- How it works
A Quick Guide to Case Study
Published by Alvin Nicolas at August 14th, 2021 , Revised On February 9, 2023
A case study is a documented history and detailed analysis of a situation concerning organisations, industries, and markets.
A case study:
- Focuses on discovering new facts of the situation under observation.
- Includes data collection from multiple sources over time.
- Widely used in social sciences to study the underlying information, organization, community, or event.
- It does not provide any solution to the problem .
When to Use Case Study?
You can use a case study in your research when:
- The focus of your study is to find answers to how and why questions .
- You don’t have enough time to conduct extensive research; case studies are convenient for completing your project successfully.
- You want to analyse real-world problems in-depth, then you can use the method of the case study.
You can consider a single case to gain in-depth knowledge about the subject, or you can choose multiple cases to know about various aspects of your research problem .
What are the Aims of the Case Study?
- The case study aims at identifying weak areas that can be improved.
- This method is often used for idiographic research (focuses on individual cases or events).
- Another aim of the case study is nomothetic research (aims to discover new theories through data analysis of multiple cases).
Types of Case Studies
There are different types of case studies that can be categorised based on the purpose of the investigation.
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How to Conduct a Case Study?
Step1: select the case to investigate.
The first step is to select a case to conduct your investigation. You should remember the following points.
- Make sure that you perform the study in the available timeframe.
- There should not be too much information available about the organization.
- You should be able to get access to the organization.
- There should be enough information available about the subject to conduct further research.
Step2: Formulate the Research Question
It’s necessary to formulate a research question to proceed with your case study. Most of the research questions begin with how, why, what, or what can .
You can also use a research statement instead of a research question to conduct your research which can be conditional or non-conditional.
Step 3: Review of Literature
Once you formulate your research statement or question, you need to extensively review the documentation about the existing discoveries related to your research question or statement.
Step 4: Choose the Precise Case to Use in Your Study.
You need to select a specific case or multiple cases related to your research. It would help if you treated each case individually while using multiple cases. The outcomes of each case can be used as contributors to the outcomes of the entire study. You can select the following cases.
- Representing various geographic regions
- Cases with various size parameters
- Explaining the existing theories or assumptions
- Leading to discoveries
- Providing a base for future research.
Step 5: Select Data Collection and Analysis Techniques
You can choose both qualitative or quantitative approaches for collecting the data . You can use interviews , surveys , artifacts, documentation, newspapers, and photographs, etc. To avoid biased observation, you can triangulate your research to provide different views of your case. Even if you are focusing on a single case, you need to observe various case angles. It would help if you constructed validity, internal and external validity, as well as reliability.
Example: Identifying the impacts of contaminated water on people’s health and the factors responsible for it. You need to gather the data using qualitative and quantitative approaches to understand the case in such cases.
Construct validity: You should select the most suitable measurement tool for your research.
Internal validity: You should use various methodological tools to triangulate the data. Try different methods to study the same hypothesis.
External validity: You need to effectively apply the data beyond the case’s circumstances to more general issues.
Reliability: You need to be confident enough to formulate the new direction for future studies based on your findings.
Also Read: Reliability and Validity
Step 6: Collect the Data.
Beware of the following when collecting data:
- Information should be gathered systematically, and the collected evidence from various sources should contribute to your research objectives.
- Don’t collect your data randomly.
- Recheck your research questions to avoid mistakes.
- You should save the collected data in any popular format for clear understanding.
- While making any changes to collecting information, make sure to record the changes in a document.
- You should maintain a case diary and note your opinions and thoughts evolved throughout the study.
Step 7: Analyze the Data.
The research data identifies the relationship between the objects of study and the research questions or statements. You need to reconfirm the collected information and tabulate it correctly for better understanding.
Step 8: Prepare the Report.
It’s essential to prepare a report for your case study. You can write your case study in the form of a scientific paper or thesis discussing its detail with supporting evidence.
A case study can be represented by incorporating quotations, stories, anecdotes, interview transcripts , etc., with empirical data in the result section.
You can also write it in narrative styles using textual analysis or discourse analysis . Your report should also include evidence from published literature, and you can put it in the discussion section.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Case Study
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What Is a Case Study?
An in-depth study of one person, group, or event
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.
Verywell / Colleen Tighe
Benefits and Limitations
Types of case studies, how to write a case study.
A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in various fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.
The purpose of a case study is to learn as much as possible about an individual or group so that the information can be generalized to many others. Unfortunately, case studies tend to be highly subjective, and it is sometimes difficult to generalize results to a larger population.
While case studies focus on a single individual or group, they follow a format similar to other types of psychology writing. If you are writing a case study, it is important to follow the rules of APA format .
A case study can have both strengths and weaknesses. Researchers must consider these pros and cons before deciding if this type of study is appropriate for their needs.
One of the greatest advantages of a case study is that it allows researchers to investigate things that are often difficult to impossible to replicate in a lab. Some other benefits of a case study:
- Allows researchers to collect a great deal of information
- Give researchers the chance to collect information on rare or unusual cases
- Permits researchers to develop hypotheses that can be explored in experimental research
On the negative side, a case study:
- Cannot necessarily be generalized to the larger population
- Cannot demonstrate cause and effect
- May not be scientifically rigorous
- Can lead to bias
Researchers may choose to perform a case study if they are interested in exploring a unique or recently discovered phenomenon. The insights gained from such research can help the researchers develop additional ideas and study questions that might be explored in future studies.
However, it is important to remember that the insights gained from case studies cannot be used to determine cause and effect relationships between variables. However, case studies may be used to develop hypotheses that can then be addressed in experimental research.
Case Study Examples
There have been a number of notable case studies in the history of psychology. Much of Freud's work and theories were developed through the use of individual case studies. Some great examples of case studies in psychology include:
- Anna O : Anna O. was a pseudonym of a woman named Bertha Pappenheim, a patient of a physician named Josef Breuer. While she was never a patient of Freud's, Freud and Breuer discussed her case extensively. The woman was experiencing symptoms of a condition that was then known as hysteria and found that talking about her problems helped relieve her symptoms. Her case played an important part in the development of talk therapy as an approach to mental health treatment.
- Phineas Gage : Phineas Gage was a railroad employee who experienced a terrible accident in which an explosion sent a metal rod through his skull, damaging important portions of his brain. Gage recovered from his accident but was left with serious changes in both personality and behavior.
- Genie : Genie was a young girl subjected to horrific abuse and isolation. The case study of Genie allowed researchers to study whether language could be taught even after critical periods for language development had been missed. Her case also served as an example of how scientific research may interfere with treatment and lead to further abuse of vulnerable individuals.
Such cases demonstrate how case research can be used to study things that researchers could not replicate in experimental settings. In Genie's case, her horrific abuse had denied her the opportunity to learn language at critical points in her development.
This is clearly not something that researchers could ethically replicate, but conducting a case study on Genie allowed researchers the chance to study phenomena that are otherwise impossible to reproduce.
There are a few different types of case studies that psychologists and other researchers might utilize:
- Collective case studies : These involve studying a group of individuals. Researchers might study a group of people in a certain setting or look at an entire community. For example, psychologists might explore how access to resources in a community has affected the collective mental well-being of those living there.
- Descriptive case studies : These involve starting with a descriptive theory. The subjects are then observed, and the information gathered is compared to the pre-existing theory.
- Explanatory case studies : These are often used to do causal investigations. In other words, researchers are interested in looking at factors that may have caused certain things to occur.
- Exploratory case studies : These are sometimes used as a prelude to further, more in-depth research. This allows researchers to gather more information before developing their research questions and hypotheses .
- Instrumental case studies : These occur when the individual or group allows researchers to understand more than what is initially obvious to observers.
- Intrinsic case studies : This type of case study is when the researcher has a personal interest in the case. Jean Piaget's observations of his own children are good examples of how an intrinsic cast study can contribute to the development of a psychological theory.
The three main case study types often used are intrinsic, instrumental, and collective. Intrinsic case studies are useful for learning about unique cases. Instrumental case studies help look at an individual to learn more about a broader issue. A collective case study can be useful for looking at several cases simultaneously.
The type of case study that psychology researchers utilize depends on the unique characteristics of the situation as well as the case itself.
There are also different methods that can be used to conduct a case study, including prospective and retrospective case study methods.
Prospective case study methods are those in which an individual or group of people is observed in order to determine outcomes. For example, a group of individuals might be watched over an extended period of time to observe the progression of a particular disease.
Retrospective case study methods involve looking at historical information. For example, researchers might start with an outcome, such as a disease, and then work their way backward to look at information about the individual's life to determine risk factors that may have contributed to the onset of the illness.
Where to Find Data
There are a number of different sources and methods that researchers can use to gather information about an individual or group. Six major sources that have been identified by researchers are:
- Archival records : Census records, survey records, and name lists are examples of archival records.
- Direct observation : This strategy involves observing the subject, often in a natural setting . While an individual observer is sometimes used, it is more common to utilize a group of observers.
- Documents : Letters, newspaper articles, administrative records, etc., are the types of documents often used as sources.
- Interviews : Interviews are one of the most important methods for gathering information in case studies. An interview can involve structured survey questions or more open-ended questions.
- Participant observation : When the researcher serves as a participant in events and observes the actions and outcomes, it is called participant observation.
- Physical artifacts : Tools, objects, instruments, and other artifacts are often observed during a direct observation of the subject.
Section 1: A Case History
This section will have the following structure and content:
Background information : The first section of your paper will present your client's background. Include factors such as age, gender, work, health status, family mental health history, family and social relationships, drug and alcohol history, life difficulties, goals, and coping skills and weaknesses.
Description of the presenting problem : In the next section of your case study, you will describe the problem or symptoms that the client presented with.
Describe any physical, emotional, or sensory symptoms reported by the client. Thoughts, feelings, and perceptions related to the symptoms should also be noted. Any screening or diagnostic assessments that are used should also be described in detail and all scores reported.
Your diagnosis : Provide your diagnosis and give the appropriate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual code. Explain how you reached your diagnosis, how the client's symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s), or any possible difficulties in reaching a diagnosis.
Section 2: Treatment Plan
This portion of the paper will address the chosen treatment for the condition. This might also include the theoretical basis for the chosen treatment or any other evidence that might exist to support why this approach was chosen.
- Cognitive behavioral approach : Explain how a cognitive behavioral therapist would approach treatment. Offer background information on cognitive behavioral therapy and describe the treatment sessions, client response, and outcome of this type of treatment. Make note of any difficulties or successes encountered by your client during treatment.
- Humanistic approach : Describe a humanistic approach that could be used to treat your client, such as client-centered therapy . Provide information on the type of treatment you chose, the client's reaction to the treatment, and the end result of this approach. Explain why the treatment was successful or unsuccessful.
- Psychoanalytic approach : Describe how a psychoanalytic therapist would view the client's problem. Provide some background on the psychoanalytic approach and cite relevant references. Explain how psychoanalytic therapy would be used to treat the client, how the client would respond to therapy, and the effectiveness of this treatment approach.
- Pharmacological approach : If treatment primarily involves the use of medications, explain which medications were used and why. Provide background on the effectiveness of these medications and how monotherapy may compare with an approach that combines medications with therapy or other treatments.
This section of a case study should also include information about the treatment goals, process, and outcomes.
When you are writing a case study, you should also include a section where you discuss the case study itself, including the strengths and limitiations of the study. You should note how the findings of your case study might support previous research.
In your discussion section, you should also describe some of the implications of your case study. What ideas or findings might require further exploration? How might researchers go about exploring some of these questions in additional studies?
Here are a few additional pointers to keep in mind when formatting your case study:
- Never refer to the subject of your case study as "the client." Instead, their name or a pseudonym.
- Read examples of case studies to gain an idea about the style and format.
- Remember to use APA format when citing references .
A Word From Verywell
Case studies can be a useful research tool, but they need to be used wisely. In many cases, they are best utilized in situations where conducting an experiment would be difficult or impossible. They are helpful for looking at unique situations and allow researchers to gather a great deal of information about a specific individual or group of people.
If you have been directed to write a case study for a psychology course, be sure to check with your instructor for any specific guidelines that you are required to follow. If you are writing your case study for professional publication, be sure to check with the publisher for their specific guidelines for submitting a case study.
Simply Psychology. Case Study Method .
Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach . BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011 Jun 27;11:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-100
Gagnon, Yves-Chantal. The Case Study as Research Method: A Practical Handbook . Canada, Chicago Review Press Incorporated DBA Independent Pub Group, 2010.
Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . United States, SAGE Publications, 2017.
By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
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- Aims and Objectives – A Guide for Academic Writing
- Doing a PhD
One of the most important aspects of a thesis, dissertation or research paper is the correct formulation of the aims and objectives. This is because your aims and objectives will establish the scope, depth and direction that your research will ultimately take. An effective set of aims and objectives will give your research focus and your reader clarity, with your aims indicating what is to be achieved, and your objectives indicating how it will be achieved.
There is no getting away from the importance of the aims and objectives in determining the success of your research project. Unfortunately, however, it is an aspect that many students struggle with, and ultimately end up doing poorly. Given their importance, if you suspect that there is even the smallest possibility that you belong to this group of students, we strongly recommend you read this page in full.
This page describes what research aims and objectives are, how they differ from each other, how to write them correctly, and the common mistakes students make and how to avoid them. An example of a good aim and objectives from a past thesis has also been deconstructed to help your understanding.
What Are Aims and Objectives?
A research aim describes the main goal or the overarching purpose of your research project.
In doing so, it acts as a focal point for your research and provides your readers with clarity as to what your study is all about. Because of this, research aims are almost always located within its own subsection under the introduction section of a research document, regardless of whether it’s a thesis , a dissertation, or a research paper .
A research aim is usually formulated as a broad statement of the main goal of the research and can range in length from a single sentence to a short paragraph. Although the exact format may vary according to preference, they should all describe why your research is needed (i.e. the context), what it sets out to accomplish (the actual aim) and, briefly, how it intends to accomplish it (overview of your objectives).
To give an example, we have extracted the following research aim from a real PhD thesis:
Example of a Research Aim
The role of diametrical cup deformation as a factor to unsatisfactory implant performance has not been widely reported. The aim of this thesis was to gain an understanding of the diametrical deformation behaviour of acetabular cups and shells following impaction into the reamed acetabulum. The influence of a range of factors on deformation was investigated to ascertain if cup and shell deformation may be high enough to potentially contribute to early failure and high wear rates in metal-on-metal implants.
Note: Extracted with permission from thesis titled “T he Impact And Deformation Of Press-Fit Metal Acetabular Components ” produced by Dr H Hothi of previously Queen Mary University of London.
Where a research aim specifies what your study will answer, research objectives specify how your study will answer it.
They divide your research aim into several smaller parts, each of which represents a key section of your research project. As a result, almost all research objectives take the form of a numbered list, with each item usually receiving its own chapter in a dissertation or thesis.
Following the example of the research aim shared above, here are it’s real research objectives as an example:
Example of a Research Objective
- Develop finite element models using explicit dynamics to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion, initially using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum.
- Investigate the number, velocity and position of impacts needed to insert a cup.
- Determine the relationship between the size of interference between the cup and cavity and deformation for different cup types.
- Investigate the influence of non-uniform cup support and varying the orientation of the component in the cavity on deformation.
- Examine the influence of errors during reaming of the acetabulum which introduce ovality to the cavity.
- Determine the relationship between changes in the geometry of the component and deformation for different cup designs.
- Develop three dimensional pelvis models with non-uniform bone material properties from a range of patients with varying bone quality.
- Use the key parameters that influence deformation, as identified in the foam models to determine the range of deformations that may occur clinically using the anatomic models and if these deformations are clinically significant.
It’s worth noting that researchers sometimes use research questions instead of research objectives, or in other cases both. From a high-level perspective, research questions and research objectives make the same statements, but just in different formats.
Taking the first three research objectives as an example, they can be restructured into research questions as follows:
Restructuring Research Objectives as Research Questions
- Can finite element models using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum together with explicit dynamics be used to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion?
- What is the number, velocity and position of impacts needed to insert a cup?
- What is the relationship between the size of interference between the cup and cavity and deformation for different cup types?
Difference Between Aims and Objectives
Hopefully the above explanations make clear the differences between aims and objectives, but to clarify:
- The research aim focus on what the research project is intended to achieve; research objectives focus on how the aim will be achieved.
- Research aims are relatively broad; research objectives are specific.
- Research aims focus on a project’s long-term outcomes; research objectives focus on its immediate, short-term outcomes.
- A research aim can be written in a single sentence or short paragraph; research objectives should be written as a numbered list.
How to Write Aims and Objectives
Before we discuss how to write a clear set of research aims and objectives, we should make it clear that there is no single way they must be written. Each researcher will approach their aims and objectives slightly differently, and often your supervisor will influence the formulation of yours on the basis of their own preferences.
Regardless, there are some basic principles that you should observe for good practice; these principles are described below.
Your aim should be made up of three parts that answer the below questions:
- Why is this research required?
- What is this research about?
- How are you going to do it?
The easiest way to achieve this would be to address each question in its own sentence, although it does not matter whether you combine them or write multiple sentences for each, the key is to address each one.
The first question, why , provides context to your research project, the second question, what , describes the aim of your research, and the last question, how , acts as an introduction to your objectives which will immediately follow.
Scroll through the image set below to see the ‘why, what and how’ associated with our research aim example.
Note: Your research aims need not be limited to one. Some individuals per to define one broad ‘overarching aim’ of a project and then adopt two or three specific research aims for their thesis or dissertation. Remember, however, that in order for your assessors to consider your research project complete, you will need to prove you have fulfilled all of the aims you set out to achieve. Therefore, while having more than one research aim is not necessarily disadvantageous, consider whether a single overarching one will do.
