The Case for Case Studies

This week I am looking at case studies. I have been assigned by my manager to find or make some case studies to help his students- Yikes!

A tool to help

So to enable this process I created an online form to help organize the information I will be gathering. Here is a link to it:

Case Study Creator

It follows the classic form of case studies- the introduction, overview, narrative and resources. I decided to add a questions section, so that the learner can stay more focused. I also added a bibliography section, so I can record where the information came from.

Good Advice

Then I needed to get advice on how to write case studies. I found this blog by Kristi Hines on Kissometrics to be helpful. Although this advice for writing case studies is to enhance the brand and marketability of a company, it has great advise for those us writing case studies for learners. It gives a high level view of what to keep in mind when writing a case study. For example, point 4 shows how to include real numbers, while point 2 reminds us to tell a story.  But scroll down to point 7 to see the outstanding infographic that a case study is presented as. Here is a preview:

Kissmetrics Case Study


There is a move to using shorter case studies, or caselets. These are great because they are not nearly as long and complex to create. Not all situations that our students are in have deep decisions with vast information. A great discussion of caselets by ICMR can be found here: They point out that caselets can supplement case studies, with one or two sprinkled in per unit, to give more variety to the learner and let them see other situations.

Have Students Do It

Another approach is to have the students write the case study! This is a great way to have them do deep and actual research into a topic. Here is a guide for students to do it at the university level from Colorado State Writing Department. And here is a site that shows the product of a student written case study. If you want to get deeper into this area, Paul Swiercz at George Washington University shares his spin on the topic. He calls it SWIF for  Student-Written, Instructor-Facilitated Case Writing. He implores there can be deep learning when the student is given a focused purpose to describe, explain or explore.

What other ideas might you have on creating case studies? I would love to hear them!

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