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Archive for June, 2016

Definition

A case study is a pithy piece of writing containing facts and real life scenarios to substantiate the writer’s hypothesis. It can be defined as a report of an activity, event or problem that contains a real or theoretical situation and includes the complexities you would encounter in the organisation. Case studies are used to help you see how the intricacies of real life influence decisions. Within these various definitions of case study we can see that each definition has some points in common: such as it is a report, it could be hypothetical or real and borrows from real life scenarios to drive home the point. Merriam-Webster does not deviate from this definition.  It defines a case study as a published report about a person, group, or situation that has been studied over time; also: a situation in real life that can be looked at or studied to learn about something

Tip: Each definition highlights that a case study is a written report which could be hypothetical or real, and borrows from real life situation to drive home the point.

Purpose of a business case study

The purpose of a case study is to provide an exhaustive study of a scenario or “case” which will reveal interesting facts to the reader. Case studies are often an accompaniment to reports, to give substance to written reports.

Case studies are a useful tool to sales and marketing. Customer success stories invite reader interest and add body to an otherwise clinical report.

Know the purpose of your case study and develop your case study with an aim.

The purpose of a case study is to arrive at a conclusion, to this end you have to conduct interviews to substantiate your written material. While interviewing bear in mind that you give a free rein to the interviewee to answer your questions.

You will be asking questions relevant to your case study for this you should ask questions that do not disturb your interviewee.

Tip: Know the purpose of your case study and develop your case study with an aim.

What is a business case study and what is it good for?

A case study can help improve employer/employee relations so that workplaces become more effective and productive. How do case studies achieve this?  It is by conducting an intensive study of a single unit with an aim to generalize over a larger set of units.

According to a case study writer case studies help the customer open his wallet and buy your product and this happens because case studies provide cold hard proof to validate the utility of your product. Thus we can see that a case study has multi-dimensional uses. To give a simplistic definition of the use of a case study one can say that it adds value to your product or report. I’m harping on product value because we are considering business case study here.

A case study presents a report of what happened to a business or trade over a number of years. It records the events that company honchos had to deal with for example the rise and fall of the competition and the strategy that they arrived at to deal with the situation.

Tip: A case study can help improve employer/employee relations so that workplaces become more effective and productive.

Different types, eg business, academic, healthcare

Case studies fall into different brackets such as descriptive, exploratory, and explanatory and then they can be further sub-divided into business, academic and healthcare related.

Let us begin by discussing what an explanatory case study is?

Using both subjective and quantifiable research methods, explanatory case studies not only analyse and describe incidents but can also be used to explain formative relationships and to develop theory.

Descriptive case studies are concentrated and elaborate. They state theories and questions at the outset and carefully examine and explain a phenomena at the opening of the case study.

The exploratory case study explores distinct events marked by an absence of detailed preliminary research. The name itself is self-explanatory, it sets out to explore a hypothesis

Business case study falls into the bracket of descriptive case study. It confronts the readers with real life situations and uses their abilities to solve the challenges presented by the real life situation.

What makes a good business case study?

Dexterity in writing case study can bring business to your company. A well-researched , in-depth analysis of how your company has helped its customers can add credibility to your business. Case studies make use of stories to describe how the company products have helped the customer. Apart from actually talking to customers, case studies are a great way of showcasing your company strengths and getting your business noticed. They can be placed on your company website, along with your newsletters and brochures. Case studies can also be used for press or public relations,  as they are a great way of creating brand awareness.

A great case study has three elements; first is a business challenge that the company has faced. Second is the solution that the company has found and lastly a list of benefits attained.

You must also engage your reader and tell your story with a powerful angle. Success stories in the face of hardships are a great source of inspiration and generate lot of reader faith. For example, the story of how e-commerce helped a business to grow.

Tip: A great case study has three elements; first is a business challenge that the company has faced. Second is the solution that the company has found and lastly a list of benefits attained.

How to write a business case study

To write a good case study you should be not just skilled in writing but should also have ready data on your hands that you could use to make your case study plausible. Here are steps to follow when writing a business case study.

