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Why and How to Use Case Studies
What is a case study?
“A detailed account of a company, industry, person, or project over a given amount of time”.
A case study is an exercise that brings to life real business scenarios by addressing an organisation dilemma.
Most cases have these common features:
- A decision-maker who is grappling with a question or problem that needs solving
- A description of the problem’s context
- Supporting data
- Question and answer sections
Why use case studies?
Use topical case studies to bring theory to life in the classroom
Case studies are a proven and well-established technique. They enable students to apply theoretical concepts in real world situations.
Cases come in numerous formats - from a simple “What would you do in this situation?” question to a detailed description of a situation with accompanying data to analyse.
Most case assignments require students to answer an open-ended question or develop a solution to an open-ended problem with multiple potential solutions.
Use case studies to enhance student skills for professional advancement
By studying case study examples students are actively engaged in figuring out the solutions; consequently developing their skills in:
- Problem solving
- Using analytical tools, both quantitative and qualitative
- Decision making in complex situations
- Coping with ambiguities
- Learning how to apply optimal solutions in similar situations
Use case studies to make better informed business decisions
Professionals can use cases to:
- Understand how other companies have coped when faced with a challenging dilemma
- Apply lessons learned from other organisations to your own company
- Master and implement new ways of working
- Obtain digestible information through brief but focussed content
- Access a breadth of quantitative worked examples with practical application
- Understand how to put research into practice
- Learn from best practice examples as well as business and project failures
How can case studies be used?
Case assignments can be used:
- Individually or in teams
- In lectures, seminars, and team meetings
Shape case studies to meet your objectives:
- Select case studies to suit specific course or project objectives
- Mould case assignments to meet your objectives – from a one-paragraph answer to a fully developed group action plan, proposal or decision
- Use contrasting case studies to attain a holistic understanding of an issue
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