How to write a case study — examples, templates, and tools

steps on how to write a case study

It’s a marketer’s job to communicate the effectiveness of a product or service to potential and current customers to convince them to buy and keep business moving. One of the best methods for doing this is to share success stories that are relatable to prospects and customers based on their pain points, experiences, and overall needs.

That’s where case studies come in. Case studies are an essential part of a content marketing plan. These in-depth stories of customer experiences are some of the most effective at demonstrating the value of a product or service. Yet many marketers don’t use them, whether because of their regimented formats or the process of customer involvement and approval.

A case study is a powerful tool for showcasing your hard work and the success your customer achieved. But writing a great case study can be difficult if you’ve never done it before or if it’s been a while. This guide will show you how to write an effective case study and provide real-world examples and templates that will keep readers engaged and support your business.

In this article, you’ll learn:

What is a case study?

How to write a case study, case study templates, case study examples, case study tools.

A case study is the detailed story of a customer’s experience with a product or service that demonstrates their success and often includes measurable outcomes. Case studies are used in a range of fields and for various reasons, from business to academic research. They’re especially impactful in marketing as brands work to convince and convert consumers with relatable, real-world stories of actual customer experiences.

The best case studies tell the story of a customer’s success, including the steps they took, the results they achieved, and the support they received from a brand along the way. To write a great case study, you need to:

  • Celebrate the customer and make them — not a product or service — the star of the story.
  • Craft the story with specific audiences or target segments in mind so that the story of one customer will be viewed as relatable and actionable for another customer.
  • Write copy that is easy to read and engaging so that readers will gain the insights and messages intended.
  • Follow a standardized format that includes all of the essentials a potential customer would find interesting and useful.
  • Support all of the claims for success made in the story with data in the forms of hard numbers and customer statements.

Case studies are a type of review but more in depth, aiming to show — rather than just tell — the positive experiences that customers have with a brand. Notably, 89% of consumers read reviews before deciding to buy, and 79% view case study content as part of their purchasing process. When it comes to B2B sales, 52% of buyers rank case studies as an important part of their evaluation process.

Telling a brand story through the experience of a tried-and-true customer matters. The story is relatable to potential new customers as they imagine themselves in the shoes of the company or individual featured in the case study. Showcasing previous customers can help new ones see themselves engaging with your brand in the ways that are most meaningful to them.

Besides sharing the perspective of another customer, case studies stand out from other content marketing forms because they are based on evidence. Whether pulling from client testimonials or data-driven results, case studies tend to have more impact on new business because the story contains information that is both objective (data) and subjective (customer experience) — and the brand doesn’t sound too self-promotional.

89% of consumers read reviews before buying, 79% view case studies, and 52% of B2B buyers prioritize case studies in the evaluation process.

Case studies are unique in that there’s a fairly standardized format for telling a customer’s story. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for creativity. It’s all about making sure that teams are clear on the goals for the case study — along with strategies for supporting content and channels — and understanding how the story fits within the framework of the company’s overall marketing goals.

Here are the basic steps to writing a good case study.

1. Identify your goal

Start by defining exactly who your case study will be designed to help. Case studies are about specific instances where a company works with a customer to achieve a goal. Identify which customers are likely to have these goals, as well as other needs the story should cover to appeal to them.

The answer is often found in one of the buyer personas that have been constructed as part of your larger marketing strategy. This can include anything from new leads generated by the marketing team to long-term customers that are being pressed for cross-sell opportunities. In all of these cases, demonstrating value through a relatable customer success story can be part of the solution to conversion.

2. Choose your client or subject

Who you highlight matters. Case studies tie brands together that might otherwise not cross paths. A writer will want to ensure that the highlighted customer aligns with their own company’s brand identity and offerings. Look for a customer with positive name recognition who has had great success with a product or service and is willing to be an advocate.

The client should also match up with the identified target audience. Whichever company or individual is selected should be a reflection of other potential customers who can see themselves in similar circumstances, having the same problems and possible solutions.

Some of the most compelling case studies feature customers who:

  • Switch from one product or service to another while naming competitors that missed the mark.
  • Experience measurable results that are relatable to others in a specific industry.
  • Represent well-known brands and recognizable names that are likely to compel action.
  • Advocate for a product or service as a champion and are well-versed in its advantages.

Whoever or whatever customer is selected, marketers must ensure they have the permission of the company involved before getting started. Some brands have strict review and approval procedures for any official marketing or promotional materials that include their name. Acquiring those approvals in advance will prevent any miscommunication or wasted effort if there is an issue with their legal or compliance teams.

3. Conduct research and compile data

Substantiating the claims made in a case study — either by the marketing team or customers themselves — adds validity to the story. To do this, include data and feedback from the client that defines what success looks like. This can be anything from demonstrating return on investment (ROI) to a specific metric the customer was striving to improve. Case studies should prove how an outcome was achieved and show tangible results that indicate to the customer that your solution is the right one.

This step could also include customer interviews. Make sure that the people being interviewed are key stakeholders in the purchase decision or deployment and use of the product or service that is being highlighted. Content writers should work off a set list of questions prepared in advance. It can be helpful to share these with the interviewees beforehand so they have time to consider and craft their responses. One of the best interview tactics to keep in mind is to ask questions where yes and no are not natural answers. This way, your subject will provide more open-ended responses that produce more meaningful content.

4. Choose the right format

There are a number of different ways to format a case study. Depending on what you hope to achieve, one style will be better than another. However, there are some common elements to include, such as:

  • An engaging headline
  • A subject and customer introduction
  • The unique challenge or challenges the customer faced
  • The solution the customer used to solve the problem
  • The results achieved
  • Data and statistics to back up claims of success
  • A strong call to action (CTA) to engage with the vendor

It’s also important to note that while case studies are traditionally written as stories, they don’t have to be in a written format. Some companies choose to get more creative with their case studies and produce multimedia content, depending on their audience and objectives. Case study formats can include traditional print stories, interactive web or social content, data-heavy infographics, professionally shot videos, podcasts, and more.

5. Write your case study

We’ll go into more detail later about how exactly to write a case study, including templates and examples. Generally speaking, though, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing your case study.

  • Be clear and concise. Readers want to get to the point of the story quickly and easily, and they’ll be looking to see themselves reflected in the story right from the start.
  • Provide a big picture. Always make sure to explain who the client is, their goals, and how they achieved success in a short introduction to engage the reader.
  • Construct a clear narrative. Stick to the story from the perspective of the customer and what they needed to solve instead of just listing product features or benefits.
  • Leverage graphics. Incorporating infographics, charts, and sidebars can be a more engaging and eye-catching way to share key statistics and data in readable ways.
  • Offer the right amount of detail. Most case studies are one or two pages with clear sections that a reader can skim to find the information most important to them.
  • Include data to support claims. Show real results — both facts and figures and customer quotes — to demonstrate credibility and prove the solution works.

6. Promote your story

Marketers have a number of options for distribution of a freshly minted case study. Many brands choose to publish case studies on their website and post them on social media. This can help support SEO and organic content strategies while also boosting company credibility and trust as visitors see that other businesses have used the product or service.

Marketers are always looking for quality content they can use for lead generation. Consider offering a case study as gated content behind a form on a landing page or as an offer in an email message. One great way to do this is to summarize the content and tease the full story available for download after the user takes an action.

Sales teams can also leverage case studies, so be sure they are aware that the assets exist once they’re published. Especially when it comes to larger B2B sales, companies often ask for examples of similar customer challenges that have been solved.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about case studies and what they should include, you may be wondering how to start creating great customer story content. Here are a couple of templates you can use to structure your case study.

Template 1 — Challenge-solution-result format

  • Start with an engaging title. This should be fewer than 70 characters long for SEO best practices. One of the best ways to approach the title is to include the customer’s name and a hint at the challenge they overcame in the end.
  • Create an introduction. Lead with an explanation as to who the customer is, the need they had, and the opportunity they found with a specific product or solution. Writers can also suggest the success the customer experienced with the solution they chose.
  • Present the challenge. This should be several paragraphs long and explain the problem the customer faced and the issues they were trying to solve. Details should tie into the company’s products and services naturally. This section needs to be the most relatable to the reader so they can picture themselves in a similar situation.
  • Share the solution. Explain which product or service offered was the ideal fit for the customer and why. Feel free to delve into their experience setting up, purchasing, and onboarding the solution.
  • Explain the results. Demonstrate the impact of the solution they chose by backing up their positive experience with data. Fill in with customer quotes and tangible, measurable results that show the effect of their choice.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that invites readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to nurture them further in the marketing pipeline. What you ask of the reader should tie directly into the goals that were established for the case study in the first place.

Template 2 — Data-driven format

  • Start with an engaging title. Be sure to include a statistic or data point in the first 70 characters. Again, it’s best to include the customer’s name as part of the title.
  • Create an overview. Share the customer’s background and a short version of the challenge they faced. Present the reason a particular product or service was chosen, and feel free to include quotes from the customer about their selection process.
  • Present data point 1. Isolate the first metric that the customer used to define success and explain how the product or solution helped to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 2. Isolate the second metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 3. Isolate the final metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Summarize the results. Reiterate the fact that the customer was able to achieve success thanks to a specific product or service. Include quotes and statements that reflect customer satisfaction and suggest they plan to continue using the solution.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that asks readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to further nurture them in the marketing pipeline. Again, remember that this is where marketers can look to convert their content into action with the customer.

While templates are helpful, seeing a case study in action can also be a great way to learn. Here are some examples of how Adobe customers have experienced success.

Juniper Networks

One example is the Adobe and Juniper Networks case study , which puts the reader in the customer’s shoes. The beginning of the story quickly orients the reader so that they know exactly who the article is about and what they were trying to achieve. Solutions are outlined in a way that shows Adobe Experience Manager is the best choice and a natural fit for the customer. Along the way, quotes from the client are incorporated to help add validity to the statements. The results in the case study are conveyed with clear evidence of scale and volume using tangible data.

A Lenovo case study showing statistics, a pull quote and featured headshot, the headline "The customer is king.," and Adobe product links.

The story of Lenovo’s journey with Adobe is one that spans years of planning, implementation, and rollout. The Lenovo case study does a great job of consolidating all of this into a relatable journey that other enterprise organizations can see themselves taking, despite the project size. This case study also features descriptive headers and compelling visual elements that engage the reader and strengthen the content.

Tata Consulting

When it comes to using data to show customer results, this case study does an excellent job of conveying details and numbers in an easy-to-digest manner. Bullet points at the start break up the content while also helping the reader understand exactly what the case study will be about. Tata Consulting used Adobe to deliver elevated, engaging content experiences for a large telecommunications client of its own — an objective that’s relatable for a lot of companies.

Case studies are a vital tool for any marketing team as they enable you to demonstrate the value of your company’s products and services to others. They help marketers do their job and add credibility to a brand trying to promote its solutions by using the experiences and stories of real customers.

When you’re ready to get started with a case study:

  • Think about a few goals you’d like to accomplish with your content.
  • Make a list of successful clients that would be strong candidates for a case study.
  • Reach out to the client to get their approval and conduct an interview.
  • Gather the data to present an engaging and effective customer story.

Adobe can help

There are several Adobe products that can help you craft compelling case studies. Adobe Experience Platform helps you collect data and deliver great customer experiences across every channel. Once you’ve created your case studies, Experience Platform will help you deliver the right information to the right customer at the right time for maximum impact.

