Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Methodology
  • What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on May 8, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on January 30, 2023.

A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organization, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research.

A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods , but quantitative methods are sometimes also used. Case studies are good for describing , comparing, evaluating and understanding different aspects of a research problem .

Table of contents

When to do a case study, step 1: select a case, step 2: build a theoretical framework, step 3: collect your data, step 4: describe and analyze the case.

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. It allows you to explore the key characteristics, meanings, and implications of the case.

Case studies are often a good choice in a thesis or dissertation . They keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources to do large-scale research.

You might use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in depth, or conduct multiple case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions , you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to:

Unlike quantitative or experimental research , a strong case study does not require a random or representative sample. In fact, case studies often deliberately focus on unusual, neglected, or outlying cases which may shed new light on the research problem.

However, you can also choose a more common or representative case to exemplify a particular category, experience or phenomenon.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

While case studies focus more on concrete details than general theories, they should usually have some connection with theory in the field. This way the case study is not just an isolated description, but is integrated into existing knowledge about the topic. It might aim to:

To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, you should conduct a literature review of sources related to the topic and develop a theoretical framework . This means identifying key concepts and theories to guide your analysis and interpretation.

There are many different research methods you can use to collect data on your subject. Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews , observations , and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data.

The aim is to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of the case and its context.

In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give as complete a picture as possible of the subject.

How you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard scientific paper or thesis , with separate sections or chapters for the methods , results and discussion .

Others are written in a more narrative style, aiming to explore the case from various angles and analyze its meanings and implications (for example, by using textual analysis or discourse analysis ).

In all cases, though, make sure to give contextual details about the case, connect it back to the literature and theory, and discuss how it fits into wider patterns or debates.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, January 30). What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods. Scribbr. Retrieved March 5, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/case-study/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, primary vs. secondary sources | difference & examples, what is a theoretical framework | guide to organizing, what is action research | definition & examples, what is your plagiarism score.

Programs for Individuals

Comprehensive leadership programs, topic-focused programs, regional programs, virtual programs, certificate of management excellence, corporate director certificate, digital transformation certificate, programs for organizations, hbs experience, the learning experience.

Admitted? Plan Your Stay

Admissions requirements, admissions process, international applicants, payment, cancellation, and deferral, already admitted, participant stories, what is the case study method.

Baker library peak and cupola

Overview Dropdown up

Overview dropdown down, celebrating 100 years of the case method at hbs.

The 2021-2022 academic year marks the 100-year anniversary of the introduction of the case method at Harvard Business School. Today, the HBS case method is employed in the HBS MBA program, in Executive Education programs, and in dozens of other business schools around the world. As Dean Srikant Datar's says, the case method has withstood the test of time.

Case Discussion Preparation Details Expand All Collapse All

In self-reflection in self-reflection dropdown down, in a small group setting in a small group setting dropdown down, in the classroom in the classroom dropdown down, beyond the classroom beyond the classroom dropdown down, how the case method creates value dropdown up, how the case method creates value dropdown down, in self-reflection, in a small group setting, in the classroom, beyond the classroom.

process of case study method

How Cases Unfold In the Classroom

How cases unfold in the classroom dropdown up, how cases unfold in the classroom dropdown down, preparation guidelines expand all collapse all, read the professor's assignment or discussion questions read the professor's assignment or discussion questions dropdown down, read the first few paragraphs and then skim the case read the first few paragraphs and then skim the case dropdown down, reread the case, underline text, and make margin notes reread the case, underline text, and make margin notes dropdown down, note the key problems on a pad of paper and go through the case again note the key problems on a pad of paper and go through the case again dropdown down, how to prepare for case discussions dropdown up, how to prepare for case discussions dropdown down, read the professor's assignment or discussion questions, read the first few paragraphs and then skim the case, reread the case, underline text, and make margin notes, note the key problems on a pad of paper and go through the case again, case study best practices expand all collapse all, prepare prepare dropdown down, discuss discuss dropdown down, participate participate dropdown down, relate relate dropdown down, apply apply dropdown down, note note dropdown down, understand understand dropdown down, case study best practices dropdown up, case study best practices dropdown down, participate, what can i expect on the first day dropdown down.

Most programs begin with registration, followed by an opening session and a dinner. If your travel plans necessitate late arrival, please be sure to notify us so that alternate registration arrangements can be made for you. Please note the following about registration:

HBS campus programs – Registration takes place in the Chao Center.

India programs – Registration takes place outside the classroom.

Other off-campus programs – Registration takes place in the designated facility.

What happens in class if nobody talks? Dropdown down

Professors are here to push everyone to learn, but not to embarrass anyone. If the class is quiet, they'll often ask a participant with experience in the industry in which the case is set to speak first. This is done well in advance so that person can come to class prepared to share. Trust the process. The more open you are, the more willing you’ll be to engage, and the more alive the classroom will become.

Does everyone take part in "role-playing"? Dropdown down

Professors often encourage participants to take opposing sides and then debate the issues, often taking the perspective of the case protagonists or key decision makers in the case.

View Frequently Asked Questions

Subscribe to Our Emails


What the Case Study Method Really Teaches

process of case study method

Seven meta-skills that stick even if the cases fade from memory.

It’s been 100 years since Harvard Business School began using the case study method. Beyond teaching specific subject matter, the case study method excels in instilling meta-skills in students. This article explains the importance of seven such skills: preparation, discernment, bias recognition, judgement, collaboration, curiosity, and self-confidence.

During my decade as dean of Harvard Business School, I spent hundreds of hours talking with our alumni. To enliven these conversations, I relied on a favorite question: “What was the most important thing you learned from your time in our MBA program?”

Alumni responses varied but tended to follow a pattern. Almost no one referred to a specific business concept they learned. Many mentioned close friendships or the classmate who became a business or life partner. Most often, though, alumni highlighted a personal quality or skill like “increased self-confidence” or “the ability to advocate for a point of view” or “knowing how to work closely with others to solve problems.” And when I asked how they developed these capabilities, they inevitably mentioned the magic of the case method.

Harvard Business School pioneered the use of case studies to teach management in 1921. As we commemorate 100 years of case teaching, much has been  written  about the effectiveness of this method. I agree with many of these observations. Cases expose students to real business dilemmas and decisions. Cases teach students to size up business problems quickly while considering the broader organizational, industry, and societal context. Students recall concepts better when they are set in a case, much as people remember words better when used in context. Cases teach students how to apply theory in practice and how to induce theory from practice. The case method cultivates the capacity for critical analysis, judgment, decision-making, and action.

There is a word that aptly captures the broader set of capabilities our alumni reported they learned from the case method. That word is meta-skills, and these meta-skills are a benefit of case study instruction that those who’ve never been exposed to the method may undervalue.

Educators define meta-skills as a group of long-lasting abilities that allow someone to learn new things more quickly. When parents encourage a child to learn to play a musical instrument, for instance, beyond the hope of instilling musical skills (which some children will master and others may not), they may also appreciate the benefit the child derives from deliberate, consistent practice. This meta-skill is valuable for learning many other things beyond music.

In the same vein, let me suggest seven vital meta-skills students gain from the case method:

1. Preparation

There is no place for students to hide in the moments before the famed “cold call”— when the teacher can ask any student at random to open the case discussion. Decades after they graduate, students will vividly remember cold calls when they, or someone else, froze with fear, or when they rose to nail the case even in the face of a fierce grilling by the professor.

The case method creates high-powered incentives for students to prepare. Students typically spend several hours reading, highlighting, and debating cases before class, sometimes alone and sometimes in groups. The number of cases to be prepared can be overwhelming by design.

Learning to be prepared — to read materials in advance, prioritize, identify the key issues, and have an initial point of view — is a meta-skill that helps people succeed in a broad range of professions and work situations. We have all seen how the prepared person, who knows what they are talking about, can gain the trust and confidence of others in a business meeting. The habits of preparing for a case discussion can transform a student into that person.

2. Discernment

Many cases are long. A typical case may include history, industry background, a cast of characters, dialogue, financial statements, source documents, or other exhibits. Some material may be digressive or inessential. Cases often have holes — critical pieces of information that are missing.

The case method forces students to identify and focus on what’s essential, ignore the noise, skim when possible, and concentrate on what matters, meta-skills required for every busy executive confronted with the paradox of simultaneous information overload and information paucity. As one alumnus pithily put it, “The case method helped me learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff.”

3. Bias Recognition

Students often have an initial reaction to a case stemming from their background or earlier work and life experiences. For instance, people who have worked in finance may be biased to view cases through a financial lens. However, effective general managers must understand and empathize with various stakeholders, and if someone has a natural tendency to favor one viewpoint over another, discussing dozens of cases will help reveal that bias. Armed with this self-understanding, students can correct that bias or learn to listen more carefully to classmates whose different viewpoints may help them see beyond their own biases.

Recognizing and correcting personal bias can be an invaluable meta-skill in business settings when leaders inevitably have to work with people from different functions, backgrounds, and perspectives.

4. Judgment

Cases put students into the role of the case protagonist and force them to make and defend a decision. The format leaves room for nuanced discussion, but not for waffling: Teachers push students to choose an option, knowing full well that there is rarely one correct answer.

Indeed, most cases are meant to stimulate a discussion rather than highlight effective or ineffective management practice. Across the cases they study, students get feedback from their classmates and their teachers about when their decisions are more or less compelling. It enables them to develop the judgment of making decisions under uncertainty, communicating that decision to others, and gaining their buy-in — all essential leadership skills. Leaders earn respect for their judgment. It is something students in the case method get lots of practice honing.

5. Collaboration

It is better to make business decisions after extended give-and-take, debate, and deliberation. As in any team sport, people get better at working collaboratively with practice. Discussing cases in small study groups, and then in the classroom, helps students practice the meta-skill of collaborating with others. Our alumni often say they came away from the case method with better skills to participate in meetings and lead them.

Orchestrating a good collaborative discussion in which everyone contributes, every viewpoint is carefully considered, yet a thoughtful decision is made in the end is the arc of any good case discussion. Although teachers play the primary role in this collaborative process during their time at the school, it is an art that students of the case method internalize and get better at when they get to lead discussions.

6. Curiosity

Cases expose students to lots of different situations and roles. Across cases, they get to assume the role of entrepreneur, investor, functional leader, or CEO, in a range of different industries and sectors. Each case offers an opportunity for students to see what resonates with them, what excites them, what bores them, which role they could imagine inhabiting in their careers.

Cases stimulate curiosity about the range of opportunities in the world and the many ways that students can make a difference as leaders. This curiosity serves them well throughout their lives. It makes them more agile, more adaptive, and more open to doing a wider range of things in their careers.

7. Self-Confidence

Students must inhabit roles during a case study that far outstrip their prior experience or capability, often as leaders of teams or entire organizations in unfamiliar settings. “What would you do if you were the case protagonist?” is the most common question in a case discussion. Even though they are imaginary and temporary, these “stretch” assignments increase students’ self-confidence that they can rise to the challenge.

In our program, students can study 500 cases over two years, and the range of roles they are asked to assume increases the range of situations they believe they can tackle. Speaking up in front of 90 classmates feels risky at first, but students become more comfortable taking that risk over time. Knowing that they can hold their own in a highly curated group of competitive peers enhances student confidence. Often, alumni describe how discussing cases made them feel prepared for much bigger roles or challenges than they’d imagined they could handle before their MBA studies. Self-confidence is difficult to teach or coach, but the case study method seems to instill it in people.

There may well be other ways of learning these meta-skills, such as the repeated experience gained through practice or guidance from a gifted coach. However, under the direction of a masterful teacher, the case method can engage students and help them develop powerful meta-skills like no other form of teaching. This quickly became apparent when case teaching was introduced in 1921 — and it’s even truer today.

For educators and students, recognizing the value of these meta-skills can offer perspective on the broader goals of their work together. Returning to the example of piano lessons, it may be natural for a music teacher or their students to judge success by a simple measure: Does the student learn to play the instrument well? But when everyone involved recognizes the broader meta-skills that instrumental instruction can instill — and that even those who bumble their way through Bach may still derive lifelong benefits from their instruction — it may lead to a deeper appreciation of this work.

For recruiters and employers, recognizing the long-lasting set of benefits that accrue from studying via the case method can be a valuable perspective in assessing candidates and plotting their potential career trajectories.

And while we must certainly use the case method’s centennial to imagine yet more powerful ways of educating students in the future, let us be sure to assess these innovations for the meta-skills they might instill, as much as the subject matter mastery they might enable.

Partner Center

Research Method

Home » Case Study – Methods, Examples and Guide

Case Study – Methods, Examples and Guide

Table of Contents

Case Study Research

Case study is a research method that involves an in-depth, detailed examination of a single unit, such as an individual, family, group, organization, community, or event. Case studies are usually conducted by sociologists, psychologists, historians, anthropologists, or researchers from other social science disciplines.

Case studies are used to provide a rich and detailed account of a particular social phenomenon. They are often used to generate new hypotheses or to test existing theories. In some cases, case studies are also used to evaluate programs or interventions.

Types of Case Study

There are three types of case study research:

Exploratory Case Studies

Descriptive case studies, explanatory case studies.

Exploratory case studies are conducted when little is known about a phenomenon. They are used to generate hypotheses and gather preliminary data.

Descriptive case studies describe a phenomenon in detail. They are used to develop an understanding of a complex issue.

Explanatory case studies explain why or how something happens. They are used to test theories and identify cause-and-effect relationships.

Case Study Data Collection Methods

There are a variety of case study data collection methods, including:


Interviews are perhaps the most common type of data collection in case studies. They allow researchers to collect detailed information about individuals’ experiences and perspectives.

Observations can also be useful in case studies, particularly if the researcher is interested in studying how people interact with their environment.

Document Analysis

Document analysis is another common data collection method in case studies; it involves examining documents such as policy records, media reports, and demographic data.

How to conduct Case Study Research

Conducting case study research is a complex process that requires both scientific and methodological rigor. Follow the steps below:

Advantages of Case Study Research

There are several advantages of using case study research.

Also see Focus Groups in Qualitative Research

Disadvantages of Case Study Research

There are also a number of drawbacks to using this approach.

About the author

' src=

Muhammad Hassan

I am Muhammad Hassan, a Researcher, Academic Writer, Web Developer, and Android App Developer. I have worked in various industries and have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. In my spare time, I enjoy writing blog posts and articles on a variety of Academic topics. I also like to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the IT industry to share my knowledge with others through my writing.

You may also like

Mixed Research methods

Mixed Methods Research – Types & Analysis

Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research – Methods and Analysis

Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research – Methods and Analysis

Quasi-Experimental Design

Quasi-Experimental Research Design – Types...

Descriptive Research Design

Descriptive Research Design – Types, Methods

Correlational Research Design

Correlational Research Design – Methods, Types

Case Study Research: Methods and Designs

Case study research is a type of qualitative research design. It’s often used in the social sciences because it involves…

Case Study Method

Case study research is a type of qualitative research design. It’s often used in the social sciences because it involves observing subjects, or cases, in their natural setting, with minimal interference from the researcher.

In the case study method , researchers pose a specific question about an individual or group to test their theories or hypothesis. This can be done by gathering data from interviews with key informants.

Here’s what you need to know about case study research design .

What Is The Case Study Method?

Main approaches to data collection, case study research methods, how case studies are used, case study model.

Case study research is a great way to understand the nuances of a matter that can get lost in quantitative research methods. A case study is distinct from other qualitative studies in the following ways:

Here are the primary features of case study research:

They commonly use the case study method in business, management, psychology, sociology, political science and other related fields.

A fundamental requirement of qualitative research is recording observations that provide an understanding of reality. When it comes to the case study method, there are two major approaches that can be used to collect data: document review and fieldwork.

A case study in research methodology also includes literature review, the process by which the researcher collects all data available through historical documents. These might include books, newspapers, journals, videos, photographs and other written material. The researcher may also record information using video cameras to capture events as they occur. The researcher can also go through materials produced by people involved in the case study to gain an insight into their lives and experiences.

Field research involves participating in interviews and observations directly. Observation can be done during telephone interviews, events or public meetings, visits to homes or workplaces, or by shadowing someone for a period of time. The researcher can conduct one-on-one interviews with individuals or group interviews where several people are interviewed at once.

Let’s look now at case study methodology.

The case study method can be divided into three stages: formulation of objectives; collection of data; and analysis and interpretation. The researcher first makes a judgment about what should be studied based on their knowledge. Next, they gather data through observations and interviews. Here are some of the common case study research methods:

One of the most basic methods is the survey. Respondents are asked to complete a questionnaire with open-ended and predetermined questions. It usually takes place through face-to-face interviews, mailed questionnaires or telephone interviews. It can even be done by an online survey.

2. Semi-structured Interview

For case study research a more complex method is the semi-structured interview. This involves the researcher learning about the topic by listening to what others have to say. This usually occurs through one-on-one interviews with the sample. Semi-structured interviews allow for greater flexibility and can obtain information that structured questionnaires can’t.

