You won’t get through your academic program without at least one case study assignment. That’s because case studies are a powerful tool for gaining a real-world, in-depth understanding of problems – and their solutions.
But as an assignment, they can be confusing and challenging, especially if it’s your first time writing a case study. So, let us share with you everything we know about how to write a case study that’s compelling and fresh – and that’ll get you the top grade.
But First: What Is a Case Study?
Before you get to writing a case study, you need to understand what it is to zero in on your goal as the author.
A case study is a piece that examines a particular problem and one or several of its real-world solutions. It can also analyze a certain event, personality, place, or situation in the context of a bigger issue.
And here lies your first piece of advice on how to write a case study assignment. Your goal is to meticulously analyze your case: what problem it tackles, how successful the approach was, etc.
How Long Should Your Case Study Paper Be?
It depends. A case study assignment can be anywhere between 500 and 1,500 words. The precise length depends on how long it needs to be for you to cover every crucial detail of the case and tell your readers the story.
That said, when you get to case study writing, keep in mind these four guidelines:
- Hook your reader within the first 100 words;
- Dedicate the bulk of your text to results and benefits or failing;
- Keep it as concise as you can;
- Use visuals whenever appropriate.
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5 Types of Case Study Assignments
When you’re asked to write a case study, remember to pinpoint which case study type matches your topic the best:
- Historical case studies examine past events and draw parallels between them and contemporary trends or issues.
- Cumulative case study writing involves aggregating information about a particular subject.
- Problem-oriented case studies aim to find the best solution by analyzing existing ones and their results.
- Illustrative case studies recount a certain event, break down its outcomes, and reach teachable conclusions.
- Critical case studies involve writing a case study report on the causes and effects of their subject.
What’s the Common Case Study Structure?
To write a case study, follow this standard eight-part structure:
- Executive summary combines an overview of the field and your thesis statement.
- The background is the description of your case: its context, course, and key issues.
- Case evaluation is where you isolate the issues or details you’ll focus on and explain why the solution works – or doesn’t.
- Proposed solutions describe how to improve what works or fix what doesn’t. It’s often the toughest part, so don’t hesitate to turn to cheap assignment help if it’s your case.
- The conclusion is a summary of the previous two sections.
- Recommendations are your substantiated opinion on the best way to tackle the issue.
- Implementation describes the practicalities of putting your strategies to work.
- Citations are where you provide all the references.
How Is a Case Study Different From a Research Paper?
These two types of assignments, albeit similar, aren’t the same. So, before we dive into how to write a case study essay, let’s list its four differences from a research paper:
- It’s a more detail-oriented, in-depth look at a particular case;
- When you write a case study, you should flex your storytelling muscles to craft a compelling essay;
- A case study is typically shorter than a research paper;
- It focuses on the practical aspects of approaching a certain problem.
How to Prepare for Writing Your Case Study Assignment
Preparation is a crucial part of how to write a case study. It should include rigorous research, multiple source analysis, and, sometimes, interviewing experts or customers.
Here are five steps you should take during this phase:
- Pinpoint the goal of your case study assignment;
- Zero in on the topic, issue, and subject you’ll describe in it;
- Read up on its background information;
- Round up all the credible sources you’ll rely on in writing;
- Identify the multitude of solutions to the central problem.
7 Powerful Tips on How to Write a Case Study
Now that you know what a case study is and how to prepare for writing one, let’s break down these seven actionable tips that’ll help you in your writing process.
1. Make Your Interviews as Easy as Possible
If you’re writing a case study that examines a real business, campaign, or individual, it may involve one or several interviews. And when you ask a person to sit down with you, you essentially ask them to spend their time on you. So, make it as easy for them as possible:
- Straighten out all the interview details in advance (when, where, how long);
- Explain how the case study will be used and where it’ll end up;
- Offer to hold an interview the way they prefer (over the phone, online, via email).
2. Hook Your Readers with a Snapshot
Like any good story, its beginning should hook the reader, i.e., make them want to read further. But don’t rely on the intrigue too much.
Instead, in the introduction, describe not just the case setup but its results, too. Don’t worry about the intrigue: the journey from point A to point B should still pique the reader’s interest.
3. Find an Unconventional Perspective
Writing a case study is easy. But writing a compelling one is not. To keep your readers hooked on your case study until the last word, you’ll have to flex your creative muscles.
Here are three tips for that:
- Tell your story as a protagonist-driven narrative;
- Add a teaser at the beginning to hook your readers;
- Find your unique angle; don’t settle for a conventional perspective.
“I don’t feel up to the challenge. Can I have someone do my assignment cheap instead?” Of course! Our writers are gurus of finding fresh perspectives, no matter how stale the topic may seem.
4. Make Your Story Relatable
A unique angle shouldn’t render your story too ambiguous or cryptic to your readers. Instead, aim to craft your case study to be relatable to your target audience.
For example, when businesses create their case studies to attract potential customers, they should make sure the reader can identify with the protagonist’s problems. Then, as the business describes how its product solved those problems, it essentially tells the reader, “This product can help you with your problem, too.”
5. Pay Attention to Visual Appeal & Readability
Your case study shouldn’t be just a wall of text (if you can help it). Visuals are more efficient at communicating information.
