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How To Write a Case Study Research Paper (Introduction-End)|Outline & Structure

Michael Jack

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A case study is a research method that is often used to study a person, a situation, or a group of people. Case studies are often useful in studying a phenomenon that can’t be analysed by quantitative methods. Case studies are thus qualitative in most cases. They are effective in comparing, evaluating, and the description of different parts of a problem. These studies are often used in social sciences, medicine, and history.

There is a difference between a case study and a research paper that students can take note of. A case study is shorter than a normal research paper. Case studies are often 500 words to 900 words at most whereas a research paper is longer than that. And whereas a research paper brings attention to a particular problem in society or a field, a case study is an in-depth study of a particular case to gain concrete knowledge of that particular subject.

Case study research usually involves storytelling and the structure is very similar to that of a story with the main character whose problem you are trying to solve. You can use the elements of great storytelling in this type of paper; start with an introduction, a rising action and then a transformation stage of your character, a falling action stage, and finally conclude your story.

Types of Case Study Research

You can be tasked to write a case study in any of these fields. It is important to know what type of case study you have been assigned before embarking on the writing process.

Historical case studies; are common types of case studies that focus on various historical events that happened during a certain period and in comparison to today’s events. A good historical case study could be racism in America in the 1900s.

Problem-oriented case studies; this is another common type of case study that tries to solve a theoretical problem. In this type of case study, you are required to put yourself in a situation and examine it thoroughly. A good example of a problem-oriented case study is “homelessness during the covid-19 pandemic period”.

Cumulative/ multiple/ collective case study; are common case studies in business that collects data and offer comparisons between products to tell clients the value of a product in different nations.

Critical case studies; are the type of case study that investigates why a situation exists, it touches on the causes and effects of a case e.g why careers like engineering remain gender-stereotyped.

Illustrative/ instrumental case studies; these types of case studies investigate particular cases which have specific outcomes and the lessons from that. A good example would be “the effect of music therapy on autistic children”.

A case Study Research Paper Draft

Before starting the writing process, you can benefit from creating a rough draft that shall guide your writing. A draft will help you become creative during the writing process of your paper. You can write down various angles, ideas, and directions to use in your writing before deciding on one.

The Format of a Case Study Research Paper

Your case study research paper shall contain 8 or more sections namely;

The Introduction/the executive summary

This part tells your readers what case you shall be examining. Look at it as an overview of the field of study you decided to research. It shall also contain a thesis statement which is a summary of the results of your observation.

Literary Review/ Background information

In this part of your paper, you shall note down the relevant facts about the case you are studying.

Findings/case evaluation section

At this point of your essay, you shall focus on the parts of the case you want to study and the findings you have come up with.

Proposed Solutions/ Implementations/ Recommendations

In this part of the essay, discuss the solutions you have for your case and why you have chosen to use the particular solutions. Your solutions need to be very practical and applicable. You can even include evidence that your proposed solutions can work.

The conclusion

This is a summary of the recommendations and case evaluation points. You shall evaluate the proposed solutions, talk about the best solution or strategy you have selected as the main tool to solving the problem and justify why.

The Implementation

At this section of the essay, you shall tell your readers how you will put the strategy into use.

References/ Bibliography

This is simply a list of sources you have cited in your case study. The educational institutions require one to cite their work in MLA, APA, or Harvard.

Appendices

This is where you include the graphs, images, and notes. All the subsidiary materials shall go here.

 A case Study Research Paper Outline

Your case study research paper shall guide your writing and make sure you satisfy the various sections of a case study research paper. Before you start writing, conduct proper research using reliable sources of information such as databases, Google scholar, and research papers. You can find key points from the abstract and summary of these documents. After that, create your thesis statement which shall guide your writing. The outline shall be as follows;

The Title Page 

In this part of the research paper, you shall state;

Your case study research title,

Your name, your supervisor or the Instructor’s name; and the

Course you are studying

Introduction/Executive Summary 

This will be a simple paragraph stating an overview of the case study topic, the thesis, and the key findings.

Main Body Paragraphs

You will handle this section in 3 or more paragraphs. And they shall;

You shall have the literature review of past research in this section. The background information, the methods and findings you have come up with, and the discussions and solutions from those findings. You will capture that in the body paragraphs.

Conclusion 

While concluding your case study, you will be required to;

Paraphrase the thesis or offer an answer to it.

Summarise the case study in a few words. And offer a few recommendations for future studies.

Reference/works Cited section

List all the academic sources you have used in this section.

Writing of a Case Study Research Paper 

Your case study research paper will contain five main sections which shall each capture unique information about the case study you are investigating. An in-depth look at each section shall and what they will all contain is as follows;

The Executive Summary/Introduction

You want to hook the audience at this point by explaining compellingly the question you shall be handling in the case study research. You will offer background information on your case study field and relate that to the particular case you have decided to study. Tell your reader why the particular topic is of importance and adds to knowledge on the field of study you are investigating. Also, give a summary of the past literature and case studies on which you are going to base your findings. You will finish this part of the essay by stating how useful that case study will be in many years to come and give a convincing thesis statement.

The Literature Review/Background Information

This is a list of content you have studied on the chosen topic. The literature shall expand your understanding of the subject matter and describe key theories in your topic of study. This is a significant part of the case study because it shows your readers how far you have gone to discover more about your topic of study. For credible literature, use the library.

The Findings/Methods

You can explain to your audience why you chose a particular topic and how it is relevant to the field of study. State the research methods you used while bearing in mind that case study data collection procedures are usually qualitative. You can use interviews, online surveys, observation, etc to gather data.

Discussion/ Solutions

You shall revisit your thesis in this part of the essay and then make a correlation based on what you have discovered from your research. You link the thesis with the findings and discuss whether the findings are relevant. You can explore how close your findings are to past case studies or whether they are contradictory. Think of how useful your findings are to the present understanding of the subject area. Does it add to knowledge?

Conclusion

Summarize your findings and state how relevant the case study findings are. You shall restate your thesis and confirm it with your findings. You can also give a brief of the other case studies you considered and how future research topics can use the findings to further explore the topic of study.

Post-Writing Guide For a Case Study Research Paper

After delivering your content, you have to check the proper formatting according to the instructions of the instructor. Proofread and edit your work to remove the style issues. Read through your work again and make sure it flows and meets standards. Editing cleans your paper and makes it clean for submission.

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