Each of your research objectives should be SMART :
- Specific – is there any ambiguity in the action you are going to undertake, or is it focused and well-defined?
- Measurable – how will you measure progress and determine when you have achieved the action?
- Achievable – do you have the support, resources and facilities required to carry out the action?
- Relevant – is the action essential to the achievement of your research aim?
- Timebound – can you realistically complete the action in the available time alongside your other research tasks?
In addition to being SMART, your research objectives should start with a verb that helps communicate your intent. Common research verbs include:
Table of Research Verbs to Use in Aims and Objectives
Last, format your objectives into a numbered list. This is because when you write your thesis or dissertation, you will at times need to make reference to a specific research objective; structuring your research objectives in a numbered list will provide a clear way of doing this.
To bring all this together, let’s compare the first research objective in the previous example with the above guidance:
Checking Research Objective Example Against Recommended Approach
1. Develop finite element models using explicit dynamics to mimic mallet blows during cup/shell insertion, initially using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum.
Checking Against Recommended Approach:
Q: Is it specific? A: Yes, it is clear what the student intends to do (produce a finite element model), why they intend to do it (mimic cup/shell blows) and their parameters have been well-defined ( using simplified experimentally validated foam models to represent the acetabulum ).
Q: Is it measurable? A: Yes, it is clear that the research objective will be achieved once the finite element model is complete.
Q: Is it achievable? A: Yes, provided the student has access to a computer lab, modelling software and laboratory data.
Q: Is it relevant? A: Yes, mimicking impacts to a cup/shell is fundamental to the overall aim of understanding how they deform when impacted upon.
Q: Is it timebound? A: Yes, it is possible to create a limited-scope finite element model in a relatively short time, especially if you already have experience in modelling.
Q: Does it start with a verb? A: Yes, it starts with ‘develop’, which makes the intent of the objective immediately clear.
Q: Is it a numbered list? A: Yes, it is the first research objective in a list of eight.
Mistakes in Writing Research Aims and Objectives
1. making your research aim too broad.
Having a research aim too broad becomes very difficult to achieve. Normally, this occurs when a student develops their research aim before they have a good understanding of what they want to research. Remember that at the end of your project and during your viva defence , you will have to prove that you have achieved your research aims; if they are too broad, this will be an almost impossible task. In the early stages of your research project, your priority should be to narrow your study to a specific area. A good way to do this is to take the time to study existing literature, question their current approaches, findings and limitations, and consider whether there are any recurring gaps that could be investigated .
Note: Achieving a set of aims does not necessarily mean proving or disproving a theory or hypothesis, even if your research aim was to, but having done enough work to provide a useful and original insight into the principles that underlie your research aim.
2. Making Your Research Objectives Too Ambitious
Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have available. It is natural to want to set ambitious research objectives that require sophisticated data collection and analysis, but only completing this with six months before the end of your PhD registration period is not a worthwhile trade-off.
3. Formulating Repetitive Research Objectives
Each research objective should have its own purpose and distinct measurable outcome. To this effect, a common mistake is to form research objectives which have large amounts of overlap. This makes it difficult to determine when an objective is truly complete, and also presents challenges in estimating the duration of objectives when creating your project timeline. It also makes it difficult to structure your thesis into unique chapters, making it more challenging for you to write and for your audience to read.
Fortunately, this oversight can be easily avoided by using SMART objectives.
Hopefully, you now have a good idea of how to create an effective set of aims and objectives for your research project, whether it be a thesis, dissertation or research paper. While it may be tempting to dive directly into your research, spending time on getting your aims and objectives right will give your research clear direction. This won’t only reduce the likelihood of problems arising later down the line, but will also lead to a more thorough and coherent research project.
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16 Important Ways to Use Case Studies in Your Marketing
Updated: September 08, 2020
Published: July 30, 2020
When you're thinking about investing in a product or service, what's the first thing you do?
Usually, it’s one or both of the following: You'll likely ask your friends whether they've tried the product or service, and if they have, whether they would recommend it. You'll also probably do some online research to see what others are saying about said product or service. Nowadays, 90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year , and 82% of consumers read online reviews. This shows that the majority of people are looking to peers to make a purchasing decision. Most customers know that a little online research could spare them from a bad experience and poor investment of your budget.
What Is a Marketing Case Study?
A case study is the analysis of a particular instance (or "case") of something to demonstrate quantifiable results as a result of the application of something. In marketing, case studies are used as social proof — to provide buyers with the context to determine whether they're making a good choice.
A marketing case study aims to persuade that a process, product, or service can solve a problem. Why? Because it has done so in the past. By including the quantitative and qualitative outcomes of the study, it appeals to logic while painting a picture of what success looks like for the buyer. Both of which can be powerful motivators and objection removers.
Why Use Case Studies?
In essence, case studies are an invaluable asset when it comes to establishing proof that what you're offering is valuable and of good quality.
According to HubSpot's State of Marketing Report 2020 , 13% of marketers name case studies as one of the primary forms of media used within their content strategy. This makes them the fifth most popular type of content, outshined only by visual content, blogs, and ebooks.
Okay, so you know case studies work. The question is, how do they work? And how can you squeeze the most value out of them?
When to Use a Case Study
Here are the ways you can market your case studies to get the most out of them.
As a Marketing or Sales Asset
1. use a case study template to create pdfs for email or downloads . .
Do not underestimate the value of providing social proof at just the right time in order to add value and earn their business. Case studies are extremely effective in the consideration stage of the buyer's journey when they are actively comparing solutions and providers to solve a problem they're experiencing.
For this reason, case studies in an independent PDF format can be helpful in both marketing and sales. Marketers can use these PDFs as downloads in web content or email campaigns. Sales reps can utilize these assets in demonstrations, in a follow-up, or to overcome objections.
The easiest way to create PDF case studies is by using a case study template . Doing so can decrease the amount of time you spend creating and designing your case study without sacrificing aesthetics. In addition, you can ensure that all your case studies follow a similar branded format.
We've created a great case study template (and kit!) that's already locked and loaded for you to use. All you have to do is input your own text and change the fonts and colors to fit your brand. You can download it here .
On Your Website
2. have a dedicated case studies page..
You should have a webpage exclusively for housing your case studies. Whether you call this page "Case Studies, "Success Studies," or "Examples of Our Work," be sure it's easy for visitors to find.
Structure on that page is key: Initial challenges are clear for each case, as well as the goals, process, and results.
Get Inspired: Google’s Think With Google is an example of a really well structured case study page. The copy is engaging, as are the goals, approach, and results.
3. Put case studies on your home page.
Give website visitors every chance you can to stumble upon evidence of happy customers. Your home page is the perfect place to do this.
There are a number of ways you can include case studies on your homepage. Here are a few examples:
- Customer quotes/testimonials
- A call-to-action (CTA) to view specific case studies
- A slide-in CTA that links to a case study
- A CTA leading to your case studies page
Get Inspired: Theresumator.com incorporates testimonials onto their homepage to strengthen their value proposition.
Bonus Tip: Get personal.
Marketing gurus across the world agree that personalised marketing is the future . You can make your case studies more powerful if you find ways to make them “match” the website visitors that are important to you.
People react to familiarity -- for instance, presenting someone from London with a case study from New York may not resonate as well as if you displayed a case study from the U.K. Or you could choose to tailor case studies by industry or company size to the visitor. At HubSpot, we call this "smart content."
Get Inspired: To help explain smart content, have a look at the example below. Here, we wanted to test whether including testimonials on landing pages influenced conversion rates in the U.K. The landing page on the left is the default landing page shown to visitors from non-U.K. IP addresses. For the landing page on the right, we used smart content to show testimonials to visitors coming from U.K. IP addresses.
4. Implement slide-in CTAs.
Pop-ups have a reputation for being annoying, but there are ways to implement that that won't irk your website visitors. These CTAs don't have to be huge, glaring pop-ups -- instead, relevant but discreet slide-in CTAs can work really well.
For example, why not test out a slide-in CTA on one of your product pages, with a link to a case study that profiles a customer who's seen great results using that product?
Get Inspired: If you need some help on creating sliders for your website, check out this tutorial on creating slide-in CTAs .
5. Write blog posts about your case studies.
Once you publish a case study, the next logical step would be to write a blog post about it to expose your audience to it. The trick is to write about the case study in a way that identifies with your audience’s needs. So rather than titling your post “Company X: A Case Study," you might write about a specific hurdle, issue, or challenge the company overcame, and then use that company's case study to illustrate how the issues were addressed. It's important not to center the blog post around your company, product, or service -- instead, the customer’s challenges and how they were overcome should take centre stage.
For example, if we had a case study that showed how one customer generated twice as many leads as a result of our marketing automation tool, our blog post might be something along the lines of: "How to Double Lead Flow With Marketing Automation [Case Study]." The blog post would then comprise of a mix of stats, practical tips, as well as some illustrative examples from our case study.
Get Inspired: Check out this great example of a blog post from Moz , titled "How to Build Links to Your Blog – A Case Study."
6. Create videos from case studies.
Internet services are improving all the time, and as a result, people are consuming more and more video content. Prospects could be more likely to watch a video than they are to read a lengthy case study. If you have the budget, creating videos of your case studies is a really powerful way to communicate your value proposition.
Get Inspired: Check out one of our many video testimonials for some ideas on how to approach your own videos.
7. Use case studies on relevant landing pages.
Once you complete a case study, you'll have a bank of quotes and results you can pull from. Including quotes on product pages is especially interesting. If website visitors are reading your product pages, they are in a "consideration" mindset, meaning they are actively researching your products, perhaps with an intent to buy. Having customer quotes placed strategically on these pages is a great way to push them over the line and further down the funnel.
These quotes should be measured, results-based snippets, such as, “XX resulted in a 70% increase in blog subscribers in less an 6 months” rather than, “We are proud to be customers of XX, they really look after us."
Get Inspired: I really like the way HR Software company Workday incorporates video and testimonials into its solutions pages.
Off Your Website
8. post about case studies on social media..
Case studies make for perfect social sharing material. Here are a few examples of how you can leverage them on social:
- Share a link to a case study and tag the customer in the post. The trick here is to post your case studies in a way that attracts the right people to click through, rather than just a generic message like, “New Case Study ->> LINK." Make sure your status communicates clearly the challenge that was overcome or the goal that was achieved. It's also wise to include the main stats associated with the case study; for example, "2x lead flow," "125% increase in X," and so on.
- Update your cover image on Twitter/Facebook showing a happy customer. Our social media cover photo templates should help you with this!
- Add your case study to your list of publications on LinkedIn.
- Share your case studies in relevant LinkedIn Groups.
- Target your new case studies to relevant people on Facebook using dark posts. ( Learn about dark posts here. )
Get Inspired: MaRS Discovery District posts case studies on Twitter to push people towards a desired action.
9. Use case studies in your email marketing.
Case studies are particularly suited to email marketing when you have an industry-segmentable list. For example, if you have a case study from a client in the insurance industry, emailing your case study to your base of insurance-related contacts can be a really relevant addition to a lead nurturing campaign.
Case studies can also be very effective when used in product-specific lead nurture workflows in reactivating opportunities that have gone cold. They can be useful for re-engaging leads that have gone quiet and who were looking at specific areas of your product that the case study relates to.
Get Inspired: It's important that your lead nurture workflow content includes the appropriate content for where prospects are in the sales cycle. If you need help on how to do this, check out our post on how to map lead nurturing content to each stage in sales cycle .
10. Incorporate case studies into your newsletters.
This idea is as good for your client relations as it is for gaining the attention of your prospects. Customers and clients love feeling as though they're part of a community. It’s human nature. Prospects warm to companies that look after their customers; companies whose customers are happy and proud to be part of something. Also, whether we are willing to admit it or not, people love to show off!
Get Inspired: Newsletters become stale over time. Give your newsletters a new lease of life with our guide on how to create newsletters that don't suck .
11. Equip your sales team with case studies.
Tailored content has become increasingly important to sales reps as they look to provide value on the sales call. It's estimated that consumers go through 70-90% of the buyer's journey before contacting a vendor. This means that the consumer is more knowledgeable than ever before. Sales reps no longer need to spend an entire call talking about the features and benefits. Sales has become more complex, and reps now need to be armed with content that addresses each stage of the buyer’s process. Case studies can be really useful when it comes to showing prospects how successful other people within a similar industry has benefited from your product or service.
Get Inspired: Case studies are just one type of content that helps your sales team sell. They don't always work by themselves, though. Check out our list of content types that help sales close more deals .
12. Sneak a case study into your email signature.
Include a link to a recent case study in your email signature. This is particularly useful for salespeople. Here's what my email signature looks like:
Get Inspired: Did you know that there are lots more ways you can use your email signature to support your marketing? Here are 10 clever suggestions for how you can do this.
13. Use case studies in training.
Having customer case studies is an invaluable asset to have when onboarding new employees. It aids developing their buy-in, belief in, and understanding of your offering.
Get Inspired: Have you completed our Inbound Certification course yet? During our classes, we use case studies to show how inbound marketing is applied in real life.
In Lead-Gen Content
14. include case studies in your lead gen efforts..
There are a number of offers you can create based off of your case studies, in the form of ebooks, templates, and more. For example you could put together an ebook titled “A step-by-step guide to reaching 10,000 blog subscribers in 3 months…just like XX did.” You could create a more in-depth version of the case study with access to detailed statistics as an offer. (And don’t forget, you can also u se quotes and statistics from case studies on the landing page promoting the ebook, which adds credibility and could increase your conversion rates.) Or, you could create a template based on your customer's approach to success.
Get Inspired: If you think you need to be an awesome designer put together beautiful ebooks, think again. Create ebooks easily using these customisable ebook templates .
You can also use case studies to frame webinars that document how to be successful with X. Using case studies in webinars is great middle-of-the-funnel content and can really help move your leads further down the funnel towards becoming sales qualified leads.
Get Inspired: Webinars are really effective as part of a lead nurturing workflow. Make sure your next webinar is spot on by following these simple webinar tips.
15. Create a bank of evergreen presentations.
It’s important to build up a bank of evergreen content that employees across your organisation can use during presentations or demos. Case studies are perfect for this.
Put together a few slides on the highlights of the case study to stir people’s interest, and then make them available to your sales and customer-facing teams. It's helpful if the marketer who created the presentation is the one who presents it to anyone who might use them in the future. This ensures they can explain the presentation clearly and answer any questions that might arise.
Get Inspired: What to create presentations people want to use? Here's a list of tools to make your presentations great.
16. Create SlideShares based on case studies.
Following on from a few short slides, you could also put together a more detailed presentation of the case study and upload it to SlideShare. After all, not only is SlideShare SEO-friendly (because Google indexes each presentation), but there is a huge pre-existing audience on SlideShare of over 60 million users you can tap into. SlideShare presentations are also easy to embed and share, and allow you to capture leads directly from the slides via a lead capture form.
Get Inspired: Want to generate more leads with SlideShare, but not sure how to get started? Check out this blog post .
Now that you understand the value of a marketing case study and the different ways that they can be used in your content marketing (and even sales) strategy, your next step is to think about what would convince your target audience to do business with you.
Have you recently accomplished something big for a client? Do you have a process or product with demonstrable results? What do your potential clients hope that you'll do for them?
The answers to those questions will help you craft compelling content for your case study. Then, all that's left is putting it into your audience's hands in formats they want to consume.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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Example Of Case Study On Aims And Objectives
Type of paper: Case Study
Topic: Company , Business , Entrepreneurship , Market , Enterprise , Pricing , Workplace , Strategy
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The AirSec Company emerged as a collective contribution of three graduate engineers who extensively researched and established this particular technology, to combine drones (popularly referred to as UAV or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) with security systems of enhanced technology. These graduate engineers were able to attain this by use of a minute drone, properly equipped with cameras of very high definitions. The cameras could use particular night observing infra imageries and also the normal light imageries. After periods of development, present time Wi-Fi links were successfully introduced to numerous receivers such as cellular phones.
The core aim of AirSec Limited is to emerge the flag bearer in the delivery of high-quality services superseding the clients' expectations, not only in the United Kingdom but also far beyond. While doing so, the company also seeks to promote understanding with its clients and other shareholders to make sure that there is an increase in profitability in the coming financial years. The long-term vision is growing and intensifying its operations to accommodate customers who are based in regions beyond the UK after only three years to augment the company’s profitability. Within a time frame of five years, the hope is that the set decision will transform to the increase of profits by approximately 10% hence reducing the operations costs. In the successive periods, the plan will be to maintain and sustain the profitability margins and a yearly growth of 3% for a five-year era, during which the administration intends to oversee innovations that will simplify the employees training to work for the AirSec Limited in different capacities (Reniers, 2010). As per the administrators, the goal of the enterprise is to minimize the expenses related to training through the implementation of current technology will reflect a 10% cut in the budget. The investment also intends to ensure increased recycling of the 80% operation wastes within a two year period. In the course of implementing the procedures, the business will go on fostering an association with clients in the locality as an attempt to involve their contribution in the budgeting. As per the intention, the client ought to contribute approximately 2% for a five-year time frame. The Company's mission is overseeing the delivery of high-quality service in the security investment for consumers in the United Kingdom and beyond inn the coming five years. AirSec Company will employ the use of very proficient workforce to ensure the delivery of top notch services considering affordability and efficiency. In the course of undertaking company social accountabilities, the organization intends ti involve different elements of social business ideologies in developing activities capable of sustaining development in the coming years in preparing for advancements shortly.
