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What Is a Case Study?

When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.

Deep Dive into a Topic

At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.

As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.

Study a Pattern

One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.

Gather Evidence

During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.

Present Findings

As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.

Draw Conclusions

Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.


ghg protocol case study

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Background Information

In 2011, WRI/GHG Protocol partnered with Guangzhou Academy of Energy Testing and Inspection (GAETI) and Zhongshan Xiaolan Low Carbon Development Center to create a case study on citywide GHG inventory in the city of Xiaolan, China. Xiaolan is a medium-sized town located in Guangdong Province, southern China, and is one of China’s major industrial regions.

The inventory was conducted based on the GHG Protocol scope framework as well as the recently released draft Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GPC). The GPC, however, focuses only on scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. Xiaolan is one of the first cities in the world that has appliedthe GPC to its GHG inventory. This inventory is scheduled to be completed in Spring, 2012.

Using the inventory experience, GHG Protocol is developing a citywide GHG accounting tool for Chinese cities. The design of the calculation tool will be specifically customized to suit current data availability in China.The reporting format will be compatible with the GPC.

March 27, 2012: Experts and Officials Endorse Xiaolan Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report March 27,2011, ISC China

On March 27, 2012, USAID's US-China Partnership for Climate Action (PCA) program organized a peer review workshop to evaluate the Xiaolan greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory report, jointly prepared by the World Resources Institute, Institute for Sustainable Communities, and their local partners. The workshop was chaired by the mayor of Xiaolan, a county of 500,000 people, and co-chaired by the Director of Resource Conservation, Environmental Protection Division, Guangdong Province Development and Reform Commission (GD DRC). The inventory report provides a comprehensive baseline for carbon emissions in Xiaolan, and a basis for meaningful low-carbon planning initiatives going forward.

Five independent experts nominated by the GD DRC endorsed the report after a thorough review its methodologies, data, and results. They praised the PCA partners for a timely and rigorous report that addresses local planning needs, while fulfilling international requirements.

"Today is a historic day," said Lin Yaojun, the GD DRC Direcor. "Xiaolan is the first town in Guangdong Province - and in the nation - to create a first-class GHG emissions inventory, and has become a shining example... Xiaolan is a low carbon development trailblazer in Guangdong." He went on to note that the work lays a solid foundation for implementing low-carbon development work in Xiaolan and throughout the province, and urged other local governments in Guangdong to learn from this example. The report will be announced and shared publicly at a launch event in April, and the Mayor of Xiaolan committed to updating the inventory and report annually going forward.

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Voluntary Global Business Initiatives and the International Climate Negotiations: A Case Study of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol

ghg protocol case study

The past few years have witnessed the emergence of a plethora of transnational climate governance experiments. They have been developed by a broad range of actors, such as cities, non-profit organizations, and private corporations. Several scholars have lately devoted particular attention to voluntary global business initiatives in the policy domain of climate change. Their studies have provided considerable insights into the role and function of such new modes of climate governance. However, the precise nature of the relationship between the various climate governance experiments and the international climate negotiations has not been analyzed in enough detail. Against this backdrop, the present article explores the interplay of a business sector climate governance experiment, i.e. the  Greenhouse Gas Protocol  (GHG Protocol) with the international climate regime. On the one hand, the article underscores that the GHG Protocol has filled a regulatory gap in global climate policy-making by providing the means for the corporate sector to comprehensively account and report their GHGs. On the other hand, it reveals that the application of the GHG Protocol guidelines depends to a large extent on the existence of an overarching policy framework set up by nation-states at the intergovernmental level. Only if private companies receive a clear political signal that stringent mandatory GHG emission controls and a global market-based instrument are at least likely to be adopted will they put substantial efforts into the accurate measurement and management of their GHGs. Thus, this article points to the limits of climate governance experimentation and suggests that business sector climate governance experiments need to be embedded in a coherent international regulatory setting which generates a clear stimulus for corporate action.

The article is available here .

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Scope 3 GHG Protocols: Albert Bartlett case study

23 August 2023

In May 2022, WRAP published a set of Scope 3 GHG Measurement & Reporting Protocols to act as sector guidance for food and drink businesses, building on the GHG Protocol and other global standards.

17  Courtauld Signatories  from across the sector agreed to test the new materials in their business environment as part of a WRAP-led pilot programme and in this case study, we learn how  Albert Bartlett  approached the GHG Measurement & Reporting Protocols in its business.

Albert Bartlett has committed to being net zero by 2040, and to set Science Based Targets to achieve this.

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Tackling Scope 3 Measurement Challenges - Business case study: Albert-Bartlett

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