This handout provides you with information about how to analyze a case study and write up your analysis in a professional report, letter, or memo format. Analyzing a Case Study
What is a Case Study? A case study is a narrative used to help students practice real-life analysis and communication skills. It is a learning tool. It provides readers with “enough detail…to understand the nature and scope of the problem, and…serve as a springboard for discussion and learning” (O’Rourke, 2007, p. 391). A case study differs from a case history in that a history summarizes events that already took place, and usually include the manager’s response to the situation (O’Rourke, 2007).
What exactly does it mean to analyze a case study? Analysis means you look at a situation from various angles paying attention to even the smallest details, as it is usually details that lead you to understanding a situation to its fullest and help you make effective decisions. To analyze a case study, follow these basic guidelines: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Read carefully Identify major issues Identify alternative courses of action Recommend a course of action Provide a rationale for your decision
Read Carefully Every case study you encounter will be different. Generally, there is no set format or formula for how these documents are written (except that, normally, they are written chronologically), so it is important that you pay attention to all of the details. Read slowly and carefully, taking notes or annotating the document. If appendices are included, read those carefully too, as the smallest detail can make a difference in what you determine is the best course of action. Read tables and figures carefully, and interpret them in relation to the information contained in the case study. Identify Major Issues Your main job when analyzing a case study is to learn to identify major issues of concern for you or your company. Do not focus on minor issues (issues that have no...