Case Study Tactics.

Working with a Case Study is a bit of an art form. Universities often provide case studies to base an assignment or an exam on and the idea is that it provides information about a real-life type situation. They are often based on real people, organizations, industries or parts of our society. Sometimes the names and certain information have been changed to ensure privacy.

Here, when doing an assignment students will be required to extract information out of the case study and then use the theories, concepts or frameworks from the course to analyze this information.

This means they are searching for evidence.

But what if they cannot find the information to use in these frameworks? Remember, teachers want students to use their models and they want detail. To give a great mark they are looking for reports and essays that are dense with evidence.

Ideally; once we have selected the right concepts or frameworks to use for our analysis we would then completely fill in all the required parts with evidence from the case study.

I recommend students ask their teacher:

- Should they only use information that is from the case study?

- Can they also use information that they source on-line regarding the industry or area of interest in question?

- Should they make assumptions about aspects where there is no evidence to be found? If they are allowed to make assumptions do they need to state that these are assumptions (as is generally the case)?

If you cannot find evidence.

If you cannot find evidence does your teacher want you to say so?

A similar situation comes up when working in professions. As you know, many types of professionals need to produce reports answering questions that their customers have asked. The advice provided needs to be based on evidence. If no evidence can be found to answer some of the questions the professional needs to say so. This is so that the customer knows that the professional has looked into every one of their questions. If the professional simply left the section blank because they could not find evidence on some questions then the customer would probably think they have ignored these requirements and so would not be happy.

Coming back to a student's assignment, their teacher will similarly not be happy if there is nothing written at all about some parts of the frameworks that they want students to use in the essay or report. This is where students need to use the technique of writing “no evidence found” for the sections where there is none. Their teacher will then know that they have addressed all of the parts of the framework.

The following table shows answers based on information in a case study. Here the teacher has asked that only evidence from the case study can be used. Let’s say the case study had no evidence in it to answer two parts of the framework. Here we have shown that we have considered those 2 parts of the requirements and not found any evidence. This is the professional way to do it.