3. Focus Group Interview

Another method is the focus group interview, where the researcher asks a few people to take part in an open-ended discussion on certain themes or topics. The typical group size is 5–15 people. This method allows researchers to delve deeper into people’s opinions, views and experiences.

4. Participant Observation

Participant observation is another method that involves the researcher gaining insight into an experience by joining in and taking part in normal events. The people involved don’t always know they’re being studied, but the researcher observes and records what happens through field notes.

Case study research design can use one or several of these methods depending on the context.

Case studies are widely used in the social sciences. To understand the impact of socio-economic forces, interpersonal dynamics and other human conditions, sometimes there’s no other way than to study one case at a time and look for patterns and data afterward.

It’s for the same reasons that case studies are used in business. Here are a few uses:

And that’s not all. Case studies are incredibly versatile, which is why they’re used so widely.

Human beings are complex and they interact with each other in their everyday life in various ways. The researcher observes a case and tries to find out how the patterns of behavior are created, including their causal relations. Case studies help understand one or more specific events that have been observed. Here are some common methods:

1. Illustrative case study

This is where the researcher observes a group of people doing something. Studying an event or phenomenon this way can show cause-and-effect relationships between various variables.

2. Cumulative case study

A cumulative case study is one that involves observing the same set of phenomena over a period. Cumulative case studies can be very helpful in understanding processes, which are things that happen over time. For example, if there are behavioral changes in people who move from one place to another, the researcher might want to know why these changes occurred.

3. Exploratory case study

An exploratory case study collects information that will answer a question. It can help researchers better understand social, economic, political or other social phenomena.

There are several other ways to categorize case studies. They may be chronological case studies, where a researcher observes events over time. In the comparative case study, the researcher compares one or more groups of people, places, or things to draw conclusions about them. In an intervention case study, the researcher intervenes to change the behavior of the subjects. The study method depends on the needs of the research team.

Deciding how to analyze the information at our disposal is an important part of effective management. An understanding of the case study model can help. With Harappa’s Thinking Critically course, managers and young professionals receive input and training on how to level up their analytic skills. Knowledge of frameworks, reading real-life examples and lived wisdom of faculty come together to create a dynamic and exciting course that helps teams leap to the next level.

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Objectives Of Research , What are Qualitative Research Methods , How To Make A Problem Statement and How To Improve your Cognitive Skills to upgrade your knowledge and skills.

Please note that Internet Explorer version 8.x is not supported as of January 1, 2016. Please refer to this page for more information.

Case Study Method

Related terms:.

26th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering

Sebastián Herrera , ... Luis Cisternas , in Computer Aided Chemical Engineering , 2016

1 Introduction

The case study method is a learning technique in which the student is faced a particular problem, the case. The case study facilitates the exploration of a real issue within a defined context, using a variety of data sources ( Baxter et al., 2008 ). In general terms, the case study analyzes a defined problem consisting in a real situation and uses real information as methodological tool. For chemical engineering students, the analysis of a case study gives them a global and holistic vision of a real problem at an engineering field, allowing to develop and apply their knowledge on unit operations and transport phenomena, being these the base education for a chemical engineer ( Heinanen et al., 2012 ). Furthermore, this methodology allows students to develop and to enhance different skills, such as the capacity of comprehension and analysis of real problems the capacity to propose and evaluate alternatives for the improvement of the problem considered, to work collaboratively, also their capacity of information management and synthesis of problems.

In process engineering field the metallurgical processes occupy a substantial market segment ( Chakraborty et al., 2004 ). These industries process different kind of minerals, which are required within several supply chains to develop an interest product. Furthermore the fast growth of the world’s population and the need of a better quality of life lead to greater minerals demand. In this context, the production of H 3 BO 3 from boron ores is a real case study within the metallurgical field. The H 3 BO 3 is used in many branches of the industry, such as nuclear technology, production of heat resistant materials, also in the medical, pharmaceutical and electronic related sectors, among others (Demirkiran et al., 2009). The boron ores are available in huge quantities in nature. Turkey, as country, has the biggest boron resources in the world ( Küçük and Kocakerim, 2005 ). However, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, also share a large reserve of boron. Here in Chile, the most abundant boron ore in this region is the ulexite.

This case study is analyzed hierarchically and systematically, by process synthesis, which requires the integration of real data and the application of basic chemical engineering principles in order to generate process alternatives in the conceptual stage of the process design ( Cisternas, 1999 ). The early stages in the process synthesis are characterized by deficient information and several uncertainties ( Steimel et al., 2013 ). Furthermore, a thorough search of information is needed. One alternative to describe the process synthesis to students of chemical engineering is through the hierarchical decision procedure introduced by Douglas (1985) . The decisions are based on operational experience of designers, as well as on information obtained in research literature and previous designs developed. At the beginning, the hierarchical decision procedure developed by Douglas was focused in the gas-liquid process. However, to involve solid processing operations, key to metallurgical processes, the conceptual design of gas-liquid-solid processes was developed by Rajagopal et al. (1992) . The hierarchical procedure consists of six decision levels. The process information, as well as the detail in the flowsheet structures increased in each level. Moreover, an economic assessment is also carried out in the last part of each level, in order to provide a quantitative comparison between the different processes alternatives developed.

The aim of this paper is to show and analyze the process synthesis based on the production of H 3 BO 3 from ulexite ores, using different reaction agents. The different agents and the study of its behavior with ulexite ores can be found into the research literature.

This specific case study allows the generation of different alternatives for analysis. Therefore, is an effective tool for undergraduate student of chemical engineering. The methodology of Douglas is used as a systematic and hierarchical methodology to conceptual process design.

Case Study: Methods and Analysis

A. Bennett , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001

This article reviews case study methods , also called ‘small- n ’, ‘comparative,’ or ‘qualitative’ methods. It outlines within-case methods of analysis, including process tracing and congruence testing, and cross-case methods of comparison, including John Stuart Mill's methods of agreement and difference, Alexander George's method of ‘structured, focused comparison,’ and Charles Ragin's method of ‘qualitative comparative analysis.’ It argues that case studies can help develop typological theories, or contingent generalizations on the different causal patterns leading to a particular outcome (related notions include configurational analysis and fuzzy logic). This article notes philosophies of science relevant to case study methods, including scientific realism, Bayesian confirmation theory, and Imre Lakatos' methodology of scientific research programs. Finally, it summarizes the comparative advantages of case study methods, including conceptual validity, identification of new variables, and modeling of complex interactions effects, as well as their comparative limitations, including the potential for indeterminacy and the dangers of selection bias. The central conclusion is that the comparative advantages of case study methods, statistical methods, and formal modeling are different and complementary, and that research proceeds more effectively through the combination of these methods than through the use of any one method alone.

Interpretive Methods: Macromethods

R. Stryker , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001

Analytic Induction ; Archival Methods ; Case Study: Methods and Analysis ; Case-oriented Research ; Causal Counterfactuals in Social Science Research ; Causation (Theories and Models): Conceptions in the Social Sciences ; Classification: Conceptions in the Social Sciences ; Comparative Studies: Method and Design ; Content Analysis ; Explanation: Conceptions in the Social Sciences ; Generalization: Conceptions in the Social Sciences ; Grounded Theory: Methodology and Theory Construction ; Ideal Type: Conceptions in the Social Sciences ; Idealization, Abstraction, and Ideal Types ; Interpretive Methods: Micromethods ; Narrative, Sociology of ; Weber, Max (1864–1920)

Regression Testing in Software Product Line Engineering

Per Runeson , Emelie Engström , in Advances in Computers , 2012

3.2 State of Practice on Software Product Line Testing

The potential productivity gain in software product line testing is not fully utilized in industry practice. A common situation is product developers spending much time in verifying each product configuration as reported by Kato and Yamaguchi [41] (T1/P2 in Section 3.1.1 ). A few good examples are published on how the testing part may be conducted in an efficient manner [39,22] , but mostly, experience reports focus on other aspects than testing.

Engström and Runeson [23] studied an emerging software product line organization in depth using case study methods . The studied case is the testing in the case company’s development of Android 4 embedded devices. For the in-depth analysis, the testing of one function is studied. The function exist in several product variants, depends on hardware variants, evolves in different versions over time, and is adapted to continuous upgrades of the Android platform. The development organization is complex, involving a globally distributed development, and the market situation involves delivery of tailored product variants to customers, based on varying market and country specifications. From a business perspective a product line strategy is in place. However, the technical and methodological benefits of the systematic reuse are not yet fully exploited, hence it is an emerging product line.

Before starting their path towards software product lines, products were tested one by one, product by product (T1 in Section 3.1.1 ). The software code base was originally the same, although it existed multiple versions in parallel. Variants were defined using conditional compilation instructions in the code. This approach grew very expensive and inefficient over time.

The first move towards a product line concept was the grouping of products into clusters. Each cluster aimed at developing a handful of products within a certain time frame. The first product in line (called mother ) was planned to be a top-of-the-line product, with most possible features. Subsequent products (called daughters ) were planned to have less features and capabilities. The testing aimed at resembling the incremental testing approach (T2). However, the approach was too idealistic in that (1) the mother product caused delays on all daughter products, even though the cause of the delay might be a feature not aimed for the daughters, and (2) the market department forced new features into the daughter products.

At a major technology shift, a new software architecture enabled a shift in the development process. The company introduced the Android software platform for their embedded devices. The new architecture was more clearly split into platform layers and an application layer. However, it was not possible to implement all required variability in the application layer of the architecture, so variants exist also in the platform layer. The testing applied is a combination of the incremental approach (T2) and the division of responsibility (T4). In addition to the principal organizational units, outlined in Fig. 6 , the Android platform development as another even more general layer on top of the company organizational units.

The case context: The product line products developed in a software project in the case study context comprise different product variants (about 10), called product configurations in Fig. 8 . The products are in turn customized for a number of different customers and market segments (hundreds) which have different software requirements, and are called release configurations . Each release is packaged in a product package , including physical packaging, defaults settings, etc. Some variability points are bound at compile time, others at build time, and yet others are bound in runtime.

process of case study method

Fig. 8 . Configuration view of the product line under study.

The software development is distributed over three organizational units ( core software , application software , and product composition ), where they primarily focus on platform, product, and release configurations, respectively, as defined in Fig. 8 . Within the core software and application software organizations, the software is divided into different functional areas and for each area there is a team of developers. Parts of the organizations are distributed over three continents.

Testing in the core software and application software organizations are conducted at (at least) three main levels of test abstraction each, which involves repeated testing of common parts. Feature tests (unit testing, structural, and functional testing) are carried out by the functional area teams. Integration tests and system test are carried out at both the test departments for platform and product. At the product composition level, all product configurations are tested with system tests and all product packages are acceptance tested. Regression testing is conducted at all test levels and organizational units.

Overlaid testing: In the case, the amount of overlaid testing, and the factors causing overlay, were investigated. The analysis distinguishes between test design overlay and test execution overlay . Test design overlay refers to the existence of more than one test case that test the same item for the same purpose. Test execution overlay refers to multiple executions of the same coverage item with the same purpose. Redundant tests refer to overlaid test cases where any differences between the tests do not affect the outcome of the tests. Two of the research questions studied were [23] :

How much testing in a variability-intensive context is overlaid and which is redundant? Testing is repeated across abstraction levels, versions, and variants which could imply that multiple testing is done on the same items. How much of the overlaid testing is really redundant?

When and why does overlaid testing appear? If overlaid testing exist, which factors are causing the overlaid testing?

In total 517 test executions of 192 different test cases were identified, which tested the case function, over a period of 22   weeks. The failure identification rate is generally low: 15 of the 517 test executions failed. Feature testing and integration testing run only one failing execution each.

A coverage item is an entity describing the scope of a test or set of tests. It is defined to be a tuple of “purpose” (e.g. response time) and “focus” (e.g. feature), see Fig.   9 . Both test purposes and test focuses are defined hierarchically. For example, the compatibility purpose may be divided into compatibility with devices of other brands through Bluetooth connection, and with two different kinds of memory.

process of case study method

Fig. 9 . Graphical view of test redundancy, from Engström and Runeson [23] . Each circle represents a coverage item covered by the feature testing (blue outline), integration testing (red outline) and product testing (green outline). Numbers within parentheses is the number of designed test cases and the numbers without parentheses are the executions.

Overlay in test design: At the highest level of coverage item abstraction, these 192 test cases cover 19 unique coverage items (see Fig. 9 ). Hence, if redundancy in test design is analyzed at this level of abstraction 90% of the test cases could be considered overlaid since they do not cover any unique coverage items.

A large share of the design overlay identified at the highest level of abstraction can be attributed to the variability of the test cases, i.e., most of the test cases are different variants at a more detailed level of coverage analysis. There is, for example, 112 different 5 system test cases designed to test the function in terms of compatibility with different models of devices, and types and sizes of memories.

Increasing the detail level of the “purpose” parameter, there is no overlay between the different test levels: feature integration and system testing, and no overlay within feature testing. There is still design redundancy within integration testing and system testing at this level, 33% and 63% respectively.

Overlay in test execution: Overlay in test execution is defined as re-execution of a coverage item and could origin both in overlay in the test design or the re-execution of a test case. However the overlaid test execution is not redundant, if it has been affected by a change since the last execution. In the case study, the information about the delta between versions was not easily accessible. Instead an upper limit of redundancy was measured.

At the highest level of abstraction, 517 test executions tested the case function. Ninety six percent of these are overlaid. The overlay remains high even for analysis at lower abstraction levels.

Factors causing redundancy: Based on the analysis of the test data and interviews with nine testers and managers, three key factors were identified:

Distribution of test responsibilities: Organizational distribution had greater impact than geographical.

Inconsistent documentation of test cases: Importance of consistency in design and documentation of test cases seem to depend on the size of the test suite and the number of involved test managers. In contrast to the intuition of the practitioners, redundancy in requirements or the absence of a complete requirement specification did not cause design redundancy in the testing.

Insufficient delta analysis: Lack of commonality analysis of the variation in space as well as lack of regression analysis of the variation in time were the two main causes of overlaid test executions.

Behind these factors, there is a chain of causes and effects, described in Fig. 10 , which is elaborated in depth by Engström and Runeson [23] .

process of case study method

Fig. 10 . Graph illustrating the hypotheses derived from the case study [23] . Red arrows indicate relations partly contradicted by the quantitative data. F   =   Feature test, I   =   Integration test, S   =   System test, O   =   Overlap.

The studied case is referred to as an “emerging” software product line [23] , meaning that it rather indicates needs to improve the software product line practices than having good practices in place. Out of the three identified factors listed above, causing redundancy, the inconsistent documentation of test cases is not specifically related to software product lines, although the deficiency causes more problems in this context, than in one-off product development contexts.

The distribution of test responsibilities puts pressure on the communication between organizational units to communicate what is tested, when, and why. The research listed in Section 3.1.1 contributes to addressing this problem, specifically, defining test trade-off strategies and test reuse strategies.

Addressing the issue of insufficient delta analysis involves methods to identify and communicate differences between versions and variants, and selecting test cases accordingly. The research listed in Section 3.1.2 is aimed to partly address this problem. Some of the technical parts originate from regression testing in general, which are elaborated in Section 4 . Another approach to addressing the problem is visualization, which is further discussed in Section 5 .

Participant Observation

G.A. Fine , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001

This brief overview has examined central features of the participant observation methodology. In doing so, it de-emphasized both the strategies of analysis (the extended case study method , grounded theory) used by practitioners and the modes of presentation (realist tales, impressionist tales). No method of data collection can exist without related techniques by which data are analyzed and presented.

Throughout the twentieth century, participant observation proved to be a powerful technique through which researchers understood a diverse set of social worlds in a way that did justice to the complexity of the activities of group members and to their own perspectives and understandings. While this methodology benefits by the triangulation with other styles of research to create adequate theoretical understanding, participant observation provides the basis by which researchers can understand the richness of the social settings that they—and others—inhabit.

Business, Social Science Methods Used in

Gayle R. Jennings , in Encyclopedia of Social Measurement , 2005

Case Studies

Case studies are associated with the development of detailed information relating to a specific business phenomenon, with phenomena across similar organizations or settings, or with one specific case (person, organization, or setting). Case study method may draw on a number of methods to gather data, such as observation, experiments, structured interviews, questionnaires, and/or documentary analysis. Case study within a positivistic paradigm is subsequently guided by the tenets of a quantitative methodology. Advantages of case studies associated with case-specific detail is the obtainment of objective and use of multiple methods to gain detailed data on the case. Disadvantages are associated with resource allocation and (with field case studies) the inability to control all variables systematically.

Political Science

John L. Korey , in Encyclopedia of Social Measurement , 2005

Long a staple of political science research, case studies have the advantage of examining politics holistically. Sometimes this comes at the expense of the ability to generalize findings by placing them in a rigorous theoretical context. That such is not an inherent limitation of the case study method can be seen in two very different applications of the method, one in which individual actors provide the cases for analysis and the other in which the cases consist of entire political systems.