Investigate the story:  Search for the best story to narrate to your audience. It should have concrete data and provide believable results. Gather data, conduct interviews and ensure that you have all the material required to narrate a story interspersed with hard facts.

Give a structure to your story:  Give a proper structure to your story by giving a situation, problem, solution and evaluation. Make sure you address the customer’s principal concerns or issues, the challenge, the whole journey and the practical implementation.

Furnish clear benefits: Organize the case study with clear what is in it for me. That will hold the reader’s interest.

Use relevant details: Think of relevant facts and details that your readers would want to know and that would make your story more plausible.  Make sure your data highlights the personal benefit to the reader. This will make the reader believe that by using the same approach they would get the same results. Do not use cliché’s or jargons. Remember, a case study is a soft-sell document that would benefit from facts.

Legality: Ensure that your case study has a legal standing.

Promote your case study: Promote your case study through the people you have interviewed.

Tip: Give a proper structure to your story by giving a situation, problem, solution and evaluation.

How to outline a business case study:

Case studies are powerful tools to promote your business however they have been relegated to the realm of research material due to lack of proper writing skills.

Begin the case study in a compelling way by including a benefits oriented title. A crisp customer quotation and a brief synopsis of advantages in bullet form. The following structure should deliver the kill.

Heading

The heading should be crisp and should highlight the main benefit of the solution.

Limit the caption to 12 words or less.

Customer quotes

Include a gains oriented customer quotation which is short and crisp.

Phrase the quotation in such a way that it sounds like something someone would actually say.

Benefits synopsis

Highlight the benefits in two-three crisp bullet points.

The narrative

The next important step is narrating the story in a compelling manner. In this part of the case study make use of subtitles to serve as beacon lights for the readers. Begin by narrating the challenges faced by customers dealing with this industry. Then transition into the specific challenge faced by the particular customer or group of customers whose case you are narrating.

The solution

Ensure that you narrate the specific solution to the specific problem faced by our case.

Conclusion

The conclusion should be clear and should highlight the outcomes of the case study. 

Tip: The heading should be crisp and should highlight the main benefit of the solution.

What should be the format of a business case study?

Following should be the format of a business case study.

Format deals with how a document is laid out in terms of appearance.

The cover page

This should clearly state the title and names of the participants in the case study such as the people interviewed for the case study.

Executive summary

This should be written at the end of the report as it lists the key findings of the report.

Introduction

A brief account of what the case study covers should be written in the introduction.

Body of the case study

This contains the following content:

Target market identification

Market requirements

Analysis of the case

Key issues and goals

Recommendations

The final step in formatting a case study would be to mention the Conclusion

The conclusion should include references which would mention all the journals, periodicals cited and also include online research

Tip: A brief account of what the case study covers should be written in the introduction.

 

What should be the structure of a case study?

The structure of a case study refers to methods of arrangement of ideas or content.

Once you have gathered the data for your case study.  You have to give structure to the case study. The following should be the structure of your case study.

The first step in framing the structure would be to give the introduction.

Introduction

Identify the key issues and problems in the case study.

Create a thesis statement and summarize the outcome of your study in 1-2 sentences.

Background

Background helps in setting the scene. Background information should be laid out along with relevant facts and the key issues examined in the case study.

Proposed solution

Provide one particular and realistic solution.

Explain the reason for selecting the solution.

Support the solution with substantial proof.

Also include personal research and anecdotes.

Finalizing the draft

After you have finalized the first draft for your case study, look for any loopholes or gaps. Fill the gaps so that your case study becomes a composite whole.

In the end do not forget that case studies are a soft-sell document so they should highlight how the product benefitted the customer. It should tell your story in such a way that it converts your potential customers into customers.  Talk about your ideal customer’s industries as if you have got a feel about the nuances of their industry for instance if you are talking about the education industry ensure that your narrative includes a background of universities and educational institutions so that the reader feels you are touching familiar ground.

Tip: in the end do not forget that case studies are soft-sell documents so they should highlight how the product benefitted the customer.

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