To learn more, watch the Adobe Experience Platform story .

Keep in mind that the best case studies are backed by data. That’s where Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform and Adobe Analytics come into play. With Real-Time CDP, you can gather the data you need to build a great case study and target specific customers to deliver the content to the right audience at the perfect moment.

Watch the Real-Time CDP overview video to learn more.

Finally, Adobe Analytics turns real-time data into real-time insights. It helps your business collect and synthesize data from multiple platforms to make more informed decisions and create the best case study possible.

Request a demo to learn more about Adobe Analytics.

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  • Knowledge Base


  • What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on May 8, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 20, 2023.

A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organization, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research.

A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods , but quantitative methods are sometimes also used. Case studies are good for describing , comparing, evaluating and understanding different aspects of a research problem .

Table of contents

When to do a case study, step 1: select a case, step 2: build a theoretical framework, step 3: collect your data, step 4: describe and analyze the case, other interesting articles.

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. It allows you to explore the key characteristics, meanings, and implications of the case.

Case studies are often a good choice in a thesis or dissertation . They keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources to do large-scale research.

You might use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in depth, or conduct multiple case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

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steps on how to write a case study

Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions , you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to:

  • Provide new or unexpected insights into the subject
  • Challenge or complicate existing assumptions and theories
  • Propose practical courses of action to resolve a problem
  • Open up new directions for future research

TipIf your research is more practical in nature and aims to simultaneously investigate an issue as you solve it, consider conducting action research instead.

Unlike quantitative or experimental research , a strong case study does not require a random or representative sample. In fact, case studies often deliberately focus on unusual, neglected, or outlying cases which may shed new light on the research problem.

Example of an outlying case studyIn the 1960s the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania was discovered to have extremely low rates of heart disease compared to the US average. It became an important case study for understanding previously neglected causes of heart disease.

However, you can also choose a more common or representative case to exemplify a particular category, experience or phenomenon.

Example of a representative case studyIn the 1920s, two sociologists used Muncie, Indiana as a case study of a typical American city that supposedly exemplified the changing culture of the US at the time.

While case studies focus more on concrete details than general theories, they should usually have some connection with theory in the field. This way the case study is not just an isolated description, but is integrated into existing knowledge about the topic. It might aim to:

  • Exemplify a theory by showing how it explains the case under investigation
  • Expand on a theory by uncovering new concepts and ideas that need to be incorporated
  • Challenge a theory by exploring an outlier case that doesn’t fit with established assumptions

To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, you should conduct a literature review of sources related to the topic and develop a theoretical framework . This means identifying key concepts and theories to guide your analysis and interpretation.

There are many different research methods you can use to collect data on your subject. Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews , observations , and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data.

Example of a mixed methods case studyFor a case study of a wind farm development in a rural area, you could collect quantitative data on employment rates and business revenue, collect qualitative data on local people’s perceptions and experiences, and analyze local and national media coverage of the development.

The aim is to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of the case and its context.

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In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give as complete a picture as possible of the subject.

How you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard scientific paper or thesis , with separate sections or chapters for the methods , results and discussion .

Others are written in a more narrative style, aiming to explore the case from various angles and analyze its meanings and implications (for example, by using textual analysis or discourse analysis ).

In all cases, though, make sure to give contextual details about the case, connect it back to the literature and theory, and discuss how it fits into wider patterns or debates.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Degrees of freedom
  • Null hypothesis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Control groups
  • Mixed methods research
  • Non-probability sampling
  • Quantitative research
  • Ecological validity

Research bias

  • Rosenthal effect
  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Selection bias
  • Negativity bias
  • Status quo bias

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case study

How to Write a Case Study: Step-by-Step Guide with Examples

  • October 7, 2022

Written by Alexandra

Content Manager at SocialBee

Why is learning how to write a case study so important?

Well, because it provides your customers with social proof and supporting evidence of how effective your products and services are. Moreover, it eliminates the doubt that usually makes clients give up on their next purchase.

That is why today we are going to talk about the step-by-step process of writing a case study . We prepared five business case study examples guaranteed to inspire you throughout the process.

Let’s get started!

What Is a Case Study?

A case study is a piece of content that focuses on a case from your business history. It describes the problems your client faced and the solutions you used to help them succeed.

The goal of a writing case study is to promote your business , so your aim should be to put together a compelling story with evidence that backs up all your claims.

Case studies use real-life examples to show your clients the quality and effectiveness of your products and services. It’s a marketing tool that provides credibility and it helps your potential clients gain confidence in your brand.

Case studies can be structured in different formats:

  • A written document
  • An infographic
  • A blog post
  • A landing page

Case Study Benefits

A great case study makes your potential customers want to benefit from the products and services that helped your client overcome their challenges. 

Here are the benefits of writing a case study:

  • It is an affordable marketing practice
  • It decreases the perceived risk of your potential clients
  • It provides transparency
  • It builds trust and credibility among prospective customers
  • It makes your potential clients relate to the problem
  • It provides your potential clients with a solution for their problems

How to Write a Case Study

Now that you know what a case study is, let’s get into the real reason why you are here — learning how to write an in-depth study.

Here is the step-by-step process of writing a case study:

  • Identify the topic of your case study
  • Start collaborating with a client
  • Prepare questions for the interview
  • Conduct the case study interview
  • Structure your case study 
  • Make it visual

Step 1: Identify the Topic of Your Case Study

A case study starts with a strategy. Choosing what you want to write about should be closely related to your business needs. More specifically, what service or product do you want to promote through your case study?

Because case studies focus on client challenges, business solutions, and results, you have to carefully pick the case that your potential clients will relate to the most. 

To communicate the benefits of your business, you should focus on a customer story that appeals to a specific segment of your audience . Consequently, you will target clients that relate to your customer example while providing a solution for their needs and pain points — your products and services.

Start by focusing all your research methods on identifying your customers’ main pain points. Then find examples of how your products or services have helped them overcome their challenges and achieve their goals .

Furthermore, to make sure you choose the best case study topic for your buyer persona , you should have a meeting with your sales/customer service team. Because they are in close contact with your customers, they will be able to tell you:

  • The main challenges your clients face 
  • The services/products that bring them the best results 

These are the main two pieces of information you want your case study to focus on.

Step 2: Start Collaborating with a Client

With a clear topic in mind, you have to find the best fit for your case study. 

However, that is not all. First, you must obtain the client’s permission. After all, your business story is theirs too.

So, craft an email to provide your client with an overview of the case study. This will help them make a decision. 

Your message should include:

  • The case study format (video, written, etc.) and where it will be published (blog, landing page , etc.)
  • The topic of the document
  • The timeline of the process
  • The information that will be included
  • The benefits they get as a result of this collaboration (brand exposure, backlinks)

Additionally, you can offer to schedule a call or a meeting to answer all their questions and curiosities and provide a means for clear and open communication.

Once you receive a positive response from your client, you can continue with the next step of the process: the actual interview.

PRO TIP: A great way to ensure a smooth and safe collaboration between you and your client is to sign a legal release form before writing the case study. This will allow you to use their information and protect you from issues that may occur in the future. Moreover, if the client is not comfortable with revealing their identity, you can always offer them anonymity.

Step 3: Prepare Questions for the Interview

Now that you have the subject for your case study, it’s time to write and organize your interview in several sets of questions.

Don’t forget that the whole structure of your case study is based on the information you get from your customer interview.

So pay attention to the way you phrase the questions. After all, your goal is to gather all the data you need to avoid creating a back-and-forth process that will consume your client’s time and energy.

To help you create the best questionnaire, we created a set of case study questions and organized them into different categories. 

Here are the five main sections your case study interview should contain:

  • The client’s background information
  • The problem
  • The start of the collaboration
  • The solution
  • The results

A. The Client’s Background Information

This part of the case study interview must give a comprehensive look into your customer’s business and allow your readers to get to know them better.

Here are some question ideas:

B. The Problem

Now it’s time to get into the reason your client came to you for assistance, the initial challenge that triggered your collaboration.

In this part of the interview process, you want to find out what made them ask for help and what was their situation before working with you.

You can ask your client the following case study questions:

C. The Start of the Collaboration

This part of the case study interview will focus on the process that made your collaboration possible. More specifically, how did your client research possible collaboration opportunities, and why they chose your business? 

This information will not only be informative for your future customers but will also give you a behind-the-scenes look into their decision-making process.

D. The Solution

It’s time to get into one of the most significant parts of the case study interview — the solution. Here you should discuss how your services have helped their business recover from the problems mentioned before.

Make sure you ask the right questions so you can really paint the picture of a satisfied customer.

Have a look at these question examples:

E. The Results

The best proof you can give to your customers is through your results. And this is the perfect opportunity to let your actions speak for themselves.

Unlike the other marketing strategies you use to promote your business, the content is provided by your customer, not by your team. As a result, you end up with a project that is on another level of reliability.

Here is how you can ask your client about their results:

Step 4: Conduct the Case Study Interview

Now that you have a great set of case study questions, it’s time to put them to good use.

Decide on the type of interview you want to conduct: face-to-face, video call , or phone call. Then, consult with your client and set up a date and a time when you are both available. 

It should be noted that during the interview it’s best to use a recording device for accuracy. Maybe you don’t have time to write down all the information, and you forget important details. Or maybe you want to be focused more on the conversational aspect of the interview, and you don’t want to write anything down while it’s happening.

Step 5: Structure Your Case Study 

The hard part is over. Now it’s time to organize all the information you gathered in an appealing format. Let’s have a look at what your case study should contain.

Here are the components of a case study:

  • Engaging title
  • Executive summary
  • Client description 
  • Introduction to the problem
  • The problem-solving process
  • Progress and results

A. Engaging Title

Putting that much work into a project, it would be a shame not to do your best to attract more readers. So, take into consideration that you only have a few seconds to catch your audience’s attention. 

You can also use a headline analyzer to evaluate the performance of your title.

The best case study titles contain:

  • Relevant keywords
  • Customer pain points
  • Clear result

Case study example :

steps on how to write a case study

B. Executive Summary

Your executive summary should include a thesis statement that sums up the main points of your case study. Therefore, it must be clear and concise. Moreover, to make your audience curious, you can add a statistic or a relevant piece of data that they might be interested in.

Here is what you should include in your executive summary:

  • The business you are writing about (only if the clients wants to make themselves known)
  • Relevant statistics

steps on how to write a case study

C. Client Description 

Here is where you start to include the information you gained from your interview. Provide your readers with a clear picture of your client and create a context for your case study.

Take your client’s answers from the “Client Background” section of the interview and present them in a more appealing format.

steps on how to write a case study

D. Introduction to the Problem

In this section, use your client’s interview answers to write about the problem they were experiencing before working with you.

Remember to be specific because you want your audience to fully understand the situation and relate to it. At the end of the day, the goal of the case study is to show your potential customers why they should buy your services/products.

steps on how to write a case study

E. The Problem-Solving Process

Next, explain how your service/product helped your client overcome their problems. Moreover, let your readers know how and why your service/product worked in their case.