Monroe questioned why some people act in ways that are, to varying degrees, at odds with their self-interest. Through interviews, she examined 25 individuals whose behavior fell at different points on a continuum from self-interest to altruism (the entrepreneur, the philanthropist, the hero, and the rescuer of Jews during the Holocaust). Her work explicitly challenged rational choice theories explaining behavior wholly in terms of self-interest (although sometimes defining self-interest so broadly as to make the argument tautological).

Monroe concluded that various hypotheses from sociology, economics, biology, and psychology only very imperfectly serve to distinguish the altruist, especially the hero and the rescuer, from the entrepreneur. She found that what does seem to be the distinguishing characteristic is what she called “perspective,” concluding that altruists perceive their relationship to others in more universal terms than do most people, with lower boundaries between self, kin, and group identity and identification with others generally.

A very different application of the case study approach is that of Weaver and Rockman and colleagues, who sought to provide a theoretical framework for a series of case studies examining whether and how institutional differences influence the capabilities of government. Their case studies compared the American experience in a number of issue arenas with those of other industrialized democracies. Beginning with the contrast between presidential and parliamentary systems, they analyzed the ways in which this distinction, although important, interacts with various other institutional and noninstitutional factors across time and in varying policy contexts.

An important subset of the case study method is participant observation, an approach that political scientists have borrowed from anthropology. The examples used here derive from the study of the U.S. Congress.

Richard Fenno has spent his career studying Congress, is a leading practitioner of participant observation, and has written trenchantly on this method in a series of essays published in 1990. Although most studies of congressional behavior have taken place within the confines of the nation's capital, Fenno followed members back to their states and districts in order to study their relationships with their constituents. In the 1970s, he explored the “home styles” of 18 members of the House of Representatives. Later, he did the same for several members of the Senate.

For his research to be successful, it was important that Fenno develop a high level of rapport with his subjects. This might mean anything from helping to change a member's flat tire to blending in with an election campaign by pitching in with stamping envelopes, working a phone bank, or engaging in other “materially trivial” forms of participation. Fenno was aware of, and wrote perceptively about, the dangers of too much rapport. Such overidentification runs the risk of interfering with the researcher's judgment. Fenno maintained that in their research, “political scientists … should refrain from engaging in any behavior that has the intention of affecting political outcomes.” To guard against these dangers, he developed a very strict set of ethical standards as a way of maintaining appropriate boundaries between researcher and subjects, declining even to register with a political party or join any interest groups. Subsequent experience led him to modify some of his self-imposed limitations. For example, following publication of his research on Dan Quayle after the former senator had become vice president, Fenno decided to abandon his former practice of refusing to give interviews to the media.

Despite his efforts to maintain a strictly professional relationship with his subjects, Fenno found that he could not maintain complete detachment: “I could not bring myself to be indifferent to their electoral success. I wanted them all to win. ”

As Fenno acknowledged, his research has involved much more observation than participation. This is in marked contrast to what happens when a political scientist becomes a political actor and then writes about the experience partly from the perspective of his or her scholarly discipline. Such actors, of course, do not take the same vow of political celibacy advanced by Fenno. North Carolina Democrat David Price first came to Congress in 1987. He has since written a memoir based primarily on his experiences but drawing on the literature of his discipline, including the work of Fenno. Somewhere in between Fenno and Price on the participation–observation spectrum is the work of scholars such as Redman and also Dwyre and Farrar-Myers, who have worked on legislation as congressional staffers and then written case studies attempting to shed light in a systematic way on the legislative process.

Sex Offenders, Clinical Psychology of

G.C.N. Hall , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001

The clinical study of sex offenders had its beginnings in research on sexuality. Some of the earliest scholarly writings on sexual deviance were detailed case studies by psychiatrist Krafft-Ebing ( 1965/1886 ). Krafft-Ebing postulated that all sexual deviations were the result of masturbation. The case study method focused exclusively on highly disturbed individuals without matched control cases, which precluded objective considerations of etiology (Rosen and Beck 1988 ).

Kinsey and colleagues ( 1948 ) conducted large-scale normative surveys of sexual behavior, resulting in major works on male and female sexuality. Because adult–child sexual contact was relatively common in his samples, Kinsey underplayed the negative effects of such behavior (Rosen and Beck 1988 ). Work on sexual deviance continued at the Kinsey Institute after Kinsey's death (Gebhard et al. 1965 ).

A major advance in the assessment of sexual arousal was the development of the laboratory measures of penile response by Freund ( 1963 ). Freund's measure, known as the penile plethysmograph, involved an inflatable tube constructed from a condom, by which penile volume change in response to erotic stimuli (e.g., nude photographs) was measured by air displacement (Rosen and Beck 1988 ). Less intrusive penile measures to assess circumference changes were later developed (Bancroft et al. 1966 ; Barlow et al. 1970 ). Among behaviorists, penile response to deviant stimuli (e.g., children, rape) became virtually a gold standard of measurement for sexual deviance (e.g., Abel et al. 1977 ).

The emphasis of behaviorists on the role of sexual arousal in sex offending came under criticism from feminist theories. Rape was conceptualized as a ‘pseudosexual’ act of anger and violence rather than as a sexual disorder. This approach was popularized by Groth ( 1979 ). More recent conceptualizations have incorporated sexual, affective, cognitive, and developmental motivational components of sex offending (Hall et al. 1991 ).

Expression and Interaction: Microfoundations of Expressive Forms

Y. Ogasawara , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001

2.1 Subculture

The culture of a group is structured through an ongoing negotiation between members of the group. Rather than assuming the content and meaning of culture a priori , many studies of subculture follow symbolic interactionist theory and examine how microlevel group processes give rise to a set of symbols, meanings, and behavioral norms—often a whole way of life—that bind the group members. A representative case is Fine's analysis of group culture or ‘idioculture’ that emerged in American little league baseball teams ( 1987 ). Specifically, he identifies five elements that are necessary for a cultural item to enter the life of a group that interacts intensively over a long period of time: the item must be known, usable, functional, appropriate, and repeatedly triggered.

Although the American subculture studies customarily avoid political questions, subculture often has explicitly political content. What is critical for understanding such subculture is to examine the relationship between a subculture and the social class within which it emerges and the relationship between a subculture and the dominant culture. When subculture is a site of political struggle, the central problem becomes understanding how interacting members of the social class connect and negotiate their lived experiences to subcultural representations. British Cultural Studies led by Stuart Hall, Tony Bennett, and associates at the Birmingham Centre emphasize the political context of subculture.

British Cultural Studies is often said to take much from Marxism and structuralism, but it is clear that it also incorporates many elements of symbolic interactionism. Using case studies and ethnographic methods, the emergence of subculture is analyzed as a collective solution to the problems faced by members of the social class such as lack of educational and employment opportunities. An illustrative study is Hebdige's research on ‘style’ developed by postwar English youth, which includes dress, talk, rituals, and music ( 1979 ). Hebdige details the way in which the white working-class youth deal with their problems by developing a style that define their identity and prove their membership in a group. They create a new style by borrowing items from existing styles and putting them together in novel ways. Hebdige's work illustrates that working-class youth possess few other means than creating their own style in order to attain some collective status within a society and to exercise some control over their lives.

One of the interesting phenomena concerning subculture is the development of a tension that members of a group experience between staying faithfully committed to the aesthetic goals of the group and compromising them for financial and reputational gain in the commercial world of the dominant culture. This issue is examined by Lachmann in his study of graffiti writers ( 1988 ). Lachmann analyzes how graffiti writers of New York created organizational and ideological bases for the allocation of fame, and why they eventually lost such bases. According to Lachmann, the vast majority of graffiti writers, called taggers, compete on the basis of the quantity of tags, while the minority become muralists who seek fame through their artistic styles. The latter meet at ‘writers’ corners' to allocate fame for style among skilled colleagues. However, when the corners were destroyed by police harassment, some writers were recruited to paint graffiti for sale in galleries, which resulted in fragmentation of the graffiti subculture. Lachmann's study shows how oppositional aesthetic standards of graffiti writers developed through social interaction with their mentors, colleagues, and audiences, and how such standards were weakened by co-optive interventions of the larger society.

Of course, subcultural expression is not limited to Western culture. Sato 1991 has described the teenaged bosozoku drivers (the ‘violent driving tribe’), who in tens, sometimes in hundreds, careen motorcycles and cars on the busy streets of large Japanese cities with deafening sounds. Many are dressed carefully in their elegant and bizarre costumes of kamikaze party uniforms combined with American punk, surfer, or rock-and-roll gear. Their cars and bikes are customized beyond recognition of their original appearance. The majority of bosozoku drivers are from middle-class families and seldom get involved in other unlawful activities. Analyzing the symbols, fashions, and customs of this youth subculture, Sato argues that such deviant lifestyles satisfy the cravings of the affluent youth for excitement and new experience in what is commonly regarded to be a harmonious and homogeneous society.

The implication of big data analytics on competitive intelligence: A qualitative case study of a real estate developer in the UAE

Eman Reda AlBahsh , Amin Hosseinian-Far , in Strategy, Leadership, and AI in the Cyber Ecosystem , 2021

3 Research methodology

3.1 scope of research.

This paper focusses on evaluating competitive intelligence process performance whilst utilising big data sources and analytics. The evaluation will be conducted within a local real estate developer, in the UAE, Abu Dhabi, hereafter referred as ‘EK04’. The organisation has recently adopted Oracle to implement BDA, and this paper will carry out the first evaluation of competitive intelligence process and performance after the first implementation of BDA.

The research plans to fulfil the gap in the literature, by providing a comprehensive model which combines both big data and competitive intelligence together, as an operational tool to support decision-making.

3.2 Research philosophy and approach

The project adopted the philosophy of constructivism, whereby the researcher assumes that reality is constructed intersubjectively through meanings and understandings, developed socially and experimentally ( Merriam, 2009 ). The paper seeks to address complexity and meanings of the variables within a particular situation ( Black, 2006 ), making a detailed explanation and interpretations of collected data that have a myriad meaning ( Byrne, 2001 , p. 372).

Following a philosophical epistemological approach of interpretivism, the paper will look for subjective and in-depth information, founded in individual intentionality ( Husserl, 2012 ). The knowledge can be generated endogenously and not only exogenously ( Packard, 2017 ). This epistemological philosophy will guide in collecting unique experiences in life from managers and decision-makers and will accordingly provide an eminent picture of reality by which our mental small world representation or model of reality is constructed ( Maitland and Sammartino, 2015 ).

The research rationale is motivated by the research objectives which are exploratory in nature and seeks to gain an in-depth understanding of a certain behaviour. This exploratory type of research often seeks to find out what is happening in a given situation, clarifying and developing better understanding of how things happen ( Mansour, 2017 , p. 8). It contains a type of questions that are flexible towards a phenomenon to understand the relationship between variables, which means, it will help the authors to clarify how BDA can affect the decision-making within an organisation's competitive intelligence system. Subsequently and once the relationships are demonstrated, a large scale of performance evaluation could be done to determine which components or events are most likely to cause best practices of effective decision-making within the competitive intelligence system.

Through an inductive reasoning the evaluation will begin with a detailed observation of the big data implementation connections with the competitive intelligence system, aiming to move forward an abstract generalisation and statements. In addition, as this research aims to understand the experience of managers, the data intensity is expected to be very high. Therefore the generated knowledge and findings shall be capable to construct a rigid relationship of dynamics and resilience between the variables’ components. Whilst the inductive approach can reveal insights about relationships, it is also possible that it will identify other cognitive activities and discover a new phenomenon. Tenenbaum et al. (2007) claim that there are other set regularities associated with an inductive approach which would help in other activities, including categorisation, probability judgement, and decision-making. Moreover, similarity can be a main currency of the inductive approach ( Heit and Hayes, 2005 ).

Given the exploratory nature of the research work, a case study method is selected to reflect the elements of CI and BDA as the central emphasise of the research design and to “stress on developmental factors in relation to environment” ( Merriam, 2009 , p. 103). Having a bounded system ( Merriam, 2009 ; Stake, 2006 ) will help the paper to identify how the decision-making fed by BDA will impact the competitive intelligence process. The paper also seeks to investigate relationships between research variables, aiming to provide evidences about reasons for success or failure ( Mann, 2006 ).

3.3 Data collection

The research was carried out based on qualitative approach by using semistructured interviews for data collection to secure rich descriptions supporting the purposes of the research. Interviews will help the research to gain an in-depth understanding of the complexity of the phenomena ( Creswell, 2014 ), and it will establish the meaning of experiences from the perspective of those involved ( Merriam, 2009 ). The questionnaire consists of two areas: the first area used a set of 20 predetermined questions, composed of primary questions, such as “Tell me about the history of the organization”, “how usually you propose a new plan to the top management?”, and “what materials do you think is best for you to be prepared with? How top management prioritize plans”. The second area was the open-ended subquestions or ‘probes’, which aim to understand the implication of BDA on competitive intelligence; instances include “Can you think of another organization that did this differently than your organization? Why? How?”

The data collection (i.e. the interviews) was conducted in a cautious manner, for example, to pause or prompt appropriately ( Ritchie and Lewis, 2003 , p. 141), considering the interview guide approach ( Patton, 1980 ) and using an interview schedule prior to conducting the interviews. A pilot study was carried out to test the questionnaire. There were no changes to the data-collection instrument as a result of the pilot study; however, an additional literature review was conducted to include a broader range of theoretical perspectives on big data implementation and competitive intelligence.

A total of seven interviews were conducted at the site of EK04 to fit the research focus, assuring participants are comfortable in their natural setting ( Creswell, 2014 ). Interview duration was between 50 and 60   min and was audiotaped along with important notes taken on a paper. All interviews were conducted by the lead researcher, to limit variation in interview technique. Interviewees were in senior management from five major departments (marketing, sales, operations, finance, and customer service). They all have been nominated by the organisation's CEO who is a key player of decision-making along with the vice chairman (VC).

The experience of participating respondents related to their years of experience and field of work is presented in Table 1 .

Table 1 . Respondents list (pseudonym), field, and years of experience.

Ensuring concerns around reliability and validity, full institutional ethics policy was strictly adhered to; the participant information sheets along with the informed consent forms, which have been filled and signed by each interviewee, were gathered prior conducting the interviews. The study was longitudinal in respect that interviewees had insights for the competitive intelligence process before and after the adoption of BDA, and they were able to make comparisons and provide information about the decision-making experience.

3.4 Data analysis

The data analysis process was systematic and iterative, considering Miles et al. (2014) , in which we were looking for emerging themes, and comparisons supported by existing literature. After each interview, data were analysed separately and compared with previous interview responses in attempt to identify themes. This was done using a comparative method in which it compared new data with preliminary findings that have been analysed previously. In addition, back and forth actions between interview results and the extant literature were conducted to enable research answering the research questions. The interviews provided patterns and variance in descriptions of how the implementation of BDA supports the process of competitive intelligence; they attempted to also examine the underlying mechanism which links the new implementation to the CI process agility. ‘Concept cards’ ( Glaser and Strauss, 1965 ) have been used to organise the data and to generate themes. Based on the interview conclusions, grouped and regrouped themes and codes were generated.

For deeper understanding and to improve generalisability ( Miles et al., 2014 ), a comparison between themes and codes across all interviews was made, aiming to find significant information about the CI process and decision-making amongst different departments. The initial conclusions were next shared with respondents and the CEO—who did not participate in the interviews—to assess rationality of results and visualise links of CI's decision-making between the departments. Contrastive explanation theory ( Tsang and Ellsaesser, 2011 ) had guided this meeting, providing suitable contrastive scenarios of why certain process is more important for a certain department.

Finally, emergent themes and group subjects were connected with the extant literature review to explore for possible explanation of the data analysis and enable justification for the proposed process.

Case Method Teaching and Learning

What is the case method? How can the case method be used to engage learners? What are some strategies for getting started? This guide helps instructors answer these questions by providing an overview of the case method while highlighting learner-centered and digitally-enhanced approaches to teaching with the case method. The guide also offers tips to instructors as they get started with the case method and additional references and resources.

On this page:

What is case method teaching.

Why use the Case Method?

Case method teaching approaches, how do i get started.

The CTL is here to help!

For support with implementing a case method approach in your course, email [email protected] to schedule your 1-1 consultation .

Case method 1 teaching is an active form of instruction that focuses on a case and involves students learning by doing 2 3 . Cases are real or invented stories 4  that include “an educational message” or recount events, problems, dilemmas, theoretical or conceptual issue that requires analysis and/or decision-making.

Case-based teaching simulates real world situations and asks students to actively grapple with complex problems 5 6 This method of instruction is used across disciplines to promote learning, and is common in law, business, medicine, among other fields. See Table 1 below for a few types of cases and the learning they promote.

Table 1: Types of cases and the learning they promote.

For a more complete list, see Case Types & Teaching Methods: A Classification Scheme from the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.

Back to Top

Case Method Teaching and Learning at Columbia

The case method is actively used in classrooms across Columbia, at the Morningside campus in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the School of Business, Arts and Sciences, among others, and at Columbia University Irving Medical campus.

