Hands-on Guide: How to Analyze a Case Study
A case study analysis must not merely summarize the case. It should identify key issues and problems, outline and assess alternative courses of action, and draw appropriate conclusions. The case study analysis can be broken down into the following steps: 1. Identify the most important facts surrounding the case. 2. Identify the key issue or issues.
3. Specify alternative courses of action.
4. Evaluate each course of action.
5. Recommend the best course of action.
Let's look at what each step involves.
1. Identify the most important facts surrounding the case. Read the case several times to become familiar with the information it contains. Pay attention to the information in any accompanying exhibits, tables, or figures. Many case scenarios, as in real life, present a great deal of detailed information. Some of these facts are more relevant than others for problem identification. One can assume the facts and figures in the case are true, but statements, judgments, or decisions made by individuals should be questioned. Underline and then list the most important facts and figures that would help you define the central problem or issue. If key facts and numbers are not available, you can make assumptions, but these assumptions should be reasonable given the situation. The "correctness" of your conclusions may depend on the assumptions you make. 2. Identify the key issue or issues.
Use the facts provided by the case to identify the key issue or issues facing the company you are studying. Many cases present multiple issues or problems. Identify the most important and separate them from more trivial issues. State the major problem or challenge facing the company. You should be able to describe the problem or challenge in one or two sentences. You should be able to explain how this problem affects the strategy or performance of the organization....