Case Study

A case study requires you to analyse and write about a person, a scenario or an organisation. You might be given information about the case in the assessment description, or you may be required to invent or find your own case. The purpose of a case study is to apply the concepts and theories you have learnt about in class to the particular case. Always refer to the marking criteria and instructions in your unit outline as each discipline has its own requirements for a case study.

Some case study assignments may require you to provide a short summary of the case in your own words, especially if you have provided your own case study. This will help provide context for the rest of your analysis. The main part of the assignment will involve you applying the concepts and theories you have learnt about to the case study. This means that you will be referencing research and theory to support your ideas. A case study might also require you to provide examples of what you would say to a client or another person in the case, and what they might say. These are called verbatim examples.

Most case studies need to be structured in the same way as an essay, with an introduction, a series of body paragraphs and a conclusion. However, unlike essays, case studies usually have headings based on information in the task description or marking criteria. For example, a client case study assessment that asks students to identify the main issues and prepare a plan of action may have headings such as Summary of the case, Identification of main issues, Recommended action plan.

Case studies require you to write in the third person (people’s names, he/she/they, the counsellor, the client, and so forth) when discussing the theories or research of authors, or the client, the professional or the organisation in the case. A case study might require you to use first person (‘I’, ‘my’ etc) to provide your own reflections about the case, its personal impact on you, or how you would apply theories and skills to the case. Check with your educator about whether you should use first person.