Faculty Spotlight:

Professor Mary Ann Price on Using Case Study Method to Place Pre-Med Students in Real-Life Scenarios

Read more  

Professor De Pinho on Using the Case Method in the Mailman Core

Case method teaching has been found to improve student learning, to increase students’ perception of learning gains, and to meet learning objectives 8 9 . Faculty have noted the instructional benefits of cases including greater student engagement in their learning 10 , deeper student understanding of concepts, stronger critical thinking skills, and an ability to make connections across content areas and view an issue from multiple perspectives 11 . 

Through case-based learning, students are the ones asking questions about the case, doing the problem-solving, interacting with and learning from their peers, “unpacking” the case, analyzing the case, and summarizing the case. They learn how to work with limited information and ambiguity, think in professional or disciplinary ways, and ask themselves “what would I do if I were in this specific situation?”

The case method bridges theory to practice, and promotes the development of skills including: communication, active listening, critical thinking, decision-making, and metacognitive skills 12 , as students apply course content knowledge, reflect on what they know and their approach to analyzing, and make sense of a case. 

Though the case method has historical roots as an instructor-centered approach that uses the Socratic dialogue and cold-calling, it is possible to take a more learner-centered approach in which students take on roles and tasks traditionally left to the instructor. 

Cases are often used as “vehicles for classroom discussion” 13 . Students should be encouraged to take ownership of their learning from a case. Discussion-based approaches engage students in thinking and communicating about a case. Instructors can set up a case activity in which students are the ones doing the work of “asking questions, summarizing content, generating hypotheses, proposing theories, or offering critical analyses” 14 . 

The role of the instructor is to share a case or ask students to share or create a case to use in class, set expectations, provide instructions, and assign students roles in the discussion. Student roles in a case discussion can include: 

Prior to the case discussion, instructors can model case analysis and the types of questions students should ask, co-create discussion guidelines with students, and ask for students to submit discussion questions. During the discussion, the instructor can keep time, intervene as necessary (however the students should be doing the talking), and pause the discussion for a debrief and to ask students to reflect on what and how they learned from the case activity. 

Note: case discussions can be enhanced using technology. Live discussions can occur via video-conferencing (e.g., using Zoom ) or asynchronous discussions can occur using the Discussions tool in CourseWorks (Canvas) .

Table 2 includes a few interactive case method approaches. Regardless of the approach selected, it is important to create a learning environment in which students feel comfortable participating in a case activity and learning from one another. See below for tips on supporting student in how to learn from a case in the “getting started” section and how to create a supportive learning environment in the Guide for Inclusive Teaching at Columbia . 

Table 2. Strategies for Engaging Students in Case-Based Learning

Approaches to case teaching should be informed by course learning objectives, and can be adapted for small, large, hybrid, and online classes. Instructional technology can be used in various ways to deliver, facilitate, and assess the case method. For instance, an online module can be created in CourseWorks (Canvas) to structure the delivery of the case, allow students to work at their own pace, engage all learners, even those reluctant to speak up in class, and assess understanding of a case and student learning. Modules can include text, embedded media (e.g., using Panopto or Mediathread ) curated by the instructor, online discussion, and assessments. Students can be asked to read a case and/or watch a short video, respond to quiz questions and receive immediate feedback, post questions to a discussion, and share resources. 

For more information about options for incorporating educational technology to your course, please contact your Learning Designer .

To ensure that students are learning from the case approach, ask them to pause and reflect on what and how they learned from the case. Time to reflect  builds your students’ metacognition, and when these reflections are collected they provides you with insights about the effectiveness of your approach in promoting student learning.

Well designed case-based learning experiences: 1) motivate student involvement, 2) have students doing the work, 3) help students develop knowledge and skills, and 4) have students learning from each other.  

Designing a case-based learning experience should center around the learning objectives for a course. The following points focus on intentional design. 

Identify learning objectives, determine scope, and anticipate challenges. 

Determine how you will know if the learning objectives were met and develop a plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the case method to inform future case teaching. 

Select an existing case, create your own, or encourage students to bring course-relevant cases, and prepare for its delivery

Plan for the case discussion and an active role for students

Student preparation and expectations

Andersen, E. and Schiano, B. (2014). Teaching with Cases: A Practical Guide . Harvard Business Press. 

Bonney, K. M. (2015). Case Study Teaching Method Improves Student Performance and Perceptions of Learning Gains†. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education , 16 (1), 21–28. https://doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.846

Davis, B.G. (2009). Chapter 24: Case Studies. In Tools for Teaching. Second Edition. Jossey-Bass. 

Garvin, D.A. (2003). Making the Case: Professional Education for the world of practice. Harvard Magazine. September-October 2003, Volume 106, Number 1, 56-107.

Golich, V.L. (2000). The ABCs of Case Teaching. International Studies Perspectives. 1, 11-29. 

Golich, V.L.; Boyer, M; Franko, P.; and Lamy, S. (2000). The ABCs of Case Teaching. Pew Case Studies in International Affairs. Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. 

Heath, J. (2015). Teaching & Writing Cases: A Practical Guide. The Case Center, UK. 

Herreid, C.F. (2011). Case Study Teaching. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. No. 128, Winder 2011, 31 – 40. 

Herreid, C.F. (2007). Start with a Story: The Case Study Method of Teaching College Science . National Science Teachers Association. Available as an ebook through Columbia Libraries. 

Herreid, C.F. (2006). “Clicker” Cases: Introducing Case Study Teaching Into Large Classrooms. Journal of College Science Teaching. Oct 2006, 36(2). https://search.proquest.com/docview/200323718?pq-origsite=gscholar  

Krain, M. (2016). Putting the Learning in Case Learning? The Effects of Case-Based Approaches on Student Knowledge, Attitudes, and Engagement. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. 27(2), 131-153. 

Lundberg, K.O. (Ed.). (2011). Our Digital Future: Boardrooms and Newsrooms. Knight Case Studies Initiative. 

Popil, I. (2011). Promotion of critical thinking by using case studies as teaching method. Nurse Education Today, 31(2), 204–207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2010.06.002

Schiano, B. and Andersen, E. (2017). Teaching with Cases Online . Harvard Business Publishing. 

Thistlethwaite, JE; Davies, D.; Ekeocha, S.; Kidd, J.M.; MacDougall, C.; Matthews, P.; Purkis, J.; Clay D. (2012). The effectiveness of case-based learning in health professional education: A BEME systematic review . Medical Teacher. 2012; 34(6): e421-44. 

Yadav, A.; Lundeberg, M.; DeSchryver, M.; Dirkin, K.; Schiller, N.A.; Maier, K. and Herreid, C.F. (2007). Teaching Science with Case Studies: A National Survey of Faculty Perceptions of the Benefits and Challenges of Using Cases. Journal of College Science Teaching; Sept/Oct 2007; 37(1). 

Weimer, M. (2013). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice. Second Edition. Jossey-Bass.

Additional resources 

Teaching with Cases , Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Features “what is a teaching case?” video that defines a teaching case, and provides documents to help students prepare for case learning, Common case teaching challenges and solutions, tips for teaching with cases. 

Promoting excellence and innovation in case method teaching: Teaching by the Case Method , Christensen Center for Teaching & Learning. Harvard Business School. 

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science . University of Buffalo. 

A collection of peer-reviewed STEM cases to teach scientific concepts and content, promote process skills and critical thinking. The Center welcomes case submissions. Case classification scheme of case types and teaching methods:

Columbia Resources

Resources available to support your use of case method: The University hosts a number of case collections including: the Case Consortium (a collection of free cases in the fields of journalism, public policy, public health, and other disciplines that include teaching and learning resources; SIPA’s Picker Case Collection (audiovisual case studies on public sector innovation, filmed around the world and involving SIPA student teams in producing the cases); and Columbia Business School CaseWorks , which develops teaching cases and materials for use in Columbia Business School classrooms.

Center for Teaching and Learning

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers a variety of programs and services for instructors at Columbia. The CTL can provide customized support as you plan to use the case method approach through implementation. Schedule a one-on-one consultation. 

Office of the Provost

The Hybrid Learning Course Redesign grant program from the Office of the Provost provides support for faculty who are developing innovative and technology-enhanced pedagogy and learning strategies in the classroom. In addition to funding, faculty awardees receive support from CTL staff as they redesign, deliver, and evaluate their hybrid courses.

The Start Small! Mini-Grant provides support to faculty who are interested in experimenting with one new pedagogical strategy or tool. Faculty awardees receive funds and CTL support for a one-semester period.

Explore our teaching resources.

CTL resources and technology for you.

This website uses cookies to identify users, improve the user experience and requires cookies to work. By continuing to use this website, you consent to Columbia University's use of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with the Columbia University Website Cookie Notice .

The Important Steps of the Case Study Method

process of case study method

We are a team of experts who aims to help all students at any level of teaching in their tasks. We know from experience how difficult it can be to have to deliver the work proposed by teachers. At all levels! Either for the average student of study, or for those who are finishing their course or some graduate.

what is case study in research

Are you in need of help for the case study method at this time? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Our staff is well-trained to do this type of work, and every essay helper and paper writer on our team is the best on the market so that you can relax. Choose the best one for you and contact us right away. Explain in detail what you want, send us your best contact and we will be speaking to you soon. As soon as you give us your consent, we will begin working on your case study method.

There are several steps to be taken for the case study method. To know

Determine and define research questions, select cases and determine data collection and analysis techniques.

Collection of data in the field

Evaluate and analyze data, prepare the report.

what is case study method

The first step in the  scientific research is to establish a firm research focus that the researcher can refer to throughout the study of a complex phenomenon or object. The researcher establishes the focus of the study by asking questions about the situation or problem being studied and determining a purpose for the study. The object of research in a study may often be

Each object is likely to be intrinsically linked to issues

The investigator investigates the object of in-depth study using a variety of data collection methods to produce evidence that leads to the understanding of the case and answers the research questions.

During the research design phase, the researcher determines which approaches will be used in the selection of single or multiple real-life cases to examine in depth, and which instruments and approaches to data collection will be used.

When using multiple cases, each case is treated as unique. The conclusions of each case can then be used as information that contributes to the entire study, however each case remains a single case.

how is a case study conducted

The researcher must determine whether to study cases that are unique in some way or cases that are considered typical and can also select cases to represent a variety of geographic regions, a variety of size parameters or other parameters.

A useful step in the selection process is to repeatedly go back to the purpose of the study in order to draw attention to where to look for cases and evidence that will satisfy the purpose of the study and answer the raised research questions. Selecting multiple or unique cases is a key element.

Preparation for data collection in the Case Study Method

Because case-study research generates a large amount of data from multiple sources, systematic organization of data is important to prevent the researcher from becoming overwhelmed by the amount of data and to prevent the researcher from losing sight of the original goal and questions of the researcher. search.

Prepaid preparation assists in the handling of large amounts of data in a documented and systematic manner. The researchers prepare databases to assist in the categorization, classification, storage and retrieval of data for analysis.

the case study method

The researcher must collect and store multiple sources of evidence comprehensively and systematically in formats that can be referenced and classified so that convergent lines of inquiry and patterns can be discovered. The researchers carefully observe the object of the case study and identify causal factors associated with the observed phenomenon.

The renegotiation of the arrangements with the objects of the study or the addition of questions to the interviews may be necessary as the study progresses. Case study research is flexible, but when changes are made, they are documented systematically.

The researcher examines the raw data using many interpretations to find links between the search object and the results with reference to the original search questions. Throughout the process of evaluation and analysis, the researcher remains open to new opportunities and insights.

The case study method, using multiple methods of data collection and analysis techniques, offers researchers the opportunity to triangulate data to strengthen the findings and conclusions of the research.

The tactics used in the analysis force researchers to go beyond initial impressions to improve the likelihood of accurate and reliable findings.

Examples of case studies allow you to deliberately sort data in many different ways to expose or create new ideas and look for conflicting data to disallow the analysis. Researchers categorize, tabulate, and recombine data to address the initial propositions or purpose of the study, and perform cross-checks of facts and discrepancies in the accounts.

how to start a case study essay

Examples of case studies report the data in a way that transforms a complex issue into one that can be understood, allowing the reader to question and examine the study and come to an independent understanding of the researcher.

The purpose of the written report is to portray a complex problem in a way that conveys an experience passed on to the reader. The studies present the data in a very accessible way to the public and can lead the reader to apply the experience to their own actual situation.

Researchers pay close attention to sufficient evidence to gain the confidence of the reader that all routes have been explored, clearly communicating the boundaries of the case and giving special attention to conflicting propositions.

The introduction of the report includes acknowledging all participants, indicating the problem, listing the research questions, describing the methods used to conduct the research and any potential flaws in the method used, explaining the data collection and analysis techniques used and concluding with the answers to questions and suggestions for future research.

Key features of the report include a feeling of specific stories related to the successes or losses experienced by organizations that were transmitted during data collection and responses or comments illuminating issues directly related to the research questions.

The researcher develops each question using quotes or other details of the data collected, and points to triangulation of data where applicable. The report also includes confirmation and departures from the conclusions of the literature used.

The report’s conclusion makes affirmations and suggestions for new research activities so that another researcher can apply these techniques to another community network and its participants to determine if similar findings are identifiable in other communities.

case study approach

We know that studies are complex because they often involve multiple sources of data, can include multiple cases within a study, and produce large amounts of data for analysis. Researchers from many disciplines use the case study method to construct theory, produce a new theory, discuss or challenge theory, explain a situation, provide a basis for applying solutions to situations, exploring or describing an object or phenomenon.

The advantages of this method of study are its applicability to real, contemporary, human situations and its public accessibility through written reports. The results of case studies relate directly to the everyday experience of the average reader and facilitate the understanding of complex real-life situations.

Our help with Case Study Method

If you are doing such a study, you have understood that we really realize what you are doing. We know that the processing of data and the report are very time-consuming steps and the analysis of all the information received can take an eternity to end. Want to streamline the process? Contact us.

case study helper

Tell us what you need to do for yourself and take a vacation from your work to rest. We know how exhausting this job can be, but rest assured it’s putting you in the hands of professionals. Our staff is prepared at the highest level to do this type of work ( editing , research, writing, etc.) and our writers are the best on the market, so you can rest.

To know how everything can be processed the ideal is to talk to us right now. You found us because you were looking for “ write my paper ” help. Count on us and our description. Your contact will be confidential as will all the work we do for you.

Table of contents

Best Essay Writing Services: Review

Best Essay Writing Services: Review 2023

Romeo and Juliet Essay

Life Lessons Taught by Death in the Play Romeo and Juliet

College Ruled Paper

What Is College Ruled Paper?

Case Study Research Method in Psychology

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Educator, Researcher

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education.

Learn about our Editorial Process

Olivia Guy-Evans

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons), Psychology, MSc, Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

Case studies are in-depth investigations of a single person, group, event, or community. Typically, data is gathered from various sources and by using several different methods (e.g., observations & interviews ).

What are Case Studies?

The case study research method originated in clinical medicine (the case history, i.e., the patient’s personal history). In psychology, case studies are often confined to the study of a particular individual.

The information is mainly biographical and relates to events in the individual’s past (i.e., retrospective), as well as to significant events which are currently occurring in his or her everyday life.

The case study is not itself a research method, but researchers select methods of data collection and analysis that will generate material suitable for case studies.

Case studies are widely used in psychology, and amongst the best known were the ones carried out by Sigmund Freud, including Anna O and Little Hans .

Freud (1909a, 1909b) conducted very detailed investigations into the private lives of his patients in an attempt to both understand and help them overcome their illnesses. Even today, case histories are one of the main methods of investigation in abnormal psychology and psychiatry.

This makes it clear that the case study is a method that should only be used by a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist, i.e., someone with a professional qualification.

There is an ethical issue of competence. Only someone qualified to diagnose and treat a person can conduct a formal case study relating to atypical (i.e., abnormal) behavior or atypical development.

The procedure used in a case study means that the researcher provides a description of the behavior. This comes from interviews and other sources, such as observation.

The client also reports detail of events from his or her point of view. The researcher then writes up the information from both sources above as the case study and interprets the information.

The research may also continue for an extended period of time, so processes and developments can be studied as they happen.

Amongst the sources of data the psychologist is likely to turn to when carrying out a case study are observations of a person’s daily routine, unstructured interviews with the participant herself (and with people who know her), diaries, personal notes (e.g., letters, photographs, notes) or official document (e.g., case notes, clinical notes, appraisal reports).

The case study method often involves simply observing what happens to or reconstructing ‘the case history’ of a single participant or group of individuals (such as a school class or a specific social group), i.e., the idiographic approach .

The interview is also an extremely effective procedure for obtaining information about an individual, and it may be used to collect comments from the person’s friends, parents, employer, workmates, and others who have a good knowledge of the person, as well as to obtain facts from the person him or herself.

Most of this information is likely to be qualitative (i.e., verbal description rather than measurement), but the psychologist might collect numerical data as well.