In this part of the case study, you should summarize: 

  • The strategy used to solve the problem of your customer 
  • The process of implementing the solution 

steps on how to write a case study

F. Progress and Results

Tell your readers about what you and your client have achieved during your collaboration. Here you can include:

  • Graphics about your progress
  • Business objectives they have achieved
  • Relevant metrics 

steps on how to write a case study

Step 6: Make It Visual

To elevate the information you have written for your audience, you must make sure it’s appealing and easy to read. And a great way to achieve that is to use visuals that add value to your case study.

Here are some design elements that will make emphasize your text:

  • Graphic symbols that guide the eye (arrows, bullet points, checkmarks, etc.)
  • Charts, graphics, tables 
  • Relevant screenshots from business reports
  • The colors and fonts of your brand
  • Your client’s logo

Platforms like Canva can really come in handy while designing your case study. It’s easy to use and it has multiple free slide templates and graphics that save you time and money.

PRO TIP: Share Your Case Study Across All Marketing Channels

A case study is a perfect example of evergreen content that can be reshared endlessly on your social media channels .

Aside from helping you maintain a consistent posting schedule with ease, case study-related posts will increase your credibility and push leads toward the bottom of your marketing funnel . Other examples of social proof evergreen content are reviews, testimonials, and positive social media mentions.

To keep track of all your evergreen posts and have them scheduled on a continuous loop, use a social media tool like SocialBee.

SocialBee posting schedule

Create evergreen content categories where all your posts get reposted regularly on your social media channels. 

Start your 14-day trial today and start using SocialBee for free!

Aside from promoting your case study on social media, you can also feature it in your newsletter that you can create using email newsletter software , include it as a pop-up on your website, and even create a separate landing page dedicated to your customer study.

SocialBee blog CTA box visual

Share Your Case Study on Social Media with SocialBee!

Get to writing your own case study.

What do you think? Is writing a case study easier than you thought? We sure hope so.

Learning how to write a case study is a simple process once you understand the logical steps that go into it. So make sure you go over the guide a couple of times before you start documenting your customer success stories.

And remember that the goal of your case study is to attract more leads . Therefore you need to include tangible results and valuable details that will compel your audience to invest in your products and services.

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steps on how to write a case study

All You Wanted to Know About How to Write a Case Study

steps on how to write a case study

What do you study in your college? If you are a psychology, sociology, or anthropology student, we bet you might be familiar with what a case study is. This research method is used to study a certain person, group, or situation. In this guide from our dissertation writing service , you will learn how to write a case study professionally, from researching to citing sources properly. Also, we will explore different types of case studies and show you examples — so that you won’t have any other questions left.

What Is a Case Study?

A case study is a subcategory of research design which investigates problems and offers solutions. Case studies can range from academic research studies to corporate promotional tools trying to sell an idea—their scope is quite vast.

What Is the Difference Between a Research Paper and a Case Study?

While research papers turn the reader’s attention to a certain problem, case studies go even further. Case study guidelines require students to pay attention to details, examining issues closely and in-depth using different research methods. For example, case studies may be used to examine court cases if you study Law, or a patient's health history if you study Medicine. Case studies are also used in Marketing, which are thorough, empirically supported analysis of a good or service's performance. Well-designed case studies can be valuable for prospective customers as they can identify and solve the potential customers pain point.

Case studies involve a lot of storytelling – they usually examine particular cases for a person or a group of people. This method of research is very helpful, as it is very practical and can give a lot of hands-on information. Most commonly, the length of the case study is about 500-900 words, which is much less than the length of an average research paper.

The structure of a case study is very similar to storytelling. It has a protagonist or main character, which in your case is actually a problem you are trying to solve. You can use the system of 3 Acts to make it a compelling story. It should have an introduction, rising action, a climax where transformation occurs, falling action, and a solution.

Here is a rough formula for you to use in your case study:

Problem (Act I): > Solution (Act II) > Result (Act III) > Conclusion.

Types of Case Studies

The purpose of a case study is to provide detailed reports on an event, an institution, a place, future customers, or pretty much anything. There are a few common types of case study, but the type depends on the topic. The following are the most common domains where case studies are needed:

Types of Case Studies

  • Historical case studies are great to learn from. Historical events have a multitude of source info offering different perspectives. There are always modern parallels where these perspectives can be applied, compared, and thoroughly analyzed.
  • Problem-oriented case studies are usually used for solving problems. These are often assigned as theoretical situations where you need to immerse yourself in the situation to examine it. Imagine you’re working for a startup and you’ve just noticed a significant flaw in your product’s design. Before taking it to the senior manager, you want to do a comprehensive study on the issue and provide solutions. On a greater scale, problem-oriented case studies are a vital part of relevant socio-economic discussions.
  • Cumulative case studies collect information and offer comparisons. In business, case studies are often used to tell people about the value of a product.
  • Critical case studies explore the causes and effects of a certain case.
  • Illustrative case studies describe certain events, investigating outcomes and lessons learned.

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Case Study Format

The case study format is typically made up of eight parts:

  • Executive Summary. Explain what you will examine in the case study. Write an overview of the field you’re researching. Make a thesis statement and sum up the results of your observation in a maximum of 2 sentences.
  • Background. Provide background information and the most relevant facts. Isolate the issues.
  • Case Evaluation. Isolate the sections of the study you want to focus on. In it, explain why something is working or is not working.
  • Proposed Solutions. Offer realistic ways to solve what isn’t working or how to improve its current condition. Explain why these solutions work by offering testable evidence.
  • Conclusion. Summarize the main points from the case evaluations and proposed solutions. 6. Recommendations. Talk about the strategy that you should choose. Explain why this choice is the most appropriate.
  • Implementation. Explain how to put the specific strategies into action.
  • References. Provide all the citations.

How to Write a Case Study

Let's discover how to write a case study.

How to Write a Case Study

Setting Up the Research

When writing a case study, remember that research should always come first. Reading many different sources and analyzing other points of view will help you come up with more creative solutions. You can also conduct an actual interview to thoroughly investigate the customer story that you'll need for your case study. Including all of the necessary research, writing a case study may take some time. The research process involves doing the following:

  • Define your objective. Explain the reason why you’re presenting your subject. Figure out where you will feature your case study; whether it is written, on video, shown as an infographic, streamed as a podcast, etc.
  • Determine who will be the right candidate for your case study. Get permission, quotes, and other features that will make your case study effective. Get in touch with your candidate to see if they approve of being part of your work. Study that candidate’s situation and note down what caused it.
  • Identify which various consequences could result from the situation. Follow these guidelines on how to start a case study: surf the net to find some general information you might find useful.
  • Make a list of credible sources and examine them. Seek out important facts and highlight problems. Always write down your ideas and make sure to brainstorm.
  • Focus on several key issues – why they exist, and how they impact your research subject. Think of several unique solutions. Draw from class discussions, readings, and personal experience. When writing a case study, focus on the best solution and explore it in depth. After having all your research in place, writing a case study will be easy. You may first want to check the rubric and criteria of your assignment for the correct case study structure.


Although your instructor might be looking at slightly different criteria, every case study rubric essentially has the same standards. Your professor will want you to exhibit 8 different outcomes:

  • Correctly identify the concepts, theories, and practices in the discipline.
  • Identify the relevant theories and principles associated with the particular study.
  • Evaluate legal and ethical principles and apply them to your decision-making.
  • Recognize the global importance and contribution of your case.
  • Construct a coherent summary and explanation of the study.
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical-thinking skills.
  • Explain the interrelationships between the environment and nature.
  • Integrate theory and practice of the discipline within the analysis.

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Case Study Outline

Let's look at the structure of an outline based on the issue of the alcoholic addiction of 30 people.


  • Statement of the issue: Alcoholism is a disease rather than a weakness of character.
  • Presentation of the problem: Alcoholism is affecting more than 14 million people in the USA, which makes it the third most common mental illness there.
  • Explanation of the terms: In the past, alcoholism was commonly referred to as alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is now the more severe stage of this addiction in the disorder spectrum.
  • Hypotheses: Drinking in excess can lead to the use of other drugs.
  • Importance of your story: How the information you present can help people with their addictions.
  • Background of the story: Include an explanation of why you chose this topic.
  • Presentation of analysis and data: Describe the criteria for choosing 30 candidates, the structure of the interview, and the outcomes.
  • Strong argument 1: ex. X% of candidates dealing with anxiety and depression...
  • Strong argument 2: ex. X amount of people started drinking by their mid-teens.
  • Strong argument 3: ex. X% of respondents’ parents had issues with alcohol.
  • Concluding statement: I have researched if alcoholism is a disease and found out that…
  • Recommendations: Ways and actions for preventing alcohol use.

Writing a Case Study Draft

After you’ve done your case study research and written the outline, it’s time to focus on the draft. In a draft, you have to develop and write your case study by using: the data which you collected throughout the research, interviews, and the analysis processes that were undertaken. Follow these rules for the draft:

How to Write a Case Study

  • Your draft should contain at least 4 sections: an introduction; a body where you should include background information, an explanation of why you decided to do this case study, and a presentation of your main findings; a conclusion where you present data; and references.
  • In the introduction, you should set the pace very clearly. You can even raise a question or quote someone you interviewed in the research phase. It must provide adequate background information on the topic. The background may include analyses of previous studies on your topic. Include the aim of your case here as well. Think of it as a thesis statement. The aim must describe the purpose of your work—presenting the issues that you want to tackle. Include background information, such as photos or videos you used when doing the research.
  • Describe your unique research process, whether it was through interviews, observations, academic journals, etc. The next point includes providing the results of your research. Tell the audience what you found out. Why is this important, and what could be learned from it? Discuss the real implications of the problem and its significance in the world.
  • Include quotes and data (such as findings, percentages, and awards). This will add a personal touch and better credibility to the case you present. Explain what results you find during your interviews in regards to the problem and how it developed. Also, write about solutions which have already been proposed by other people who have already written about this case.
  • At the end of your case study, you should offer possible solutions, but don’t worry about solving them yourself.

Use Data to Illustrate Key Points in Your Case Study

Even though your case study is a story, it should be based on evidence. Use as much data as possible to illustrate your point. Without the right data, your case study may appear weak and the readers may not be able to relate to your issue as much as they should. Let's see the examples from essay writing service :

‍ With data: Alcoholism is affecting more than 14 million people in the USA, which makes it the third most common mental illness there. Without data: A lot of people suffer from alcoholism in the United States.

Try to include as many credible sources as possible. You may have terms or sources that could be hard for other cultures to understand. If this is the case, you should include them in the appendix or Notes for the Instructor or Professor.

Finalizing the Draft: Checklist

After you finish drafting your case study, polish it up by answering these ‘ask yourself’ questions and think about how to end your case study:

  • Check that you follow the correct case study format, also in regards to text formatting.
  • Check that your work is consistent with its referencing and citation style.
  • Micro-editing — check for grammar and spelling issues.
  • Macro-editing — does ‘the big picture’ come across to the reader? Is there enough raw data, such as real-life examples or personal experiences? Have you made your data collection process completely transparent? Does your analysis provide a clear conclusion, allowing for further research and practice?

Problems to avoid:

  • Overgeneralization – Do not go into further research that deviates from the main problem.
  • Failure to Document Limitations – Just as you have to clearly state the limitations of a general research study, you must describe the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis.
  • Failure to Extrapolate All Possible Implications – Just as you don't want to over-generalize from your case study findings, you also have to be thorough in the consideration of all possible outcomes or recommendations derived from your findings.

How to Create a Title Page and Cite a Case Study

Let's see how to create an awesome title page.

