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Case Study Analysis: How to analyze and write about a case

Usually based on a real business or social problem, case study analysis requires you to apply your knowledge and experience. Here are some tips and resources to help you navigate the case study analysis assignment.

Getting started on the case

Some things to think about:

It is important that you know why the case was assigned. Sometimes your instructor will explain this, sometimes you will have to figure it out independently or in your small group. This means you probably will need to read your case several times.

Think about what are the key issues of your case. List them out.

Are there any hidden issues in your case? This often can be hashed out in small group discussions.

Do you need to do any financial analysis? What kind? Liquidity test? Relevant industry and market analysis? Variable or theme oriented analysis? How about other statistics? Is there a government agency that covers what you are trying to find out?

You are going to need to build some theories AND you will need to support your theories with evidence (i.e. RESEARCH, hint: see the box to the right).

Consider exploring associations and investigate exceptions.

Explore patterns and draw causal inferences again this will need to be supported with EVIDENCE.

You will need to be prepared to DEFEND your decisions both on paper in discussion.

Your instructor, your classmates WILL have questions, consider what those questions could be and investigate them so that you are ready to answer such questions.  

News articles about business

Use these databases to find news articles:

American City Business Journals provides business news and information from major metropolitan cities across the country. Many of these newspapers will provide you with the primary sources you need to consult in order to make inferences and help you develop original theories.

Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe provides searchable access to a comprehensive spectrum of full-text information from national and regional newspapers as well as company financial information, SEC filings and reports, and industry and market news.

Investment and industry reports

Morningstar Investment Research Center is where you can find information on stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, markets and use portfolio tools to evaluate investment performance etc.

Mergent Online, this database provides U.S. Company Data covering 10,000 public companies and their SEC filings, International Company Data, U.S. Annual Reports, current and historical, International Annual Reports and many tools to configure reports on company and industry analysis.

Value Line is a comprehensive source of information and advice on approximately 1,700 stocks, more than 90 industries, the stock market, and the economy.

IBIS World provides comprehensive collection of Industry Market Research Reports. Provides strategic insight and analysis into industries from Accommodations and Food services to Wholesale Trade.

Standard and Poors NETAdvantage is a comprehensive source of business and investment information, offering on-line access to popular Standard & Poor's research products such as Industry Surveys, Stock Reports, Corporation Records, The Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives, The Outlook, Mutual Fund Reports among others.

Even more databases to use as you research your case

Business and Company Resource Center, offers dynamic, accurate, and up-to-date topical business information and company and industry intelligence on thousands of global companies and hence making it possible to compare and contrast industries and companies.

Emerald includes 40,000+ searchable articles from over 100 Emerald journals. Subjects covered include management, HRM, Marketing, Librarianship, Mechanical engineering, electronic and electrical engineering.

Web of Knowledge is today's premier research platform for information in the sciences, social sciences, business, arts, and humanities. Contains Medline and ISI Web of Science.

      

Writing the case study - some formating examples

Here is an excellent 4 page PDF from the Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales. The PDF explains in detail how to write a case study analysis. Take a look at the PDF BEFORE you get started on your case and your writing experience should be more enjoyable.

Cengage Learning also offers a "how to" when it comes to business case study analysis.


Writing the medical case study analysis is different from the business case study analysis. Here is an article that explains how to do the medical case study analysis, again it is always a good idea to review the "how to" BEFORE you begin your case study assignment.