The data collected can be analyzed using different theories (e.g., grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, text interpretation, e.g., thematic coding).

All the approaches mentioned here use preconceived categories in the analysis, and they are ideographic in their approach, i.e., they focus on the individual case without reference to a comparison group.

Interpreting the information means the researcher decides what to include or leave out. A good case study should always clarify which information is the factual description and which is an inference or the researcher’s opinion.

Case studies allow a researcher to investigate a topic in far more detail than might be possible if they were trying to deal with a large number of research participants (nomothetic approach) with the aim of ‘averaging’.

Because of their in-depth, multi-sided approach, case studies often shed light on aspects of human thinking and behavior that would be unethical or impractical to study in other ways.

Research that only looks into the measurable aspects of human behavior is not likely to give us insights into the subjective dimension of experience, which is important to psychoanalytic and humanistic psychologists.

Case studies are often used in exploratory research. They can help us generate new ideas (that might be tested by other methods). They are an important way of illustrating theories and can help show how different aspects of a person’s life are related to each other.

The method is, therefore, important for psychologists who adopt a holistic point of view (i.e., humanistic psychologists ).


Because a case study deals with only one person/event/group, we can never be sure if the case study investigated is representative of the wider body of “similar” instances. This means the conclusions drawn from a particular case may not be transferable to other settings.

Because case studies are based on the analysis of qualitative (i.e., descriptive) data, a lot depends on the psychologist’s interpretation of the information she has acquired.

This means that there is a lot of scope for observer bias, and it could be that the subjective opinions of the psychologist intrude in the assessment of what the data means.

For example, Freud has been criticized for producing case studies in which the information was sometimes distorted to fit particular behavioral theories (e.g., Little Hans ).

This is also true of Money’s interpretation of the Bruce/Brenda case study (Diamond, 1997) when he ignored evidence that went against his theory.

How to reference this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2019, August 03). Case study method . Simply Psychology. simplypsychology.org/case-study.html

Diamond, M., & Sigmundson, K. (1997). Sex Reassignment at Birth: Long-term Review and Clinical Implications. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine , 151(3), 298-304

Freud, S. (1909a). Analysis of a phobia of a five year old boy. In The Pelican Freud Library (1977), Vol 8, Case Histories 1, pages 169-306

Freud, S. (1909b). Bemerkungen über einen Fall von Zwangsneurose (Der “Rattenmann”). Jb. psychoanal. psychopathol. Forsch ., I, p. 357-421; GW, VII, p. 379-463; Notes upon a case of obsessional neurosis, SE , 10: 151-318.

Further Information

Case Study Approach Case Study Method

Enhancing the Quality of Case Studies in Health Services Research

“We do things together” A case study of “couplehood” in dementia

Using mixed methods for evaluating an integrative approach to cancer care: a case study

Freud’s Case Studies

Little Hans – Freudian Case Study

H.M. Case Study

Anna O – Freudian Case Study

Genie Case Study – Curtiss (1977)

How to Analyse a Case Study

Last Updated: October 10, 2022 References

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 19 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 394,568 times. Learn more...

Case studies are used in many professional education programs, primarily in business school, to present real-world situations to students and to assess their ability to parse out the important aspects of a given dilemma. In general, a case study should include, in order: background on the business environment, description of the given business, identification of a key problem or issue, steps taken to address the issue, your assessment of that response, and suggestions for better business strategy. The steps below will guide you through the process of analyzing a business case study in this way.

Image titled Analyse a Case Study Step 1

Image titled Analyse a Case Study Step 2

Image titled Analyse a Case Study Step 3

Image titled Analyse a Case Study Step 4

Image titled Analyse a Case Study Step 5

Image titled Analyse a Case Study Step 6

Image titled Analyse a Case Study Step 7

Community Q&A

Community Answer

process of case study method

Things You'll Need

You might also like.

Analyze a Business Process

About This Article

Did this article help you?

process of case study method

Featured Articles

Play FIFA 23 Career Mode

Trending Articles

Talk to a Girl in a Group

Watch Articles

Make Homemade Soup

Get all the best how-tos!

Sign up for wikiHow's weekly email newsletter


Case Study for Research – Step By Step Guide

Published 17 August 2021

Case Study Research

The research case study method is a qualitative approach (quantitative methods are sometimes also used) that has been used in many fields of inquiry to answer questions about the social, economic, and cultural lives of people. This post will provide an introduction to this methodology by discussing its uses, importance, and step-by-step process.

What is the case study?

A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. Case studies can be used in a wide range of subjects, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

The case study is basically a research methodology that researchers apply for gaining in-depth and valuable insight into a specific subject or research topic . It is a research method that you can use for analyzing qualitative information.

The case study is a pragmatic and flexible approach. By applying this method you will be able to analyze the information. In the case study method, you need to collect data by observing things or surrounding phenomena.

For example, An in-depth investigation which the researcher performs for analyzing the difference between HR practices of public and private firms.

Characteristics of the case study method

There are some characteristics of case studies for research, shown below:

Use of the case study method in research

You can use a case study method for conducting in-depth research for identifying the problems. It is the research method that you can utilize for performing exploratory research, as these tactics will help you in exploring hidden facts.

For Example, A retail company is facing the issue of a decline in sales, in such a situation, management in an organization can ask a research team for performing an in-depth investigation on the same. It is a strategy that will assist management in identifying the root cause of the decline in sale volume.

Looking For Custom Research Topics & Ideas

Importance of case study method in research.

The case study method in research has great significance as it allows exploring issues or subjects from different perspectives. There is some importance of case study method as follows:

When to do a case study

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. A good way of doing this would be by exploring the key characteristics and meanings involved with it; for example,

The researcher has full control over their project because they can choose what cases will best suit them where other methods may not provide such freedom.

You can use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in-depth or conduct multiple, contrasting case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

Case studies are a good choice to keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources for larger-scale research.

Process of conducting a case study for research

When preparing and conducting a case study, we concentrate on the most important steps of the research process. The process of a case study involves different phases, these are:

Phase 1 – Selection of Case

At the initial stage of writing a case study, you need to address the issue and on the basis of the same, you need to formulate research questions . After that, you have to select a specific case containing a specific problem. while making a choice of the specific case you need to make sure that it is unique.

A good case study should ideally have the potential to

For e xample, there is a town in the UAE, where the percentage of people suffering from heart problems is very low as compared to the USA. It is the case that you can select for a further writing case study for identifying the main reason for heart disease.

Phase 2 – Creating a   theoretical framework

Case studies often provide more detailed information than theory. They should always be connected to existing theories in the field though, so they can not just amount to an isolated account of a single event but also contribute new knowledge and ideas on that topic area. Case studies might aim at:

It is phasing where you are writing a literature review along with sources of the topic and on the basis of the same design theoretical framework. While writing cases, you need to ensure that the Case study or issue which you have select has some link to the theory of that specific field. In simple words , you need to identify the main concepts and hypothesis for supporting your analysis and research findings .

Phase 3 – Collection of information

The research methods you can use to collect data on your subject are many and varied. One popular type of study is the case study which focuses more on qualitative data such as interviews, observations, or analysis of primary sources (e.g., newspaper articles). Sometimes these studies also include quantitative information collected in order to illustrate trends within a population group over time.

For example,  considering the example, you can use the records in hospitals for collecting information about the percentage of death of people because of a heart attack.  The main objective is to gain valuable insight into the cases of people those of died due to heart disease. In addition to this other purpose of writing a case study is to determine the root cause of a problem.

Phase 4 – Description and analysis of the case

While writing a case study you need to align the relevance of your case. In addition to this, you need to provide all the important detail about the case. The way to present your findings is completed dependent on the types of research you are planning to perform. The technique which you are applying for analyzing information is completely dependent on the type of data gathered through investigation. Some cases are structured like standard scientific papers or thesis, with separate sections for methods and results, while others may be written in a more narrative style where you explore your findings from different angles and analyze their implications.

Stuck During Your Dissertation

Our top dissertation writing experts are waiting 24/7 to assist you with your university project,from critical literature reviews to a complete PhD dissertation.

process of case study method

Other Related Guides

Impact & role of technology on the environment – essay sample, why is it crucial for teachers to learn about human growth and development, dba vs phd – differences explained, masters vs phd – differences explained, part time phds – everything you need to know, what is an mphil.

process of case study method

Recent Research Guides for 2023

Get 15% off your first order with my research topics.

Connect with a professional writer within minutes by placing your first order. No matter the subject, difficulty, academic level or document type, our writers have the skills to complete it.



Get Your Research Paper Completed At Lower Prices


My Research Topics is provides assistance since 2004 to Research Students Globally. We help PhD, Psyd, MD, Mphil, Undergrad, High school, College, Masters students to compete their research paper & Dissertations. Our Step by step mentorship helps students to understand the research paper making process.

Research Topics & Ideas

Research Guide

Disclaimer: The Reference papers provided by the Myresearchtopics.com serve as model and sample papers for students and are not to be submitted as it is. These papers are intended to be used for reference and research purposes only.

Scientific Method Steps in Psychology Research

Steps, Uses, and Key Terms

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

process of case study method

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

process of case study method

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

process of case study method

Verywell / Theresa Chiechi

How do researchers investigate psychological phenomena? They utilize a process known as the scientific method to study different aspects of how people think and behave.

When conducting research, the scientific method steps to follow are:

This process not only allows scientists to investigate and understand different psychological phenomena but also provides researchers and others a way to share and discuss the results of their studies.

Generally, there are five main steps in the scientific method, although some may break down this process into six or seven steps. An additional step in the process can also include developing new research questions based on your findings.

What Is the Scientific Method?

What is the scientific method and how is it used in psychology?

The scientific method consists of five steps. It is essentially a step-by-step process that researchers can follow to determine if there is some type of relationship between two or more variables.

By knowing the steps of the scientific method, you can better understand the process researchers go through to arrive at conclusions about human behavior.

Scientific Method Steps

While research studies can vary, these are the basic steps that psychologists and scientists use when investigating human behavior.

The following are the scientific method steps:

Step 1. Make an Observation

Before a researcher can begin, they must choose a topic to study. Once an area of interest has been chosen, the researchers must then conduct a thorough review of the existing literature on the subject. This review will provide valuable information about what has already been learned about the topic and what questions remain to be answered.

A literature review might involve looking at a considerable amount of written material from both books and academic journals dating back decades.

The relevant information collected by the researcher will be presented in the introduction section of the final published study results. This background material will also help the researcher with the first major step in conducting a psychology study: formulating a hypothesis.

Step 2. Ask a Question

Once a researcher has observed something and gained some background information on the topic, the next step is to ask a question. The researcher will form a hypothesis, which is an educated guess about the relationship between two or more variables

For example, a researcher might ask a question about the relationship between sleep and academic performance: Do students who get more sleep perform better on tests at school?

In order to formulate a good hypothesis, it is important to think about different questions you might have about a particular topic.

You should also consider how you could investigate the causes. Falsifiability is an important part of any valid hypothesis. In other words, if a hypothesis was false, there needs to be a way for scientists to demonstrate that it is false.

Step 3. Test Your Hypothesis and Collect Data

Once you have a solid hypothesis, the next step of the scientific method is to put this hunch to the test by collecting data. The exact methods used to investigate a hypothesis depend on exactly what is being studied. There are two basic forms of research that a psychologist might utilize: descriptive research or experimental research.

Descriptive research is typically used when it would be difficult or even impossible to manipulate the variables in question. Examples of descriptive research include case studies, naturalistic observation , and correlation studies. Phone surveys that are often used by marketers are one example of descriptive research.

Correlational studies are quite common in psychology research. While they do not allow researchers to determine cause-and-effect, they do make it possible to spot relationships between different variables and to measure the strength of those relationships. 

Experimental research is used to explore cause-and-effect relationships between two or more variables. This type of research involves systematically manipulating an independent variable and then measuring the effect that it has on a defined dependent variable .

One of the major advantages of this method is that it allows researchers to actually determine if changes in one variable actually cause changes in another.

While psychology experiments are often quite complex, a simple experiment is fairly basic but does allow researchers to determine cause-and-effect relationships between variables. Most simple experiments use a control group (those who do not receive the treatment) and an experimental group (those who do receive the treatment).

Step 4. Examine the Results and Draw Conclusions

Once a researcher has designed the study and collected the data, it is time to examine this information and draw conclusions about what has been found.  Using statistics , researchers can summarize the data, analyze the results, and draw conclusions based on this evidence.

So how does a researcher decide what the results of a study mean? Not only can statistical analysis support (or refute) the researcher’s hypothesis; it can also be used to determine if the findings are statistically significant.

When results are said to be statistically significant, it means that it is unlikely that these results are due to chance.

Based on these observations, researchers must then determine what the results mean. In some cases, an experiment will support a hypothesis, but in other cases, it will fail to support the hypothesis.

So what happens if the results of a psychology experiment do not support the researcher's hypothesis? Does this mean that the study was worthless?

Just because the findings fail to support the hypothesis does not mean that the research is not useful or informative. In fact, such research plays an important role in helping scientists develop new questions and hypotheses to explore in the future.

After conclusions have been drawn, the next step is to share the results with the rest of the scientific community. This is an important part of the process because it contributes to the overall knowledge base and can help other scientists find new research avenues to explore.

Step 5. Report the Results

The final step in a psychology study is to report the findings. This is often done by writing up a description of the study and publishing the article in an academic or professional journal. The results of psychological studies can be seen in peer-reviewed journals such as  Psychological Bulletin , the  Journal of Social Psychology ,  Developmental Psychology , and many others.

The structure of a journal article follows a specified format that has been outlined by the  American Psychological Association (APA) . In these articles, researchers:

Why is such a detailed record of a psychological study so important? By clearly explaining the steps and procedures used throughout the study, other researchers can then replicate the results. The editorial process employed by academic and professional journals ensures that each article that is submitted undergoes a thorough peer review, which helps ensure that the study is scientifically sound.

Once published, the study becomes another piece of the existing puzzle of our knowledge base on that topic.

Before you begin exploring the scientific method steps, here's a review of some key terms and definitions that you should be familiar with:

Uses for the Scientific Method

The  goals of psychological studies  are to describe, explain, predict and perhaps influence mental processes or behaviors. In order to do this, psychologists utilize the scientific method to conduct psychological research. The scientific method is a set of principles and procedures that are used by researchers to develop questions, collect data, and reach conclusions.

Goals of Scientific Research in Psychology

Researchers seek not only to describe behaviors and explain why these behaviors occur; they also strive to create research that can be used to predict and even change human behavior.

Psychologists and other social scientists regularly propose explanations for human behavior. On a more informal level, people make judgments about the intentions, motivations , and actions of others on a daily basis.

While the everyday judgments we make about human behavior are subjective and anecdotal, researchers use the scientific method to study psychology in an objective and systematic way. The results of these studies are often reported in popular media, which leads many to wonder just how or why researchers arrived at the conclusions they did.

Examples of the Scientific Method

Now that you're familiar with the scientific method steps, it's useful to see how each step could work with a real-life example.

Say, for instance, that researchers set out to discover what the relationship is between psychotherapy and anxiety .

Of course, there are many details that go into planning and executing a study such as this. But this general outline gives you an idea of how an idea is formulated and tested, and how researchers arrive at results using the scientific method.

Erol A. How to conduct scientific research ? Noro Psikiyatr Ars . 2017;54(2):97-98. doi:10.5152/npa.2017.0120102

University of Minnesota. Psychologists use the scientific method to guide their research .

Shaughnessy, JJ, Zechmeister, EB, & Zechmeister, JS. Research Methods In Psychology . New York: McGraw Hill Education; 2015.

By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

Library & Information Management

Select Page

Case Study Method | Characteristics, Advantages & Limitations of Case Study Method

Posted by Admin | Aug 5, 2021 | Research Methodology

Case Study Method

The case study method is a very popular form of qualitative analysis and involves a careful and complete observation of a social unit, be that unit a person, a family, an institution, a cultural group, or even the entire community. It is a method of study in depth rather than breadth. The case study places more emphasis on the full analysis of a limited number of events or conditions and their interrelations. The case study deals with the processes that take place and their interrelationship. Thus, the case study is essentially an intensive investigation of the particular unit under consideration. The object of the case study method is to locate the factors that account for the behavior patterns of the given unit as an integrated totality.

“The case study method is a technique by which individual factor whether it be an institution or just an episode in the life of an individual or a group is analyzed in its relationship to any other in the group.” ( H. Odum )

“A comprehensive study of a social unit be that unit a person, a group, a social institution, a district or a community.” ( Pauline V. Young )

Case Study Method - Case Study Method | Characteristics, Advantages & Limitations of Case Study Method

The case study method is a form of qualitative analysis wherein careful and complete observation of an individual or a situation or an institution is done; efforts are made to study each and every aspect of the concerning unit in minute details and then from case data generalizations and inferences are drawn.

Characteristics: The essential characteristics of the case study method are as under:

Advantages: There are several advantages of the case study method, some of them are being:

Limitations: Important limitations of the case study method may as well be highlighted.

