How To Write a Case Study Step-by-Step (With Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated August 22, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020
Updated August 22, 2021
Published February 25, 2020
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A case study is a document that proposes, examines and tries to solve a problem and is often used as evidence to support an idea or product.
A thorough and well-constructed case study uses metrics, such as key performance indicators, to show growth and success that support the idea that a business or salesperson is trying to convey. This strategic use of data and measurement value makes case studies more effective in marketing and other areas than other commonly-used techniques.
Case studies are often found in industries like health care and psychology to help doctors and mental health professionals provide better care. However, they can also be used in business and marketing to increase organizational effectiveness and strategic marketing across many industries. In this article, we explain how to write a case study step by step to help you write your own.
What is a case study?
A case study is a document that focuses on a business problem and solutions. In marketing, this is often used to tell a story about a customer journey, interactions and how a product or service solves a specific issue. Case studies can be used in all levels of business, however, and all industries, not limited to marketing.
The goal of a case study is to encourage the evaluation of a business problem, be it related to customer or client care, or finances or other operations. The case study demonstrates solutions that solve the issue, or case.
Case studies can be used internally to promote effectiveness within an organization. However, in marketing, case studies are often used to show a potential client or customer how working with an organization or buying a product or service can enhance their life or solve their problem.
How to write a case study
You can use these steps to write a case study:
Prepare for the case.
Define your angle.
Craft a narrative.
Select a relatable solution.
Include these sections.
1. Prepare the case
To begin preparing your case study, start diving into data and metrics, among other pre-writing activities. While reading through cases, take notes and highlight important information, facts and values that are important to the narrative you need to create.
Begin by creating realistic goals that define your case study. Consider what it is you hope for the case study to accomplish, which will help you identify what steps your narrative should take.
2. Define your angle
The more compelling your narrative is, the better it will be received. An important part of structuring a case study is to hone in on your focus. Do this by identifying your key problems first. There are usually between two and five key issues you need your case study to focus on. Then, determine the source of the issues you are hoping to examine. Once you know why these issues exist, think about other issues—like the cause of the issue and how it impacts the overall organizations.
3. Craft a narrative
With the information you've collected, you can begin to craft the narrative. During this phase, you can be a little creative. Think about a customer journey that is relatable to your wider audience but also an interesting read. Use the problem you've synthesized from company information and brainstorming as an issue that a customer or client encounters and detail how they respond to it.
You should consider following a classic narrative arc where you have an introduction, an inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.
4. Uncover solutions
When you uncover solutions, you will begin working with established data and key performance indicators to determine how your product, service or arrangement is among the top ways to solve the problem. In this phase, the data should explain how the user would be directly impacted by the solution and what kinds of results they can expect. Ultimately, you should strive to come up with several solutions so you can select the most important one.
5. Select a relatable solution
Finally, select the best solution. The best solution is one that solves all of the customer's or client's needs and is relatable, accessible and important. Consider something that sounds realistic, is supported by evidence and has clear pros and cons.
6. Include these sections
To organize your case study document, include the following sections:
Introduction: Use this space to state the purpose and identify key issues.
Background: This is the start of your narrative, where you begin to lay out a scene that makes sense for the reader.
Evaluation of case: In the evaluation of the case section, outline important highlights of the case study, evaluate the highlighted segments based on what works and what doesn't and state what doesn't work and why.
Solutions: In this part of the document, highlight your proposed solutions and why they are effective for solving the problem.
Recommendations: End the document with recommendations for moving forward.
Tips for writing a winning case study
Consider these tips for writing a case study:
Take notes. As you read and examine case study materials, jot down important details that could help you craft your narrative in a compelling way.
Know your audience. To select the best solution, you must know who you are selecting it for. Understanding who will be reading the case study is critical to formatting it correctly.
Make relatable content. Write about a scenario and person who is relatable to your average client. This will help you create a winning case study customers can understand and identify with.
Case study example
Case studies present a customer problem and offer a solution. They do this using data and metrics, as well as testimonials and visuals to curate a carefully compiled customer journey. When marketing teams use this information, they typically formulate it into some kind of infographic that can be easily condensed. Here is an example of a case study:
Agile Software Co. helps Morgan Enterprises, a Fortune 500 company, increase revenue by 20% with custom software design. Morgan Enterprises was struggling to scale its enormous growth in the face of digital transformation, and a software solution by Agile Software Co. was able to bridge the gap.
"We are growing leaps and bounds and investing in a lot of new technology to help us scale. We realized we needed to pull all of the hardware and software we use in daily operations together with a piece of proprietary platform software, so we reached out to Agile Software Co." - Derek Morgan, CEO, Morgan Enterprises.
Evaluation of the case
The issues Morgan Enterprises were coming across were not uncommon for large businesses trying to go fully digital. They often wind up with so many microservices and SaaS products that users end up needing to manage several passwords and go to several different places to get and share data. For this reason, Agile Software Co. decided to pursue a single software solution that would tie the infrastructure together.
Agile Software Co. developed a platform software program that offered users access to all related office technology, making it easier for a remote workforce to have access to everything they need to be successful.
The product recommended was a custom development of a user portal that connected all resources in one branded space. After implementing this solution, Morgan Enterprises found it brought all teams together with better communication and 24/7 access to resources. This allowed Morgan Enterprises to complete digital transformation, which resulted in a 20% increase in revenue after one year.
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