Case Study Writing Guide: Gathering Information

In our last informative article we were discussing some different places for students to find reliable resources when they write their case study. Making sure that the facts and details that are included in your study, are 100% authentic and reliable is the key to getting a good grade on a case study assignment. This is because the main purpose of learning to write a case study is to teach students how to look critically at "case" evidence and draw conclusions. These conclusions must be drawn from fact-based evidence. For this reason the examples that you use within your study should be verifiable, based in science, and they should not be disputable, and should be easy to prove using experiment results if needed. To complete your case study you may also be expected to design an experiment that demonstrates your evidence. This is why the information gathering process is so important. Often times it requires not only extensive research but also interviews, and experimental research as well.

Organizing Your Information

To avoid becoming overwhelmed by the magnitude of a case study assignment it is a good idea to work from an outline. This will help you categorize and organize the information you collect. By properly laying out your case study paper before you write it you will be able to more easily prepare a report. The outline may also come in handy if you have to create a presentation for your case study also. A basic outline example may look like this:

  1. Introduction
    • Case Abstract
    • Thesis
    • Method of Investigation
  2. Hypothesis
    • What do you think that you will conclude?
  3. Supporting Details
    • Research
    • Observations
    • Interviews
    • Other relevant points
  4. Evidence
    • At least three strong points of evidence
  5. Conclusions
    • What conclusions can you draw from looking at the supporting details and evidence?
    • Was your hypothesis correct?
    • Summarize the case

By laying your paper out into different sections you can manage your time more effectively. This is also help when you are determining the amount of research and information that you need to find. One suggestion is that students fill out the outline using full sentences before they begin to write. This will save you time in the long run because many of your main points will already be planned ahead of time. You may also wish to write down your sources in the outline as you go. This way you will not have to go back later and conduct as scavenger hunt looking for where you found each detail.

Gathering information for your case study is the hardest part. Once you have collected all of the data that you need and laid out an outline, writing the actual report should be a breeze.