What is a case study?
A case study is a research method that uses real-life applications to see the result of the intended focus. This can substantiate a product, claim, or test something new. It is meant to be done without bias and to provide clear data to readers, whether the outcome is positive or negative. These are often done in the social science, medical, and scientific industries. An example of a case study could be how effective a certain medication is over time or how people react to social situations.
Where do I begin?
It can seem a bit overwhelming to begin. Not only are you going to be working with data sets and different participants, but you will also need to format the writing material in a way that your target audience will digest easily. Breaking your steps down into smaller chunks can make it more manageable and keep you on target.
Step one: What's your problem?
Identify the problem you are trying to solve. For example, you may identify the problem that many patients don’t have reliable or easy access to transportation, which may lead to a solution of selling an application that allows patients to have virtual visits safely and securely. You could also state the problem is that in-office visits aren’t advantageous for those who are contagious or have limited mobility. We naturally want to move towards a solution but start by clarifying the problem space. Build solutions around problems, not problems around solutions. Keep your audience in mind. Keep in mind who your audience is. What problem is your customer trying to learn more about or solve? What does your customer want to learn more about or need a solution to?
Step two: Make an outline
Establish why you want to do a case study, and what you want to concentrate on. What are a few key points you want to make? What methods would best identify the targeted problem, and how can you use that to prove your product can help? Even if your outline is in the first stages, set goal dates and break it up in a way that makes sense to you.
Step three: Write like a pro
Your case study needs to be written in a way that is competent, professional, and digestible. If you don’t feel your strong suit is in writing, hire someone to do this piece for you. Make sure all your identifiable problems, solutions, and examples are highlighted. If you have a poorly written case study, you may not find yourself selling as much of your product or have potential buyers questioning it.
If you’ve sold your product to others before, reaching out to them can be critical to a successful case study. Call those who have purchased your product and inform them you are completing a case study and would love to hear about what results they have had. This might be challenging but can give you valuable insight as to how your product is working and how other healthcare systems have seen benefits in real-time. Using this as leverage for your service not only shows that your product works successfully, but also establishes its practicality. If you don’t hear the best feedback, that’s OK too! Use that to your advantage to make your product more efficient.
Tips on writing
OK, so you’ve got your feedback and outline. You know the direction and primary focus of the case study. So now what?
If you are writing the case study yourself, there are some key tools and components to include for your case study. There are certain standards for writing a good case study and merging the correct format with your data can be challenging. You want to make sure you have an introduction, definitions, context of the study, alternative solutions, and the main event: why your product is a solution to the problem. Your case study should be convincing but use evidence to do the convincing. Your research should speak for itself. Some other tips include:
1. Use a friendly format
You want to stick to a format that is concise and easy to read. Using headers, bullet points, and quotations are all excellent ways to get your information across without it running together.
Research your citations. If you are citing something, you need it to be credible and unbiased. It shouldn’t be funded by anyone who falls into those categories, either. Case studies are meant to be strictly evidence-based.
3. Be transparent
In your case study you want to list any potential issues you may have had in your research or details that should be on their radar. This tells your reader you see the larger issues at hand and understand the complexity of the problem.
4. Analyze others
Look up similar case studies and assess what you like about them and what you feel isn’t a good fit. You can use this to help create your outline and gather some inspiration.
After you’ve written your case study, you’re ready for it to be seen! Boost your case study by posting about it on your website, in blogs, or among peers. Create a video on the results and make sure it gets seen by the leaders in your industry. You can even use it in your email signature or marketing that goes out to potential buyers.