Your title page depends on the prescribed citation format. The title page should include:

  • A title that attracts some attention and describes your study
  • The title should have the words “case study” in it
  • The title should range between 5-9 words in length
  • Your name and contact information
  • Your finished paper should be only 500 to 1,500 words in length. With this type of assignment, write effectively and avoid fluff.

Here is a template for the APA and MLA format title page:

There are some cases when you need to cite someone else's study in your own one – therefore, you need to master how to cite a case study. A case study is like a research paper when it comes to citations. You can cite it like you cite a book, depending on what style you need.

Citation Example in MLA ‍ Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing, 2008. Print.
Citation Example in APA ‍ Hill, L., Khanna, T., & Stecker, E. A. (2008). HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing.
Citation Example in Chicago Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies.

Case Study Examples

To give you an idea of a professional case study example, we gathered and linked some below.

Eastman Kodak Case Study

Case Study Example: Audi Trains Mexican Autoworkers in Germany

To conclude, a case study is one of the best methods of getting an overview of what happened to a person, a group, or a situation in practice. It allows you to have an in-depth glance at the real-life problems that businesses, healthcare industry, criminal justice, etc. may face. This insight helps us look at such situations in a different light. This is because we see scenarios that we otherwise would not, without necessarily being there. If you need custom essays , try our research paper writing services .

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Crafting a case study is not easy. You might want to write one of high quality, but you don’t have the time or expertise. If you’re having trouble with your case study, help with essay request - we'll help. EssayPro writers have read and written countless case studies and are experts in endless disciplines. Request essay writing, editing, or proofreading assistance from our custom case study writing service , and all of your worries will be gone.

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A case study research paper examines a person, place, event, condition, phenomenon, or other type of subject of analysis in order to extrapolate  key themes and results that help predict future trends, illuminate previously hidden issues that can be applied to practice, and/or provide a means for understanding an important research problem with greater clarity. A case study research paper usually examines a single subject of analysis, but case study papers can also be designed as a comparative investigation that shows relationships between two or more subjects. The methods used to study a case can rest within a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method investigative paradigm.

Case Studies. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010 ; “What is a Case Study?” In Swanborn, Peter G. Case Study Research: What, Why and How? London: SAGE, 2010.

How to Approach Writing a Case Study Research Paper

General information about how to choose a topic to investigate can be found under the " Choosing a Research Problem " tab in the Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper writing guide. Review this page because it may help you identify a subject of analysis that can be investigated using a case study design.

However, identifying a case to investigate involves more than choosing the research problem . A case study encompasses a problem contextualized around the application of in-depth analysis, interpretation, and discussion, often resulting in specific recommendations for action or for improving existing conditions. As Seawright and Gerring note, practical considerations such as time and access to information can influence case selection, but these issues should not be the sole factors used in describing the methodological justification for identifying a particular case to study. Given this, selecting a case includes considering the following:

  • The case represents an unusual or atypical example of a research problem that requires more in-depth analysis? Cases often represent a topic that rests on the fringes of prior investigations because the case may provide new ways of understanding the research problem. For example, if the research problem is to identify strategies to improve policies that support girl's access to secondary education in predominantly Muslim nations, you could consider using Azerbaijan as a case study rather than selecting a more obvious nation in the Middle East. Doing so may reveal important new insights into recommending how governments in other predominantly Muslim nations can formulate policies that support improved access to education for girls.
  • The case provides important insight or illuminate a previously hidden problem? In-depth analysis of a case can be based on the hypothesis that the case study will reveal trends or issues that have not been exposed in prior research or will reveal new and important implications for practice. For example, anecdotal evidence may suggest drug use among homeless veterans is related to their patterns of travel throughout the day. Assuming prior studies have not looked at individual travel choices as a way to study access to illicit drug use, a case study that observes a homeless veteran could reveal how issues of personal mobility choices facilitate regular access to illicit drugs. Note that it is important to conduct a thorough literature review to ensure that your assumption about the need to reveal new insights or previously hidden problems is valid and evidence-based.
  • The case challenges and offers a counter-point to prevailing assumptions? Over time, research on any given topic can fall into a trap of developing assumptions based on outdated studies that are still applied to new or changing conditions or the idea that something should simply be accepted as "common sense," even though the issue has not been thoroughly tested in current practice. A case study analysis may offer an opportunity to gather evidence that challenges prevailing assumptions about a research problem and provide a new set of recommendations applied to practice that have not been tested previously. For example, perhaps there has been a long practice among scholars to apply a particular theory in explaining the relationship between two subjects of analysis. Your case could challenge this assumption by applying an innovative theoretical framework [perhaps borrowed from another discipline] to explore whether this approach offers new ways of understanding the research problem. Taking a contrarian stance is one of the most important ways that new knowledge and understanding develops from existing literature.
  • The case provides an opportunity to pursue action leading to the resolution of a problem? Another way to think about choosing a case to study is to consider how the results from investigating a particular case may result in findings that reveal ways in which to resolve an existing or emerging problem. For example, studying the case of an unforeseen incident, such as a fatal accident at a railroad crossing, can reveal hidden issues that could be applied to preventative measures that contribute to reducing the chance of accidents in the future. In this example, a case study investigating the accident could lead to a better understanding of where to strategically locate additional signals at other railroad crossings so as to better warn drivers of an approaching train, particularly when visibility is hindered by heavy rain, fog, or at night.
  • The case offers a new direction in future research? A case study can be used as a tool for an exploratory investigation that highlights the need for further research about the problem. A case can be used when there are few studies that help predict an outcome or that establish a clear understanding about how best to proceed in addressing a problem. For example, after conducting a thorough literature review [very important!], you discover that little research exists showing the ways in which women contribute to promoting water conservation in rural communities of east central Africa. A case study of how women contribute to saving water in a rural village of Uganda can lay the foundation for understanding the need for more thorough research that documents how women in their roles as cooks and family caregivers think about water as a valuable resource within their community. This example of a case study could also point to the need for scholars to build new theoretical frameworks around the topic [e.g., applying feminist theories of work and family to the issue of water conservation].

Eisenhardt, Kathleen M. “Building Theories from Case Study Research.” Academy of Management Review 14 (October 1989): 532-550; Emmel, Nick. Sampling and Choosing Cases in Qualitative Research: A Realist Approach . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2013; Gerring, John. “What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good for?” American Political Science Review 98 (May 2004): 341-354; Mills, Albert J. , Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Seawright, Jason and John Gerring. "Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research." Political Research Quarterly 61 (June 2008): 294-308.

Structure and Writing Style

The purpose of a paper in the social sciences designed around a case study is to thoroughly investigate a subject of analysis in order to reveal a new understanding about the research problem and, in so doing, contributing new knowledge to what is already known from previous studies. In applied social sciences disciplines [e.g., education, social work, public administration, etc.], case studies may also be used to reveal best practices, highlight key programs, or investigate interesting aspects of professional work.

In general, the structure of a case study research paper is not all that different from a standard college-level research paper. However, there are subtle differences you should be aware of. Here are the key elements to organizing and writing a case study research paper.

I.  Introduction

As with any research paper, your introduction should serve as a roadmap for your readers to ascertain the scope and purpose of your study . The introduction to a case study research paper, however, should not only describe the research problem and its significance, but you should also succinctly describe why the case is being used and how it relates to addressing the problem. The two elements should be linked. With this in mind, a good introduction answers these four questions:

  • What is being studied? Describe the research problem and describe the subject of analysis [the case] you have chosen to address the problem. Explain how they are linked and what elements of the case will help to expand knowledge and understanding about the problem.
  • Why is this topic important to investigate? Describe the significance of the research problem and state why a case study design and the subject of analysis that the paper is designed around is appropriate in addressing the problem.
  • What did we know about this topic before I did this study? Provide background that helps lead the reader into the more in-depth literature review to follow. If applicable, summarize prior case study research applied to the research problem and why it fails to adequately address the problem. Describe why your case will be useful. If no prior case studies have been used to address the research problem, explain why you have selected this subject of analysis.
  • How will this study advance new knowledge or new ways of understanding? Explain why your case study will be suitable in helping to expand knowledge and understanding about the research problem.

Each of these questions should be addressed in no more than a few paragraphs. Exceptions to this can be when you are addressing a complex research problem or subject of analysis that requires more in-depth background information.

II.  Literature Review

The literature review for a case study research paper is generally structured the same as it is for any college-level research paper. The difference, however, is that the literature review is focused on providing background information and  enabling historical interpretation of the subject of analysis in relation to the research problem the case is intended to address . This includes synthesizing studies that help to:

  • Place relevant works in the context of their contribution to understanding the case study being investigated . This would involve summarizing studies that have used a similar subject of analysis to investigate the research problem. If there is literature using the same or a very similar case to study, you need to explain why duplicating past research is important [e.g., conditions have changed; prior studies were conducted long ago, etc.].
  • Describe the relationship each work has to the others under consideration that informs the reader why this case is applicable . Your literature review should include a description of any works that support using the case to investigate the research problem and the underlying research questions.
  • Identify new ways to interpret prior research using the case study . If applicable, review any research that has examined the research problem using a different research design. Explain how your use of a case study design may reveal new knowledge or a new perspective or that can redirect research in an important new direction.
  • Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies . This refers to synthesizing any literature that points to unresolved issues of concern about the research problem and describing how the subject of analysis that forms the case study can help resolve these existing contradictions.
  • Point the way in fulfilling a need for additional research . Your review should examine any literature that lays a foundation for understanding why your case study design and the subject of analysis around which you have designed your study may reveal a new way of approaching the research problem or offer a perspective that points to the need for additional research.
  • Expose any gaps that exist in the literature that the case study could help to fill . Summarize any literature that not only shows how your subject of analysis contributes to understanding the research problem, but how your case contributes to a new way of understanding the problem that prior research has failed to do.
  • Locate your own research within the context of existing literature [very important!] . Collectively, your literature review should always place your case study within the larger domain of prior research about the problem. The overarching purpose of reviewing pertinent literature in a case study paper is to demonstrate that you have thoroughly identified and synthesized prior studies in relation to explaining the relevance of the case in addressing the research problem.

III.  Method

In this section, you explain why you selected a particular case [i.e., subject of analysis] and the strategy you used to identify and ultimately decide that your case was appropriate in addressing the research problem. The way you describe the methods used varies depending on the type of subject of analysis that constitutes your case study.

If your subject of analysis is an incident or event . In the social and behavioral sciences, the event or incident that represents the case to be studied is usually bounded by time and place, with a clear beginning and end and with an identifiable location or position relative to its surroundings. The subject of analysis can be a rare or critical event or it can focus on a typical or regular event. The purpose of studying a rare event is to illuminate new ways of thinking about the broader research problem or to test a hypothesis. Critical incident case studies must describe the method by which you identified the event and explain the process by which you determined the validity of this case to inform broader perspectives about the research problem or to reveal new findings. However, the event does not have to be a rare or uniquely significant to support new thinking about the research problem or to challenge an existing hypothesis. For example, Walo, Bull, and Breen conducted a case study to identify and evaluate the direct and indirect economic benefits and costs of a local sports event in the City of Lismore, New South Wales, Australia. The purpose of their study was to provide new insights from measuring the impact of a typical local sports event that prior studies could not measure well because they focused on large "mega-events." Whether the event is rare or not, the methods section should include an explanation of the following characteristics of the event: a) when did it take place; b) what were the underlying circumstances leading to the event; and, c) what were the consequences of the event in relation to the research problem.