The Pricing Strategies
Regardless of the different strategies for pricing being implemented at the AirSec Limited, they all have different advantages and even disadvantages. However, before making conclusions on the strategy that best fits the company's operations, it is recommended that different pricing strategies should be employed. The strategies employed at the enterprise include market pricing, skimming the market, price penetrations, and predatory pricing among other techniques. In selecting the penetration pricing, the enterprise security risks distorting its hard worked for reputation as the security flag bearer when it comes to the provision of high standard security services. However, the benefit of the strategy is enhancing profitability other than according the enterprise an opportunity to gain easy access to the potential market. The second advantage of this particular strategy is distinguishing the AirSec prices from the prices of its market competitors. In considering destruction pricing, the company achieves the chance to attract consumers with the cost effective prices that lure many clients. On the other hand, the enterprise faces the risk of gaining losses besides altering its status as the leader in security service provision (Reniers, 2010). For the market pricing strategy, the enterprise gains the chance to completely understand the potential market dynamics before exploiting fully the activities of the market place. The market pricing technique can also render it difficult distinguishing the standard of the function with the rest of the opponents. Realization of the main goals of the enterprise could also seem close to impossible since the firm’s decision is pegged on the competitors’ activities. Skimming marketing can dishearten clients from seeking the Company’s services. Additionally, it can incur huge costs in promoting the firm’s brand. On the other hand, the procedure simplifies product differentiation in the potential market. In several instances, it equates price to the real value that an enterprise offers its clients. The opportunities for recording improved benefits from pricing strategies are also high. In selecting discriminating pricing, the enterprise is faced with the risk of looking choosy in its different prices therefore the possibility that clients opt to look for services from the opponents. Although dual pricing can lure consumers in a short term period, it indicates uncertainty. Additionally, it renders planning impossible. Just like a price war, the strategy creates enmity amongst the competitors, hence the lack of harmony in information exchange. The technique equally lures clients; however it is not easily sustained in the long term because of a profitability reduction. Of the many approaches that the company can implement, the adaptation of market pricing is highly recommendable for the markets in the United Kingdom, however, for India, the penetration strategy of pricing is highly advisable. The enterprise owning to the fact that the method will ensure full sustainability in functioning in the United Kingdom apart from enabling the enterprise understands the market dynamics. Since the AirSec Corporation does not deal in new products, differentiation of products is enabled by market pricing, in the long term and short term. Attracting clients to buy the products offered by the venture is not as complex with the adaptation of the strategy. Moreover, enhancing a rapport with clients is integral in the pricing process. Due to the provided reason, the suitable way involves first attracting the attention of the consumers before subsequently explaining to the objective of the venture in applying a specific strategy of pricing (Sarkis, 2010).
Benchmarking involves a determination of standards that the staff members have to meet to ensure high standard services are delivered differentiating the company from its opponents. In AirSec’s Limited case, there are different approaches in which the administration can utilize to guarantee the shop floor assembly staffs to offer only their best at the corporation. An example of them includes assigning a set of workers to assemble within a specified period. After targets are correctly assigned, the management should confirm the accomplishment of the assigned task if it conforms to the set standard in consideration of quality. In the course of this process, the management has to stress the necessity for cooperation in the accomplishment of the assigned responsibility. For example, out of 50 staff members, around 75% of them should completely achieve the requirements as per the benchmark. Benchmarking also established the different expectations of the employees in regards to effectiveness and coordination in the utilization of the enterprise resources (Sarkis, 2010). The set values will at the same time guide the administration in envisaging compliance with customer and budgetary needs in the course of service delivery. In instances where the staff members meet the set qualifications, the leader should explicitly define the constraints in regards to wastage to enhance consistency in operations. Taking the example of the floor employees, the management will come up with standard operation processes that will establish the appropriate personnel who meet the requirements for bonuses and other rewards aimed at enhancing commitment to responsibilities. In the process, the benchmark will facilitate the enterprise design programs that limit responsibilities that propel the accomplishments of the goals, unlike the set guidelines. Benchmarks will also ensure the enterprise is well guided in ways of addressing the floor staff needs, which are not able to fulfill their work demands. For example, employees who are unable to clean specific equipment according to the laid down standards will undergo compulsory refresher courses that will greatly improve their competencies. After evaluating an individual’s aptitude, the benchmark settled upon from comparing the internal expectations and extrinsic standards will assist in ensuring attainment of a described profitability degrees. Another importance of benchmark as a staff management tool is that it will accurately check the satisfactory level of the whole cleaning procedure. It will additionally ensure the degrees of coordination of the floor line staff in making sure of the accomplishment regarding the stipulated objectives. Finally, benchmarks will facilitate the choosing of knowledgeable personnel to work as AirSac cleaners. In return, the enterprise will face less challenge during the design of remuneration programs and work schedules.
International Trade Barriers
Public authorities or the government puts measures in place to regulate overseas investment and trade. These measures may take the form of a specific decision or legislation and may sometimes take the form of the prevailing practices in the particular markets. Due to these measures, the domestic industries enjoy a competitive advantage compared to their foreign competitors. Examples of the trade barriers are custom procedures, customs duties, quality regulations, technical regulations, and phytosanitary and veterinary measures (Moriarty, 2011). For many enterprises, exportation of the companies services and products come with many complexities, AirSec Limited is not exempted. One of the most common challenges that the limited is likely to face includes uncertainty regarding the clients' behaviors in the international regions beyond the United Kingdom. Consequently, the enterprise faces difficulties in implementing marketing strategies disliked by the consumers in the international markets. Therefore, it is not uncommon for an enterprise to record huge losses when trying to expand its scope internationally. These factors have in many instances forced enterprises to reduce their prices way below the profitability margin (Moriarty, 2011). Additionally, market penetration has proved difficult because of government policies that seem to favor some companies above others. While struggling to agree with intellectual property regulations, the enterprise will grapple with the subject of supplying long-lasting goods at flexible and affordable prices. Moreover, infrastructure and geographical inaccessibility experienced during international trade in different regions may interfere with the timely delivery of products to the clients. Another potential barrier is bureaucratic legislations that have the potential to slow down or stop the trade process. These inconveniences can greatly harm the corporation especially in instances where the AirSec limited is not informed of the newly introduced legislations in different countries. A restricted knowledge or understanding of the local market can also propel difficulties in utilizing the current workforce for increased efficiencies (Min, 2009). Other measures include limitations on access to major products, for instance, the export levies meant to artificially drive up prices or higher export prices compared to the price of similar products applied to the national processing industries. Inadequate safeguard of intellectual property rights regarding scope and legal aspects. Barriers to trade may also assume the form of discriminatory settings.
Functional areas refer to groups of employees with similar expertise and experience. For instance, an organization's sales department can be referred to as a functional are since the staff in this section are all focused on sales of the company's products. The role of the sales members is to interact directly with prospective clients to enable them to determine the products that best suit the client's needs then place orders (Min, 2009). On the other hand, marketing professionals play a role of determining the products to be introduced into the market by the company. They often conduct market research surveys to understand what consumers need and like. The research helps to align the strategies of the organization, and the team is able to establish the product prices based on costs of manufacturing. Marketing directors and managers make decisions on the types of promotions and advertisements to be used by the company. Marketing departments that have advertisement managers and directors are better placed since they easily compute the budgets for various forms of advertisement and track the outcomes. The marketing department also decides on the right channels for distribution of the company's products. For instance, a company dealing in consumer goods may sell its products in merchandiser outlets and grocery stores. Accounting professionals are known to specialize in any one of the three areas: accounts payable, accounts receivable and payroll. The accounts payable specialists work on tracking payments owed by the company including the values for repairs, parts and maintenance vendors owed. Accounts receivable employees work on tracking the debts owed to the organization, for example, the clients who purchase items on credit. They also prepare invoices and send to customers to remind them that their payments are due. Payroll specialists on their part work to ensure that salaries and wages are paid on time while also distribute the tax forms to the contractors and employees for taxation purposes (Blanchard, 2010). Customer complaints and problems are handled by the customer service team. Customers experience challenges of service provision, usage product education and after sales services from time to time. For large companies, the handlings of customer service issues are done through a call center where the customer-provider interaction is through a phone. Lastly, the personnel or human resources department is given the mandate for hiring employees, training, compensation, and appraisal.The department ensures that employees’ welfare is fully catered for so that performance remains at the optimal degree (Blanchard, 2010).
The AirSec Limited located in the United Kingdom is one of the leading security drones companies. The corporation has worked and invested in achieving its goals and objectives. The company, through its competent employees, has also implemented successful market pricing strategies to suit different market dynamics. Despite the barriers to international trade that the AirSec limited has encountered, it has always strived to overcome and remain at the top.
Blanchard, D. (2010). Supply chain management best practices. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons. Min, H. (2009). Benchmarking of supply chain performances. Benchmarking: An International Journal, 16(5). http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/bij.2009.13116eaa.001 Moriarty, J. (2011). A theory of benchmarking. Benchmarking: An International Journal, 18(4), 588-611. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14635771111147650 Reniers, G. (2010). Multi-plant safety and security management in the chemical and process industries. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. Sarkis, J. (2010). Benchmarking the greening of business. Benchmarking: An International Journal, 17(3). http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/bij.2010.13117caa.001
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Enterprise financialization and R&D innovation: A case study of listed companies in China
- Yue Liu ,
- Jinzhi Liu , ,
- Lichang Zhang
- Business School, Hunan Institute of Technology, Hengyang 421000, China
- Corresponding author: Email: [email protected] ;
- Received: 19 January 2023 Revised: 14 February 2023 Accepted: 16 February 2023 Published: 02 March 2023
- Full Text(HTML)
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In financial asset allocation, enterprises adjust their investment in R&D innovation according to their motives and the external environment. Based on a review of the literature related to enterprise financialization and R&D innovation, this paper proposes research hypotheses through theoretical analysis first; then, taking China's A-share non-financial listed companies from 2010 to 2019 as research objects, this paper explores the relationship between enterprise financialization and R&D innovation with a quantile panel data model; further, the heterogeneous relationship between the two under different business cycle phases is empirically analyzed. The following conclusions are drawn. First, there is a dynamic relationship between enterprise financialization and R&D innovation, varying with different financing constraints. Second, the dynamic relationship between enterprise financialization and R&D innovation stems from the motivation difference in enterprise asset allocation. Third, there are significant differences in the dynamic relationship at different business cycle phases.
- enterprise financialization ,
- R&D innovation ,
- dynamic relationship ,
- financing constraints ,
- business cycle
Citation: Yue Liu, Jinzhi Liu, Lichang Zhang. Enterprise financialization and R&D innovation: A case study of listed companies in China[J]. Electronic Research Archive, 2023, 31(5): 2447-2471. doi: 10.3934/era.2023124
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ -->
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- © 2023 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 )
通讯作者: 陈斌, [email protected]
沈阳化工大学材料科学与工程学院 沈阳 110142
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Case studies are a popular research method in business area. Case studies aim to analyze specific issues within the boundaries of a specific environment, situation or organization.
According to its design, case studies in business research can be divided into three categories: explanatory, descriptive and exploratory.
Explanatory case studies aim to answer ‘how’ or ’why’ questions with little control on behalf of researcher over occurrence of events. This type of case studies focus on phenomena within the contexts of real-life situations. Example: “An investigation into the reasons of the global financial and economic crisis of 2008 – 2010.”
Descriptive case studies aim to analyze the sequence of interpersonal events after a certain amount of time has passed. Studies in business research belonging to this category usually describe culture or sub-culture, and they attempt to discover the key phenomena. Example: “Impact of increasing levels of multiculturalism on marketing practices: A case study of McDonald’s Indonesia.”
Exploratory case studies aim to find answers to the questions of ‘what’ or ‘who’. Exploratory case study data collection method is often accompanied by additional data collection method(s) such as interviews, questionnaires, experiments etc. Example: “A study into differences of leadership practices between private and public sector organizations in Atlanta, USA.”
Advantages of case study method include data collection and analysis within the context of phenomenon, integration of qualitative and quantitative data in data analysis, and the ability to capture complexities of real-life situations so that the phenomenon can be studied in greater levels of depth. Case studies do have certain disadvantages that may include lack of rigor, challenges associated with data analysis and very little basis for generalizations of findings and conclusions.
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15+ Professional Case Study Examples [Design Tips + Templates]
By Alice Corner , Jan 12, 2023
Let me ask you a question: Have you ever bought something — within the last 10 years or so — without reading its reviews or without a recommendation or prior experience of using it?
If the answer is no — or at least, rarely — you get my point.
For businesses selling consumer goods, having raving reviews is a good way to get more customers. The same thing applies to B2B and/or SaaS businesses — but for this type of business, besides regular, short reviews, having a detailed case study can help tremendously.
Case studies are an incredibly effective form of marketing that you can use to help promote your product and plan your marketing strategy effectively. You can also use it as a form of customer analysis or as a sales tool to inspire potential customers.
So what does a case study look like and how can you create one? In this article, I’m going to list over 15 marketing case study examples, case study tips, and case study templates to help you create a case study that converts.
Click to jump ahead:
- What is a Case Study?
- Marketing Case Study Examples
Sales Case Study Examples
Simple case study examples, business case study examples.
- Case Study FAQs
What is a case study?
A case study is a research method to gain a better understanding of a subject or process. Case studies involve in-depth research into a given subject, in order to understand its functionality and successes.
In the context of a business, however, case studies take customer success stories and explore how they use your product to help them achieve their business goals.
As well as being valuable marketing tools, case studies are a good way to evaluate your product as it allows you to objectively examine how others are using it.
It’s also a good way to interview your customers about why they work with you.
Related: What is a Case Study? [+6 Types of Case Studies]
What is a marketing case study?
A marketing case study is a type of marketing where you use your existing customers as an example of what your product or services can achieve. You can also create case studies of internal, successful marketing projects.
Here’s an example of a marketing case study template:
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Marketing case study examples
Marketing case studies are incredibly useful for showing your marketing successes. Every successful marketing campaign relies on influencing a consumer’s behavior, and a great case study can be a great way to spotlight your biggest wins.
In the marketing case study examples below, a variety of designs and techniques to create impactful and effective case studies.
Show off impressive results with a bold marketing case study
Case studies are meant to show off your successes, so make sure you feature your positive results prominently. Using bold and bright colors as well as contrasting shapes, large bold fonts, and simple icons is a great way to highlight your wins.
In well-written case study examples like the one below, the big wins are highlighted on the second page with a bright orange color and are highlighted in circles.
Making the important data stand out is especially important when attracting a prospective customer with marketing case studies.
Use a simple but clear layout in your case study
Using a simple layout in your case study can be incredibly effective, like in the example of a case study below.
Keeping a clean white background, and using slim lines to help separate the sections is an easy way to format your case study.
Making the information clear helps draw attention to the important results, and it helps improve the accessibility of the design .
Business case study examples like this would sit nicely within a larger report, with a consistent layout throughout.
Use visuals and icons to create an engaging and branded business case study
Nobody wants to read pages and pages of text — and that’s why Venngage wants to help you communicate your ideas visually.
Using icons, graphics, photos, or patterns helps create a much more engaging design.
With this Blue Cap case study icons, colors, and impactful pattern designs have been used to create an engaging design that catches your eye.
Use a monochromatic color palette to create a professional and clean case study
Let your research shine by using a monochromatic and minimalistic color palette.
By sticking to one color, and leaving lots of blank space you can ensure your design doesn’t distract a potential customer from your case study content.
In this case study on Polygon Media, the design is simple and professional, and the layout allows the prospective customer to follow the flow of information.
The gradient effect on the left-hand column helps break up the white background and adds an interesting visual effect.
Did you know you can generate an accessible color palette with Venngage? Try our free accessible color palette generator today and create a case study that delivers and looks pleasant to the eye:
Add long term goals in your case study
When creating a case study it’s a great idea to look at both the short term and the long term goals of the company to gain the best understanding possible of the insights they provide.
Short-term goals will be what the company or person hopes to achieve in the next few months, and long-term goals are what the company hopes to achieve in the next few years.
Check out this modern pattern design example of a case study below:
In this case study example, the short and long-term goals are clearly distinguished by light blue boxes and placed side by side so that they are easy to compare.
Use a strong introductory paragraph to outline the overall strategy and goals before outlining the specific short-term and long-term goals to help with clarity.
This strategy can also be handy when creating a consulting case study.
Use data to make concrete points about your sales and successes
When conducting any sort of research stats, facts, and figures are like gold dust (aka, really valuable).
Being able to quantify your findings is important to help understand the information fully. Saying sales increased 10% is much more effective than saying sales increased.
In sales case study examples, like this one, the key data and findings can be presented with icons. This contributes to the potential customer’s better understanding of the report.
They can clearly comprehend the information and it shows that the case study has been well researched.
Use emotive, persuasive, or action based language in your marketing case study
Create a compelling case study by using emotive, persuasive and action-based language when customizing your case study template.
In this well-written case study example, we can see that phrases such as “Results that Speak Volumes” and “Drive Sales” have been used.
Using persuasive language like you would in a blog post. It helps inspire potential customers to take action now.
Keep your potential customers in mind when creating a customer case study for marketing
82% of marketers use case studies in their marketing because it’s such an effective tool to help quickly gain customers’ trust and to showcase the potential of your product.
Why are case studies such an important tool in content marketing?
By writing a case study you’re telling potential customers that they can trust you because you’re showing them that other people do.
Not only that, but if you have a SaaS product, business case studies are a great way to show how other people are effectively using your product in their company.
In this case study, Network is demonstrating how their product has been used by Vortex Co. with great success; instantly showing other potential customers that their tool works and is worth using.
Related: 10+ Case Study Infographic Templates That Convert
Case studies are particularly effective as a sales technique.
A sales case study is like an extended customer testimonial, not only sharing opinions of your product – but showcasing the results you helped your customer achieve.
Make impactful statistics pop in your sales case study
Writing a case study doesn’t mean using text as the only medium for sharing results.
You should use icons to highlight areas of your research that are particularly interesting or relevant, like in this example of a case study:
Icons are a great way to help summarize information quickly and can act as visual cues to help draw the customer’s attention to certain areas of the page.
In some of the business case study examples above, icons are used to represent the impressive areas of growth and are presented in a way that grabs your attention.
