Guidelines for Case Studies
Case Study Plus Journal Entry Requirements:
- See Case Study information below and those provided in Canvas.
- Maximum length 4 pages.
- NOTE – Matches over 20% will receive a 0%
What is a Case Study?
A case study is usually a true story about a business or person(s) and their success or problems that they are experiencing. The cases are chosen by faculty to illustrate a problem or concept that relates to principles in the textbook. The case may have multiple problems directly or implied in the description of the case.
Scope of a Case Study:
Often times the instructor will use the textbook and supplemental questions to help guide you to critically consider what the problem(s) is (are) in the case. These questions are to assist you in critically thinking about the principles, theories and concepts that apply to the case. Do not limit your analysis to just the most recent lecture, class, chapter discussion, or issues. You are expected to apply all of your accumulated knowledge from all of your courses. This is type of cross-course critical thinking is permitted and actively encouraged by the business faculty when analyzing case studies.
Goals of a Case Study:
The educational goals of a case study assignment are 1) for students to have the opportunity to demonstrate and to apply their knowledge of principles, theories and concepts from their class or previous classes to real-world situations; 2) improve student’s critical thinking ability; and 3) improve student-writing skills.
One way to approach a case study is to:
- Completely read the case
- Identify the critical issue(s) in the case
- Determine what are of concepts, principles or theories could help to address the critical issues.
- Highlight key information or limitations mentioned in the case
- Determine what information is pertinent and what limitations may restrict solution options. Remember, real life is complicated and the case may place some restrictions on options. These restrictions may take the form of time, resources, people, finances, legal issues, etc. Good solutions will identify and address key solution restrictions.
- Review and use outside resources for additional information that could be used with the case. Sources include, but are not limited to web sites, library databases, library literature, current/old textbooks, newspapers and magazines. MLA citation of sources is required to credit your sources and avoid suspension of plagiarism. The research element of a case study or paper requires that students start the researching of topics early in the quarter.
- Develop several possible solutions to the case’s issue(s).
- Select the best option from the one you developed
- Explain any implementation issues or concerns brought up by your study of the case.
- Provide any graphs, charts, timelines, or other material that would help supports your position.
- Have reasonable and logical conclusions supported by the papers presentation.
- Correct spelling and grammar are basic expectations. One suggestion is to set your work aside for a day and then go back and read it out loud to see if it reads smoothly. Also having another person read the paper can bring out areas that you may want to re-work.
Issues to Avoid in a Case Study
A good case study avoids:
- Lengthy restatement of the case facts. Only pertinent information that relates to your position or solution should be mentioned.
- The ‘Shotgun’ approach usually does not work and can seldom be supported. It is better to concentrate on what you think is a good solution, and then properly support that solution with facts and concepts from the coursework.
Reflection Journal (Make this the last paragraph of your Case Study)
- Reflect upon the topics covered to date by using your text book, class notes and lecture material.
- Comment on the key point(s) and their relevance or impact upon your thinking.
- Use and underline at least 5 key business terms discussed since your last journal entry.
- Define all business terms underlined in your journal (definitions can be at the end of the journal – cite appropriately using the MLA works cited page).
- Give an example of at least one key concept or business term (current example in the news or something you have observed).
- The journal entry should be 1 paragraph.