Josephine Hook, Research & Learning Coordinator Josephine.Hook@monash.edu
What is a case study?
Approaching a case study assignment The structure of a case study report Key elements of a case study report
What is a case?
A case might be: A real / realistic situation A specific business problem
A case is a scenario that gives you the opportunity to identify problems and recommend a course of action in a business situation. The case may be real or fictional, but will usually represent a complex situation with no ready solutions.
What is a case study?
approximate real-world situations, thus they add a dimension of reality to your studies. address problems, challenges or issues that need to be investigated and solved. are used to assess how well you have understood the relevant theories and concepts, by your ability to apply these to solve the problems detailed in the case study.
Different types of case study
The 'analytical approach’ – A case is examined to try to understand what has happened and why. – This approach does not identify problems or attempt to develop solutions. The ‘problem-oriented approach’
– A case is analysed to identify: • the major problems that exist, • the causes of and possible solutions to the problems, • a recommendation as to the best solution to implement. (http://www.monash.edu.au/lls/llonline/quickrefs/27-case-study.xml)
Writing a case study
When writing a case study, you will apply theoretical concepts to realistic, practical situations. In writing a case study, you demonstrate your:
understanding of concepts,
analytical skills, and problem solving abilities
In a case study, it is crucial that you integrate relevant theory from your unit of study with evidence from the case.
(Kimberley & Crosling, 2012, p.60)
Why write a case study?
Case studies provide you with an active learning experience with opportunities including: deepening your understanding of theories through viewing them in relation to practical situations;
developing a greater appreciation of the complexity of problems that can arise in practice; analysis and evaluation; expressing ideas concisely and with clarity;
creating convincing, reasoned arguments;
proposing solutions to genuine problems.
Approaching a case study task
The first thing you need to be clear about is what kind of task you have been set. Are you being asked to: observe a case and explain what happened? analyse the case by reference to theories on the topic? identify major problems and offer solutions? all of these?
Approaching a case study
Consider: background to the case – the individual or the organisation you are studying and what has happened that is of interest or concern. your observations: not only what is going on but why, how, when and who is affected? what the experts have to say about this topic. Do your observations align with theories on this topic or not? Explore the similarities and differences. what are your conclusions? do you have recommendations? What are the reasons for your recommendations?
The process of completing the task
In analysing a case, your task is to • identify the problem(s) in the situation presented in the scenario
• analyse the key issues within the context of the theory presented in your course • develop and compare alternative solutions to the problems • consider the advantages and disadvantages of various...