If your subject of analysis is a person. Explain why you selected this particular individual to be studied and describe what experiences they have had that provide an opportunity to advance new understandings about the research problem. Mention any background about this person which might help the reader understand the significance of their experiences that make them worthy of study. This includes describing the relationships this person has had with other people, institutions, and/or events that support using them as the subject for a case study research paper. It is particularly important to differentiate the person as the subject of analysis from others and to succinctly explain how the person relates to examining the research problem [e.g., why is one politician in a particular local election used to show an increase in voter turnout from any other candidate running in the election]. Note that these issues apply to a specific group of people used as a case study unit of analysis [e.g., a classroom of students].

If your subject of analysis is a place. In general, a case study that investigates a place suggests a subject of analysis that is unique or special in some way and that this uniqueness can be used to build new understanding or knowledge about the research problem. A case study of a place must not only describe its various attributes relevant to the research problem [e.g., physical, social, historical, cultural, economic, political], but you must state the method by which you determined that this place will illuminate new understandings about the research problem. It is also important to articulate why a particular place as the case for study is being used if similar places also exist [i.e., if you are studying patterns of homeless encampments of veterans in open spaces, explain why you are studying Echo Park in Los Angeles rather than Griffith Park?]. If applicable, describe what type of human activity involving this place makes it a good choice to study [e.g., prior research suggests Echo Park has more homeless veterans].

If your subject of analysis is a phenomenon. A phenomenon refers to a fact, occurrence, or circumstance that can be studied or observed but with the cause or explanation to be in question. In this sense, a phenomenon that forms your subject of analysis can encompass anything that can be observed or presumed to exist but is not fully understood. In the social and behavioral sciences, the case usually focuses on human interaction within a complex physical, social, economic, cultural, or political system. For example, the phenomenon could be the observation that many vehicles used by ISIS fighters are small trucks with English language advertisements on them. The research problem could be that ISIS fighters are difficult to combat because they are highly mobile. The research questions could be how and by what means are these vehicles used by ISIS being supplied to the militants and how might supply lines to these vehicles be cut off? How might knowing the suppliers of these trucks reveal larger networks of collaborators and financial support? A case study of a phenomenon most often encompasses an in-depth analysis of a cause and effect that is grounded in an interactive relationship between people and their environment in some way.

NOTE:   The choice of the case or set of cases to study cannot appear random. Evidence that supports the method by which you identified and chose your subject of analysis should clearly support investigation of the research problem and linked to key findings from your literature review. Be sure to cite any studies that helped you determine that the case you chose was appropriate for examining the problem.

IV.  Discussion

The main elements of your discussion section are generally the same as any research paper, but centered around interpreting and drawing conclusions about the key findings from your analysis of the case study. Note that a general social sciences research paper may contain a separate section to report findings. However, in a paper designed around a case study, it is common to combine a description of the results with the discussion about their implications. The objectives of your discussion section should include the following:

Reiterate the Research Problem/State the Major Findings Briefly reiterate the research problem you are investigating and explain why the subject of analysis around which you designed the case study were used. You should then describe the findings revealed from your study of the case using direct, declarative, and succinct proclamation of the study results. Highlight any findings that were unexpected or especially profound.

Explain the Meaning of the Findings and Why They are Important Systematically explain the meaning of your case study findings and why you believe they are important. Begin this part of the section by repeating what you consider to be your most important or surprising finding first, then systematically review each finding. Be sure to thoroughly extrapolate what your analysis of the case can tell the reader about situations or conditions beyond the actual case that was studied while, at the same time, being careful not to misconstrue or conflate a finding that undermines the external validity of your conclusions.

Relate the Findings to Similar Studies No study in the social sciences is so novel or possesses such a restricted focus that it has absolutely no relation to previously published research. The discussion section should relate your case study results to those found in other studies, particularly if questions raised from prior studies served as the motivation for choosing your subject of analysis. This is important because comparing and contrasting the findings of other studies helps support the overall importance of your results and it highlights how and in what ways your case study design and the subject of analysis differs from prior research about the topic.

Consider Alternative Explanations of the Findings Remember that the purpose of social science research is to discover and not to prove. When writing the discussion section, you should carefully consider all possible explanations revealed by the case study results, rather than just those that fit your hypothesis or prior assumptions and biases. Be alert to what the in-depth analysis of the case may reveal about the research problem, including offering a contrarian perspective to what scholars have stated in prior research if that is how the findings can be interpreted from your case.

Acknowledge the Study's Limitations You can state the study's limitations in the conclusion section of your paper but describing the limitations of your subject of analysis in the discussion section provides an opportunity to identify the limitations and explain why they are not significant. This part of the discussion section should also note any unanswered questions or issues your case study could not address. More detailed information about how to document any limitations to your research can be found here .

Suggest Areas for Further Research Although your case study may offer important insights about the research problem, there are likely additional questions related to the problem that remain unanswered or findings that unexpectedly revealed themselves as a result of your in-depth analysis of the case. Be sure that the recommendations for further research are linked to the research problem and that you explain why your recommendations are valid in other contexts and based on the original assumptions of your study.

V.  Conclusion

As with any research paper, you should summarize your conclusion in clear, simple language; emphasize how the findings from your case study differs from or supports prior research and why. Do not simply reiterate the discussion section. Provide a synthesis of key findings presented in the paper to show how these converge to address the research problem. If you haven't already done so in the discussion section, be sure to document the limitations of your case study and any need for further research.

The function of your paper's conclusion is to: 1) reiterate the main argument supported by the findings from your case study; 2) state clearly the context, background, and necessity of pursuing the research problem using a case study design in relation to an issue, controversy, or a gap found from reviewing the literature; and, 3) provide a place to persuasively and succinctly restate the significance of your research problem, given that the reader has now been presented with in-depth information about the topic.

Consider the following points to help ensure your conclusion is appropriate:

  • If the argument or purpose of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize these points for your reader.
  • If prior to your conclusion, you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the conclusion of your paper to describe your main points and explain their significance.
  • Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration of the case study's findings that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction or within a new context that emerges from your case study findings.

Note that, depending on the discipline you are writing in or the preferences of your professor, the concluding paragraph may contain your final reflections on the evidence presented as it applies to practice or on the essay's central research problem. However, the nature of being introspective about the subject of analysis you have investigated will depend on whether you are explicitly asked to express your observations in this way.

Problems to Avoid

Overgeneralization One of the goals of a case study is to lay a foundation for understanding broader trends and issues applied to similar circumstances. However, be careful when drawing conclusions from your case study. They must be evidence-based and grounded in the results of the study; otherwise, it is merely speculation. Looking at a prior example, it would be incorrect to state that a factor in improving girls access to education in Azerbaijan and the policy implications this may have for improving access in other Muslim nations is due to girls access to social media if there is no documentary evidence from your case study to indicate this. There may be anecdotal evidence that retention rates were better for girls who were engaged with social media, but this observation would only point to the need for further research and would not be a definitive finding if this was not a part of your original research agenda.

Failure to Document Limitations No case is going to reveal all that needs to be understood about a research problem. Therefore, just as you have to clearly state the limitations of a general research study , you must describe the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis. For example, the case of studying how women conceptualize the need for water conservation in a village in Uganda could have limited application in other cultural contexts or in areas where fresh water from rivers or lakes is plentiful and, therefore, conservation is understood more in terms of managing access rather than preserving access to a scarce resource.

Failure to Extrapolate All Possible Implications Just as you don't want to over-generalize from your case study findings, you also have to be thorough in the consideration of all possible outcomes or recommendations derived from your findings. If you do not, your reader may question the validity of your analysis, particularly if you failed to document an obvious outcome from your case study research. For example, in the case of studying the accident at the railroad crossing to evaluate where and what types of warning signals should be located, you failed to take into consideration speed limit signage as well as warning signals. When designing your case study, be sure you have thoroughly addressed all aspects of the problem and do not leave gaps in your analysis that leave the reader questioning the results.

Case Studies. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Gerring, John. Case Study Research: Principles and Practices . New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007; Merriam, Sharan B. Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education . Rev. ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1998; Miller, Lisa L. “The Use of Case Studies in Law and Social Science Research.” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 14 (2018): TBD; Mills, Albert J., Gabrielle Durepos, and Eiden Wiebe, editors. Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010; Putney, LeAnn Grogan. "Case Study." In Encyclopedia of Research Design , Neil J. Salkind, editor. (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010), pp. 116-120; Simons, Helen. Case Study Research in Practice . London: SAGE Publications, 2009;  Kratochwill,  Thomas R. and Joel R. Levin, editors. Single-Case Research Design and Analysis: New Development for Psychology and Education .  Hilldsale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992; Swanborn, Peter G. Case Study Research: What, Why and How? London : SAGE, 2010; Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research: Design and Methods . 6th edition. Los Angeles, CA, SAGE Publications, 2014; Walo, Maree, Adrian Bull, and Helen Breen. “Achieving Economic Benefits at Local Events: A Case Study of a Local Sports Event.” Festival Management and Event Tourism 4 (1996): 95-106.

Writing Tip

At Least Five Misconceptions about Case Study Research

Social science case studies are often perceived as limited in their ability to create new knowledge because they are not randomly selected and findings cannot be generalized to larger populations. Flyvbjerg examines five misunderstandings about case study research and systematically "corrects" each one. To quote, these are:

Misunderstanding 1 :  General, theoretical [context-independent] knowledge is more valuable than concrete, practical [context-dependent] knowledge. Misunderstanding 2 :  One cannot generalize on the basis of an individual case; therefore, the case study cannot contribute to scientific development. Misunderstanding 3 :  The case study is most useful for generating hypotheses; that is, in the first stage of a total research process, whereas other methods are more suitable for hypotheses testing and theory building. Misunderstanding 4 :  The case study contains a bias toward verification, that is, a tendency to confirm the researcher’s preconceived notions. Misunderstanding 5 :  It is often difficult to summarize and develop general propositions and theories on the basis of specific case studies [p. 221].

While writing your paper, think introspectively about how you addressed these misconceptions because to do so can help you strengthen the validity and reliability of your research by clarifying issues of case selection, the testing and challenging of existing assumptions, the interpretation of key findings, and the summation of case outcomes. Think of a case study research paper as a complete, in-depth narrative about the specific properties and key characteristics of your subject of analysis applied to the research problem.

Flyvbjerg, Bent. “Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research.” Qualitative Inquiry 12 (April 2006): 219-245.

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The ultimate guide to writing a good case study

steps on how to write a case study

Your prospect has done their research. They’ve made a list of requirements. They’ve compared several possible solutions (including yours). They’ve been to your website and had conversations with a salesperson. And they’ve narrowed their search down to your product and your competitor. On paper, both products look similar. But your prospect is still on the fence.

So what’s it going to take for them to go with yours? 

Probably something that convinces them that your product gets results. 

Enter the case study—tiebreaker extraordinaire, and your best friend. 

In this post, we’ll look at:

  • What a case study is and why you need one
  • 3 elements of a good case study
  • How to prep for a case study
  • 5 steps to writing your case study
  • Tips for making a good case study great
  • 5 real-life case study examples

🔍  Are you looking for some case study examples? Check out this free eBook housing five case study examples.

