Case studies are reports of research conducted with individuals, groups, communities or institutions or issues or events. It focuses on a single case or a small number of cases: a case may be an individual, a small group (although it is consisting of many individuals, it can be considered as one culture-sharing group or a group of people working in one particular organization meaning considering one concrete entity). This type of article illustrates a problem, suggests means for solving the problem, and sheds light on needed research.
The case study approach is used in research when there is a need to obtain an in-depth investigation of an issue, event or phenomenon of interest, in its natural real-life context. A case study develops an in-depth understanding of a single case or explores an issue or problem using the case as a specific illustration. Documentation, interviews, observation, visuals can be used to explore a case.
A case study research paper may be broadly framed as below:
Introduction: Describe the context of the case. It may consist of social, economic, cultural or political context or any other relevant context. The intent of the paper should be clarified in the first few paragraphs of the introduction. A brief literature review should be written to locate your study. You may cite other similar cases in this section and point out challenging situations or issues. State why studying the case is important and how it will contribute to expanding the existing knowledge. Methods of data collection may be included in this section or may be written as a separate section.
Body/ Case Presentation: Present the case by using raw data and any information of the case that is related to the research question. Describe the research problem of the case through the participants’ words. Write in a narrative style. The focus of the section should be towards answering ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions of the research problem.
Discussion: Interpret the findings of the study in relation to the research question. Discuss the findings by linking and comparing them to the existing literature. Compare the explanations of the findings of your case with those of the literature. This section will strengthen the study by linking it to the wider context and evidence.
Conclusion: This section should provide an overview of the key findings that converge to address the research question framed at the beginning of the paper. This section provides your overall reflection or observation of the findings. You may also state how the case contributes to knowledge development.
Examples: Marup promoting social and economic development: Implications for feminist social work with groups.