Use high contrast shapes and colors to draw attention to key information in your sales case study
Help the key information stand out within your case study by using high contrast shapes and colors.
Use a complementary or contrasting color, or use a shape such as a rectangle or a circle for maximum impact.
This design has used dark blue rectangles to help separate the information and make it easier to read.
Coupled with icons and strong statistics, this information stands out on the page and is easily digestible and retainable for a potential customer.
Less is often more, and this is especially true when it comes to creating designs. Whilst you want to create a professional-looking, well-written and design case study – there’s no need to overcomplicate things.
These simple case study examples show that smart clean designs and informative content can be an effective way to showcase your successes.
Use colors and fonts to create a professional-looking case study
Business case studies shouldn’t be boring. In fact, they should be beautifully and professionally designed.
This means the normal rules of design apply. Use fonts, colors, and icons to create an interesting and visually appealing case study.
In this case study example, we can see how multiple fonts have been used to help differentiate between the headers and content, as well as complementary colors and eye-catching icons.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, business case studies can be a powerful resource to help with your sales, marketing, and even internal departmental awareness.
Business and business management case studies should encompass strategic insights alongside anecdotal and qualitative findings, like in the business case study examples below.
Conduct a B2B case study by researching the company holistically
When it comes to writing a case study, make sure you approach the company holistically and analyze everything from their social media to their sales.
Think about every avenue your product or service has been of use to your case study company, and ask them about the impact this has had on their wider company goals.
In business case study examples like the one above, we can see that the company has been thought about holistically simply by the use of icons.
By combining social media icons with icons that show in-person communication we know that this is a well-researched and thorough case study.
This case study report example could also be used within an annual or end-of-year report.
Highlight the key takeaway from your marketing case study
To create a compelling case study, identify the key takeaways from your research. Use catchy language to sum up this information in a sentence, and present this sentence at the top of your page.
This is “at a glance” information and it allows people to gain a top-level understanding of the content immediately.
You can use a large, bold, contrasting font to help this information stand out from the page and provide interest.
Learn how to choose fonts effectively with our Venngage guide and once you’ve done that.
Upload your fonts and brand colors to Venngage using the My Brand Kit tool and see them automatically applied to your designs.
The heading is the ideal place to put the most impactful information, as this is the first thing that people will read.
In this example, the stat of “Increase[d] lead quality by 90%” is used as the header. It makes customers want to read more to find out how exactly lead quality was increased by such a massive amount.
If you’re conducting an in-person interview, you could highlight a direct quote or insight provided by your interview subject.
Pick out a catchy sentence or phrase, or the key piece of information your interview subject provided and use that as a way to draw a potential customer in.
Use charts to visualize data in your business case studies
Charts are an excellent way to visualize data and to bring statistics and information to life. Charts make information easier to understand and to illustrate trends or patterns.
Making charts is even easier with Venngage.
In this consulting case study example, we can see that a chart has been used to demonstrate the difference in lead value within the Lead Elves case study.
Adding a chart here helps break up the information and add visual value to the case study.
Using charts in your case study can also be useful if you’re creating a project management case study.
You could use a Gantt chart or a project timeline to show how you have managed the project successfully.
Use direct quotes to build trust in your marketing case study
To add an extra layer of authenticity you can include a direct quote from your customer within your case study.
According to research from Nielsen , 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer and 70% trust recommendations even if they’re from somebody they don’t know.
So if you have a customer or client who can’t stop singing your praises, make sure you get a direct quote from them and include it in your case study.
You can either lift part of the conversation or interview, or you can specifically request a quote. Make sure to ask for permission before using the quote.
This design uses a bright contrasting speech bubble to show that it includes a direct quote, and helps the quote stand out from the rest of the text.
This will help draw the customer’s attention directly to the quote, in turn influencing them to use your product or service.
Case Study Examples Summary
Once you have created your case study, it’s best practice to update your examples on a regular basis to include up-to-date statistics, data, and information.
You should update your business case study examples often if you are sharing them on your website.
It’s also important that your case study sits within your brand guidelines – find out how Venngage’s My Brand Kit tool can help you create consistently branded case study templates.
Case studies are important marketing tools – but they shouldn’t be the only tool in your toolbox. Content marketing is also a valuable way to earn consumer trust.
Case Study FAQ
Why should you write a case study.
Case studies are an effective marketing technique to engage potential customers and help build trust.
By producing case studies featuring your current clients or customers, you are showcasing how your tool or product can be used. You’re also showing that other people endorse your product.
In addition to being a good way to gather positive testimonials from existing customers, business case studies are good educational resources and can be shared amongst your company or team, and used as a reference for future projects.
How should you write a case study?
To create a great case study, you should think strategically. The first step, before starting your case study research, is to think about what you aim to learn or what you aim to prove.
You might be aiming to learn how a company makes sales or develops a new product. If this is the case, base your questions around this.
You can learn more about writing a case study from our extensive guide.
Some good questions you could ask would be:
- Why do you use our tool or service?
- How often do you use our tool or service?
- What does the process of using our product look like to you?
- If our product didn’t exist, what would you be doing instead?
- What is the number one benefit you’ve found from using our tool?
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How to Write a Simple Case Study
- DESCRIPTION woman writing a case study
- SOURCE bojanstory / E+ / Getty Images
Learning how to write a case study can be useful in a variety of occupational fields from business to psychology. A case study, or case study analysis, is a method of research. It's an in-depth study of a person, a group, or some other specified unit. Typically, you're looking to see what worked and what didn't work.
1: Identify Your Goal or Objective
To draft a proper case study, you have to be crystal clear about your intent. Before you take a deep dive into a particular subject, think about your end goal. What do you hope readers will take away from your study? What problem(s) and solutions(s) are you highlighting?
You can have more than one objective for your case study, but it’s best to focus on five at most. General case study goals include:
- measuring the impact of a specific action
- explaining a phenomenon or illustrating a unique circumstance
- proving or disproving a generalized assumption
2. Prepare the Case
To begin, you must thoroughly understand the subject of your study. Familiarize yourself with the person or company you’re writing about. Start by taking a lot of notes related to the background information a stranger would need to know and the problem you’re addressing.
Highlight relevant points that support your goal. Be on the lookout for a unique angle you can use to make your point.
3. Review What's Already Known
Now that you and the subject are well-acquainted, it's time to determine what's already known about the case. This serves as the baseline for understanding your case and helps you develop solutions.
Consider these research methods:
- Review related literature on the topic.
- Watch media clips, speeches, debates, and discussions.
- Read reports from your subject.
- Conduct interviews with the subject, people close to the project, or topic professionals.
4. Collect Data
At this point, you have your background information and supporting evidence. Now, it's time to put together what you’ve learned. You can use existing data, but you may also create new data points by compiling all your research.
Compile any data that illustrates the solution(s) or main message you’re presenting. You can use charts and graphs as part of your final case study. It doesn’t have to be entirely narrative.
5. Draft Your Case Study
With information by your side, it's time to formally compose your analysis. There are four main sections in a case study. It is similar to writing an essay or telling a story.
Your introduction serves as an overview of all your hard work. Begin with a thesis statement that indicates what was being analyzed and why. Assume the audience isn't familiar with the subject by offering some context.
It's best to break the body of your case study into two parts. The first part involves outlining your background information, pertinent facts, noted issues, and prior research from other sources. Record your notes similar to a narrative essay .
The second part of the body of your case study is where you share the actual observations and data you recorded. Note any areas of intrigue or uniqueness. Did they line up with your prior research or contradict it?
Mention what you noticed before, during, and after a defining action was taken. Break your presentation into appropriate subheadings so the reader will know what topic is being addressed in each section.
Your conclusion is a wrap up of what was observed, unearthed, and dissected. This might be the place for a call to action. If this is for school, you can leave it as an open-ended or rhetorical question . If a company has hired you to conduct a case study, then you might want to recommend a specific call-to-action so that, moving forward, your research will serve a valuable purpose.
Example Case Studies
If you’re still not sure how to write a case study, you can look at examples to see what a finished case study looks like. Each example outlines the topic, relays their research, and indicates the importance these findings have on the subject.
Human Resources Practices at Starbucks
In one business case study example from Ashford University's Writing Center , the human resources department (HR) at Starbucks is the subject.
- The objective of the case study is to show that a heavy reliance on solid recruitment tactics and effective management could be the best model for all HR departments.
- The study starts by providing information on the Starbucks company and related research on investing in your employees.
- Specific details such as the fact that employees are called "partners" are added.
- In the end, the study supports the idea that this strategic form of management will allow the company to continue to grow exponentially.
Phineas Gage's Brain Injury
The case study of Phineas Gage is an example of psychological case study where the subject is a man who had an iron rod driven through his skull in an accident.
- The main goal is to illustrate a unique circumstance and why it should continue to impact the profession today.
- The study starts by addressing that this case is over 170 years old, but it’s still taught in textbooks.
- Details of Phineas Gage’s accident, life after the accident, and research long after his death are shared under detailed headers.
- In the end, the study supports that idea that, although the case may not be accurately represented today, it still has importance as a historical marker.
Craft a Comprehensive Case Study
You can develop case studies in school to test a theory or offer solutions to common problems. Case studies are also used in real life business where companies hire consultants to perform
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Problem Statement - I
Introduction: This case study aims to give you an idea of applying EDA in a real business scenario. In this case study, apart from applying the techniques that you have learnt in the EDA module, you will also develop a basic understanding of risk analytics in banking and financial services and understand how data is used to minimise the risk of losing money while lending to customers.
Business Understanding: The loan providing companies find it hard to give loans to the people due to their insufficient or non-existent credit history. Because of that, some consumers use it as their advantage by becoming a defaulter. Suppose you work for a consumer finance company which specialises in lending various types of loans to urban customers. You have to use EDA to analyse the patterns present in the data. This will ensure that the applicants are capable of repaying the loan are not rejected.
When the company receives a loan application, the company has to decide for loan approval based on the applicant’s profile. Two types of risks are associated with the bank’s decision:
If the applicant is likely to repay the loan, then not approving the loan results in a loss of business to the company
If the applicant is not likely to repay the loan, i.e. he/she is likely to default, then approving the loan may lead to a financial loss for the company.
The data given below contains the information about the loan application at the time of applying for the loan. It contains two types of scenarios:
The client with payment difficulties: he/she had late payment more than X days on at least one of the first Y instalments of the loan in our sample,
All other cases: All other cases when the payment is paid on time.
When a client applies for a loan, there are four types of decisions that could be taken by the client/company):
Approved: The Company has approved loan Application
Cancelled: The client cancelled the application sometime during approval. Either the client changed her/his mind about the loan or in some cases due to a higher risk of the client he received worse pricing which he did not want.
Refused: The company had rejected the loan (because the client does not meet their requirements etc.).
Unused offer: Loan has been cancelled by the client but on different stages of the process.
In this case study, you will use EDA to understand how consumer attributes and loan attributes influence the tendency of default.
Business Objectives: This case study aims to identify patterns which indicate if a client has difficulty paying their installments which may be used for taking actions such as denying the loan, reducing the amount of loan, lending (to risky applicants) at a higher interest rate, etc. This will ensure that the consumers capable of repaying the loan are not rejected. Identification of such applicants using EDA is the aim of this case study.
In other words, the company wants to understand the driving factors (or driver variables) behind loan default, i.e. the variables which are strong indicators of default. The company can utilise this knowledge for its portfolio and risk assessment.
To develop your understanding of the domain, you are advised to independently research a little about risk analytics - understanding the types of variables and their significance should be enough).
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Module 2: Research and Ethics in Abnormal Psychology
Descriptive research and case studies, learning objectives.
- Explain the importance and uses of descriptive research, especially case studies, in studying abnormal behavior
Types of Research Methods
There are many research methods available to psychologists in their efforts to understand, describe, and explain behavior and the cognitive and biological processes that underlie it. Some methods rely on observational techniques. Other approaches involve interactions between the researcher and the individuals who are being studied—ranging from a series of simple questions; to extensive, in-depth interviews; to well-controlled experiments.
The three main categories of psychological research are descriptive, correlational, and experimental research. Research studies that do not test specific relationships between variables are called descriptive, or qualitative, studies . These studies are used to describe general or specific behaviors and attributes that are observed and measured. In the early stages of research, it might be difficult to form a hypothesis, especially when there is not any existing literature in the area. In these situations designing an experiment would be premature, as the question of interest is not yet clearly defined as a hypothesis. Often a researcher will begin with a non-experimental approach, such as a descriptive study, to gather more information about the topic before designing an experiment or correlational study to address a specific hypothesis. Descriptive research is distinct from correlational research , in which psychologists formally test whether a relationship exists between two or more variables. Experimental research goes a step further beyond descriptive and correlational research and randomly assigns people to different conditions, using hypothesis testing to make inferences about how these conditions affect behavior. It aims to determine if one variable directly impacts and causes another. Correlational and experimental research both typically use hypothesis testing, whereas descriptive research does not.
Each of these research methods has unique strengths and weaknesses, and each method may only be appropriate for certain types of research questions. For example, studies that rely primarily on observation produce incredible amounts of information, but the ability to apply this information to the larger population is somewhat limited because of small sample sizes. Survey research, on the other hand, allows researchers to easily collect data from relatively large samples. While surveys allow results to be generalized to the larger population more easily, the information that can be collected on any given survey is somewhat limited and subject to problems associated with any type of self-reported data. Some researchers conduct archival research by using existing records. While existing records can be a fairly inexpensive way to collect data that can provide insight into a number of research questions, researchers using this approach have no control on how or what kind of data was collected.
Correlational research can find a relationship between two variables, but the only way a researcher can claim that the relationship between the variables is cause and effect is to perform an experiment. In experimental research, which will be discussed later, there is a tremendous amount of control over variables of interest. While performing an experiment is a powerful approach, experiments are often conducted in very artificial settings, which calls into question the validity of experimental findings with regard to how they would apply in real-world settings. In addition, many of the questions that psychologists would like to answer cannot be pursued through experimental research because of ethical concerns.
The three main types of descriptive studies are case studies, naturalistic observation, and surveys.
Clinical or Case Studies
Psychologists can use a detailed description of one person or a small group based on careful observation. Case studies are intensive studies of individuals and have commonly been seen as a fruitful way to come up with hypotheses and generate theories. Case studies add descriptive richness. Case studies are also useful for formulating concepts, which are an important aspect of theory construction. Through fine-grained knowledge and description, case studies can fully specify the causal mechanisms in a way that may be harder in a large study.
Sigmund Freud developed many theories from case studies (Anna O., Little Hans, Wolf Man, Dora, etc.). F or example, he conducted a case study of a man, nicknamed “Rat Man,” in which he claimed that this patient had been cured by psychoanalysis. T he nickname derives from the fact that among the patient’s many compulsions, he had an obsession with nightmarish fantasies about rats.
Today, more commonly, case studies reflect an up-close, in-depth, and detailed examination of an individual’s course of treatment. Case studies typically include a complete history of the subject’s background and response to treatment. From the particular client’s experience in therapy, the therapist’s goal is to provide information that may help other therapists who treat similar clients.
Case studies are generally a single-case design, but can also be a multiple-case design, where replication instead of sampling is the criterion for inclusion. Like other research methodologies within psychology, the case study must produce valid and reliable results in order to be useful for the development of future research. Distinct advantages and disadvantages are associated with the case study in psychology.
A commonly described limit of case studies is that they do not lend themselves to generalizability . The other issue is that the case study is subject to the bias of the researcher in terms of how the case is written, and that cases are chosen because they are consistent with the researcher’s preconceived notions, resulting in biased research. Another common problem in case study research is that of reconciling conflicting interpretations of the same case history.
Despite these limitations, there are advantages to using case studies. One major advantage of the case study in psychology is the potential for the development of novel hypotheses of the cause of abnormal behavior for later testing. Second, the case study can provide detailed descriptions of specific and rare cases and help us study unusual conditions that occur too infrequently to study with large sample sizes. The major disadvantage is that case studies cannot be used to determine causation, as is the case in experimental research, where the factors or variables hypothesized to play a causal role are manipulated or controlled by the researcher.
Single-Case Experimental Designs
The lack of control available in the traditional case study research strategy led researchers to develop more sophisticated methods, such as single-subject research, which provides the statistical framework for making inferences from quantitative case-study data.
Figure 1 . Antipsychotics are the treatment of choice in managing schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Several major trials have been conducted examining the clinical difference between typical antipsychotics and atypical antipsychotics and how the selection may affect the quality of life.
The single-case experimental design (sometimes called single-participant research designs ), is particularly useful for studies of treatment effectiveness. In single-case experimental designs , the same research participant serves as the subject in both the experimental and control conditions. One of the most common forms of the single-case experimental design is the A-B-A-B design, or reversal design , reflecting the alternation between conditions, or phases A and B. The AB design is a two-part or phase design composed of a baseline (“A” phase) with no changes, and a treatment or intervention (“B”) phase. If there is a change, then the treatment may be said to have had an effect. However, it is subject to many possible competing hypotheses, making strong conclusions difficult. The A-B-A-B design, or reversal design, is a variant on the AB design. It introduces ways to control for the competing hypotheses and allows for stronger conclusions. T he reversal design (ABAB) is the most powerful of the single-subject research designs because it shows a strong reversal from baseline (“A”) to treatment (“B”) and back again. In an ABAB design, researchers observe behaviors in the “A” phase, institute treatment in the “B” phase, and then repeat the process. If the variable returns to baseline measure without treatment and then resumes its effects when reapplied, the researcher can have greater confidence in the efficacy of that treatment. However, many interventions cannot be reversed for ethical reasons (e.g., involving self-injurious behavior like smoking). It may be unethical to end an experiment on a baseline measure if the treatment is self-sustaining and highly beneficial and/or related to health. Control condition participants may also deserve the benefits of research once all data has been collected. It is a researcher’s ethical duty to maximize benefits and to ensure that all participants have access to those benefits when possible.