Despite the above-stated limitations, we find that case studies are being undertaken in several disciplines, particularly in sociology, as a tool of scientific research in view of the several advantages indicated earlier. Most of the limitations can be removed if researchers are always conscious of these and are well trained in the modern methods of collecting case data and in the scientific techniques of assembling, classifying, and processing the same. Besides, case studies, in modern times, can be conducted in such a manner that the data are amenable to quantification and statistical treatment. Possibly, this is also the reason why case studies are becoming popular day by day.

Reference:  Research Methodology written by C.R. Kothari

b2b56947cb044baf4734c50ad706ca0f?s=100&d=mm&r=g - Case Study Method | Characteristics, Advantages & Limitations of Case Study Method

About The Author


Related Posts

Types of Collaboration in Research

Types of Collaboration in Research

September 26, 2021

Sampling Design | Types of Sampling Design | Advantages of Probability Sampling | Disadvantages of Probability Sampling

Sampling Design | Types of Sampling Design | Advantages of Probability Sampling | Disadvantages of Probability Sampling

May 5, 2020

Questionnaire | Main Aspects of Questionnaire | Merits of Questionnaire | Demerits of Questionnaire

Questionnaire | Main Aspects of Questionnaire | Merits of Questionnaire | Demerits of Questionnaire

May 9, 2020

How to Publish a Research Paper in Reputed Journals?

How to Publish a Research Paper in Reputed Journals?

July 21, 2020

Recent Posts

Authority of Metacognition

Pin It on Pinterest

We use essential cookies to make Venngage work. By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

Manage Cookies

Cookies and similar technologies collect certain information about how you’re using our website. Some of them are essential, and without them you wouldn’t be able to use Venngage. But others are optional, and you get to choose whether we use them or not.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are always on, as they’re essential for making Venngage work, and making it safe. Without these cookies, services you’ve asked for can’t be provided.

Show cookie providers

Functionality Cookies

These cookies help us provide enhanced functionality and personalisation, and remember your settings. They may be set by us or by third party providers.

Performance Cookies

These cookies help us analyze how many people are using Venngage, where they come from and how they're using it. If you opt out of these cookies, we can’t get feedback to make Venngage better for you and all our users.

Targeting Cookies

These cookies are set by our advertising partners to track your activity and show you relevant Venngage ads on other sites as you browse the internet.

Blog Graphic Design

15+ Professional Case Study Examples [Design Tips + Templates]

By Alice Corner , Jan 12, 2023

Venngage case study examples

Let me ask you a question: Have you ever bought something — within the last 10 years or so — without reading its reviews or without a recommendation or prior experience of using it?

If the answer is no — or at least, rarely — you get my point.

For businesses selling consumer goods, having raving reviews is a good way to get more customers. The same thing applies to B2B and/or SaaS businesses — but for this type of business, besides regular, short reviews, having a detailed case study can help tremendously.

Case studies are an incredibly effective form of marketing that you can use to help promote your product and plan your marketing strategy effectively. You can also use it as a form of customer analysis or as a sales tool to inspire potential customers.

So what does a case study look like and how can you create one? In this article, I’m going to list over 15 marketing case study examples, case study tips, and case study templates to help you create a case study that converts.

Bold Social Media Business Case Study Template

Click to jump ahead:

Sales Case Study Examples

Simple case study examples, business case study examples.

What is a case study?

A case study is a research method to gain a better understanding of a subject or process. Case studies involve in-depth research into a given subject, in order to understand its functionality and successes.

In the context of a business, however, case studies take customer success stories and explore how they use your product to help them achieve their business goals.

Case Study Definition LinkedIn Post

As well as being valuable marketing tools, case studies are a good way to evaluate your product as it allows you to objectively examine how others are using it.

It’s also a good way to interview your customers about why they work with you.

Related: What is a Case Study? [+6 Types of Case Studies]

What is a marketing case study?

A marketing case study is a type of marketing where you use your existing customers as an example of what your product or services can achieve. You can also create case studies of internal, successful marketing projects.

Here’s an example of a marketing case study template:

marketing case study example

Return to Table of Contents

Marketing case study examples

Marketing case studies are incredibly useful for showing your marketing successes. Every successful marketing campaign relies on influencing a consumer’s behavior, and a great case study can be a great way to spotlight your biggest wins.

In the marketing case study examples below, a variety of designs and techniques to create impactful and effective case studies.

Show off impressive results with a bold marketing case study

Case studies are meant to show off your successes, so make sure you feature your positive results prominently. Using bold and bright colors as well as contrasting shapes, large bold fonts, and simple icons is a great way to highlight your wins.

In well-written case study examples like the one below, the big wins are highlighted on the second page with a bright orange color and are highlighted in circles.

Making the important data stand out is especially important when attracting a prospective customer with marketing case studies.

Light simplebusiness case study template

Use a simple but clear layout in your case study

Using a simple layout in your case study can be incredibly effective, like in the example of a case study below.

Keeping a clean white background, and using slim lines to help separate the sections is an easy way to format your case study.

Making the information clear helps draw attention to the important results, and it helps improve the  accessibility of the design .

Business case study examples like this would sit nicely within a larger report, with a consistent layout throughout.

Modern lead Generaton Business Case Study Template

Use visuals and icons to create an engaging and branded business case study

Nobody wants to read pages and pages of text — and that’s why Venngage wants to help you communicate your ideas visually.

Using icons, graphics, photos, or patterns helps create a much more engaging design. 

With this Blue Cap case study icons, colors, and impactful pattern designs have been used to create an engaging design that catches your eye.

Social Media Business Case Study template

Use a monochromatic color palette to create a professional and clean case study

Let your research shine by using a monochromatic and minimalistic color palette.

By sticking to one color, and leaving lots of blank space you can ensure your design doesn’t distract a potential customer from your case study content.

Color combination examples

In this case study on Polygon Media, the design is simple and professional, and the layout allows the prospective customer to follow the flow of information.

The gradient effect on the left-hand column helps break up the white background and adds an interesting visual effect.

Gray Lead Generation Business Case Study Template

Did you know you can generate an accessible color palette with Venngage? Try our free accessible color palette generator today and create a case study that delivers and looks pleasant to the eye:

Venngage's accessible color palette generator

Add long term goals in your case study

When creating a case study it’s a great idea to look at both the short term and the long term goals of the company to gain the best understanding possible of the insights they provide.

Short-term goals will be what the company or person hopes to achieve in the next few months, and long-term goals are what the company hopes to achieve in the next few years.

Check out this modern pattern design example of a case study below:

Lead generation business case study template

In this case study example, the short and long-term goals are clearly distinguished by light blue boxes and placed side by side so that they are easy to compare.

Lead generation case study example short term goals

Use a strong introductory paragraph to outline the overall strategy and goals before outlining the specific short-term and long-term goals to help with clarity.

This strategy can also be handy when creating a consulting case study.

Use data to make concrete points about your sales and successes

When conducting any sort of research stats, facts, and figures are like gold dust (aka, really valuable).

Being able to quantify your findings is important to help understand the information fully. Saying sales increased 10% is much more effective than saying sales increased.

In sales case study examples, like this one, the key data and findings can be presented with icons. This contributes to the potential customer’s better understanding of the report.

They can clearly comprehend the information and it shows that the case study has been well researched.

Vibrant Content Marketing Case Study Template

Use emotive, persuasive, or action based language in your marketing case study

Create a compelling case study by using emotive, persuasive and action-based language when customizing your case study template.

Case study example pursuasive language

In this well-written case study example, we can see that phrases such as “Results that Speak Volumes” and “Drive Sales” have been used.

Using persuasive language like you would in a blog post. It helps inspire potential customers to take action now.

Bold Content Marketing Case Study Template

Keep your potential customers in mind when creating a customer case study for marketing

82% of marketers use case studies in their marketing  because it’s such an effective tool to help quickly gain customers’ trust and to showcase the potential of your product.

Why are case studies such an important tool in content marketing?

By writing a case study you’re telling potential customers that they can trust you because you’re showing them that other people do.

Not only that, but if you have a SaaS product, business case studies are a great way to show how other people are effectively using your product in their company.

In this case study, Network is demonstrating how their product has been used by Vortex Co. with great success; instantly showing other potential customers that their tool works and is worth using.

Teal Social Media Business Case Study Template

Related: 10+ Case Study Infographic Templates That Convert

Case studies are particularly effective as a sales technique.

A sales case study is like an extended customer testimonial, not only sharing opinions of your product – but showcasing the results you helped your customer achieve.

Make impactful statistics pop in your sales case study

Writing a case study doesn’t mean using text as the only medium for sharing results.

You should use icons to highlight areas of your research that are particularly interesting or relevant, like in this example of a case study:

Coral content marketing case study template.jpg

Icons are a great way to help summarize information quickly and can act as visual cues to help draw the customer’s attention to certain areas of the page.

In some of the business case study examples above, icons are used to represent the impressive areas of growth and are presented in a way that grabs your attention.

Use high contrast shapes and colors to draw attention to key information in your sales case study

Help the key information stand out within your case study by using high contrast shapes and colors.

Use a complementary or contrasting color, or use a shape such as a rectangle or a circle for maximum impact.

Blue case study example case growth

This design has used dark blue rectangles to help separate the information and make it easier to read.

Coupled with icons and strong statistics, this information stands out on the page and is easily digestible and retainable for a potential customer.

Blue Content Marketing Case Study Tempalte

Less is often more, and this is especially true when it comes to creating designs. Whilst you want to create a professional-looking, well-written and design case study – there’s no need to overcomplicate things.

These simple case study examples show that smart clean designs and informative content can be an effective way to showcase your successes.

Use colors and fonts to create a professional-looking case study

Business case studies shouldn’t be boring. In fact, they should be beautifully and professionally designed.

This means the normal rules of design apply. Use fonts, colors, and icons to create an interesting and visually appealing case study.

In this case study example, we can see how multiple fonts have been used to help differentiate between the headers and content, as well as complementary colors and eye-catching icons.

Blue Simple Business Case Study Template

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, business case studies can be a powerful resource to help with your sales, marketing, and even internal departmental awareness.

Business and business management case studies should encompass strategic insights alongside anecdotal and qualitative findings, like in the business case study examples below.

Conduct a B2B case study by researching the company holistically

When it comes to writing a case study, make sure you approach the company holistically and analyze everything from their social media to their sales.

Think about every avenue your product or service has been of use to your case study company, and ask them about the impact this has had on their wider company goals.

Venngage orange marketing case study example

In business case study examples like the one above, we can see that the company has been thought about holistically simply by the use of icons.

By combining social media icons with icons that show in-person communication we know that this is a well-researched and thorough case study.

This case study report example could also be used within an annual or end-of-year report.

Highlight the key takeaway from your marketing case study

To create a compelling case study, identify the key takeaways from your research. Use catchy language to sum up this information in a sentence, and present this sentence at the top of your page.

This is “at a glance” information and it allows people to gain a top-level understanding of the content immediately. 

Purple SAAS Business Case Study Template

You can use a large, bold, contrasting font to help this information stand out from the page and provide interest.

Learn  how to choose fonts  effectively with our Venngage guide and once you’ve done that.

Upload your fonts and  brand colors  to Venngage using the  My Brand Kit  tool and see them automatically applied to your designs.

The heading is the ideal place to put the most impactful information, as this is the first thing that people will read.

In this example, the stat of “Increase[d] lead quality by 90%” is used as the header. It makes customers want to read more to find out how exactly lead quality was increased by such a massive amount.

Purple SAAS Business Case Study Template Header

If you’re conducting an in-person interview, you could highlight a direct quote or insight provided by your interview subject.

Pick out a catchy sentence or phrase, or the key piece of information your interview subject provided and use that as a way to draw a potential customer in.

Use charts to visualize data in your business case studies

Charts are an excellent way to visualize data and to bring statistics and information to life. Charts make information easier to understand and to illustrate trends or patterns.

Making charts is even easier with Venngage.

In this consulting case study example, we can see that a chart has been used to demonstrate the difference in lead value within the Lead Elves case study.

Adding a chart here helps break up the information and add visual value to the case study. 

Red SAAS Business Case Study Template

Using charts in your case study can also be useful if you’re creating a project management case study.

You could use a Gantt chart or a project timeline to show how you have managed the project successfully.

event marketing project management gantt chart example

Use direct quotes to build trust in your marketing case study

To add an extra layer of authenticity you can include a direct quote from your customer within your case study.

According to research from Nielsen , 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer and 70% trust recommendations even if they’re from somebody they don’t know.

Case study peer recommendation quote

So if you have a customer or client who can’t stop singing your praises, make sure you get a direct quote from them and include it in your case study.

You can either lift part of the conversation or interview, or you can specifically request a quote. Make sure to ask for permission before using the quote.

Contrast Lead Generation Business Case Study Template

This design uses a bright contrasting speech bubble to show that it includes a direct quote, and helps the quote stand out from the rest of the text.

This will help draw the customer’s attention directly to the quote, in turn influencing them to use your product or service.

Case Study Examples Summary

Once you have created your case study, it’s best practice to update your examples on a regular basis to include up-to-date statistics, data, and information.

You should update your business case study examples often if you are sharing them on your website.

It’s also important that your case study sits within your brand guidelines – find out how Venngage’s My Brand Kit tool can help you create consistently branded case study templates.

Case studies are important marketing tools – but they shouldn’t be the only tool in your toolbox. Content marketing is also a valuable way to earn consumer trust.

Case Study FAQ

Why should you write a case study.

Case studies are an effective marketing technique to engage potential customers and help build trust.

By producing case studies featuring your current clients or customers, you are showcasing how your tool or product can be used. You’re also showing that other people endorse your product.

In addition to being a good way to gather positive testimonials from existing customers, business case studies are good educational resources and can be shared amongst your company or team, and used as a reference for future projects.

How should you write a case study?

To create a great case study, you should think strategically. The first step, before starting your case study research, is to think about what you aim to learn or what you aim to prove.

You might be aiming to learn how a company makes sales or develops a new product. If this is the case, base your questions around this.

You can learn more about writing a case study  from our extensive guide.

Some good questions you could ask would be:

You might also enjoy:

best marketing strategies blog link

12 Essential Consulting Templates For Marketing, Planning and Branding

best marketing strategies blog link

Best Marketing Strategies for Consultants and Freelancers in 2019 [Study + Infographic]

Darden Logo

Academics , Executive MBA , Full-Time MBA

17 March 2021

The Darden Case Method: What You Need to Know

A s prospective students consider which MBA program is the best fit for them, they very quickly hear about the Darden case method, and are naturally curious to learn more. Darden’s MBA program is entirely focused around the student-centric learning experience, and classes are taught using the case method. We wanted to provide a few insights and resources on this topic, as it’s a popular discussion for MBA candidates across all our programs!

Q: What is the case method? A: Through the core curriculum (three academic quarters for the full-time MBA and eight academic quarters for Executive MBA program), students gain an integrated perspective on the fundamentals of business through rich case discussions expertly facilitated by Darden’s faculty. Collaboration and teamwork are hallmarks of the Darden experience. The learning experience is spontaneous yet deliberate and contrasts sharply with a lecture-based approach.

Q: When there isn’t a clear right or wrong answer, how does the case method help students find the solution? A: The case method is well suited for such situations in that it teaches you how to think through challenging decisions, develop arguments, see how the rest of the audience responds, and allows you to refine your arguments as the class adds to the conversation. The case method strengthens your ability to listen to each other’s arguments and helps you to develop a way of thinking and understanding the pros and cons of different decisions. It also teaches you how to defend your argument and understand the consequences of your decision making and viewpoint. The faculty help guide the conversation by asking probing questions and challenging you think about your proposals. This emulates reality in a way – your boss will not give you the answer, you’ll have to come up with solutions on your own or with your team. Learning via the case method makes that type of problem solving instinctual for our graduates.

Q: How do students prepare for case-based learning? A: A critical part of the case method and the First Year experience is working with a learning team — a group of five to six students from across the different First Year sections — that provides students with support to work through and understand each case. Students stay with their learning team and in their First Year section throughout the core curriculum, further strengthening their relationships with their peers and sharpening their communication skills.

Before meeting with their learning team, each member of the team has read the case and worked on the assignment questions as best as they can. The learning team will decide together on how the group will go about discussing the cases. The following day, the case will be discussed in class so each student and collectively the learning teams can recalibrate to conclude what was missed, etc. This cycle continues throughout the core curriculum.

In the Executive MBA program, during the core curriculum, the class of roughly 135 students is divided into two sections that are shuffled periodically. All students are assigned a learning team at the start of the program, but students are also welcome to form their own groups as they navigate the core classes. Each learning team sets its own schedule, and teams will typically meet once or twice a week as students prepare for weeknight distance sessions and weekend residencies.

