How to write case study based assignments

During the course of your Masters’ degree, you will be required to work on small class work assignments, essays, reports and case studies. Although a few features are common to all these forms of academic writings but there are variations too. But students tend to overlook these variations and adopt a common approach for all types of academic writing. Here, we will talk about case study based assignments. We will briefly explain how you should write your case study based assignments.

What are case study based assignments?

Case study based assignments relate to an actual problem, not an imaginary situation or problem. The problems discussed in case study based assignments are mostly current and contemporary issues that confront business organizations and its environment.

What do supervisors expect in case study based assignments?

Unlike thesis or dissertations, supervisors do not look for extensive research of the literature in these type of assignments. Instead the focus is laid upon application of theories discussed in available literature to the case company or situation. A critical and analytic mindset is required while writing case study based assignments.

What are the basic differences in writing an essay or thesis or dissertation and such case study based assignments?

Here, the assignment is usually based entirely on secondary data. While collecting secondary data you should focus more on latest updates relating to the assignment topic unlike in essays or thesis or dissertations, where chronological evolution of the topic is discussed. The sources of such data may include recent newspapers and journals instead of books and researches. Books and researches must be used only for the section where we connect assignment questions to the theory, discussed later in this article.

What is the general layout of case study based assignments?

There is no standard layout which can be applied to all such case study based assignments however most of the assignments can be solved according to the following layout:

  • Introduction: The assignment starts with a general introduction to the assignment topic and briefs about the purpose of doing this assignment. In the introduction section itself the you need to provide the case company you have selected.
  • Company background (optional): This section introduces the selected case company in brief. The main elements one should include about the company are; history of the company, its business lines, product/service portfolio, major competitors in the industry and current position in the industry.
  • Case study: This section discusses the actual problem or issue faced. Here, the effort should be made to identify the actual or root causes behind the problem along with the measures the company or the governing body has taken in the past to tackle these issues. Such data are usually available in recent media releases.
  • Theoretical implications: In this section, we relate the problem identified in the case company or situation with relevant literature. Suppose the problem relates to lack of leadership in the company, you should explore literature on leadership like leadership theories and models which seems to be related with the case company’s issue in hand.
  • Analysis: This is the most important section of the whole assignment. Here we need to analyze the problem in light of the literature and identify where did the company go wrong. We establish the loopholes in company’s decisions which had led the problem and why the steps taken by the company in this regard did not prove effective or what were its implications. The important thing is; you should identify both pros and cons of company’s decisions to solve the problem.
  • Conclusion: In the conclusion section, a summary is provided briefing the issue discussed by the case company, the steps taken by the company in this regard, and the loopholes identified in these steps. This section aims to identify the gaps in company’s approach.
  • Recommendations: The case study based assignments end up with a recommendations section  where you should provide logical recommendations on the basis of loopholes identified in the current strategy which can solve this issue in the future.

Ankita Agarwal

Analyst at Project Guru
Ankita is working with the editorial board of Project Guru as a Research Analyst and Writer. With Masters in Commerce and Business Studies, Ankita learned much of what she knows about management through experience. She has previously worked in various financial institutions like Birla Global, HDFC Ltd. and Citi Financial. She is self-motivated and writes for the Knowledge Tank section of Project Guru. She has authored more than 80 articles so far in Human Resources Management, Strategic Management, Finance and Marketing. She likes to pen her thoughts about the latest issues gripping these areas across the world.

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