📙 Get the eBook

What is a case study and why should you create one?

A case study is basically a document (it can be a video too) that outlines how a customer used your product to overcome a problem. It’s real-world proof that your product works and gets results.

If your product or service has helped customers get great results, a case study will help you showcase those results to your future customers. They’re an excellent way to attract more business, and can mean the difference between a lost opportunity and a really good end-of-quarter. 

What makes a good case study? 

First, it’s helpful to highlight what makes case studies bad: most are painfully boring. What they have in research and detail, they lack in a cohesive, consumable story. They list numbers and contain data, but the reader isn’t sure what it all means or why it’s relevant to their problem. They end up existing as technical documents that do little to persuade or excite anyone—and that’s unfortunate because they have the potential to be a powerful sales tool that can help you close big deals in the decision-making phase. 

So how do you write a good one, then? Here are three characteristics every good case study should have:

It’s digestible

There’s no hard rule on how long a case study should be. But it’s always a good idea to ask “ How short can we make it? ” A good case study avoids the unnecessary minutiae, knows what it’s trying to say, and communicates it quickly and without ambiguity. With a few exceptions, effective case studies are concise and, clear. 

It’s thorough

On the other side of the length equation, being thorough is also important. While the case study is all about making impressive claims about how a product helped someone achieve a certain result, it also needs to explain how it happened. Good case studies include key details that show how the customer got from A to B using the product—something you don’t get with customer reviews . Don’t make your reader work too hard to visualize the story. If you can use images and videos, use them!

It’s a story

Yes, case studies are sales tools. But the ones really worth reading tell a compelling story with a beginning, middle, and end. They beg to be read all the way through. Often, they present a problem that creates tension and demands a solution. And remember, in this story, the customer is the hero—not you. 

6 steps to find a good case study

Before you start actually writing, there’s a bit of prep work you’ll need to do to make sure your case study is amazing. (This is where good customer service teamwork will really come in handy since your customer support team will have the best intel.)

1. Choose your customer

You may have many customers who’ve seen great results using your product. But you can’t just pick a name out of a hat and showcase their results; they may not be right for your audience or their results may not be typical. For example, don’t feature an enterprise company when most of your customers are small businesses. Or claiming that your clients have a 90% customer retention rate when most of them see 70% on average (still impressive, though).  When considering which customer to use, start by creating a list of customers that meet these criteria:

They’ve seen good results with your product or service

The numbers are what really matter. So choose customers that have seen strong results using your product. But be careful about showcasing exceptionally good results if they’re not likely to be repeated by most.

The benefits of moving to RingCentral: cost savings and a measurable boost in team productivity

RingCentral: W2O

They have a respected and recognizable brand

Strong brands give your product instant social proof. They prove that you’re established and trustworthy. That alone can make you a front-runner in the decision-making process. After all, if Big Brand X trusts you, so can a prospect.

They’re a typical customer

Good results don’t carry as much weight when they’re achieved by companies in other industries or verticals. Identify current customers that are similar to your target audience. If you sell enterprise software, choose enterprise customers. If you’re a consultant in the healthcare industry, choose a customer that works in healthcare. 

With your list in hand, you can start reaching out. Picking up the phone can be a lot more effective than sending an email. It’s more personal, lets you build rapport, and is harder to ignore than an email. 

Try to get in touch with customers who use or are very familiar with your product or service—someone who can speak to results. Tell them you’re interested in writing a case study and you’d love to hear more about the results they’ve achieved. Be clear about what the process involves on their part—whether it’s a list of questions in an email, a phone call, or if it involves a camera and crew.  

If you’ve provided value, your customer is more likely to see you as a partner rather than a vendor and, hopefully, will be happy to participate. Remember, you’re also shining a spotlight on their own success. So it’s a win-win.  

That said, you may hear “no” a few times, too. Don’t get discouraged. Some customers will decline for different reasons, regardless of the results they’ve achieved with your product. 

Don’t just use a personal phone to call your customers and interview them. Use a communications app that has a phone calling feature instead. Not only would it show your business as the caller ID (instead of a shady phone number they’re not familiar with), some apps let you record conversations too to make it easy to go back and analyze your conversations (just remember to ask first).

2. Begin your research

Start collecting information about your customer. This is easier if you work as a team. From sales to marketing to customer service, everyone who’s been in touch with customer will have insight about their experience. They can help you understand what your customers do and sell, and what challenges they’re facing. Identify the stakeholders you need to speak with—anyone in the company who uses your product—from the CEO to the marketing intern. Collect stats, even ones you don’t think are relevant—they may be later. 

3. Ask the right questions

Smart questions get insightful answers. Here are some examples of great questions to start with: 

“What were some of the bigger challenges you faced before using our product?”

“How does our product help you reach your individual goals?”

“Which key metrics have improved most since using our product/service?”

“Which parts of your business have been impacted most, and how?”

“How long did it take to roll out our product?”

But don’t stop there. Use these questions to segue into deeper, more targeted questions that underscore the real-world benefits of your product. Let the conversation flow naturally—this is the magic of interviews. You can’t always plan for what interesting topics come up next.

4. Identify your target audience

Beyond your customer’s industry, consider who the target audience of the case study is. Who will see it? Who does it need to influence? While it’s often high-level executives who make large purchase decisions, employees at all levels can act as a champion for your product or brand. Your case study may have to persuade an IT worker that your product or service is going to make their job easier, while it needs to convince the CFO that they’ll see a real return on investment. 

5. Identify the top three things you want to highlight

During the initial research phase, you’ve likely uncovered a lot of interesting information about your customer and their experiences with your product. While it might be tempting to use it all, your case study should quickly and clearly communicate the value of your product. Go through this information and identify the three most important business results you want to communicate in the case study. 

Stats and key performance indicators (KPIs) to consider using in your case study:

  • Ramp up time: How long did it take to get started with your product? Did it improve any other facet of their workflow? 
  • Sales results: How did the product impact your customer’s bottom line?
  • Total return on investment (ROI): How long did it take to earn more than they spent on your product? 
  • Productivity increases: Which teams saw improvements in process and workflow? And now much? 

Case study about how Payscale saw 6x ROI in revenue with their ABM Program

Here’s how RollWorks shows off the amazing ROI that their customers, Payscale, got with them .

6. Choose your format

A case study doesn’t have to exist only as a PDF attachment in a late-stage deal email (although there’s nothing wrong with that). Consider the format. Think about who’s going to read it (or watch it). Do you want to turn this into fancy interactive content ? Does your prospect have the time and interest to dig into the details? Or do they just want the facts? Choose the format that you think best engages the audience that you’re selling to.

Report format

This long-form document has been the gold standard for B2B case studies for many years. This format is effective when the subject matter is complex and demands detail. Remember, a CTO who’s evaluating large-scale business communications platforms for a multi-year deal is going to want more information than a marketing manager who’s evaluating a new social media ad platform:

Zendesk case study with IDC

Here’s how Zendesk presented their case study with IDC as a report .

Keeping things short and sweet is often the best way to get your message heard. By focusing on the key points, you can highlight the biggest wins at just a glance. Most report format case studies can be easily condensed into a one-page document. This is ideal for prospects (and salespeople) who are short on time and prefer something they can quickly scan—like this Adzerk case study with Reddit :

LinkedIn case study about Adobe

Few things can tell a story the way that video can, and case studies are no exception. They give you an unmatched level of creative freedom and storytelling using music, lighting, pacing, and voice that can evoke emotions and persuade someone using more than just numbers and facts. And at just a couple of minutes long, they can do a lot of heavy lifting in not a lot of time. 

Dropbox case study about Expedia

Dropbox: Expedia


People love infographics. They’re an excellent way to convey important data in a simple, eye-pleasing way. If your case study requires you to use a lot of data to prove a point—or if visualizing data can make the results more clear—building an infographic case study can be a great investment. 

Case study infographic

5 key steps for writing your case study

Congrats. You’ve done the research. You’ve made the calls. You’ve pored over all the details. Now, all you have to do is write. Here are five simple steps that’ll help you create a powerful case study that champions your customer and clearly showcases the real-world value of your products or services. 

1. Introduce the customer

Set the stage for your case study with an introduction. Briefly explain who your customer is with a bit of background information that can include their industry, product, company size, and location. You don’t have to dig into the nuts and bolts of their business, but you do want the reader to understand who they are and what they do. The more color you can provide here, the more impactful it’ll be when you show the awesome results this customer saw because they chose you.

2. State the problem

Every product or service is a solution to a problem. Explain the problem (or problems) that you helped your customer overcome. Describe the larger impact of the issue. Maybe it was customers leaving. Perhaps it was bad leads—or good leads that were never followed up on. Use this as an opportunity to clearly show what was at stake, and make sure you leave the jargon out of it. Frame the problem in simple terms that any reader can understand. 

3. Introduce your product

This is where you begin solving the problem. Briefly introduce your product and what it does. Start on a general level, then apply it to the challenge the customer was experiencing. Talk about which teams or individuals used your product and how they used it. Be sure to make the connection between the customer’s problem and your solution crystal clear. 

4. Show results

The big reveal. What kind of results was your customer able to achieve using your product or service? Speak to how they solved the problem descriptively, but also with cold, hard numbers. Not everything can be measured in numbers (sometimes, peace of mind is a powerful benefit all on its own), but whenever you can, back up your story with the stats. At the very least, this will make it easy for a CFO—or a prospect who wants to buy—to justify buying your product.

For example: 

The customer saw a 33% increase in web traffic, a large influx of social media activity, and a 10% boost in revenue over the duration of the campaign . 

5. Prove it

Don’t forget to show your math. How you get the results is just as important as the results themselves.  What specific steps were taken to get those results? Not only will this help validate your claims, it makes it easier to envision how the reader may be able to achieve them, too. 

8 tips to write a great case study

1. avoid jargon .

As a subject matter expert in your line of work, it can be tempting to go into as much jargony detail as possible. This is normal as it’s often the language we use at work every day. But remember that your customer probably doesn’t speak that language. When in doubt, use an app like Hemingway to make sure you’re writing at a level that most people can understand.  

2. Spend time on your title

It’s tempting to use the case study’s most interesting or impressive KPI as your title. But that also gives away the ending before the story begins, and skips details that are important for context in the process. Try writing a title that piques interest without being a spoiler. 

3. Edit. Then edit again. 

Once you’ve got your first draft completed (and the jargon removed), edit the case study. A few best practices here:

  • Look for and eliminate unnecessary adjectives. 
  • Speak in an active voice. 
  • Look for details that get in the way of the story. 

And then do it all over again until you can’t edit it down anymore without losing the essence of the story. 

4. A picture is worth a thousand words

This is especially true when you’re talking about a block of text that’s trying to communicate a chunk of data. Well-designed charts, graphs, images, or infographics can do the heavy lifting of several pages of text in just seconds. They can also help break up large pieces of text, making the case study easier to read—and nicer to look at. After all, the end goal is to have these read all the way through.