Q: What qualities and habits help students get the most out of the case method? A: To get the most out of the case method, students must be intellectually curious, so that they can dig through the cases to uncover the issues, formulate a solution, and propose how to operationalize it. Students also need to be open-minded and willing to change their view points based on the feedback they receive from their peers. Since active participation in the class is essential, students who are not afraid to speak up and challenge one-another do well. We also hear from many current students that they chose the case method approach because they wanted to become more confident in articulating their ideas and challenging others in a safe and productive space!

Hear insights on teaching the case method from Professor Bobby Parmar

Earlier this year, Professor Bobby Parmar joined the Experience Darden podcast to share insights about the learning experience and teaching case method at Darden. Parmar describes himself as “the son of immigrants, father of two amazing young women, and by training a moral philosopher and social psychologist. When explaining case method, he shared:

“Case method works really well in ethics because it brings out the humanity of our students. They have a stake, they have a set of values, they are learning from each other. I always try to talk about Darden as a high engagement learning method – case method is an important part of that, it’s a cornerstone – but we do lots of different things that are high engagement, whether that’s simulations or projects or role plays, there’s lots of ways in which we first and foremost engage our students in the learning process. It’s not a passive process, it’s an active process, and case method is very good at that. We think together, we argue with each other, we learn from each other. When you’re in a classroom with all of these amazing folks from so many different backgrounds, you’re learning vicariously just by listening to their comments. You’re engaging more of your brain in the learning process in a case method style discussion because you’re engaging the social parts of the brain as well as the understanding of the topic.”

See Professor Rich Evans teaching a finance class with case method.

This video of Professor Rich Evans teaching a finance course through the case method in 2017 is still one of our favorites! Evans highlighted the educational experience of the case method:

“One of the reasons I think Darden has been ranked the No. 1 business education experience is the case method, and the power it has to help people have a positive learning experience. Every one of the case discussions across Darden starts with what we call a “cold call” – which is when I randomly select a student in the room, and it could be anyone, and I ask them to take us into the business problem at hand. Knowing that you could be asked to provide the basis for the rest of our discussion is a powerful motivator for students to come prepared to class, and to be ready to be engaged in a discussion about the topic. We use the Socratic method, so at the end of the day I didn’t teach anything – I ask questions of the students, so if I sample across the students and if I find that some are having a hard time understanding a concept, I’ll look for a student who seems like they’ve mastered that concept and use them and their experience and their understanding to try and help everybody get on the same page.”

Be sure to consult the  Latest News  regularly for the most updated news releases and media hits.  Check out faculty thought leadership published on  Ideas to Action .  And stay connected with us via social media:  Facebook ,  Instagram ,  LinkedIn ,  Twitter ,  WeChat

Pictured in header image: Darden Professor Roshni Raveendhran.

Related Posts

process of case study method

3 March 2023

Darden Community , Diversity, Equity and Inclusion , Full-Time MBA

process of case study method

23 February 2023

Darden Community , Executive MBA , Executive Student Profile

process of case study method

22 February 2023

Darden Community , Diversity, Equity and Inclusion , Full-Time MBA , Student Profile or Feature

process of case study method

21 February 2023

Admissions , Full-Time MBA

Teaching by the Case Method

Case Method in Practice

Chris Christensen described case method teaching as "the art of managing uncertainty"—a process in which the instructor serves as "planner, host, moderator, devil's advocate, fellow-student, and judge," all in search of solutions to real-world problems and challenges.

Unlike lectures, case method classes unfold without a detailed script. Successful instructors simultaneously manage content and process, and they must prepare rigorously for both. Case method teachers learn to balance planning and spontaneity. In practice, they pursue opportunities and "teachable moments" that emerge throughout the discussion, and deftly guide students toward discovery and learning on multiple levels. The principles and techniques are developed, Christensen says, "through collaboration and cooperation with friends and colleagues, and through self-observation and reflection."

This section of the Christensen Center website explores the Case Method in Practice along the following dimensions:

Each subsection provides perspectives and guidance through a written overview, supplemented by video commentary from experienced case method instructors. Where relevant, links are included to downloadable documents produced by the Christensen Center or Harvard Business School Publishing. References for further reading are provided as well.

An additional subsection, entitled Resources, appears at the end. It combines references from throughout the Case Method in Practice section with additional information on published materials and websites that may be of interest to prospective, new, and experienced case method instructors.

Note: We would like to thank Harvard Business School Publishing for permission to incorporate the video clips that appear in the Case Method in Practice section of our website. The clips are drawn from video excerpts included in Participant-Centered Learning and the Case Method: A DVD Case Teaching Tool (HBSP, 2003).

Christensen Center Tip Sheets

Curriculum Innovation

The case method has evolved so students may act as decision-makers in new engaging formats:

Game Simulations

Multimedia cases, ideo: human-centered service design.

ERIC - Institute of Education Sciences

Taylor and Francis Online homepage

International Journal of Digital Earth

Open access

An object detection method for bayberry trees based on an improved YOLO algorithm

1. Introduction

3. case study, 4. results and discussion, 5. conclusions, disclosure statement, additional information, research article.

ABSTRACT Formulae display: ? Mathematical formulae have been encoded as MathML and are displayed in this HTML version using MathJax in order to improve their display. Uncheck the box to turn MathJax off. This feature requires Javascript. Click on a formula to zoom.

To quickly detect and count the number of bayberry trees, this paper improves the YOLO-v4 model and proposes an optimal YOLO-v4 method for detecting bayberry trees based on UAV images. We used the Leaky_ReLU activation function to accelerate the model extraction speed and used the DIoU NMS to retain the most accurate prediction boxes. In order to increase the recall rate of the object detection and construct the optimal YOLO-v4 model, the K-Means clustering method was embedded into DIoU NMS. We trained the model using UAV images of bayberry trees, it was determined that the optimal YOLO-v4 model threshold was 0.25, which had the best extraction effect. The optimal YOLO-v4 model had a detection accuracy of up to 97.78% and a recall rate of up to 98.16% on the dataset. The optimal YOLO-v4 model was compared with YOLO-v4, YOLO-v4 tiny, the YOLO-v3 model, and the Faster R-CNN model. With guaranteed accuracy, the recall rate was higher, up to 97.45%, and the detection of bayberry trees was better in different contexts. The result shows that the optimal YOLO-v4 model can accurately achieve the rapid detection and statistics of the number of bayberry trees in large-area orchards.

Bayberry, also known as raspberry, is rich in glucose, cellulose, mineral elements, and amino acids. Every hundred gram of Bayberry edible parts contains 14 mg of calcium, 9 mg of vitamin C, and 8 mg of phosphorus, which has high nutritional value (Ge et al. Citation 2018 ). Brightly colored, sweet and sour, bayberries are popular with consumers. With an overall oversupply in the fruit market, the price of high-quality bayberry is still high. Therefore, its planting scale has gradually expanded with high demand. Many provinces in southern China have bayberry tree plantations, such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Taiwan, Fujian and Jiangxi (As of 22 July 2022, Flore of China and Catalogue of life China listed). Among them, Zhejiang Province ranks first in the country in terms of planting area and output. The picking period for bayberry is very short, with no peel, mature bayberry is fragile and perishable (Wang, Lv et al. Citation 2020 ). After the Summer Solstice, bayberry matures in large quantities (Jiang Citation 2019 ), while this time is the rainy season, bayberry farmers must seize the opportunity to pick mature fruit (Liu and Zhang Citation 2009 ). At present, manual picking is the main method for bayberry, which is very inefficient (Wang, Lv et al. Citation 2020 ), causing many bayberry fruits to rot on the branches. Therefore, many bayberry farmers have invested in the ‘Bayberry Meteorological Index Insurance’ for the bayberry trees, generally claimed on the basis of the number of bayberry trees. However, bayberry trees are mainly planted in mountainous hilly areas (Liu, Wang, and Wang Citation 2005 ), with complex topography, scattered fruit trees, and large orchards, making it difficult to count the number of bayberry trees manually.

Boursianis Achilles et al. ( Citation 2021 ) proposed that agricultural development is moving toward digitization. State-of-the-art technologies are used to achieve sustainable development in agriculture, such as the Internet of Things and machine learning. The manual intervention of machine learning traditional object detection methods is beneficial to detect object features. Classic object detection algorithms include HOG, SVM, AdaBoost, Vector Regression Method, Clustering Algorithms, etc. Wang, Zhu, and Wu ( Citation 2019 ) used a supervised classification method to extract positive and negative samples from UAV images, trained HOG to extract vegetation features of palm trees, then used an SVM classifier to distinguish between vegetation and non-vegetation information. It can accurately detect the crown size and provide great help for palm tree management and yield prediction. However, detection accuracy decreases when the environment is slightly more complex or when mixed with other tree species. Mohemmed, Johnston, and Zhang ( Citation 2010 ) proposed to use of PSO to select features and evolve weak classifiers in the AdaBoost framework. The experimental results showed that the detection effect of AdaBoost using the PSO method to evolve weak classifiers was better than that of only selecting features, but does not improve the performance. Navarro José et al. ( Citation 2019 ) used SVR nonparametric support vector regression model to improve the monitoring efficiency of UAV, and the best results were achieved by using the combination of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 data, denser canopy cover makes ITC delineation more difficult. References (Apostol et al. Citation 2016 ; Culvenor Citation 2002 ) chose to use the clustering algorithm to describe the data and extract information such as tree detection and tree height crown, but still can’t describe all the trees. Behroozi-Khazaei and Maleki ( Citation 2017 ) described a robust algorithm based on an artificial neural network (ANN) and genetic algorithm (GA), which was used to segment grape clusters from leaves and backgrounds using near-harvest color features. The GA was used to optimize the ANN algorithm and effectively select the highest color feature. The improved algorithm could automatically detect the grape clusters in the image and effectively predicted the yield. However, if the color difference between grape clusters and leaves was not large, the detection success rate will decrease. From the above, the general object detection method improves the accuracy of object detection by using artificial feature selection, but reduces the degree of automation, and has no good robustness for diverse data.

In recent years, deep learning has brought significant breakthroughs for object detection due to its advantages of learning characteristics directly from data (Chen et al. Citation 2017 ; Körez et al. Citation 2020 ), providing more possibilities for object detection (Khelifi and Mignotte Citation 2020 ; Li et al. Citation 2020 ; Sublime and Ekaterina Citation 2019 ). Deep learning mainly includes two-stage and one-stage algorithms. The two-stage algorithms include convolutional neural network (CNN) (Simonyan and Zisserman Citation 2015 ), improved algorithm of CNN: R-CNN (Girshick et al. Citation 2014 ) 2016, Fast R-CNN (Girshick Citation 2015 ), Faster R-CNN (Chen et al. Citation 2018 ; Gao et al. Citation 2020 ), Mask R-CNN (He et al. Citation 2018 ), in addition to OFSM (Yang et al. Citation 2020 ), Hybrid Spectral (Roy et al. Citation 2020 ) combined with CNN. Kellenberger, Marcos, and Tuia ( Citation 2018 ) studied how to extend CNN to the large-scale wildlife census task, fixed the recall rate at 90%, and trained the CNN-based detector. With guaranteed object detection accuracy, the required dataset was reduced by three times, significantly reducing the workload, but requiring manual effort. Roy et al. ( Citation 2020 ) proposed hybrid spectral CNN (HybridSN), which reduced model complexity by combining 3-D CNN with 2-D CNN for HIS classification. The accuracy was greater than 99.6% in the test of different datasets, while the standard deviation was the smallest. When the amount of data is reduced, the accuracy of the model decreases. Guo et al. ( Citation 2022 ) based on the recurrent neural network (RNN) method to perform super-resolution data reconstruction, which improved the detection effect of UAVs, enhanced the detection and positioning algorithms. However, the system efficiency needs to be further improved. Or combined data migration method to select data region of interest as sample data, to achieve the best data classification with the least amount of data (He, Guo, and Yuan Citation 2020 ; Tuia, Pasolli, and Emery Citation 2011 ). However, the method has fewer data categories, not suitable for large-scale data classification. Lei et al. ( Citation 2022 ) proposed a multi-module convolutional neural network segmentation method, which applied semantic segmentation to bayberry fruits to realize automatic picking of bayberry orchards. However, the two-stage algorithm needs to determine the pre-selection box in advance before detecting the object, the steps are cumbersome and the detection speed is not ideal. In 2013, Joseph Redmon proposed a one-stage object detection method – YOLO (You Only Look Once) (Redmon et al. Citation 2016 ), which simplifies the object detection process, pushes the development of real-time detection and improves the accuracy and speed of object detection (Liu and Li Citation 2022 ; Radovic, Adarkwa, and Wang Citation 2017 ). In 2018, Joseph Redmon launched the YOLO-v3 (Redmon and Farhadi Citation 2018 ), which further improved the speed of object detection (Dewi, Chen, and Yu Citation 2020 ). Kuznetsova, Maleva, and Soloviev ( Citation 2020 ) and Liu et al. ( Citation 2020 ) used YOLO-v3 for fruit detection, the experimental test achieved real-time detection speed. While the proposal of YOLO-v4 (Bochkovskiy, Wang, and Liao Citation 2020 ) further optimize the speed and accuracy of object detection. In studies of Dewi et al. ( Citation 2021 ) and Kumari et al. ( Citation 2021 ), YOLO-v4 has the best accuracy and speed compared with other object detection methods. However, Xia, Qu, and Wan ( Citation 2022 ) proposed a deep learning method that requires high computational cost and storage space when conducting medical image coloring research. Several scholars have also conducted research on this issue, such as Guo et al. ( Citation 2022 ) who proposed a hierarchical multi-attention transfer framework (HMAT), compressed deep learning models, and object detection results that outperformed the state-of-the-art KD method.

Manually determining the number of bayberry trees in mountainous areas is difficult. Considering the superiority of the YOLO-v4 method in object detection and the lightweight memory-friendly model. We proposed an object detection and statistics method of bayberry trees in large area orchard based on improved YOLO-v4 algorithm. Firstly, the image data of bayberry trees is collected and preprocessed through the UAV platform. Then, the YOLO-v4 tiny model is optimized and improved to make it suitable for object detection and statistics of large-area bayberry trees. The optimal threshold of the model is selected based on the characteristics of bayberry trees and data detection, the optimal YOLO-v4 model is generated to achieve the optimal object detection effect, realize the automatic management, and yield prediction of bayberry orchard. Finally, the experimental dataset is used as a test set to compare object detection accuracy and speed with YOLO-v4, YOLO-v4 tiny, Faster R-CNN and YOLO-v3 models. When the object detection accuracy is reliable, the optimal YOLO-v4 model has the best recall rate providing a high-quality method reference for the large-scale management of other orchards.

2.1. Model theory

process of case study method

Published online:

Figure 1. The structure of YOLO-v4 tiny.

process of case study method

Figure 2. the loss function of YOLO-v4 tiny.

process of case study method

The method is divided into three modules: CSPDarknet53-tiny, FPN, and YOLO head. It used the Leaky_ReLU activation function to replace the Mish function (Misra Citation 2019 ), and only one feature pyramid is used in the feature enhancement layer without DownSampling.

process of case study method

Figure 3. Leaky_ReLU Activation Function.

process of case study method

2.2. Model improvement

Overlapping parts will be repeatedly detected about 2–4 times, and eventually only the highest precision predicted box has to be retained in the object detection of overlapping images. The YOLO-v4 method adds the aspect ratio to the CIoU LOSS Function, but the CIoU LOSS Function can only be used when coordinates corresponding to the ground-truth boxes are present. Considering that it is difficult to implement in real scene prediction, NMS method is needed to delete duplicate predicted boxes.

However, if the original NMS method is used, when the threshold is small, only sparse objects can be retained, overlapping objects cannot be retained; when the threshold is large, it is difficult to delete some overlapping objects, so the improved NMS algorithm is needed. Since DIoU takes into account the location information of the center points of the bounding boxes, it has more advantages for object selection. DIoU NMS method (Zheng et al. Citation 2020 ) is used to delete duplicate boxes, so as to obtain the boxes with the highest confidence.

Step1: Randomly select k objects as the initial clustering centers;

Step2: For the remaining objects, classify them to the nearest cluster according to their similarity (distance) with each center, and then calculate the average value of all objects in each center as the new center;

Step3: Repeat the procedure until the criterion function converges or the maximum number of epochs is completed.

Figure 4. DIOU_NMS.

process of case study method

2.3. Evaluation index for model

TP represents the number of positive samples correctly detected as positive samples, FP represents the number of negative samples incorrectly detected as positive samples, and FN represents the number of positive samples incorrectly detected as negative samples. In the formula, the precision is the ratio of the predicted number of positive samples to the predicted number of forecast samples, and the recall is the ratio of the predicted number of positive samples to the number of real objects, that is, whether the positive samples are detected. F1-Score (0 ≤ F1 ≤ 1) is used to weigh the scale of precision and recall, which represents the harmonic mean of recall and precision, the higher the F1-score, the better the result.

3.1. Study area and data

Bayberry trees are evergreen trees with 5–15 m in height, 60 cm in diameter and 5 m in crown. The training and testing images data in this study were derived from the model test dataset of bayberry trees deep learning detection published by Global Change Scientific Research Data Publishing & Repository (Wang Dong and Luo Citation 2019 ).

