a patient-based case report. It includes an annotated example with written feedback.
MNHS: Comparative report
This resource is designed to assist you in completing your Comparative Report [CR] for Integrating Science and Practice [iSAP] assessment tasks. It provides a guide to approaching and structuring your report and includes an annotated example with written feedback.
MNHS: Psychology case report
This resource provides detailed guidance on the structure and content of the psychology case report, with numerous examples from the recommended reading.
Science: Lab report
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