Figure 2. The investigator looks for evidence that the change in the observed behavior occurred coincident with treatment. If the problem behavior declines whenever treatment is introduced (during the first and second treatment phases) but returns (is “reversed”) to baseline levels during the reversal phase, the experimenter can be reasonably confident the treatment had the intended effect.
Link to Learning: Famous Case Studies
Some well-known case studies that related to abnormal psychology include the following:
- Harlow— Phineas Gage
- Breuer & Freud (1895)— Anna O.
- Cleckley’s case studies: on psychopathy ( The Mask of Sanity ) (1941) and multiple personality disorder ( The Three Faces of Eve ) (1957)
- Freud and Little Hans
- Freud and the Rat Man
- John Money and the John/Joan case
- Genie (feral child)
- Piaget’s studies
- Rosenthal’s book on the murder of Kitty Genovese
- Washoe (sign language)
- Patient H.M.
If you want to understand how behavior occurs, one of the best ways to gain information is to simply observe the behavior in its natural context. However, people might change their behavior in unexpected ways if they know they are being observed. How do researchers obtain accurate information when people tend to hide their natural behavior? As an example, imagine that your professor asks everyone in your class to raise their hand if they always wash their hands after using the restroom. Chances are that almost everyone in the classroom will raise their hand, but do you think hand washing after every trip to the restroom is really that universal?
This is very similar to the phenomenon mentioned earlier in this module: many individuals do not feel comfortable answering a question honestly. But if we are committed to finding out the facts about handwashing, we have other options available to us.
Suppose we send a researcher to a school playground to observe how aggressive or socially anxious children interact with peers. Will our observer blend into the playground environment by wearing a white lab coat, sitting with a clipboard, and staring at the swings? We want our researcher to be inconspicuous and unobtrusively positioned—perhaps pretending to be a school monitor while secretly recording the relevant information. This type of observational study is called naturalistic observation : observing behavior in its natural setting. To better understand peer exclusion, Suzanne Fanger collaborated with colleagues at the University of Texas to observe the behavior of preschool children on a playground. How did the observers remain inconspicuous over the duration of the study? They equipped a few of the children with wireless microphones (which the children quickly forgot about) and observed while taking notes from a distance. Also, the children in that particular preschool (a “laboratory preschool”) were accustomed to having observers on the playground (Fanger, Frankel, & Hazen, 2012).
Figure 3 . In naturalistic observation, psychologists take their research into the streets, homes, restaurants, schools, and other settings where behavior can be directly observed.
It is critical that the observer be as unobtrusive and as inconspicuous as possible: when people know they are being watched, they are less likely to behave naturally. For example, psychologists have spent weeks observing the behavior of homeless people on the streets, in train stations, and bus terminals. They try to ensure that their naturalistic observations are unobtrusive, so as to minimize interference with the behavior they observe. Nevertheless, the presence of the observer may distort the behavior that is observed, and this must be taken into consideration (Figure 1).
The greatest benefit of naturalistic observation is the validity, or accuracy, of information collected unobtrusively in a natural setting. Having individuals behave as they normally would in a given situation means that we have a higher degree of ecological validity, or realism, than we might achieve with other research approaches. Therefore, our ability to generalize the findings of the research to real-world situations is enhanced. If done correctly, we need not worry about people modifying their behavior simply because they are being observed. Sometimes, people may assume that reality programs give us a glimpse into authentic human behavior. However, the principle of inconspicuous observation is violated as reality stars are followed by camera crews and are interviewed on camera for personal confessionals. Given that environment, we must doubt how natural and realistic their behaviors are.
The major downside of naturalistic observation is that they are often difficult to set up and control. Although something as simple as observation may seem like it would be a part of all research methods, participant observation is a distinct methodology that involves the researcher embedding themselves into a group in order to study its dynamics. For example, Festinger, Riecken, and Shacter (1956) were very interested in the psychology of a particular cult. However, this cult was very secretive and wouldn’t grant interviews to outside members. So, in order to study these people, Festinger and his colleagues pretended to be cult members, allowing them access to the behavior and psychology of the cult. Despite this example, it should be noted that the people being observed in a participant observation study usually know that the researcher is there to study them. 
Another potential problem in observational research is observer bias . Generally, people who act as observers are closely involved in the research project and may unconsciously skew their observations to fit their research goals or expectations. To protect against this type of bias, researchers should have clear criteria established for the types of behaviors recorded and how those behaviors should be classified. In addition, researchers often compare observations of the same event by multiple observers, in order to test inter-rater reliability : a measure of reliability that assesses the consistency of observations by different observers.
Often, psychologists develop surveys as a means of gathering data. Surveys are lists of questions to be answered by research participants, and can be delivered as paper-and-pencil questionnaires, administered electronically, or conducted verbally (Figure 3). Generally, the survey itself can be completed in a short time, and the ease of administering a survey makes it easy to collect data from a large number of people.
Surveys allow researchers to gather data from larger samples than may be afforded by other research methods . A sample is a subset of individuals selected from a population , which is the overall group of individuals that the researchers are interested in. Researchers study the sample and seek to generalize their findings to the population.
Figure 4 . Surveys can be administered in a number of ways, including electronically administered research, like the survey shown here. (credit: Robert Nyman)
There is both strength and weakness in surveys when compared to case studies. By using surveys, we can collect information from a larger sample of people. A larger sample is better able to reflect the actual diversity of the population, thus allowing better generalizability. Therefore, if our sample is sufficiently large and diverse, we can assume that the data we collect from the survey can be generalized to the larger population with more certainty than the information collected through a case study. However, given the greater number of people involved, we are not able to collect the same depth of information on each person that would be collected in a case study.
Another potential weakness of surveys is something we touched on earlier in this module: people do not always give accurate responses. They may lie, misremember, or answer questions in a way that they think makes them look good. For example, people may report drinking less alcohol than is actually the case.
Any number of research questions can be answered through the use of surveys. One real-world example is the research conducted by Jenkins, Ruppel, Kizer, Yehl, and Griffin (2012) about the backlash against the U.S. Arab-American community following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Jenkins and colleagues wanted to determine to what extent these negative attitudes toward Arab-Americans still existed nearly a decade after the attacks occurred. In one study, 140 research participants filled out a survey with 10 questions, including questions asking directly about the participant’s overt prejudicial attitudes toward people of various ethnicities. The survey also asked indirect questions about how likely the participant would be to interact with a person of a given ethnicity in a variety of settings (such as, “How likely do you think it is that you would introduce yourself to a person of Arab-American descent?”). The results of the research suggested that participants were unwilling to report prejudicial attitudes toward any ethnic group. However, there were significant differences between their pattern of responses to questions about social interaction with Arab-Americans compared to other ethnic groups: they indicated less willingness for social interaction with Arab-Americans compared to the other ethnic groups. This suggested that the participants harbored subtle forms of prejudice against Arab-Americans, despite their assertions that this was not the case (Jenkins et al., 2012).
Think iT Over
Research has shown that parental depressive symptoms are linked to a number of negative child outcomes. A classmate of yours is interested in the associations between parental depressive symptoms and actual child behaviors in everyday life  because this associations remains largely unknown. After reading this section, what do you think is the best way to better understand such associations? Which method might result in the most valid data?
A-B-A-B design: an experimental design in which the a person is given treatment, or experimental condition (B), to compare against the baseline (A), and this repeats in order to determine effectiveness
clinical or case study: observational research study focusing on one or a few people
correlational research: tests whether a relationship exists between two or more variables
descriptive research: research studies that do not test specific relationships between variables; they are used to describe general or specific behaviors and attributes that are observed and measured
experimental research: tests a hypothesis to determine cause-and-effect relationships
generalizability: inferring that the results for a sample apply to the larger population
inter-rater reliability: measure of agreement among observers on how they record and classify a particular event
naturalistic observation: observation of behavior in its natural setting
observer bias: when observations may be skewed to align with observer expectations
population: overall group of individuals that the researchers are interested in
sample: subset of individuals selected from the larger population
single-case experimental design: when the same research participant serves as the subject in both the experimental and control conditions
survey: list of questions to be answered by research participants—given as paper-and-pencil questionnaires, administered electronically, or conducted verbally—allowing researchers to collect data from a large number of people
- Scollon, C. N. (2020). Research designs. In R. Biswas-Diener & E. Diener (Eds), Noba textbook series: Psychology. Champaign, IL: DEF publishers. Retrieved from http://noba.to/acxb2thy ↵
- Slatcher, R. B., & Trentacosta, C. J. (2011). A naturalistic observation study of the links between parental depressive symptoms and preschoolers' behaviors in everyday life. Journal of family psychology : JFP : journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43), 25(3), 444–448. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023728 ↵
- Modification and adaptation. Authored by : Sonja Ann Miller for Lumen Learning. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Approaches to Research. Authored by : OpenStax College. Located at : http://cnx.org/contents/[email protected]:[email protected]/Approaches-to-Research . License : CC BY: Attribution . License Terms : Download for free at http://cnx.org/contents/[email protected]
- Descriptive Research. Provided by : Boundless. Located at : https://www.boundless.com/psychology/textbooks/boundless-psychology-textbook/researching-psychology-2/types-of-research-studies-27/descriptive-research-124-12659/ . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Case Study. Provided by : Wikipedia. Located at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_study . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Rat man. Provided by : Wikipedia. Located at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_Man#Legacy . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Case study in psychology. Provided by : Wikipedia. Located at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_study_in_psychology . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Research Designs. Authored by : Christie Napa Scollon. Provided by : Singapore Management University. Located at : https://nobaproject.com/modules/research-designs#reference-6 . Project : The Noba Project. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Single subject design. Provided by : Wikipedia. Located at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-subject_design . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Single subject research. Provided by : Wikipedia. Located at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-subject_research#A-B-A-B . License : Public Domain: No Known Copyright
- Pills. Authored by : qimono. Provided by : Pixabay. Located at : https://pixabay.com/illustrations/pill-capsule-medicine-medical-1884775/ . License : CC0: No Rights Reserved
- ABAB Design. Authored by : Doc. Yu. Provided by : Wikimedia. Located at : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A-B-A-B_Design.png . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
How to Write a Case Study (+10 Examples & Free Template!)
Ah, the case study: One of the most important pieces of marketing content for a business, and yet all too often, also the most boring. The problem with this is, lose a reader and you lose a customer. It doesn’t have to be this way!
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to write a case study that prospects will actually want to read. An attractive , inspiring , and convincing case study that turns readers into customers.
Table of contents
What is a case study.
- Why write a case study?
How long should a case study be?
- How to write a case study: Steps & format
- An example of a case study
- Tips to write a case study that gets read
- Real case study examples
- Free case study template doc
A case study is a self-contained story about how a real customer overcame their problems using your products or services. Notice how I used the word story. Marketers are obsessed with the notion of “storytelling” (usually without actually telling stories), but a good case study is a story with protagonist (your customer) who has a problem but who wins out in the end.
This case study example by Intercom puts faces to the name of their protagonist, Atlassian.
By the end of a case study, the reader should be able to visualize themselves as the hero of their own story. They should be able to relate to the problems of your featured customer, and see themselves achieving their own goals by using your product or service.
Why write a business case study?
Case studies may not be as sexy as a viral blog post, and as such they’re often overlooked in favor of other content formats. This begs the question – why create marketing case studies at all?
The answer is because they’re really effective.
- Build customer loyalty: Not only is this an opportunity to engage with your satisfied customer, but to reaffirm why they chose you and why they should continue to choose you.
- Assist sales: In addition to having case studies posted on your website, salespeople can share them with potential customers in conversations to help them build confidence in the prospect.
- Multi-purpose content: Quotes and data snippets from your case studies make great testimonial tidbits for your the homepage, products/services pages, landing pages, and more. You can also repurpose these into PDFs, videos, blog posts, and infographics.
- Earn trust: Case studies turn positive customer opinions into tangible data that actually proves your value. In fact, it’s among the most trusted content types according to 60% of marketers.
This varies by industry (a kitchen remodeling business could probably tell their whole story in pictures while a software invoicing solution, not so much), but here are some guidelines:
- Most resources tell you that a case study should be 500-1500 words.
- We also encourage you to have a prominent snapshot section of 100 words or less.
- The results and benefits section should take the bulk of the word count.
- Don’t use more words than you need. Let your data, images, and customers quotes do the talking.
What a marketing case study is NOT
A case study is an on-brand, data-driven, objective resource for potential customers to gain confidence in your business. Here is what they are not.
- Case studies are not press releases. Although case studies can be used to accompany new product launches, they are not merely vehicles to talk about new products. In fact, you should make your case studies as evergreen as possible so you can get the most mileage out of them.
- Case studies aren’t advertisements. Bits and pieces of cases studies can be used on landing pages or even in ad copy, but the case study itself should not be an ad. It’s not about roping in a customer or using exciting or embellishing words. It’s about sharing the facts.
- Good case studies are not about your company. They’re about the customer’s journey. Most case studies are bland, instantly forgettable crap because marketers ignore the fact that case studies are stories in the most literal sense. They get preoccupied with things like brand voice or messaging matrices and forget to leverage the narrative form that makes stories so compelling. Or, even worse, they simply can’t stop themselves from harping on about how great their company is, the gravest of sins when case studies are concerned.
How to write a case study: steps & format
Now that we’re clear on what a marketing case study is (and isn’t), as well as why you should be producing them, let’s talk about how to actually write a case study worth reading.
- Clear headline: Like a newspaper headline, it should give the most important information. A subtitle with supporting details or a customer quote is optional.
- Snapshot: Provide the TLDR prominently at the top, including the client’s name/industry, the product/service used, and quick result stats.
- Client introduction: One or two sentences describing the customer and a highlight about them.
- Problem: State the problem/goal, consequences, and any hesitations the customer had. Include quotes.
- Solution: Share how they found you, why they chose you, what solution they chose, and how it was implemented. Include quotes.
- Results: Describe the results and the benefits, as well as any bonus benefits that came of it. Include quotes.
- Conclusion: Share additional praise from the customer and words of advice they have for other people/businesses like them.
Click to view full-size.
A case study example
Let’s go into the details on each one of the steps above, using a fictional example. Our business is Kumbo Digital and our client is Currigate.
1. Start with a clear headline
This should be like a newspaper headline that gives the most important information. A subtitle with supporting details or a customer quote is optional.
Currigate Plugs $12k in Profit Leaks with Kumbo Digital
2. Provide a snapshot
There should be a section at the top with the important details. This includes
- Customer name/category/industry
- Product/service used
- Results (ideally three stats)
3. Introduce the client
Share one to two sentences with your customer’s name, industry, location, and a highlight.
Currigate is a software service that offers highly customizable subscription packages to banks, brokers, and investors in the mortgage lending market.
4. State the problem, consequences, & hesitations
Explain the issue the customer was facing or the goal they were having a hard time reaching—as well as the negative outcomes.
While this high level of customization is what sets Currigate apart from its competitors, it also requires multiple applications with disparate data and heavy manual work. Account owners were spending so much time manage invoicing, there was little left over to build relationships with clients, stay on top of overages, and upsell. This was leading to leaks in profitability and a weakening of customer service.
Include customer quotes as well as any hesitancies they had with using a product or service like yours.
“We were getting in our own way,” said Melanie Grigham, Currigate’s VP of Operations. “Our customer relationships were starting to falter, and we knew we had to do something. But the thought of manipulating just one of our data sources—let alone all seven—was scary. There were so many random connections in place and so much confidential information, we couldn’t risk it all breaking.”
5. Describe the solution
Share how the customer found your business and why they chose you.
Grigham learned about Kumbo Digital through none other than Google research and decided to get in touch. “The thought of explaining the whole thing felt daunting, but I was relieved to hear [the rep] finishing my sentences for me!”
Include which specific product or service they chose, how it was implemented, and how the customer used it. Stay brief!
After learning the details of the situation, the Kumbo team proposed a custom solution that would integrate all of the data sources into one dashboard. “I was hesitant at first, but they showed me a small scale example which helped me to understand a little more about how it would work. I appreciated their patience with me as I took some time to make a decision.” Grigham finally went with it. The dashboard took three weeks to implement and the data migration took just under a day.
6. Share the results & benefits
Share how the client used your product/service, what the results were, and the benefits. Include direct quotes and clear evidence (statistical data, before-and-after images, time-lapse videos, etc.)
With the new platform, Currigate’s account managers could access all seven data sources—as well as generate, track, send, and approve invoices—all in one place. Time spent invoicing went from days to hours, freeing up time for them to engage with customers and work toward strategic goals. “Our staff are less bogged down to the point where they’re asking to take on more clients—which is unheard of.” The redesigned and simplified product catalog (206 product codes instead of 1,024) has also made it easier for them to upsell as well as recommend combinations for specific needs. “Sometimes our new clients don’t know what they want, and this is perfect for giving them a starting point.” In addition, Currigate was able to identify $12,403 worth of overages they wouldn’t have caught otherwise. “Now, we can be sure that their customers are being billed appropriately (which is great for us) and receiving the services best fit for their dynamic needs (which is great for them). It’s a win-win.”
7. Conclude with words of advice and a CTA
Share where the client is headed, any additional quotes or praise, and/or their advice for similar potential clients.
Today, Currigate’s unique subscription model is as strong as ever. It’s even considering opening up to new markets. “We never thought we’d reach this point so soon—we thought new markets was years down the line,” said Melanie. When asked what advice she had for other businesses like hers, she talked about mixing faith and facts. “You’ve got to do your research to find a trusted provider, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to a leap of faith, and sometimes you just have to do it.”
Finish off with a CTA to contact your business and/or a link to view more case studies.