Here’s an example of a graphic from a longer CPA Canada infographic (that includes a short case study embedded inside it): 

CPA Canada infographic (that includes a short case study embedded inside it)

5. Pull quotes

Hard data and results are good. But a customer quote is a great piece of social proof and adds a human element to your case study. And that makes your results more believable. Customer quotes can also be used outside of your testimonial too—try adding it on your website, landing pages, or email marketing campaigns or welcome emails to get more people to check out your products and buy online. Here’s an example of what that looks like:

Example of a customer quote

6. Make it scannable

Some people will take the time to read your case study front to back and absorb every detail. Some won’t give it more than a single glance. And sometimes, that person is the decision-maker. Make the most important results easy to spot, read, and retain at a glance. Write headings that are descriptive—if someone just scanned them, would they be able to get the gist of the story? Consider putting a summary at the very beginning of the study, or call out impressive results in a larger font size. 

7. Record your interviews

Ditch the pen and paper. If you’re conducting one-on-one interviews over the phone, you can save yourself a lot of time and energy by recording the conversation (with your customer’s consent, of course). There are tools that can make this easier too—you might find one or two in your marketing stack . For example, you could use RingCentral’s Zapier integration to transcribe your conversation into a text file. 

8. Don’t forget the call to action (CTA)

Your prospect is excited because your case study has done an excellent job of showing how your product or service can help drive results for customers. Now, how do they get in touch with you to learn more? Whether it’s a button that links to your website, an email address, or a phone number, make sure there’s an easy way of getting in touch with you in the case study. 

5 examples of great case studies from real-life companies

Mailchimp: make a connection in real life with postcards.

What we like about it: The title doesn’t give everything away all at once, and the case study tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end. The sections are clearly titled and organized, and the results are easy to find. As a bonus: the video adds a believable human element.

How to write a case study: Mailchimp example

LinkedIn: How Adobe achieves alignment and ABM success with LinkedIn

What we like about it: It’s detailed without being a novella. It understands and speaks to the enterprise customer. The key points are in bullet format and easy to read. The important wins are highlighted. And the video makes the content easy to engage with. 

How to write a case study: LinkedIn example

Hootsuite: How Meliá became one of the most influential hotel chains on social media

What we like about it: The title makes you want to read the whole customer story. They’ve embdedded a well-produced video high on the page, so you can choose to watch it before you read on. The design and layout of the page makes the content and images easy to consume, and the results can’t be missed. Also, they weren’t shy about adding CTAs. 

How to write a case study: Hootsuite example

Slack: So yeah, we tried Slack

What we like about it: This case study follows the tried and true format of customer, problem, solution, and results. It uses humor and relatable characters throughout to support the story and keep your attention. And it’s only two minutes long so it gets the point across quickly. 

How to write a case study: Slack example

Assetworks: South Carolina School Board Insurance Trust

What we like about it: This case study tackles the otherwise complex and technical topic, and simplifies it as an infographic using images to make the results clear. It’s concise and easy to follow because you can see the math without actually doing any math. 

How to write a case study: South Carolina School Board Insurance Trust example

The final word on building a great case study…

Sure, an ad or boosted social media post (more on social media best practices here) can make someone aware of your brand or that your product exists, and a landing page can tell them how your product can solve their problem. 

But there’s nothing quite as powerful as someone else singing your praises. 

And that’s exactly what a case study does. Spend the time to do it right and it has the potential to deliver huge ROI no matter how big or small your company is. And not just once—but over and over again.

Originally published Feb 05, 2020, updated Oct 19, 2022

steps on how to write a case study

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5 Steps for Writing a Case Study for Business (+Templates)

Get professional tips for writing a case study that drives business impact. Learn the best format and research method to use alongside examples & templates.

steps on how to write a case study

John McTale

7 minute read

writing a case study for busine


What is a case study.

  • Open with an introductory overview
  • Explain the problem in question
  • Detail the solutions that solved the problem
  • Refer to key results
  • Finish with recommendations and next steps

Why you need a case study

“I climbed Mount Everest and I did it all by myself.” “Yeah mate, pics or it didn’t happen.” The same logic applies to case studies. In business, it’s “case studies or it didn’t happen.” A well-written case study legitimizes your product or services. It proves the impact your actions have on the bottom line and is the single most important element of building trust amongst prospective clients. But… How do you write a *perfect* case study? One that engages readers and makes them care about your offering and excited to work with you?

steps on how to write a case study

In business, a case study , or customer success story, is a marketing tool that showcases how your product or service helped clients overcome business challenges. It uses statistics, quotes, and specific examples to convincingly highlight your ability to produce results.

What is the purpose of a case study?

The purpose of a case study, usually, is to provide your prospective clients with specific examples of how your products or services can help solve business problems they might be facing.

Case studies legitimize your business activities allowing you to go beyond explaining what you do and focus on how well you do it. (And, in case you were wondering just HOW important case studies are, here’s an item of data to ponder: according to a DemandGen report , 78% of B2B buyers want to review case studies before making a purchase decision.)

There’s no magic behind it. Just a proven, simple formula I’m about to share with you. Spend the next 7 minutes reading this guide and you’ll learn how to write case studies better than any case study you’ve created in the past. Important caveat: this article explains how to write a case study for business purposes. If you’re interested in writing research case studies for academia, refer to this excellent guide by University of Southern California. If, in turn, you’re struggling with putting together a medical case study, here’s a fantastic 101 by the BMJ . I’m not going to pretend I know better than these guys do.

For your reference, here’s an example of our very own case study, showing how, at Storydoc, we helped the Spot company boost some of their key metrics: Learn How Spot by NetApp boosted their conversion rates 2x.

Spot's team used this deck to boost their conversion 2x

By drawing the bigger picture even deep-tech software products can be easily explained.

Spot by Ocean sales deck

Browse interactive case study templates

No matter how great the contents of your case study might be, if you fail to present it in an eye-pleasing way, most likely, no one will really read it. The good news? I’ve put together a gallery of the most professional, attention-grabbing case study templates available online. You can find it here: Case Study Templates & Design Tips Or, take a shortcut to great case study design and use our presentation maker . Have a look below to see what your case study might look like.


And now, let’s get to the case study 101. (If you’re only interested in a specific section of a case study, simply click on a jump-to link in the table of contents below.

Here's how to write a case study:

steps on how to write a case study

1. Open with an introductory overview

The last thing you want is for someone to open your case study, give it a quick glance, and decide to skip. See— People don’t usually read case studies. At least not immediately. First, they skim the contents to see if the subject is relevant enough. How to make sure your case study sticks? At the beginning, place an introductory overview (also called an “executive summary”). Provide an overview of the whole case. It’s not supposed to be a catchy intro but a full synopsis, detailing the problem at hand, your assumptions, the solutions implemented, and the results achieved.

How to write a case study introduction?

Introduce the purpose of the case study—specify exactly what you were aiming to achieve.

Define the problem or the most significant challenge. For instance, low conversion rates, a technological issue or high costs. (It could also be a combination of such factors!)

Explain briefly what the solution to the problem was.

Share the most important results your actions produced. Don’t go into too much detail, a few key points will do. It’s best if you can quantify the results: numbers pop!

Keep it short. Usually, 2–4 paragraphs + a few bullet points with key results will do.

While, as its name implies, this section comes at the beginning of your case study, write it last. First, craft the rest of your document, then pick the most important bits and compile them into the introductory overview.

2. Explain the problem in question

“Adam caught a flat tire. In the middle of the desert. He had no spare, no signal, no food, and only enough water to keep him alive for 48 hours.” Oh dear, poor Adam! What could possibly be done to help him?! See, in your case study, make the client seem like Adam so that, later on, you can paint your company like the miraculous savior. Of course, I’m exaggerating, but only so much. The purpose of the “problem” section in a case study is to arouse emotions from the readers. Ideally, in such a way that they can picture themselves as Adam. Highlight a problem your product or services solve and present an example of when that problem was troubling a client really badly.

How to write a “problem” section in a case study?

In a single sentence, describe your customer’s business challenges and objectives.

Explain the problem your customer faced that prevented them from achieving those objectives prior to working with you.

If that was the case, mention other solutions your client experimented with that didn’t work out and explain why.

Make it clear how the issue or problem impacted the client’s business results so that it’s easy to understand why a solution was badly needed.

3. Detail the solutions implemented to solve the problem

Here comes the moment to toot your own horn a bit (and also that moment when you can get slightly technical). Present your solutions in reference to the issue your client was dealing with and make it obvious that those are easily replicable for all future cases. Of course, the exact formula for this section will depend on your industry and mode of operation. Sometimes a 2–3 paragraph summary will be enough, in other cases, you’ll need to include more detailed technical specs regarding the solution you implemented.

How to write a solutions section in a case study?

Focus on your customer’s experience in using your product or services.

Explain the process: say how long it took to get the solution up and running and what teams on your customer’s end were involved.

Highlight the features of your product or service that turned out to be the most beneficial to your customer.

If possible, attach or link to relevant assets that will work as real-life examples of your solution (unless, of course, the information is highly sensitive).

Always run your case study by your client’s marketing team before you go live. Even if you’re using direct quotes or verifiable results, it’s ultimately their decision whether or not to make certain information freely available.

4. Refer to key results

In business, nothing speaks louder than ROI and you know it. Prospective customers reading your case study won’t be bothered to take notice of your state-of-the-art technology or innovative approach. Neither will they care about your past customers’ happiness. What they want to know is this: Will that help me save or make money? When writing a case study, your job is to present results in a way that answers the above question with a resounding YES. You need to make it blatantly obvious that your solutions heavily impact the bottom line of the client in question and that such results are easily replicable.

Here’s how to write about results:

In a few bullet points, list numerical results your solution delivered to the client.

Ideally, you’ll want to include revenue-related data: increase in clients’ base, more demos booked, higher conversion rates, or optimized pricing.

If you can’t (or aren’t allowed to) share hard sales numbers, refer to softer KPIs: time saved, customer happiness scores, expanding the community, or enhancing brand visibility.

If possible, by all means include quotes from your client. Results should speak for themselves, obviously, but showing the real human whose problems you solved makes for a much more powerful narrative. Plus, it further adds credibility to the case study. Start by preparing a list of powerful case study questions to guide your client interviews.8

5. Finish with recommendations and next steps

Everyone enjoys a solid epilogue. To end on a high note, include a list of key findings from your case study. Even if a given reader won’t decide to get in touch with you, at least you’ll provide them with a valuable source of knowledge—sometimes that’s enough to keep your company top of mind in the future. Plus, if you’re planning to continue working with the subject of your case study, definitely mention that! It shows that your support is valuable enough to warrant long-term collaboration, not just a one-off endeavor. Now, not every case study requires a call to action (especially if your main purpose is to inform and educate rather than convert, which is okay, too), but for those more commercially-oriented ones, do add it. Make your CTA singular and clear —if the most desired action is to reach out to you, leave your contact details, if you’d rather direct prospects to a landing page or a welcome screen, add a button.

And that’s a wrap!

Here are the key points to keep in mind when writing a case study:

Put an introductory overview at the beginning.

Present the problem you were solving and your exact solutions to that problem.

Include numerical, verifiable results your product or services delivered for the client.

Explain what the next steps are, especially if you plan to continue working with the client.

Finish with a strong, clear CTA, making it easy for prospects to reach out to you.

Thanks for reading the guide. Keeping my fingers crossed for your case study and wishing many successful cases so that you’ll always have something to write about.

steps on how to write a case study

Hi, I'm John, Editor-in-chief at Storydoc. As a content marketer and digital writer specializing in B2B SaaS, my main goal is to provide you with up-to-date tips for effective business storytelling and equip you with all the right tools to enable your sales efforts.

