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Research Writing and Tools Support

This page contains information to support researchers with various research tools..

Writing a Case Study

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What is a case study?

A Map of the world with hands holding a pen.

 

A Case study is: 

  • An in-depth research design that primarily uses a qualitative methodology but sometimes​​ includes quantitative methodology.
  • Used to examine an identifiable problem confirmed through research.
  • Used to investigate an individual, group of people, organization, or event.
  • Used to mostly answer "how" and "why" questions.

What are the different types of case studies?

Man and woman looking at a laptop

 

Case Study Type Explanation Question Example
Descriptive

This type of case study allows the researcher to:

  • Investigate a phenomenon from the participants’ lived experiences in narrative form.
  • Usually begin with a descriptive explanation of a theory that supports the phenomenon being researched.

How has the implementation and use of the instructional coaching intervention for elementary teachers impacted students’ attitudes toward reading?

Explanatory

This type of case study allows the researcher to:

  • Develop a project or investigate an intervention to identify themes and discover new outcomes.

Why do differences exist when implementing the same online reading curriculum in three elementary classrooms?

Exploratory

This type of case study allows the researcher to:

  • Help define questions or hypotheses.
  • Identify the boundaries for subsequent research studies.

 

What are potential barriers to student’s reading success when middle school teachers implement the Ready Reader curriculum online?

Multiple Case Studies

or

Collective Case Study

This type of case study allows the researcher to:

  • Learn about the complexity of an issue.
  • Use purposeful sampling of cases that tailor to the specific study. 
  • Provide a variety of  context from different studies to determine a theme or finding from the evidence provided.

How are individual school districts addressing student engagement in an online classroom?

Intrinsic

This type of case study allows the researcher to:

  • Understand a specific case through a primarily descriptive exploration.

  • Not have set expectations, but rather focus on gaining a better understanding of the case.

How does a student’s familial background influence a teacher’s ability to provide meaningful instruction?

Instrumental

This type of case study allows the researcher to:

  • Provide information for further understanding of a phenomenon,  issue, or problem.

  • Aim to focus on the outcome or results instead of the research topic.

How a rural school district’s integration of a reward system maximized student engagement?

Note: These are the primary case studies. As you continue to research and learn

about case studies you will begin to find a robust list of different types. 

Who are your case study participants?

Boys looking through a camera

 

 

Participants Explanation

 

Woman at a table

Individual

This type of study is implemented to understand an individual by developing a detailed explanation of the individual’s lived experiences or perceptions.

 

 

 

Three men standing on a mountain

Group of People

This type of study is implemented to explore a particular group of people’s perceptions.

Organization

This type of study is implemented to explore the perspectives of people who work for or had interaction with a specific organization or company.

Event

This type of study is implemented to explore participant’s perceptions of an event.

 

What is triangulation

Validity and credibility are an essential part of the case study. Therefore, the researcher should include triangulation to ensure trustworthiness while accurately reflecting what the researcher seeks to investigate.

Triangulation image with examples

How to write a Case Study?

When developing a case study, there are different ways you could present the information, but remember to include the five parts for your case study.

 

Man holding his hand out to show five fingers.

 

1.

Overview:

  • Background Information
  • The Problem Statement

2.

Introduction:

  • Research Question(s)
  • Literature Review
  • Theoretical ot Conceptual Framework

3.

Data: 

  • Methodology
  • Data Collection Plan and Steps

4.

Findings: 

  • Case Study Analysis
  • Questions
  • Outcome
    • Themes

5.

Conclusion:

  • Implications
  • Further Studies

 

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