Tips on how to write a case study that prospects will want to read
Alright, so that was a basic example of a case study, but there’s more to it than just the words that comprise it. Here are eight tips to write a great case study that prospects will want to read and that will help close deals.
1. Make it as easy as possible for the client
Just like when asking for reviews , it’s important to make the process as clear and easy as possible for the client. When you reach out, ask if you can use their story of achievement as a case study for your business.
Make the details as clear as possible, including:
- The process (20 minute interview, follow up with a draft for their approval).
- Where the case study will live (on your website? in PDFs shared by sales reps? etc.)
- Their options for the interview (in person, phone/video call, via email).
- Any benefits (exposure on social, for example).
The clearer the picture you paint for them, the more receptive they’ll be to sharing their time with you.
2. Include a prominent snapshot with the results
While a good case study is like a story, you don’t want to hold out on your reader until the end. You want them to know the results right off the bat, then they can read further to find out how those results were achieved. In the example below, the overall picture is made clear with the title ( The Loot Box Uses Ad Factory and Content Marketing to Drive Sales ) and the three stats below it.
3. Choose an interesting angle
Apart from kitchen remodeling and website makeovers, it can be hard to make a case study compelling. But there is always room for creativity.
- Focus on particularly interesting customers who use your product in a unique way or who have a more extreme situation.
- Weave a theme into the story that connects your industry with theirs (this might mean puns).
- Hook the reader at the beginning with a teaser about the best result in the study.
- Incorporate the client’s unique personality into the story.
The more compelling your angle, the better the story. The better the story, the more engaging your case study will be. In Mailchimp’s case study example below, the customer name (Good Dye Young), compelling headline , and expressive image all work together to give this case study life.
4. But make it relatable to all prospects
Your angle is the “hook” that will catch your audience’s attention, but it’s essential that ALL prospects can relate to and identify with the problems encountered by your case study’s “protagonist.” This means catering to your core demographics and target markets , and solving the problems most commonly experienced by your customers.
The same Mailchimp case study example above finishes off with an “advice for other small businesses” section:
5. Make them visually appealing (and consistent)
We already know that case studies aren’t the most exciting reads, so don’t make it worse by throwing a bunch of text and numbers onto a page. A good case study is skimmable, visual, and organized.
6. Be the supporting character, not the hero
Your company should always be positioned as a helping hand that helped the real hero of the story—your client—overcome their obstacle. There are two reasons this approach is so effective. Firstly, you want your audience to visualize themselves as the protagonist of the case study. This is much more difficult if you won’t stop talking about how great your company or product is. Secondly, adopting a more humble tone can help increase your credibility in the mind of the reader.
- Allbird’s omnichannel conversions soared
- Gymshark scaled internationally
- Staples replatformed in half the time
- Bombas saved $108,000 a year
7. Let your clients tell their own story
As a storyteller, it’s your job to craft a compelling narrative about how your featured client triumphed over the forces of evil using your product or service, but that doesn’t mean your protagonist doesn’t have their own voice.
Let them tell the story in their own words and then incorporate direct quotes into your narrative. This will break up your text, increase credibility, and make your protagonist a tangible character that readers can relate to. Take an interview style format and use paraphrasing and annotations so the text isn’t repetitive. Set up the segue and create room for your client’s quote, and let them do the rest.
View the full case study example here.
8. Have realistic expectations
Yes, we want to create a useful, helpful resource for prospective customers, but let’s be real—nobody’s winning a Pulitzer for a case study, and it won’t be going viral on social media, no matter how well-written it is.
Case studies are little more than tools to be used by either self-motivated prospects researching your company, or by sales professionals as tools to help convince prospects to convert. Nothing more. They’re designed for audiences that are already strongly considering becoming your customers, which is a smaller but more qualified group of people than your general audience.
So don’t be disheartened if your case study content doesn’t attract as much traffic or engagement as your best or even average content. They’re not meant to. But that doesn’t mean you should stop creating them or start obsessing over how to improve them.
Business case study examples
Here are some business case study examples that put the tips in this guide into play.
Call us biased, but LOCALiQ’s case study format is pretty rad. What we like about it:
- High-quality visual at the top.
- Immediate snapshot of customer and results.
- Clear-cut sections with challenges, solutions, and results.
- Customer quotes layered in with paraphrasing and commentary.
Read this case study example.
You saw a sneak peek of this above! What we like about it:
- Special care given to give the client a face and a glowing description.
- Nice mix of real images with graphics ( one of our landing page design trends ).
- Newspaper headline approach (with a rhyme!): Atlassian powers sales with support at scale with Intercom
- Prominent data results
- Snapshot sidebar on the left with client information and features used.
After the “Good Dye Young” example earlier, how could we not include another Mailchimp case study? What we like about it:
- Compelling headline: How Stretch & Flex Started and Grew During a Pandemic
- How the subtitle aids in the TLDR: Surveys helped the virtual Pilates studio make quick adjustments and plan for long‑term success.
- Colorful, expressive images and clean snapshot.
- Alternating background colors to distinguish the quotes and stats—the best parts of the story, of course.
- Conclusion with advice to small businesses.
Wrike takes the case study snapshot to the next level in this example. What we like about it:
- Puts a face to the name of the client, just like Intercom does.
- Nice mix of photos and graphics together (like Intercom).
- Mega snapshot that basically gives you all of the information you need.
- Bright green result data.
Our final marketing case study example comes from Slintel, a go-to-market intelligence software. What we like about it:
- Attractive headline: Leoforce sees 2x increase in meetings booked with Slintel
- Coordination of image with branding colors.
- That it is written by their RevOps manager ( what is RevOps? ).
- Descriptive headings: The Challenge: Cleaning up bad data.
- Large results data and prominent quote callout boxes.
View full case study here
Marketing case study templates
To make things easy for you, I’ve compiled the tips and examples into a marketing case study template, in document form, that you can use to write your own.
- WordStream’s case study template doc: All the steps in this guide compiled into this case study Google Doc template to make your life much easier.
- Canva case study templates: Canva has a number of free case study templates (the one in tip #5 is one of them!) that look professional and polished.
- Visme’s case study templates: With a free login, you can access and customize some of Visme’s case study templates.
- Storydoc’s case study templates and design tips : Use Storydoc’s case study templates to create and customize a great story with a 14-day free trial.
Use these case study examples & tips to get started with your own
No two businesses are alike, and case studies vary widely in terms of style, tone, and format . One thing that all marketing case studies share, however, is their purpose – to convince prospects that doing business with you is a good idea. With these case study steps, tips, examples, and templates, you’ll be well on your way to producing stories your prospects will actually want to read.
Meet The Author
Kristen is the Senior Managing Editor at WordStream, where she helps businesses to make sense of their online marketing and advertising. She specializes in SEO and copywriting and finds life to be exponentially more delightful on a bicycle.
See other posts by Kristen McCormick
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The 4 Stages of a Supremely Successful Content Marketing Funnel
- Open Access
- Published: 27 June 2011
The case study approach
- Sarah Crowe 1 ,
- Kathrin Cresswell 2 ,
- Ann Robertson 2 ,
- Guro Huby 3 ,
- Anthony Avery 1 &
- Aziz Sheikh 2
BMC Medical Research Methodology volume 11 , Article number: 100 ( 2011 ) Cite this article
The case study approach allows in-depth, multi-faceted explorations of complex issues in their real-life settings. The value of the case study approach is well recognised in the fields of business, law and policy, but somewhat less so in health services research. Based on our experiences of conducting several health-related case studies, we reflect on the different types of case study design, the specific research questions this approach can help answer, the data sources that tend to be used, and the particular advantages and disadvantages of employing this methodological approach. The paper concludes with key pointers to aid those designing and appraising proposals for conducting case study research, and a checklist to help readers assess the quality of case study reports.
Peer Review reports
The case study approach is particularly useful to employ when there is a need to obtain an in-depth appreciation of an issue, event or phenomenon of interest, in its natural real-life context. Our aim in writing this piece is to provide insights into when to consider employing this approach and an overview of key methodological considerations in relation to the design, planning, analysis, interpretation and reporting of case studies.
The illustrative 'grand round', 'case report' and 'case series' have a long tradition in clinical practice and research. Presenting detailed critiques, typically of one or more patients, aims to provide insights into aspects of the clinical case and, in doing so, illustrate broader lessons that may be learnt. In research, the conceptually-related case study approach can be used, for example, to describe in detail a patient's episode of care, explore professional attitudes to and experiences of a new policy initiative or service development or more generally to 'investigate contemporary phenomena within its real-life context' [ 1 ]. Based on our experiences of conducting a range of case studies, we reflect on when to consider using this approach, discuss the key steps involved and illustrate, with examples, some of the practical challenges of attaining an in-depth understanding of a 'case' as an integrated whole. In keeping with previously published work, we acknowledge the importance of theory to underpin the design, selection, conduct and interpretation of case studies[ 2 ]. In so doing, we make passing reference to the different epistemological approaches used in case study research by key theoreticians and methodologists in this field of enquiry.
This paper is structured around the following main questions: What is a case study? What are case studies used for? How are case studies conducted? What are the potential pitfalls and how can these be avoided? We draw in particular on four of our own recently published examples of case studies (see Tables 1 , 2 , 3 and 4 ) and those of others to illustrate our discussion[ 3 – 7 ].
What is a case study?
A case study is a research approach that is used to generate an in-depth, multi-faceted understanding of a complex issue in its real-life context. It is an established research design that is used extensively in a wide variety of disciplines, particularly in the social sciences. A case study can be defined in a variety of ways (Table 5 ), the central tenet being the need to explore an event or phenomenon in depth and in its natural context. It is for this reason sometimes referred to as a "naturalistic" design; this is in contrast to an "experimental" design (such as a randomised controlled trial) in which the investigator seeks to exert control over and manipulate the variable(s) of interest.
Stake's work has been particularly influential in defining the case study approach to scientific enquiry. He has helpfully characterised three main types of case study: intrinsic , instrumental and collective [ 8 ]. An intrinsic case study is typically undertaken to learn about a unique phenomenon. The researcher should define the uniqueness of the phenomenon, which distinguishes it from all others. In contrast, the instrumental case study uses a particular case (some of which may be better than others) to gain a broader appreciation of an issue or phenomenon. The collective case study involves studying multiple cases simultaneously or sequentially in an attempt to generate a still broader appreciation of a particular issue.
These are however not necessarily mutually exclusive categories. In the first of our examples (Table 1 ), we undertook an intrinsic case study to investigate the issue of recruitment of minority ethnic people into the specific context of asthma research studies, but it developed into a instrumental case study through seeking to understand the issue of recruitment of these marginalised populations more generally, generating a number of the findings that are potentially transferable to other disease contexts[ 3 ]. In contrast, the other three examples (see Tables 2 , 3 and 4 ) employed collective case study designs to study the introduction of workforce reconfiguration in primary care, the implementation of electronic health records into hospitals, and to understand the ways in which healthcare students learn about patient safety considerations[ 4 – 6 ]. Although our study focusing on the introduction of General Practitioners with Specialist Interests (Table 2 ) was explicitly collective in design (four contrasting primary care organisations were studied), is was also instrumental in that this particular professional group was studied as an exemplar of the more general phenomenon of workforce redesign[ 4 ].
What are case studies used for?
According to Yin, case studies can be used to explain, describe or explore events or phenomena in the everyday contexts in which they occur[ 1 ]. These can, for example, help to understand and explain causal links and pathways resulting from a new policy initiative or service development (see Tables 2 and 3 , for example)[ 1 ]. In contrast to experimental designs, which seek to test a specific hypothesis through deliberately manipulating the environment (like, for example, in a randomised controlled trial giving a new drug to randomly selected individuals and then comparing outcomes with controls),[ 9 ] the case study approach lends itself well to capturing information on more explanatory ' how ', 'what' and ' why ' questions, such as ' how is the intervention being implemented and received on the ground?'. The case study approach can offer additional insights into what gaps exist in its delivery or why one implementation strategy might be chosen over another. This in turn can help develop or refine theory, as shown in our study of the teaching of patient safety in undergraduate curricula (Table 4 )[ 6 , 10 ]. Key questions to consider when selecting the most appropriate study design are whether it is desirable or indeed possible to undertake a formal experimental investigation in which individuals and/or organisations are allocated to an intervention or control arm? Or whether the wish is to obtain a more naturalistic understanding of an issue? The former is ideally studied using a controlled experimental design, whereas the latter is more appropriately studied using a case study design.
Case studies may be approached in different ways depending on the epistemological standpoint of the researcher, that is, whether they take a critical (questioning one's own and others' assumptions), interpretivist (trying to understand individual and shared social meanings) or positivist approach (orientating towards the criteria of natural sciences, such as focusing on generalisability considerations) (Table 6 ). Whilst such a schema can be conceptually helpful, it may be appropriate to draw on more than one approach in any case study, particularly in the context of conducting health services research. Doolin has, for example, noted that in the context of undertaking interpretative case studies, researchers can usefully draw on a critical, reflective perspective which seeks to take into account the wider social and political environment that has shaped the case[ 11 ].
How are case studies conducted?
Here, we focus on the main stages of research activity when planning and undertaking a case study; the crucial stages are: defining the case; selecting the case(s); collecting and analysing the data; interpreting data; and reporting the findings.
Defining the case
Carefully formulated research question(s), informed by the existing literature and a prior appreciation of the theoretical issues and setting(s), are all important in appropriately and succinctly defining the case[ 8 , 12 ]. Crucially, each case should have a pre-defined boundary which clarifies the nature and time period covered by the case study (i.e. its scope, beginning and end), the relevant social group, organisation or geographical area of interest to the investigator, the types of evidence to be collected, and the priorities for data collection and analysis (see Table 7 )[ 1 ]. A theory driven approach to defining the case may help generate knowledge that is potentially transferable to a range of clinical contexts and behaviours; using theory is also likely to result in a more informed appreciation of, for example, how and why interventions have succeeded or failed[ 13 ].
For example, in our evaluation of the introduction of electronic health records in English hospitals (Table 3 ), we defined our cases as the NHS Trusts that were receiving the new technology[ 5 ]. Our focus was on how the technology was being implemented. However, if the primary research interest had been on the social and organisational dimensions of implementation, we might have defined our case differently as a grouping of healthcare professionals (e.g. doctors and/or nurses). The precise beginning and end of the case may however prove difficult to define. Pursuing this same example, when does the process of implementation and adoption of an electronic health record system really begin or end? Such judgements will inevitably be influenced by a range of factors, including the research question, theory of interest, the scope and richness of the gathered data and the resources available to the research team.
Selecting the case(s)
The decision on how to select the case(s) to study is a very important one that merits some reflection. In an intrinsic case study, the case is selected on its own merits[ 8 ]. The case is selected not because it is representative of other cases, but because of its uniqueness, which is of genuine interest to the researchers. This was, for example, the case in our study of the recruitment of minority ethnic participants into asthma research (Table 1 ) as our earlier work had demonstrated the marginalisation of minority ethnic people with asthma, despite evidence of disproportionate asthma morbidity[ 14 , 15 ]. In another example of an intrinsic case study, Hellstrom et al.[ 16 ] studied an elderly married couple living with dementia to explore how dementia had impacted on their understanding of home, their everyday life and their relationships.
For an instrumental case study, selecting a "typical" case can work well[ 8 ]. In contrast to the intrinsic case study, the particular case which is chosen is of less importance than selecting a case that allows the researcher to investigate an issue or phenomenon. For example, in order to gain an understanding of doctors' responses to health policy initiatives, Som undertook an instrumental case study interviewing clinicians who had a range of responsibilities for clinical governance in one NHS acute hospital trust[ 17 ]. Sampling a "deviant" or "atypical" case may however prove even more informative, potentially enabling the researcher to identify causal processes, generate hypotheses and develop theory.
In collective or multiple case studies, a number of cases are carefully selected. This offers the advantage of allowing comparisons to be made across several cases and/or replication. Choosing a "typical" case may enable the findings to be generalised to theory (i.e. analytical generalisation) or to test theory by replicating the findings in a second or even a third case (i.e. replication logic)[ 1 ]. Yin suggests two or three literal replications (i.e. predicting similar results) if the theory is straightforward and five or more if the theory is more subtle. However, critics might argue that selecting 'cases' in this way is insufficiently reflexive and ill-suited to the complexities of contemporary healthcare organisations.
The selected case study site(s) should allow the research team access to the group of individuals, the organisation, the processes or whatever else constitutes the chosen unit of analysis for the study. Access is therefore a central consideration; the researcher needs to come to know the case study site(s) well and to work cooperatively with them. Selected cases need to be not only interesting but also hospitable to the inquiry [ 8 ] if they are to be informative and answer the research question(s). Case study sites may also be pre-selected for the researcher, with decisions being influenced by key stakeholders. For example, our selection of case study sites in the evaluation of the implementation and adoption of electronic health record systems (see Table 3 ) was heavily influenced by NHS Connecting for Health, the government agency that was responsible for overseeing the National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT)[ 5 ]. This prominent stakeholder had already selected the NHS sites (through a competitive bidding process) to be early adopters of the electronic health record systems and had negotiated contracts that detailed the deployment timelines.
It is also important to consider in advance the likely burden and risks associated with participation for those who (or the site(s) which) comprise the case study. Of particular importance is the obligation for the researcher to think through the ethical implications of the study (e.g. the risk of inadvertently breaching anonymity or confidentiality) and to ensure that potential participants/participating sites are provided with sufficient information to make an informed choice about joining the study. The outcome of providing this information might be that the emotive burden associated with participation, or the organisational disruption associated with supporting the fieldwork, is considered so high that the individuals or sites decide against participation.
