Case studies offer a way for academic institutions or businesses to market products and services, study the efficacy of different practices, and propose new and innovative solutions to existing problems. But how exactly can YOU write a good case study? In this guide, we will define “case study” and explain how it can be useful in marketing. More importantly, we will provide useful tips for how to write a case study, including some good case study templates and examples. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be writing professional case studies with ease!
What is a Case Study?
Generally speaking, a case study involves the in-depth research of a subject over a specified period of time. Much like an analytical essay, a case study looks at a subject in order to validate the thesis. However, this definition is still pretty broad.
To better understand case studies, let’s say that a business wants to illustrate how one of its products can solve a specific problem for consumers. The business can simply tell people that the products works, but why should they believe them? Where is the evidence?
This is why a case study is extremely useful. The business can examine and record a situation in which a past customer had a problem and used the product to solve it. Then, the business can use this case study as evidence to promote their product in the future.
How to Write a Case Study: A Step-by-Step Guide
Every case study is unique to its subject matter. Case studies can cover a wide range of topics, and organizations can use different methods to research their subjects. That said, in order to write a clear, effective case study, you will need to follow a few simple steps.
Step 1: Identify the Problem and Solution
Most case studies are designed with the goal of promoting a specific solution to a specific problem. So, in order to write a case study, you will need to ask yourself the following questions:
The answers to these questions are extremely important, as they will form the basis of your entire case study. Once you have identified the problem and its solution, you can move on to more in-depth questions that will help you later on in the writing process:
Step 2: Identify Your Subject
The term “subject” can mean many different things. In this case, we are not referring to the general topic of your case study, but rather the focus of your research. For example, let’s assume that you have already identified the following problem and solution:
Based on this solution, we can assume that your organization specializes in translating documents for other businesses. As a result, you probably have a number of past clients for whom you have translated documents. So, how do you choose which client will be the subject of your case study?
This step will require you to research and analyze the experiences of your clients. You may find that you would like to write about more than one client, but this will require you to write more than one case study, as every case study should only have one subject.
To identify your subject, you can ask yourself the following questions:
Step 3: Research Your Subject
While Step 2 requires some research into your potential subjects, you will need to conduct more in-depth research once you have chosen the subject of your case study. If you have chosen a client that used your product/service more recently, this will likely be easier to do. You may remember specific details about the client’s needs, expectations, deadlines, etc.
In any case, you will likely need to contact the subject and request a testimonial of their experiences (as well as permission to publish a case study). While the specific information you need will depend on the nature of your product/service, you should generally ask the following questions of your client:
In addition to the testimonial of your client, you will want to research other circumstances that could make this case study (or client) unique. Perhaps this was the first time the client had ever worked with your business to solve this problem, or maybe the client had an extremely tight deadline that your business was able to meet. Either way, look for details that will make your case study stand out and help market your product/service.
Finally, while you do not have to include statistics in your final draft, they do help give your case study a greater sense of legitimacy. For example, when you see an article with charts, graphs, or numerical statistics, you’ll probably think that it is well-researched and informative, right?
Needless to say, you shouldn’t include any facts or figures that would be in breach of your client’s privacy. However, with your client’s permission, you should consider using data related to your client’s budget, the final cost (especially if it is lower than your competitors), the timeline, and the steps that your organization took to solve the problem.
Step 4: Compile the Information and Write Your Case Study
Once you have identified the goal of your case study (including the problem and solution), chosen your subject, and researched the specific case, it’s time to put it all together! But you may still not know how to write a case study. Sure, you have completed all of the necessary research, but how do you give it structure?
Ultimately, every case study tells a story. Like any story, a case study needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. Naturally, you have freedom with how you choose to tell your story, but there are a few factors that you should consider to make your case study as effective as possible:
Case Study Templates
Many times, you may know exactly what you want to write, but you don’t know how to format the information. Thankfully, there are a number of free case study templates available online. Keep in mind that you do not have to follow a specific structure, but the following case study templates can still serve as a good frame of reference:
Case Study Examples
Finally, if you’d like some real-world examples to get your creative juices flowing, we’ve provided the following links to a number of high-quality case study examples:
We hope this guide was helpful! Learning how to write a case study may seem daunting. However, if you follow the steps above and look at some of the examples we’ve provided, you’ll be writing effective case studies in no time!