So, add infographics, charts, tables, and other illustrative visuals whenever possible. They’re easier to comprehend and consume.
Readability is another thing to keep in mind. To make your case study easy to read, make it skimmable by:
- Adding subheadings and lists;
- Highlighting important sentences;
- Keeping the paragraphs and sections as short as possible.
6. Don’t Make the Narrative All About Yourself
Unless you have the experience or background to be at the forefront of a case study, avoid I-statements. Focus on your protagonist and tell the story from their perspective instead. This is key to making it relatable for a particular target audience, too.
Think about it this way. If you’re writing a case study for a company, you’ll want them to come across as a helping hand, not a self-proclaimed hero. So, stay humble and avoid boasting.
7. Let Your Subject Tell the Story
Whenever possible, use that interview material and incorporate interviewees’ quotes directly into your story. This will help your case study come across as more credible – and more relatable, too.
How should you use quotes when you’re writing a case study, exactly? Set up the scene or write the transition – and add the quote. And avoid repetition!
How to Add a Title Page & Citations to a Case Study
Case Study Title Page
The formatting for your title page and citations will depend on the style you’re required to use. Most likely, it’ll be the APA style. You may sometimes need to follow other style guidelines, like MLA or Chicago.
If you need to follow the APA guidelines, adding a case study title page is obligatory. Here’s what it’ll include (each element should be on a new line):
- Author’s name;
- Author’s affiliation;
- Course number and name;
- Your instructor’s name;
- The paper’s due date.
Need an example? Here’s one for a case study assignment:
Case Study Citations
You’ll also need to know how to cite a case study when you write one. The exact rules differ depending on the style, so here are your formulas for APA and MLA styles with examples.
For an APA citation, use this template:
Author’s last name, initials (Publishing year). Title. Source
Doe, J. B. (2020). Apple and Google: an oligopoly case study. Tech Journal, 10, 13. https://website.org/oligopoly-case-study
For an MLA reference, follow this template:
Author’s last name, first name. “Title of source.” Container, publication date, source location
Doe, J. B. “Apple and Google: an oligopoly case study.” Tech Journal 10, 13, 2020, website.org/oligopoly-case-study. Accessed 4 May. 2022.
3 Marketing Case Study Templates to Help You Out
Don’t know where to start with your case study? Following a template can be a great way to overcome writer’s block – and save some time in the process.
Here are three resources with case study templates you’ll love:
- Canva has a whole case study category in its templates. Use them to make your case study presentation visually appealing – and outstanding!
- Venngage offers dozens of sleek PDF templates for case studies. You just need to create a free account to use them.
- HubSpot gives away a free pack of three text-only and three designed templates, along with a creation kit.
3+1 Case Study Examples to Inspire You
Need business and marketing how to write a case study examples to give you a push in the right direction? Here are three of them you can learn a great deal from:
- “The Met” by Fantasy. Focused on a website redesign for The Met, this case study posted on Fantasy’s website shows instead of just telling. The text is concise while the website showcase is put front and center.
- "In-Depth Performance Marketing Case Study" by Switch. Presented in PDF format, this case study reads as an in-depth research paper on marketing. The client’s name is never revealed, but that doesn’t get in the way of storytelling. Switch also included a glossary of terms to make it more readable for non-marketers.
- “GoFundMe Increases Repeat and Referral Business 180%” by HubSpot. Just like other HubSpot case studies, this one is well-structured and emphasizes figures as evidence. It covers both the client’s problems and how the product solved them in a quote-driven, engaging way.
If you’re looking for more academic case study writing examples or college assignment help, let us share a sample of Greenwashing: Coca-Cola Sustainability Campaign Case Study with you:
The Coca-Cola Company, a global beverage corporation, has been criticized for its plastic production and waste since the 2000s. To improve its public image, the corporation decided to spotlight its sustainability efforts. However, these campaigns only hurt the company’s brand as it was accused of greenwashing (rightfully so).
Coca-Cola pledged to reduce single-use bottles multiple times. In 2017, Greenpeace already criticized the company for failing to achieve its 2015 goal of sourcing 25% of bottle materials from recycled plastic.
The company’s current goal – “using at least 50% recycled material in our packaging by 2030” – can be tracked via Ellen MacArthur Foundation, although the data is self-reported. According to that data, the recycled content accounts for just 11.5% of its packaging material sourcing as of 2020. But it excludes most of the company’s operations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Break Free from Plastic’s annual Brand Audit has named Coca-Cola the number one plastic polluter worldwide five years in a row. The Changing Markets Foundation listed it as a top greenwashing company in 2022, too.
All of this undermines Coca-Cola’s marketing campaign messaging and negatively impacts its branding. So, going forward, a genuine overhaul of its operations toward more sustainable ones – and transparent and full reporting on it – are a must for the company.
A case study is a great way to gain fresh, practical insights into a certain problem or event. When done right, it’s also a more compelling and engaging piece than other research papers.
However, that’s exactly what makes case studies so research-demanding and time-consuming. But if you’re not up to the challenge or lack the time required to do an A-worthy job, don’t worry. You can always turn to assignment help online like ours for help!