In our example of evaluating implementations of electronic health record systems, given the restricted number of early adopter sites available to us, we sought purposively to select a diverse range of implementation cases among those that were available[ 5 ]. We chose a mixture of teaching, non-teaching and Foundation Trust hospitals, and examples of each of the three electronic health record systems procured centrally by the NPfIT. At one recruited site, it quickly became apparent that access was problematic because of competing demands on that organisation. Recognising the importance of full access and co-operative working for generating rich data, the research team decided not to pursue work at that site and instead to focus on other recruited sites.
Collecting the data
In order to develop a thorough understanding of the case, the case study approach usually involves the collection of multiple sources of evidence, using a range of quantitative (e.g. questionnaires, audits and analysis of routinely collected healthcare data) and more commonly qualitative techniques (e.g. interviews, focus groups and observations). The use of multiple sources of data (data triangulation) has been advocated as a way of increasing the internal validity of a study (i.e. the extent to which the method is appropriate to answer the research question)[ 8 , 18 – 21 ]. An underlying assumption is that data collected in different ways should lead to similar conclusions, and approaching the same issue from different angles can help develop a holistic picture of the phenomenon (Table 2 )[ 4 ].
Brazier and colleagues used a mixed-methods case study approach to investigate the impact of a cancer care programme[ 22 ]. Here, quantitative measures were collected with questionnaires before, and five months after, the start of the intervention which did not yield any statistically significant results. Qualitative interviews with patients however helped provide an insight into potentially beneficial process-related aspects of the programme, such as greater, perceived patient involvement in care. The authors reported how this case study approach provided a number of contextual factors likely to influence the effectiveness of the intervention and which were not likely to have been obtained from quantitative methods alone.
In collective or multiple case studies, data collection needs to be flexible enough to allow a detailed description of each individual case to be developed (e.g. the nature of different cancer care programmes), before considering the emerging similarities and differences in cross-case comparisons (e.g. to explore why one programme is more effective than another). It is important that data sources from different cases are, where possible, broadly comparable for this purpose even though they may vary in nature and depth.
Analysing, interpreting and reporting case studies
Making sense and offering a coherent interpretation of the typically disparate sources of data (whether qualitative alone or together with quantitative) is far from straightforward. Repeated reviewing and sorting of the voluminous and detail-rich data are integral to the process of analysis. In collective case studies, it is helpful to analyse data relating to the individual component cases first, before making comparisons across cases. Attention needs to be paid to variations within each case and, where relevant, the relationship between different causes, effects and outcomes[ 23 ]. Data will need to be organised and coded to allow the key issues, both derived from the literature and emerging from the dataset, to be easily retrieved at a later stage. An initial coding frame can help capture these issues and can be applied systematically to the whole dataset with the aid of a qualitative data analysis software package.
The Framework approach is a practical approach, comprising of five stages (familiarisation; identifying a thematic framework; indexing; charting; mapping and interpretation) , to managing and analysing large datasets particularly if time is limited, as was the case in our study of recruitment of South Asians into asthma research (Table 1 )[ 3 , 24 ]. Theoretical frameworks may also play an important role in integrating different sources of data and examining emerging themes. For example, we drew on a socio-technical framework to help explain the connections between different elements - technology; people; and the organisational settings within which they worked - in our study of the introduction of electronic health record systems (Table 3 )[ 5 ]. Our study of patient safety in undergraduate curricula drew on an evaluation-based approach to design and analysis, which emphasised the importance of the academic, organisational and practice contexts through which students learn (Table 4 )[ 6 ].
Case study findings can have implications both for theory development and theory testing. They may establish, strengthen or weaken historical explanations of a case and, in certain circumstances, allow theoretical (as opposed to statistical) generalisation beyond the particular cases studied[ 12 ]. These theoretical lenses should not, however, constitute a strait-jacket and the cases should not be "forced to fit" the particular theoretical framework that is being employed.
When reporting findings, it is important to provide the reader with enough contextual information to understand the processes that were followed and how the conclusions were reached. In a collective case study, researchers may choose to present the findings from individual cases separately before amalgamating across cases. Care must be taken to ensure the anonymity of both case sites and individual participants (if agreed in advance) by allocating appropriate codes or withholding descriptors. In the example given in Table 3 , we decided against providing detailed information on the NHS sites and individual participants in order to avoid the risk of inadvertent disclosure of identities[ 5 , 25 ].
What are the potential pitfalls and how can these be avoided?
The case study approach is, as with all research, not without its limitations. When investigating the formal and informal ways undergraduate students learn about patient safety (Table 4 ), for example, we rapidly accumulated a large quantity of data. The volume of data, together with the time restrictions in place, impacted on the depth of analysis that was possible within the available resources. This highlights a more general point of the importance of avoiding the temptation to collect as much data as possible; adequate time also needs to be set aside for data analysis and interpretation of what are often highly complex datasets.
Case study research has sometimes been criticised for lacking scientific rigour and providing little basis for generalisation (i.e. producing findings that may be transferable to other settings)[ 1 ]. There are several ways to address these concerns, including: the use of theoretical sampling (i.e. drawing on a particular conceptual framework); respondent validation (i.e. participants checking emerging findings and the researcher's interpretation, and providing an opinion as to whether they feel these are accurate); and transparency throughout the research process (see Table 8 )[ 8 , 18 – 21 , 23 , 26 ]. Transparency can be achieved by describing in detail the steps involved in case selection, data collection, the reasons for the particular methods chosen, and the researcher's background and level of involvement (i.e. being explicit about how the researcher has influenced data collection and interpretation). Seeking potential, alternative explanations, and being explicit about how interpretations and conclusions were reached, help readers to judge the trustworthiness of the case study report. Stake provides a critique checklist for a case study report (Table 9 )[ 8 ].
The case study approach allows, amongst other things, critical events, interventions, policy developments and programme-based service reforms to be studied in detail in a real-life context. It should therefore be considered when an experimental design is either inappropriate to answer the research questions posed or impossible to undertake. Considering the frequency with which implementations of innovations are now taking place in healthcare settings and how well the case study approach lends itself to in-depth, complex health service research, we believe this approach should be more widely considered by researchers. Though inherently challenging, the research case study can, if carefully conceptualised and thoughtfully undertaken and reported, yield powerful insights into many important aspects of health and healthcare delivery.
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The pre-publication history for this paper can be accessed here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2288/11/100/prepub
We are grateful to the participants and colleagues who contributed to the individual case studies that we have drawn on. This work received no direct funding, but it has been informed by projects funded by Asthma UK, the NHS Service Delivery Organisation, NHS Connecting for Health Evaluation Programme, and Patient Safety Research Portfolio. We would also like to thank the expert reviewers for their insightful and constructive feedback. Our thanks are also due to Dr. Allison Worth who commented on an earlier draft of this manuscript.
Authors and affiliations.
Division of Primary Care, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
Sarah Crowe & Anthony Avery
Centre for Population Health Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
Kathrin Cresswell, Ann Robertson & Aziz Sheikh
School of Health in Social Science, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
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Correspondence to Sarah Crowe .
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
AS conceived this article. SC, KC and AR wrote this paper with GH, AA and AS all commenting on various drafts. SC and AS are guarantors.
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Crowe, S., Cresswell, K., Robertson, A. et al. The case study approach. BMC Med Res Methodol 11 , 100 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-11-100
Received : 29 November 2010
Accepted : 27 June 2011
Published : 27 June 2011
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-11-100
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What is a Case Study? Definition and Method
Many students don’t know how to write a case study and find it a very difficult assignment even before getting started. Of course, it can be quite a challenging task but with the help of various recommendations and case study examples, you will be able to complete the assignment in a blink of an eye!
A case study is a task, which aims to teach the student how to analyze the causes and consequences of an event or activity by creating its role model. Such assignments show how complexities may influence various decisions and that is what makes case studies so important.
In most of the cases, your professor will give the same topic to a whole class and it will become a sort of a discussion, after processing all available data. That is why you need to use all of your thinking skills and knowledge to get a chance to analyze the situation properly.
How to Write a Case Study
Here are some recommendations, which will be helpful in completing a case study:
- Use real-life examples. If you are free to choose a topic on your own, try to take it from real life. However, avoid real names;
- Finish every part of your study with points for discussing. They will engage your reader and help him orient in the study;
- Provide credible information on the topic;
- Make sure the story is believable, i.e. it consists of sequence of time and events, problems and issues to solve, identities and so on.
There are also a few problems you need to avoid to make your case study as interesting and catchy, as possible:
- No limitations. It is very easy to get lost in background information and data, which is not directly related to the subject. Try to distinguish key points of your paper and concentrate on them, instead of including information from different areas;
- No credible sources. Such task has lots of requirements, including trustworthy sources. Every statement you make should be backed with credible data and evidence;
- No conclusions. Every assignment, not depending on a topic and complexity, should end up with conclusions to give the reader an idea of topic relevance. Make sure you spend enough time on analyzing the results and providing useful conclusions.
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Examples & Samples of Case Study
There are multiple ways of making the process of completing the assignment easier, including ordering a task at a writing service or asking other students for help. However, most of the students decide to download a case study template and try to complete the assignment on their own, using an example.
It can be a great option for those, who easily process information and can analyze the template structure to apply it in their own works. Such samples can be of a great help, as they contain a proper formatting style, content and other important elements, which distinguish a first-class paper. With the help of a sample case study you will be able to complete the assignment quicker and with less efforts.
This is only a sample, to get your own paper you need to:
Case Study Example
Case Study Examples
Case Study Format
Case Study Samples
Case Study Template
Sample Case Study
Case Study Template and Format
You have already learned what a case study is and how it should look like, so it is time to learn more about the structure of assignment and its content. However, every research greatly differs depending on the topic, so you should carefully note down all the guidelines your professor provides not to miss anything.
- Case Study for School
- Project Management Case Study
Here is a general structure of a study, which can be applied in most of the cases:
- Title page, which contains the title of your work, author’s name and name of the institution. In some cases you may be asked to add key words, which will be used by various searching tools;
- Abstract, which can be of a narrative or a structured type. Narrative abstract is a summary of the whole work to give the reader a chance to understand whether he is interested in reading the whole paper. Structured abstracts are used in scientific studies, when you need to provide a list of information or questions, which will be later studied in the text. You can use sub-headings, which will give the reader an idea of how the structure of your assignment looks like;
- Introduction, which aims to give the audience an idea of what makes your study so interesting. You can include examples of similar cases or get back to historical events to connect them with the problem you are studying;
- Presentation. In this section you need to provide the raw information you have collected. Try to make it narrative and interesting;
- Outcomes, which should give the reader an idea of how the problem or event should be treated. Make sure you provide all of your recommendations in a simple way, using credible sources;
- References, which should include only credible sources.
When you complete such assignment, you should never forget about case study format, as it can greatly influence the result. Your professor may ask you to use a certain formatting style, which will be much easier for you and will help to avoid the most common mistakes.
Сase Study topics
The first challenge when writing a case study comes with choosing the best case study topics. As a rule, students are offers to pick the topic themselves. This is how instructors encourage them to express your understating of the subject as well as the entire course. Once you fail to generate the right case study ideas, benefit from our list of classical topics to start with:
- How are employees getting drug abused at workplaces?
- The influence of social media in modern business.
- The Internet of Things: the rise of connected devices.
- Cyber treats as the main risk for IoT companies.
- Foodservice aims Milleniasls.
- Generation Z in business and society.
- How to consider small customers for bigger profits?
- Real people VS photos.
- The lost knowledge of employees retiring.
- How to plan your advertising budget?
- How ads in social media can help to drive customers?
- Does a small business need a website?
- The interaction of web technologies and IoT market.
- How do employees engage at tough times?
- David VS Goliath.
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- Descriptive Research | Definition, Types, Methods & Examples
Descriptive Research | Definition, Types, Methods & Examples
Published on May 15, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on October 10, 2022.
Descriptive research aims to accurately and systematically describe a population, situation or phenomenon. It can answer what , where , when and how questions , but not why questions.
A descriptive research design can use a wide variety of research methods to investigate one or more variables . Unlike in experimental research , the researcher does not control or manipulate any of the variables, but only observes and measures them.
Table of contents
When to use a descriptive research design, descriptive research methods.
Descriptive research is an appropriate choice when the research aim is to identify characteristics, frequencies, trends, and categories.
It is useful when not much is known yet about the topic or problem. Before you can research why something happens, you need to understand how, when and where it happens.
Descriptive research question examples
- How has the Amsterdam housing market changed over the past 20 years?
- Do customers of company X prefer product X or product Y?
- What are the main genetic, behavioural and morphological differences between European wildcats and domestic cats?
- What are the most popular online news sources among under-18s?
- How prevalent is disease A in population B?
Descriptive research is usually defined as a type of quantitative research , though qualitative research can also be used for descriptive purposes. The research design should be carefully developed to ensure that the results are valid and reliable .
Survey research allows you to gather large volumes of data that can be analyzed for frequencies, averages and patterns. Common uses of surveys include:
- Describing the demographics of a country or region
- Gauging public opinion on political and social topics
- Evaluating satisfaction with a company’s products or an organization’s services
Observations allow you to gather data on behaviours and phenomena without having to rely on the honesty and accuracy of respondents. This method is often used by psychological, social and market researchers to understand how people act in real-life situations.
Observation of physical entities and phenomena is also an important part of research in the natural sciences. Before you can develop testable hypotheses , models or theories, it’s necessary to observe and systematically describe the subject under investigation.
A case study can be used to describe the characteristics of a specific subject (such as a person, group, event or organization). Instead of gathering a large volume of data to identify patterns across time or location, case studies gather detailed data to identify the characteristics of a narrowly defined subject.
Rather than aiming to describe generalizable facts, case studies often focus on unusual or interesting cases that challenge assumptions, add complexity, or reveal something new about a research problem .
Cite this Scribbr article
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McCombes, S. (2022, October 10). Descriptive Research | Definition, Types, Methods & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 8, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/descriptive-research/
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How to Analyse a Case Study
Last Updated: October 10, 2022 References
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 19 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 394,759 times. Learn more...
Case studies are used in many professional education programs, primarily in business school, to present real-world situations to students and to assess their ability to parse out the important aspects of a given dilemma. In general, a case study should include, in order: background on the business environment, description of the given business, identification of a key problem or issue, steps taken to address the issue, your assessment of that response, and suggestions for better business strategy. The steps below will guide you through the process of analyzing a business case study in this way.
- Describe the nature of the organization under consideration and its competitors. Provide general information about the market and customer base. Indicate any significant changes in the business environment or any new endeavors upon which the business is embarking.
- Analyze its management structure, employee base, and financial history. Describe annual revenues and profit. Provide figures on employment. Include details about private ownership, public ownership, and investment holdings. Provide a brief overview of the business's leaders and command chain.
- In all likelihood, there will be several different factors at play. Decide which is the main concern of the case study by examining what most of the data talks about, the main problems facing the business, and the conclusions at the end of the study. Examples might include expansion into a new market, response to a competitor's marketing campaign, or a changing customer base.  X Research source
- Draw on the information you gathered and trace a chronological progression of steps taken (or not taken). Cite data included in the case study , such as increased marketing spending, purchasing of new property, changed revenue streams, etc.
- Indicate whether or not each aspect of the response met its goal and whether the response overall was well-crafted. Use numerical benchmarks, like a desired customer share, to show whether goals were met; analyze broader issues, like employee management policies, to talk about the response as a whole.  X Research source
- Suggest alternative or improved measures that could have been taken by the business, using specific examples and backing up your suggestions with data and calculations.
- Always read a case study several times. At first, you should read just for the basic details. On each subsequent reading, look for details about a specific topic: competitors, business strategy, management structure, financial loss. Highlight phrases and sections relating to these topics and take notes. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- In the preliminary stages of analyzing a case study, no detail is insignificant. The biggest numbers can often be misleading, and the point of an analysis is often to dig deeper and find otherwise unnoticed variables that drive a situation. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you are analyzing a case study for a consulting company interview, be sure to direct your comments towards the matters handled by the company. For example, if the company deals with marketing strategy, focus on the business's successes and failures in marketing; if you are interviewing for a financial consulting job, analyze how well the business keeps their books and their investment strategy. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Do not use impassioned or emphatic language in your analysis. Business case studies are a tool for gauging your business acumen, not your personal beliefs. When assigning blame or identifying flaws in strategy, use a detached, disinterested tone. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 15 Not Helpful 4
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You might also like.
- ↑ https://plato.acadiau.ca/courses/Busi/IntroBus/CASEMETHOD.html
- ↑ https://www.gvsu.edu/cms4/asset/CC3BFEEB-C364-E1A1-A5390F221AC0FD2D/business_case_analysis_gg_final.pdf
- ↑ https://bizfluent.com/12741914/how-to-analyze-a-business-case-study
- ↑ http://www.business-fundas.com/2009/how-to-analyze-business-case-studies/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/writing-case-study-analysis
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Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) – Credit Card Fraud Detection Case Study
This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon .
Lots of financial losses are caused every year due to credit card fraud transactions, the financial industry has switched from a posterior investigation approach to an a priori predictive approach with the design of fraud detection algorithms to warn and help fraud investigators.
This case study is focused to give you an idea of applying Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) in a real business scenario. In this case study, apart from applying the various Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) techniques, you will also develop a basic understanding of risk analytics and understand how data can be utilized in order to minimise the risk of losing money while lending to customers.
Business Problem Understanding
The loan providing companies find it hard to give loans to people due to their inadequate or missing credit history. Some consumers use this to their advantage by becoming a defaulter. Let us consider your work for a consumer finance company that specialises in lending various types of loans to customers. You must use Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) to analyse the patterns present in the data which will make sure that the loans are not rejected for the applicants capable of repaying.
When the company receives a loan application, the company has to rights for loan approval based on the applicant’s profile. Two types of risks are associated with the bank’s or company’s decision:
- If the aspirant is likely to repay the loan, then not approving the loan tends in a business loss to the company
- If the a is aspirant not likely to repay the loan, i.e. he/she is likely to default/fraud, then approving the loan may lead to a financial loss for the company.
