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Writing and Formatting a Business Case Study

Elements, structure and format of a good case study

Business case study, what is it?

Case study writing is used in colleges, business schools, universities and in different training programs. Such teaching method refers to case method. Highly educated business consultants, executives and educators become the authors of business case studies. However, when a student decides to take a business course, he/she will definitely receive a task to write a business case study that has to be used in a class discussion or as a group project.  

Case study writing helps to better understand the case method. In addition, it gives an opportunity to develop and improve analytical skills. 

Format and structure of case study

Despite the fact that every business case study differs, there are some elements that should be incorporated in every case study. For instance, an original title is required for every case study. Titles may vary but in most cases, they need to include the company name and information about the very case in less than ten words. Check out the examples of original case study title: ‘Innovation at Costa Coffee and Starbucks: Customer service Delivery.’  

Every case study should be written with the objective of learning in author’s mind. The objective could be developed to influence knowledge level, develop a particular skill, challenge the student or improve one’s ability. Upon analyzing and reading the case, a student has to become aware of something or learn to do something useful. The objective example can look as follows: after a student analyzes the case study, he/she has to show knowledge related to methods of marketing segmentation, become aware of difference between recommended brand positioning strategy and potential client base for “Y” product developed by “X” company. 

Most case studies are written in a story-telling format, which includes the main character who has an important objective or has to take a vital decision. Usually, the narration is connected throughout the study. It contains the detailed background information about the discussed company, situation, and important elements or individuals. Author should include enough information in order to help the reader make the right assumption and take a decision regarding the study questions presented in the paper.    

If you want to learn more information about business case study writing, check out the guide below:

THE PROTAGONIST of CASE STUDY

Every case study should have the main character who needs to take a serious decision. It helps readers to understand the role of the main character choose from a certain perspective. A vivid example of the case study main character is a brand manager who has a short deadline to make a choice of a certain strategy for product that could improve company’s financial position.      

Narrative/situation of the case study

It is better to start narrating the case study from the introduction of the main character. Describe his/her role and duties, as well as the scenario/situation the protagonist faces at the moment. One has to provide information related to the decisions the protagonist is tasked to make. In addition, it is recommended to include details about constrains and challenges connected to the decision (for example, the deadline) and any biases the main character may have.   

In the next section, background information about the company should be provided. Describe its main business model, competitors and industry. Then one can cover all the challenges and problems faced by the main character. In addition, the consequences related to the decision should be described.  

Additional documents, for example, financial statements, may be presented together with the case study. They will help students to find the solution and take the correct action course.

THE DECIDING POINT

When concluding, one has to return to the main question or issue that should be solved by the main character. The readers are expected to replace the main character and give answers to the question presented in the case study. Such an approach gives an opportunity to discuss the question in class.