Applying theory to an instance as described by some source material can demonstrate the applicability of the course material beyond the classroom. A good case study:
- Presents students with a situation they can relate to from their own life experience.
- Includes realistic information. Examples can include scripts of exchanges that took place between key parties, news articles about situations of interest, background information about the organization of interest, etc.
- Has a conflict that students can resolve.
- Get source material (short story, news articles, account of a decision or procedure, video, role-play script, etc.) to use as the basis for the case study.
- Provide students with a focus or framework to use in doing their analysis.
- Give students time to analyze the case individually or in groups, and to write down their analysis.
- Begin a discussion of students’ analyses.
- Act as a mediator of the discussion. Don’t offer your own opinion except to provide guidance on the process (remind students of the framework if discussion becomes unfocused).
- After analysis has been completed, show how the case study illustrates application of theoretical or background concepts in course material.
Use a case study to lead into a discussion or lecture of course material, showing its relevance by referring back to the case study.