The data contains information about the loan application.
When a client applies for a loan, there are four types of decisions that could be taken by the bank/company:
- Unused offer: The loan has been cancelled by the applicant but at different stages of the process.
In this case study, you will use Exploratory Data Analysis(EDA) to understand how consumer attributes and loan attributes impact the tendency of default.
This case study aims to identify patterns that indicate if an applicant will repay their instalments which may be used for taking further actions such as denying the loan, reducing the amount of loan, lending at a higher interest rate, etc. This will make sure that the applicants capable of repaying the loan are not rejected. Recognition of such aspirants using Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) techniques is the main focus of this case study.
You can get access to data here.
Importing Necessary Packages
Here, we will use two datasets for our analysis as follows,
- application_data.csv as df1
- previous_application.csv as df2
Let’s start with reading those files, we’ll start with df1,
Before starting Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) procedures we will start with inspecting the data.
Here, by giving verbose = True, it will give all the information about all the columns. Try it and see the results.
By describing (), you will get all the statistical information for the numeric columns and get an idea about their distribution and outliers.
Handling Null Values
After all the data inspecting, let’s check for the null values,
As you can see we are getting lots of null values. Let’s analyse this further.
Theoretically, 25 to 30% is the maximum missing values are allowed, beyond which we might want to drop the variable from analysis. But practically we get variables with ~50% of missing values but still, the customer insists to have it for analyzing. In those cases, we have to treat them accordingly. Here, we will remove columns with null values of more than 35% after observing those columns.
Let’s check how many columns are there with null values greater than 35%. And remove those.
After removing null values, check the percentage of null values for each column again.
Let’s handle these missing values by observing them.
Checking null values again after imputing null values.
We didn’t impute OCCUPATION_TYPE because it may contain some useful information, so imputing it with mean or median doesn’t make any sense.
We’ll impute ‘OCCUOATION_TYPE” later by analyzing it.
If you observe the columns carefully, you will find that some columns contain an error. So let’s make some changes.
If you see the data carefully, you will find that though these are days, it contains negative values which is not valid. So let’s make changes accordingly.
As you can see all the columns starts with DAYS, let’s make a list of columns we want to change for ease of change.
Some columns contain Y/N type of values, let’s make it 1/0 for ease of understanding.
Let’s check the distribution for columns having categorical values. After checking for all the columns, we get to know that some columns contain ‘XNA’ values which mean null. Let’s impute it accordingly.
Let’s impute these values. let’s check whether these values are missing at random or are there any pattern between missing values. You can read more about this here.
Here we observe that wherever NAME_INCOME_TYPE is Pensioner there only we have null values in ORGANIZATON_TYPE column.Let’s see count of Pensioner and then we’ll decide whether to impute null values of ORGANIZATION_TYPE with Pensioner or not.
- So from these data, we can conclude that Pensioner value is approximately equal to null values in ORGANIZATION_TYPE column. So the value is Missing At Random
- Similarly imputing null values of OCCUPATION_TYPE with Pensioner as most of the null values for OCCUPATION_TYPE compared to Income type variable values we found that “ Pensioner ” is the most frequent value almost 80% of the null values of OCCUPATION_TYPE
We have some columns which have nominal categorical values. So let’s impute them accordingly. You can read more about this here.
Let’s Bin ‘DAYS_BIRTH’ column by converting it to years based on various “AGE_GROUP”
Again check the datatypes for all the columns and change them accordingly.
By checking the data types we found the following columns to change their data types.
After observing all the columns, we found some columns which don’t add any value to our analysis, so simply drop them so that the data looks clear.
Outlier detection for any data science process is very important. Sometimes removing outliers tend to improve our model meanwhile sometimes outliers may give you a very different approach to your analysis.
So let’s make a list of all the numeric columns and plot boxplots to understand the outliers in the data.
You will get a 7×5 boxplot matrix. Let’s have a look at a very small portion.
Observe the plot and try to make your own insights.
- CNT_CHILDREN have outlier values having children more than 5.
- IQR for AMT_INCOME_TOTAL is very slim and it has a large number of outliers.
- Third quartile of AMT_CREDIT is larger as compared to the First quartile which means that most of the Credit amount of the loan of customers are present in the third quartile. And there are a large number of outliers present in AMT_CREDIT .
- The third quartile AMT_ANNUITY is slightly larger than the First quartile and there is a large number of outliers.
- Third quartile of AMT_GOODS_PRICE , DAYS_REGISTRATION AND DAYS_LAST_PHONE_CHANGE is larger as compared to the First quartile and all have a large number of outliers.
- IQR for DAYS EMPLOYED is very slim. Most of the outliers are present below 25000. And an outlier is present 375000.
- From boxplot of CNT_FAM_MEMBERS , we can say that most of the clients have 4 family members. There are some outliers present.
- DAYS_BIRTH , DAYS_ID_PUBLISH and EXT_SOURCE_2 , EXT_SOURCE_3 don’t have any outliers.
- Boxplot for DAYS_EMPLOYED , OBS_30_CNT_SOCIAL_CIRCLE , DEF_30_CNT_SOCIAL_CIRCLE , OBS_60_CNT_SOCIAL_CIRCLE , DEF_60_CNT_SOCIAL_CIRCLE , AMT_REQ_CREDIT_BUREAU_HOUR , AMT_REQ_CREDIT_BUREAU_DAY , AMT_REQ_CREDIT_BUREAU_WEEK , AMT_REQ_CREDIT_BUREAU_MON , AMT_REQ_CREDIT_BUREAU_QRT and AMT_REQ_CREDIT_BUREAU_YEAR are very slim and have a large number of outliers.
- FLAG_OWN_CAR : It doesn’t have First and Third quantile and values lies within IQR, So we can conclude that most of the clients own a car
- FLAG_OWN_REALTY : It doesn’t have First and Third quantile and values lies within IQR, So we can conclude that most of the clients own a House/Flat
Before we start analysing our data, let’s check the data imbalance. It’s a very important to step in any machine learning or deep learning process.
The Imbalance ratio we got is "11.39"
Let’s check the distribution of the target variable visually using a pie chart.
- df1 dataframe that is application data is highly imbalanced. Defaulted population is 8.1 % and non- defaulted population is 91.9% .Ratio is 11.3
We will separately analyse the data based on the target variable for a better understanding.
- It seems like Female clients applied higher than male clients for loan
- 66.6% Female clients are non-defaulters while 33.4% male clients are non-defaulters .
- 57% Female clients are defaulters while 42% male clients are defaulters .
- Middle Age(35-60) the group seems to applied higher than any other age group for loans in the case of Defaulters as well as Non-defaulters.
- Also, Middle Age group facing paying difficulties the most.
- While Senior Citizens(60-100) and Very young(19-25) age group facing paying difficulties less as compared to other age groups.
Organization’s Distribution Based on Target 0 and Target 1
- (Defaulters as well as Non-defaulters) Clients with ORGANIZATION_TYPE Business Entity Type 3, Self-employed, Other ,Medicine, Government,Business Entity Type 2 applied the most for the loan as compared to others
- (Defaulters as well as Non-defaulters) Clients having ORGANIZATION_TYPE Industry: type 13, Trade: type 4, Trade: type 5, Industry: type 8 applied lower for the loan as compared to others.
Creating a plot for each feature manually becomes a too tedious task. So we will define a function and use a loop to iterate through each categorical column.
Let’s create a list for all categorical columns.
Most of the clients have applied for Cash Loan while very small proportion have applied for Revolving loan for both Defaulters as well as Non-defaulters.
Most of the clients were accompanied while applying for the loan.And with few clients a family member was accompanying for both Defaulters and Non-Defaulters. But who was accompanying client while applying for the loan doesn’t impact on the default.Also both the populations have same proportions.
Clients who applied for loans were getting income by Working,Commercial associate and Pensioner are more likely to apply for the loan, highest being the Working class category . Businessman, students and Unemployed less likely to apply for loan . Working category have high risk to default. State Servant is at Minimal risk to default.
Clients having education Secondary or Secondary Special are more likey to apply for the loan. Clients having education Secondary or Secondary Special have higher risk to default.Other education types have minimal risk.
Married Clients seems to be applied most for the loan compared to others for both Defaulters and Non-Defaulters. In case of Defaulters,Clients having single relationship are less risky In case of Defaulters, Widows shows Minimal risk .
From the bar chart, it is clear that Most of the clients own a house or living in a apartment for both Defaulters and Non-Defaulters.
Pensioners have applied the most for the loan in case of Defaulters and Non-Defaulters. Pensioner being highest followed by laborers have high risk to default.
There is no considerable difference in days for both Defaulters and Non-defaulters.
Clients having Medium salary range are more likely to apply for the loan for both Defaulters and Non-defaulters. Clients having low and medium income are at high risk to default.
Most of the clients applied for Medium Credit Amount of the loan for both Defaulters and Non-defaulters. Clients applying for high and low credit are at high risk of default.
Univariate Analysis of Numerical Columns W.R.T Target Variable
- People with target one has largely staggered income as compared to target zero. Dist. plot clearly shows that the shape in Income total, Annuity, Credit and Good Price is similar for Target 0 and similar for Target 1.
- The plots are also highlighting that people who have difficulty in paying back loans with respect to their income, loan amount, price of goods against which loan is procured and Annuity.
- Dist. plot highlights the curve shape which is wider for Target 1 in comparison to Target 0 which is narrower with well-defined edges.
Bivariate Analysis: Numerical & Categorical W.R.T Target variables
Let’s check the required columns for analysis.
For Target 0
- Widow Client with Academic degree have very few outliers and doesn’t have First and Third quartile. Also, Clients with all types of family statuses having academic degrees have very less outliers as compared to other types of education .
- Income of the clients with all types of family status having rest of the education type lie Below the First quartile i.e. 25%
- Clients having Higher Education , Incomplete Higher Education, Lower Secondary Education and Secondary/Secondary Special have a higher number of outliers .
- From the above figure, we can say that some of the clients having Higher Education tend to have the highest income compared to others.
- Though some of the clients who haven’t completed their Higher Education tend to have higher incomes .
- Some of the clients having Secondary/Secondary Special Education tend to have higher incomes .
- Clients with different Education types except Academic degrees have a large number of outliers**
- Most of the population i.e. clients’ credit amounts lie below 25%.
- Clients with an Academic degree and who is a widow tend to take higher credit loan.**
- Some of the clients with Higher Education, Incomplete Higher Education, Lower Secondary Education and Secondary/Secondary Special Education are more likely to take a high amount of credit loans.
- The income amount for Married clients with an academic degree is much lesser as compared to others.
- (Defaulter) Clients have relatively less income as compared to Non-defaulters.
- Married client with academic applied for a higher credit loan . And doesn’t have outliers. Single clients with academic degrees have a very slim boxplot with no outliers .
- Some of the clients with Higher Education, Incomplete Higher Education, Lower Secondary Education and Secondary/Secondary Special Education are more likely to take a high amount of credit loans .
Bivariate Analysis of Categorical-Categorical to Find the Maximum % Clients with Loan-Payment Difficulties
Define a function for bivariate plots
Distribution of Amount Income Range and the category with maximum % Loan-Payment Difficulties
Distribution of Type of Income and the category with maximum Loan-Payment Difficulties
Distribution of Contract Type and the category with maximum Loan-Payment Difficulties
Distribution of Education Type and the category with maximum Loan-Payment Difficulties
Distribution of Housing Type and the category with maximum Loan-Payment Difficulties
Distribution of Occupation Type and the category with maximum Loan-Payment Difficulties
You may be wondering here why I haven’t attached screenshots here. Well, plot the charts and try to give insights based on that on your own. That’s the best way to learn.
Distribution of CODE_GENDER with respect to AMT_INCOME_RANGE to find maximum % Loan-Payment Difficulties using pivot table
- Female clients with an Academic degree and high-income type have a higher risk of default
- Male clients with Secondary/Secondary Special Education having all types of salaries have a higher risk of default.
- Male clients with Incomplete Education having very low salaries have a high risk of default.
- Male Clients with Lower Secondary Education having very low or medium have a high risk to default
Let’s check correlations in the data visually. For that make a list of all numeric features.
Let’s use pairplot to get the required charts.
- AMT_CREDIT and AMT_GOODS_PRICE are highly correlated variables for both defaulters and non – defaulters. So as the home price increases the loan amount also increases
- AMT_CREDIT and AMT_ANNUITY (EMI) are highly correlated variables for both defaulters and non – defaulters. So as the home price increases the EMI amount also increases which is logical
- All three variables AMT_CREDIT , AMT_GOODS_PRICE and AMT_ANNUITY are highly correlated for both defaulters and non-defaulters, which might not give a good indicator for defaulter detection
Now, let’s check correlations using heatmaps.
- AMT_CREDIT is inversely proportional to the DAYS_BIRTH , peoples belong to the low-age group taking high Credit amount and vice-versa
- AMT_CREDIT is inversely proportional to the CNT_CHILDREN , means the Credit amount is higher for fewer children count clients have and vice-versa.
- AMT_INCOME_TOTAL is inversely proportional to the CNT_CHILDREN , means more income for fewer children clients have and vice-versa.
- fewer children clients have in a densely populated area.
- AMT_CREDIT is higher in a densely populated area.
- AMT_INCOME_TOTAL is also higher in a densely populated area.
- This heat map for Target 1 is also having quite the same observation just like Target 0. But for a few points are different. They are listed below.
- The client’s permanent address does not match the contact address are having fewer children.
- The client’s permanent address does not match the work address are having fewer children.
This is the analysis of current application data. We have one more data for the previous applications & have to analyse that also. Consider that data and do the analysis. Try to give insight s.
Now that we have understood and gained insight into the dataset ie performed an Exploratory Data Analysis, try to use ML algorithms to classify fraudulently. So let’s summarize what we have learnt in this case study,
- we have extensively covered pre-processing steps required to analyze data
- We have covered Null value imputation methods
- We have also covered step by step analyzing techniques such as Univariate analysis, Bivariate analysis, Multivariate analysis, etc
Find the link to the source code here .
Hope you enjoyed my article on exploratory data analysis. Thank you for reading!
Read more articles on exploratory data analysis on our blog .
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About the Author
A Mathematics student turned Data Scientist. I am an aspiring data scientist who aims at learning all the necessary concepts in Data Science in detail. I am passionate about Data Science knowing data manipulation, data visualization, data analysis, EDA, Machine Learning, etc which will help to find valuable insights from the data.
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- Published: 06 March 2023
The Use of the Constructivist Teaching Sequence (CTS) to Facilitate Changes in the Visual Representations of Fifth-Grade Elementary School Students: A Case Study on Teaching Heat Convection Concepts
- Rifat Shafwatul Anam ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-1241-6161 1 ,
- Surya Gumilar ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-5699-484X 2 &
- Ari Widodo ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-9482-6393 3
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education ( 2023 ) Cite this article
Most primary school students, although they grasp the scientific concepts of heat convection at the macroscopic level, commonly fail to visualize those concepts. Therefore, our research aims to enact a constructivist teaching sequence (CTS) to restructure students’ visualization changes, ultimately enabling them to synergize macroscopic and sub-microscopic levels of understanding and visual representation. This study has employed a case study, combining qualitative and quantitative data to obtain an in-depth explanation. The quantitative data represent the percentage of the students’ visual representation category and their understanding of pattern changes before and after the intervention. Meanwhile, the ways students presented their thoughts about a concept based on their visual representation are presented via qualitative data. All data come from the participants, comprising 69 fifth-grade elementary school students at one public school in Indonesia. Our research findings show that students’ understanding of heat convection at both macroscopic and sub-microscopic levels improved to scientific conception, after undertaking the learning process using CTS. In addition, the use of CTS fostered a level of visual representation change regarding “construction” that dominated compared with other approaches: students shifted their visual representations from the varying styles of undefined drawing (UD), non-microscopic drawing (NMD), or no drawing (ND), to partial drawing (PD) and scientific drawing (SD).
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Authors and affiliations.
Department of Primary Teacher Education, Universitas Terbuka, Tangerang Selatan, Indonesia
Rifat Shafwatul Anam
Department of Physics Education, Institut Pendidikan Indonesia, Garut, Indonesia
Faculty of Mathematics and Science Education, Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung, Indonesia
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Correspondence to Rifat Shafwatul Anam .
Conflict of interest.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Please see Table 7 .
Appendix 2. Heat convection question
Question: The main question about the conception.
Fiyya is conducting an experiment by heating water in a clear container which there is contains wood powder. The aim of this experiment is to know how the movement of water is represented by the movement of the wood powder. For more details, look at the picture below!
What will happen to that experiment?
The closest water with the heat source will rise and the far ones will be above it.
The closest water with the heat source will rise and the far ones will replace their positions.
The near and far water from the heat source will stay in its position or have no movement at all.
If you have your own answer, please write it here.
Why can it happen in that experiment?
The hotter water will have the same arrangement of particles with the cooler one and there are no changes in position in both water conditions.
The hotter water will have more dense particles or become heavier than cooler one; therefore, the particles of hot water will go down and cooler water will go up.
The hotter water will have more tenuous particles or become lighter than the cooler one, the result hot water will go up and cooler water will go down.
- Visual representation
Based on your explanation, how do you draw the flow and particle of water at points A and B (in the circle provided) in that experiment?
Please see Table 8 .
Please see Table 9 .
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Anam, R.S., Gumilar, S. & Widodo, A. The Use of the Constructivist Teaching Sequence (CTS) to Facilitate Changes in the Visual Representations of Fifth-Grade Elementary School Students: A Case Study on Teaching Heat Convection Concepts. Int J of Sci and Math Educ (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-023-10358-x
Received : 19 May 2022
Accepted : 08 February 2023
Published : 06 March 2023
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-023-10358-x
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