Sample Paper on Best Practice Approach for Reviewing a Case Study

Best Practice Approach for Reviewing a Case Study

Effective case study review is characterized by four main requirements; the case study itself, instructions from the professor, writing materials, and proper working environment. A case study enables the researcher/learner to apply the concepts they have learned for the analysis of the issues identified in the case study. Case studies are increasingly being applied as rigorous research strategies in the current academic disposition (Hartley, 2004, p. 323). However, the effectiveness of a case study in research has been hampered by the failure of researchers/students to effectively review and/or analyze the issues that they address. Therefore, the case study review should closely focus on the issues that confront the topic under study. Best practice approaches for case study review are also associated with the characteristics of qualitative research. According to “…focus on interpretation rather than quantification; an emphasis on subjectivity rather than objectivity; flexibility in the process of conducting research…” (Cassell & Symon, 1994, quoted in Konrad, Prasad & Pringle, 2006, p. 217)

Some of the preliminary questions eminent in for best practice approach to case study review according to Krippendorff (2004) and Hammersley (2012). include;

  • Is the case study pleasing?
  • Is the case topic defined adequately?
  • Do the various sections of the case study report contribute to the general idea?
  • Does the report have a conceptual structure in relation to the issues being addressed?
  • Are educational concepts included in a serious and conceptual way?
  • Is there any sense of the story?
  • Is the case ardently proofread and edited?
  • Does the report provide any experience to the topic being discussed?
  • Have the quotations, figures, headings, appendices, indexes, and artifacts been applied effectively?
  • Are the sources of information credible and sufficient?
  • Has the researcher provided essential assertions and potential opinions on the topic under study?
  • Does the study content replicate the study context?
  • Have observations and interpretations been included in the study?

The preliminary stages of case study review should also include observing the study exhibits, reviewing the case subtitles, and reviewing the case questions. By the end of this stage, the researcher should be familiar with what the case study entails and be ready to begin the data analysis. The next step also referred the long cycle process (Patton and Appelbaum, 2003, p. 60-71), consists of a detailed reading of the case followed by analysis.

The reading part of the case should focus on the introduction, background information, functional area of interest, decision necessary to be made or a specific issue, options open to decision making, and conclusion. Some of the useful background information includes products, industry, organization, financial information, and competition. Patton and Appelbaum (2003) indicate that most case studies follow this format. The purpose of the reading stage is to enhance a thorough understanding of the situation and decisions that are required to be made. At this stage, Patton and Appelbaum advise learners to be patient, take their time, make notes, and be focused on the topic. This culminates in the analysis stage.

Analysis of the case is characterized by various steps; definition of the issue, analysis of the data used in the case, generation of alternatives, selection of the criterion for decision making, identifying the alternatives for analysis and evaluation, selection of the most factorable alternative and development of an implementation plan (Krippendorff, 2004).

Definition of the Problem Statement

The problem statement is supposed to be clear and vividly stipulate what is supposed to be addressed in the review. According to Konrad, Prasad & Pringle (2006), the writing of this section is difficult because the reviewer is supposed to determine the most important issues from the ones identified in the preliminary section. Some of the crucial areas that the learner should consider during the analysis of this section include the nature of the problem; discerning the symptoms of the issue from the real issue, the issues that require an immediate arrangement of the issues in terms of significance. Some of the factors that determine the significance of the case issues include profitability, customer satisfaction, and competitive advantage among others.

Case Data Analysis

Most researchers view case analysis as the most difficult aspect of case study review (Kohn, 1997, p. 5) Analysis of the case data involves the determination of the root cause of the problem, the relevant stakeholders to the situation, the opportunities and constraints specific to the situation, and the significance of the numbers used in the case study to the problem identified. Krippendorff (2004) points out that not all numbers may be useful for the analysis although learners should not overlook anything.

Generation of Alternatives

This review step involves the focus on the various ways in which case problems can be resolved. The student should ensure that the alternatives that they chose are realistic, cannot occur at the same time, decisions on the alternatives can be postponed if further information is required to be collected, and that the chosen alternative can be readily implemented despite the obstacles that may occur.

Decision Criteria and Evaluation of Criteria

Decision criteria define how one decides on an alternative that should be chosen. The decision criterion should be brief, measurable, and related to the problem statement (Krippendorff, 2004). The key decision criteria aid in the evaluation of alternatives by measuring the alternatives against each criterion and ranking them. The most common levels of outcome include best, worst, and most likely.


This review stage allows decision-making through the justification of the decision made. The recommended alternative should resolve the case problem. Hartley (2004) indicates that effective review of a case study requires the application of what one learned in each of the stipulated areas.


Case study review entails looking over the case study report after one has finished writing. Some of the case analysis tips include knowing the case well before starting the analysis, allocating ample time for writing a case study, being honest with the evaluations not letting the personal opinions and issues cloud the personal judgment, and being analytical and not descriptive. Kipling opines that one should criticize their work to ensure the coverage of all stages. The final review should be deviant of any grammatical errors and poor sentence structures


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