Figure 5. Study area.

process of case study method

Figure 6. The division of sample bayberry trees orchard. (a) Sample 1. (b) Sample 2.

process of case study method

3.2. Experimental process

Figure 7. The flow chart of experiment.

process of case study method

Data collection. detecting the appropriate UAV orchard image;

Data preprocessing. dividing the dataset and making the training set;

Network model setting. the improved YOLO-v4 model was used to test the training set, and the experimental results were decision fusion with the model setting, to optimize the model parameters and obtain the optimal YOLO-v4 model;

Bayberry trees object detection. we used the model to detect orchard overlapping data which after segmenting and extracting coordinate, based on the detection results to get the number of bayberry trees;

The Optimal YOLO-v4 Model testing. the effectiveness of the optimal YOLO-v4 model for UAV image object extraction was verified by qualitative and quantitative comparison experiments.

3.3. Dataset production

Figure 8. The test set. (a) Spare background. (b) Dense background. (c) Weak background. (d) Strong background. (e) Backlight. (f) Side light. (g) Facing light.

process of case study method

Table 1. Dataset description.

3.4. dataset segmentation.

Selection of Overlapping Ratio of Segmented Regions

Coordinate Extraction of Segmented Area

Figure 9. The clip results sample orchard. (a) Sample 1. (b) Sample 2.

process of case study method

Figure 10. Image segmentation method.

process of case study method

Table 2. The information of samples orchard (Image size unit: pixel).

During image segmentation, the coordinates were noted, the object detection boxes of the repeated region were removed, and the repeated detection of the images due to data overlapping segmentation was avoided.

Figure 11. Image segmentation coordinate recording.

process of case study method

3.5. Determination of optimal model parameters for bayberry trees detection

3.5.1. diou nms threshold selection of optimal model.

Figure 12. The different threshold results of sample 2. (a) DIoU NMS = 0.1, the numbers of predicted boxes are 795. (b) DIoU NMS = 0.9, the numbers of predicted boxes are 1118.

process of case study method

3.5.2. K-means threshold selection of optimal model

Figure 13. The histogram of sample 2 aspect ratio.

process of case study method

Table 3. Different clustering centers of K-Means.

Figure 14. The predict results of sample 1 with different thresholds.

process of case study method

Figure 15. The predict results of sample 2 with different thresholds.

process of case study method

Table 4. The results of different thresholds.

Table 5. the results of different thresholds., 3.5.3. weight selection of optimal model, table 6. the information of training parameters..

Figure 16. The P-R curve of optimal model weight.

process of case study method

3.5.4. Threshold selection of optimal model

Figure 17. The parameters of different thresholds.

process of case study method

Figure 18. The predicted results with different thresholds. (a) The predicted result with threshold is 0.05. (b) The predicted result with threshold is 0.95.

process of case study method

3.6. Analyze and extract the anchor box using K-means clustering

The experimental dataset was calculated by K-Means clustering method. First, extracted the object boxes from all the training data and put all the rectangle boxes together to process the width and height of the training data. Then, the cluster algorithm was used to analyze and extract the anchor boxes of the dataset. It was calculated that the input size of the anchor boxes of the bayberry trees dataset was 608 × 608, and the output sizes were (31 × 33), (39 × 39), (44 × 46), (48 × 53), (56 × 54), (7 × 65), (67 × 65), (70 × 77), (84 × 88).

Figure 19. The loss function value of model. (a) The loss function value without K-Means anchor boxes. (b) The loss function value under K-Means anchor boxes.

process of case study method

4.1. Model performance assessment

Figure 20. Model performance assessment. (a) The mAP value of YOLO-v4 tiny model weight. (b) The mAP value of the optimal YOLO-v4 model weight.

process of case study method

4.2. The statistical results of final detection

Figure 21. The statistic results of samples. (a) The statistic results of sample 1. (b) The statistic results of sample 2.

process of case study method

Table 7. The statistical results of sample1 and sample 2 orchard.

Figure 22. Samples of FP. (a) Dense. (b) Color. (c) Prediction box. (d) Threshold. (e) Backlight.

process of case study method

Figure 23. Samples of FN. (a) Dense. (b) Color. (c) Prediction box. (d) Threshold. (e) Backlight.

process of case study method

4.3. Robustness comparison results of different models

In order to verify the detection effect of the optimal YOLO-v4 model, the accuracy, recall and F1-score of YOLO-v4, YOLO-v4 tiny, Faster-CNN, YOLO-v3 and optimal YOLO-v4 models were evaluated by using the experimental dataset and the density, growth background and illumination angle of bayberry trees as test categories. Since there was only one detection object data, bayberry trees, in the test set, the numbers of bayberry trees detected at this time were the critical factor. Therefore, when compared the robustness of different models, the recall rate of the model was still focused on under the premise of ensuring the accuracy.

4.3.1. Comparison results of different densities

Table 8. the results of five models under different test datasets, sparse and dense..

Figure 24. The results of five models under different test datasets. The top image is sparse, the bottom image is dense. (a) The optimal YOLOv4 model. (b) The YOLOv3 model. (c) The Faster R-CNN model. (d) The YOLO-v4 model. (e) The YOLO-v4 tiny model.

process of case study method

4.3.2. Comparison results of different backgrounds

Figure 25. The results of five models under different test datasets. The top image is a weak background, the bottom image is a strong background. (a) The optimal YOLOv4 model. (b) The YOLOv3 model. (c) The Faster R-CNN model. (d) The YOLO-v4 model. (e) The YOLO-v4 tiny model.

process of case study method

Table 9. The results of five models under different test datasets, strong and weak background.

4.3.3. comparison results of different light angles.

According to the different light angles, the test dataset was divided into the dataset of facing light (Illumination direction consistent with imaging direction), backlight (Illumination direction opposite to imaging direction) and side light (90° angle between illumination direction and imaging direction), respectively including 471, 437 and 309 bayberry trees.

Figure 26. The results of five models under different test datasets. The top picture is the facing light, the middle picture is the backlight, and the bottom picture is the side light. (a) The optimal YOLOv4 model. (b) The YOLOv3 model. (c) The Faster R-CNN model. (d) The YOLO-v4 model. (e) The YOLO-v4 tiny model.

process of case study method

Table 10. The results of five models under different test datasets, facing light, backlight and side light.

4.4. overall dataset detection results, table 11. the results of five models under whole test dataset..

The above analyzes show that the recall rate of the optimal YOLO-v4 model reaches 96. 03% under different growth states, showing the optimal detection level. However, the model also has some accuracy loss, when the background features are similar to the object features of bayberry trees, such as the same or similar colors, shapes and textures, there will be misunderstanding or missing, resulting in inevitable accuracy loss.

Using the detection and statistics of bayberry trees as the pivotal point in this study, the YOLO-v4 feature extraction network proved to be the most effective method for obtaining the deep-seated features of bayberry trees. The lightweight YOLO-v4 tiny model was chosen to optimize the YOLO-v4 model while ensuring model performance and minimizing memory pressure on the computer. The model used the Leaky_ReLU activation function to enhance the data. The DIoU NMS method, an aggregated K-means clustering method, was used to filter out duplicate detection frames and retain the prediction frames with the highest accuracy. The threshold was set to 0.2, so that the objects with occlusion or boundary segmentation can also be predicted. The K-Means clustering method was used to screen the aspect ratio of the prediction boxes, and effectively removed the prediction boxes of invalid segmentation. By testing the results of the model under different thresholds, the optimal threshold of the model was finally determined to be 0.25, and the optimal YOLO-v4 model was obtained. Compared the object detection results with YOLO-v4, YOLO-v4 tiny, YOLO-v3 model and Faster R-CNN model, the test dataset was divided into different growth scenarios such as sparse, dense, strong background, weak background and backlight, sidelight and facing light. The optimal YOLO-v4 model performed best, which fully verified the practicability of the model and the effectiveness of the statistical method, The parameters of the model are only 6 million, which is suitable for object detection with limited memory resources and has high practical value. The robustness of the optimal YOLO-v4 is good. It has good detection results for bayberry trees in various scenarios such as sparse, dense, strong background, weak background, facing light, side light, and backlight, and is suitable for single object detection tasks in complex environments.

To sum up, the following work needs to be further improved: This paper mainly uses the bayberry trees dataset. However, for fruit trees with different crowns and textures in practice, whether the optimal YOLO-v4 model will cause accuracy loss needs further test and optimization, and the accuracy of fruit tree detection, extraction and statistics in complex scenes needs to be improved. YOLO-v4 has achieved end-to-end dynamic object detection, but this study is still static data. Therefore, how to combine video data to achieve dynamic identification and detection of orchards and achieve efficient management of fruit tree diseases, growth and yield can be further studied.

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s).

Reprints and Permissions

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

You are not required to obtain permission to reuse this article in part or whole.

Related research

People also read lists articles that other readers of this article have read.

Recommended articles lists articles that we recommend and is powered by our AI driven recommendation engine.

Cited by lists all citing articles based on Crossref citations. Articles with the Crossref icon will open in a new tab.

Your download is now in progress and you may close this window

Login or register to access this feature

Register now or learn more


  1. Multiple Case Study Method

    process of case study method

  2. The Process of Case Study Method (Yin, 2013)

    process of case study method

  3. Case study process steps

    process of case study method

  4. Case study method

    process of case study method

  5. What Is The Case Study Method

    process of case study method

  6. How To Write a Case Study

    process of case study method


  1. Liquidation Process-Case Study Contd

  2. Case Study Writing

  3. Data Analysis with Python Part 22 -One sample t-test

  4. Case Study Presentation- 2C

  5. Data Analysis with Python Part 28- Multiple Regression

  6. Data Analysis with Python Part 15


  1. What Is a Case Study?

    Step 1: Select a case Step 2: Build a theoretical framework Step 3: Collect your data Step 4: Describe and analyze the case When to do a case study A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject.

  2. What is the Case Study Method?

    Simply put, the case method is a discussion of real-life situations that business executives have faced. On average, you'll attend three to four different classes a day, for a total of about six hours of class time (schedules vary). To prepare, you'll work through problems with your peers. Read More

  3. What the Case Study Method Really Teaches

    The case method cultivates the capacity for critical analysis, judgment, decision-making, and action. There is a word that aptly captures the broader set of capabilities our alumni reported they ...

  4. Case Study

    Case study is a research method that involves an in-depth, detailed examination of a single unit, such as an individual, family, group, organization, community, or event. Case studies are usually conducted by sociologists, psychologists, historians, anthropologists, or researchers from other social science disciplines.


    the case study method favors the collection of data in natural settings, compared with relying on "derived" data (Bromley, 1986, p. 23)—for example, responses to a researcher's instruments in an experiment or responses to questionnaires in a survey.

  6. Case Study: Definition, Examples, Types, and How to Write

    A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in various fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

  7. Case Study Research: Methods and Designs

    The case study method can be divided into three stages: formulation of objectives; collection of data; and analysis and interpretation. The researcher first makes a judgment about what should be studied based on their knowledge. Next, they gather data through observations and interviews. Here are some of the common case study research methods: 1.

  8. Do Your Students Know How to Analyze a Case—Really?

    Give students an opportunity to practice the case analysis methodology via an ungraded sample case study. Designate groups of five to seven students to discuss the case and the six steps in breakout sessions (in class or via Zoom). Ensure case analyses are weighted heavily as a grading component.

  9. What the Case Study Method Really Teaches

    Cases teach students to size up business problems quickly while considering the broader organizational, industry, and societal context. Students recall concepts better when they are set in a case, much as people remember words better when used in context. Cases teach students how to apply theory in practice and how to induce theory from ...

  10. PDF Case Studies and Process Tracing Outline

    Causal process observations: within-case analysis, which relies on causal-process observations, provides substantial leverage for causal inference even when the N =1. Negative outcome cases for contrast can be good too. ... How useful is the case study method at various stages of theory-building? a. Case studies are most useful at the theory ...

  11. Case Study Method

    This case study is analyzed hierarchically and systematically, by process synthesis, which requires the integration of real data and the application of basic chemical engineering principles in order to generate process alternatives in the conceptual stage of the process design ( Cisternas, 1999 ).

  12. Case Method Teaching and Learning

    Case method 1 teaching is an active form of instruction that focuses on a case and involves students learning by doing 2 3. Cases are real or invented stories 4 that include "an educational message" or recount events, problems, dilemmas, theoretical or conceptual issue that requires analysis and/or decision-making.

  13. The Important Steps of the Case Study Method

    The case study method, using multiple methods of data collection and analysis techniques, offers researchers the opportunity to triangulate data to strengthen the findings and conclusions of the research. The tactics used in the analysis force researchers to go beyond initial impressions to improve the likelihood of accurate and reliable findings.

  14. Case Study Research Method in Psychology

    The case study research method originated in clinical medicine (the case history, i.e., the patient's personal history). In psychology, case studies are often confined to the study of a particular individual. The information is mainly biographical and relates to events in the individual's past (i.e., retrospective), as well as to ...

  15. Case Study Method: A Step-by-Step Guide for Business Researchers

    Case study method is the most widely used method in academia for researchers interested in qualitative research ( Baskarada, 2014 ). Research students select the case study as a method without understanding array of factors that can affect the outcome of their research.

  16. Inter-Rater Reliability Methods in Qualitative Case Study Research

    The use of inter-rater reliability (IRR) methods may provide an opportunity to improve the transparency and consistency of qualitative case study data analysis in terms of the rigor of how codes and constructs have been developed from the raw data. Few articles on qualitative research methods in the literature conduct IRR assessments or neglect ...

  17. How to Analyse a Case Study: 8 Steps (with Pictures)

    1. Examine and describe the business environment relevant to the case study. [1] Describe the nature of the organization under consideration and its competitors. Provide general information about the market and customer base. Indicate any significant changes in the business environment or any new endeavors upon which the business is embarking. 2.

  18. Case Study Method: A Step-by-Step Guide for Business Researchers

    Qualitative case study methodology enables researchers to conduct an in-depth exploration of intricate phenomena within some specific context. By keeping in mind research students, this article...

  19. How to Do Case Study For Research

    It is a research method that you can use for analyzing qualitative information. The case study is a pragmatic and flexible approach. By applying this method you will be able to analyze the information. In the case study method, you need to collect data by observing things or surrounding phenomena.

  20. Making Learning Relevant With Case Studies

    1. Identify a problem to investigate: This should be something accessible and relevant to students' lives. The problem should also be challenging and complex enough to yield multiple solutions with many layers. 2. Give context: Think of this step as a movie preview or book summary.

  21. What is a Case Study? [+6 Types of Case Studies]

    A business or marketing case study aims at showcasing a successful partnership. This can be between a brand and a client. Or the case study can examine a brand's project. There is a perception that case studies are used to advertise a brand. But effective reports, like the one below, can show clients how a brand can support them.

  22. The Scientific Method Steps, Uses, and Key Terms

    When conducting research, the scientific method steps to follow are: Observe what you want to investigate. Ask a research question and make predictions. Test the hypothesis and collect data. Examine the results and draw conclusions. Report and share the results. This process not only allows scientists to investigate and understand different ...

  23. Case Study Method

    The case study method is a very popular form of qualitative analysis and involves a careful and complete observation of a social unit, be that unit a person, a family, an institution, a cultural group, or even the entire community. It is a method of study in depth rather than breadth.

  24. 15+ Case Study Examples, Design Tips & Templates

    What is a case study? A case study is a research method to gain a better understanding of a subject or process. Case studies involve in-depth research into a given subject, in order to understand its functionality and successes. In the context of a business, however, case studies take customer success stories and explore how they use your ...

  25. The Darden Case Method: What You Need to Know

    A s prospective students consider which MBA program is the best fit for them, they very quickly hear about the Darden case method, and are naturally curious to learn more. Darden's MBA program is entirely focused around the student-centric learning experience, and classes are taught using the case method. We wanted to provide a few insights and resources on this topic, as it's a popular ...

  26. Teaching by the Case Method

    Case Method in Practice. Chris Christensen described case method teaching as "the art of managing uncertainty"—a process in which the instructor serves as "planner, host, moderator, devil's advocate, fellow-student, and judge," all in search of solutions to real-world problems and challenges. Unlike lectures, case method classes unfold ...

  27. ERIC

    This mixed-methods study explored the students' learning from the task-based collaborative writing process (Ellis, 2003; Willis, 1996) and the effects of its process on their writing improvement in a compulsory academic writing course. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this course was conducted completely online. This 15-week course followed the parallel sessions of (1) the instructor lectures for ...

  28. Full article: An object detection method for bayberry trees based on an

    Case study. 3.1. Study area and data ... Using pix4DMapper to process UAV data to extract study area, 611 images were selected from 3108 original images, and the image data was divided into 1368 × 912 pixels while ensuring the integrity of bayberry trees object. ... The K-Means clustering method was used in this study to remove the invalid ...