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How to Write a Case Study: The Compelling Step-by-Step Guide

How to write a case study the compelling step by step guide

Is there a poignant pain point that needs to be addressed in your company or industry? Do you have a possible solution but want to test your theory? Why not turn this drive into a transformative learning experience and an opportunity to produce a high-quality business case study? However, before that occurs, you may wonder how to write a case study.

You may also be thinking about why you should produce one at all. Did you know that case studies are impactful and the fifth most used type of content in marketing , despite being more resource-intensive to produce?

Below, we’ll delve into what a case study is, its benefits, and how to approach business case study writing:

Definition of a Written case study and its Purpose

A case study is a research method that involves a detailed and comprehensive examination of a specific real-life situation. It’s often used in various fields, including business, education, economics, and sociology, to understand a complex issue better. 

It typically includes an in-depth analysis of the subject and an examination of its context and background information, incorporating data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and existing literature. 

The ultimate aim is to provide a rich and detailed account of a situation to identify patterns and relationships, generate new insights and understanding, illustrate theories, or test hypotheses.

Importance of Business Case Study Writing

As such an in-depth exploration into a subject with potentially far-reaching consequences, a case study has benefits to offer various stakeholders in the organisation leading it.

  • Business Founders: Use business case study writing to highlight real-life examples of companies or individuals who have benefited from their products or services, providing potential customers with a tangible demonstration of the value their business can bring. It can be effective for attracting new clients or investors by showcasing thought leadership and building trust and credibility.
  • Marketers through case studies and encourage them to take action: Marketers use a case studies writer to showcase the success of a particular product, service, or marketing campaign. They can use persuasive storytelling to engage the reader, whether it’s consumers, clients, or potential partners.
  • Researchers: They allow researchers to gain insight into real-world scenarios, explore a variety of perspectives, and develop a nuanced understanding of the factors that contribute to success or failure. Additionally, case studies provide practical business recommendations and help build a body of knowledge in a particular field.

How to Write a Case Study – The Key Elements 

How to Write a Case Study – The Key Elements

Considering how to write a case study can seem overwhelming at first. However, looking at it in terms of its constituent parts will help you to get started, focus on the key issue(s), and execute it efficiently and effectively.

Problem or Challenge Statement

A problem statement concisely describes a specific issue or problem that a written case study aims to address. It sets the stage for the rest of the case study and provides context for the reader. 

Here are some steps to help you write a case study problem statement:

  • Identify the problem or issue that the case study will focus on.
  • Research the problem to better understand its context, causes, and effects.
  • Define the problem clearly and concisely. Be specific and avoid generalisations.
  • State the significance of the problem: Explain why the issue is worth solving. Consider the impact it has on the individual, organisation, or industry.
  • Provide background information that will help the reader understand the context of the problem.
  • Keep it concise: A problem statement should be brief and to the point. Avoid going into too much detail – leave this for the body of the case study!

Here is an example of a problem statement for a case study:

“ The XYZ Company is facing a problem with declining sales and increasing customer complaints. Despite improving the customer experience, the company has yet to reverse the trend . This case study will examine the causes of the problem and propose solutions to improve sales and customer satisfaction. “

Solutions and interventions

Here are some steps to help you write a case study solution or intervention

Business case study writing provides a solution or intervention that identifies the best course of action to address the problem or issue described in the problem statement. 

Here are some steps to help you write a case study solution or intervention:

  • Identify the objective , which should be directly related to the problem statement.
  • Analyse the data, which could include data from interviews, observations, and existing literature.
  • Evaluate alternatives that have been proposed or implemented in similar situations, considering their strengths, weaknesses, and impact.
  • Choose the best solution based on the objective and data analysis. Remember to consider factors such as feasibility, cost, and potential impact.
  • Justify the solution by explaining how it addresses the problem and why it’s the best solution with supportive evidence.
  • Provide a detailed, step-by-step plan of action that considers the resources required, timeline, and expected outcomes.

Example of a solution or intervention for a case study:

“ To address the problem of declining sales and increasing customer complaints at the XYZ Company, we propose a comprehensive customer experience improvement program. “

“ This program will involve the following steps:

  • Conducting customer surveys to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement
  • Implementing training programs for employees to improve customer service skills
  • Revising the company’s product offerings to meet customer needs better
  • Implementing a customer loyalty program to encourage repeat business “

“ These steps will improve customer satisfaction and increase sales. We expect a 10% increase in sales within the first year of implementation, based on similar programs implemented by other companies in the industry. “

Possible Results and outcomes

Writing case study results and outcomes

Writing case study results and outcomes involves presenting the impact of the proposed solution or intervention. 

Here are some steps to help you write case study results and outcomes:

  • Evaluate the solution by measuring its effectiveness in addressing the problem statement. That could involve collecting data, conducting surveys, or monitoring key performance indicators.
  • Present the results clearly and concisely, using graphs, charts, and tables to represent the data where applicable visually. Be sure to include both quantitative and qualitative results.
  • Compare the results to the expectations set in the solution or intervention section. Explain any discrepancies and why they occurred.
  • Discuss the outcomes and impact of the solution, considering the benefits and drawbacks and what lessons can be learned.
  • Provide recommendations for future action based on the results. For example, what changes should be made to improve the solution, or what additional steps should be taken?

Example of results and outcomes for a case study:

“ The customer experience improvement program implemented at the XYZ Company was successful. We found significant improvement in employee health and productivity. The program, which included on-site exercise classes and healthy food options, led to a 25% decrease in employee absenteeism and a 15% increase in productivity . “

“ Employee satisfaction with the program was high, with 90% reporting an improved work-life balance. Despite initial costs, the program proved to be cost-effective in the long run, with decreased healthcare costs and increased employee retention. The company plans to continue the program and explore expanding it to other offices .”

Case Study Key takeaways

Key takeaways are the most important and relevant insights and lessons

Key takeaways are the most important and relevant insights and lessons that can be drawn from a case study. Key takeaways can help readers understand the most significant outcomes and impacts of the solution or intervention. 

Here are some steps to help you write case study key takeaways:

  • Summarise the problem that was addressed and the solution that was proposed.
  • Highlight the most significant results from the case study.
  • Identify the key insights and lessons , including what makes the case study unique and relevant to others.
  • Consider the broader implications of the outcomes for the industry or field.
  • Present the key takeaways clearly and concisely , using bullet points or a list format to make the information easy to understand.

Example of key takeaways for a case study:

  • The customer experience improvement program at XYZ Company successfully increased customer satisfaction and sales.
  • Employee training and product development were critical components of the program’s success.
  • The program resulted in a 20% increase in repeat business, demonstrating the value of a customer loyalty program.
  • Despite some initial challenges, the program proved cost-effective in the long run.
  • The case study results demonstrate the importance of investing in customer experience to improve business outcomes.

Steps for a Case Study Writer to Follow

Steps for a Case Study Writer to Follow

If you still feel lost, the good news is as a case studies writer; there is a blueprint you can follow to complete your work. It may be helpful at first to proceed step-by-step and let your research and analysis guide the process:

  • Select a suitable case study subject: Ask yourself what the purpose of the business case study is. Is it to illustrate a specific problem and solution, showcase a success story, or demonstrate best practices in a particular field? Based on this, you can select a suitable subject by researching and evaluating various options.
  • Research and gather information: We have already covered this in detail above. However, always ensure all data is relevant, valid, and comes from credible sources. Research is the crux of your written case study, and you can’t compromise on its quality.
  • Develop a clear and concise problem statement: Follow the guide above, and don’t rush to finalise it. It will set the tone and lay the foundation for the entire study.
  • Detail the solution or intervention: Follow the steps above to detail your proposed solution or intervention.
  • Present the results and outcomes: Remember that a case study is an unbiased test of how effectively a particular solution addresses an issue. Not all case studies are meant to end in a resounding success. You can often learn more from a loss than a win.
  • Include key takeaways and conclusions: Follow the steps above to detail your proposed business case study solution or intervention.

Tips for How to Write a Case Study

Here are some bonus tips for how to write a case study. These tips will help improve the quality of your work and the impact it will have on readers:

  • Use a storytelling format: Just because a case study is research-based doesn’t mean it has to be boring and detached. Telling a story will engage readers and help them better identify with the problem statement and see the value in the outcomes. Framing it as a narrative in a real-world context will make it more relatable and memorable.
  • Include quotes and testimonials from stakeholders: This will add credibility and depth to your written case study. It also helps improve engagement and will give your written work an emotional impact.
  • Use visuals and graphics to support your narrative: Humans are better at processing visually presented data than endless walls of black-on-white text. Visual aids will make it easier to grasp key concepts and make your case study more engaging and enjoyable. It breaks up the text and allows readers to identify key findings and highlights quickly.
  • Edit and revise your case study for clarity and impact: As a long and involved project, it can be easy to lose your narrative while in the midst of it. Multiple rounds of editing are vital to ensure your narrative holds, that your message gets across, and that your spelling and grammar are correct, of course!

Our Final Thoughts

A written case study can be a powerful tool in your writing arsenal. It’s a great way to showcase your knowledge in a particular business vertical, industry, or situation. Not only is it an effective way to build authority and engage an audience, but also to explore an important problem and the possible solutions to it. It’s a win-win, even if the proposed solution doesn’t have the outcome you expect. So now that you know more about how to write a case study, try it or talk to us for further guidance.

Are you ready to write your own case study?

Begin by bookmarking this article, so you can come back to it. And for more writing advice and support, read our resource guides  and  blog content . If you are unsure, please reach out with questions, and we will provide the answers or assistance you need.

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How to Write a Case Study | Examples & Methods

steps on how to write a case study

What is a case study?

A case study is a research approach that provides an in-depth examination of a particular phenomenon, event, organization, or individual. It involves analyzing and interpreting data to provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject under investigation. 

Case studies can be used in various disciplines, including business, social sciences, medicine ( clinical case report ), engineering, and education. The aim of a case study is to provide an in-depth exploration of a specific subject, often with the goal of generating new insights into the phenomena being studied.

When to write a case study

Case studies are often written to present the findings of an empirical investigation or to illustrate a particular point or theory. They are useful when researchers want to gain an in-depth understanding of a specific phenomenon or when they are interested in exploring new areas of inquiry. 

Case studies are also useful when the subject of the research is rare or when the research question is complex and requires an in-depth examination. A case study can be a good fit for a thesis or dissertation as well.

Case study examples

Below are some examples of case studies with their research questions:

These examples demonstrate the diversity of research questions and case studies that can be explored. From studying small businesses in Ghana to the ethical issues in supply chains, case studies can be used to explore a wide range of phenomena.

Outlying cases vs. representative cases

An outlying case stud y refers to a case that is unusual or deviates significantly from the norm. An example of an outlying case study could be a small, family-run bed and breakfast that was able to survive and even thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic, while other larger hotels struggled to stay afloat.

On the other hand, a representative case study refers to a case that is typical of the phenomenon being studied. An example of a representative case study could be a hotel chain that operates in multiple locations that faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as reduced demand for hotel rooms, increased safety and health protocols, and supply chain disruptions. The hotel chain case could be representative of the broader hospitality industry during the pandemic, and thus provides an insight into the typical challenges that businesses in the industry faced.

Steps for Writing a Case Study

As with any academic paper, writing a case study requires careful preparation and research before a single word of the document is ever written. Follow these basic steps to ensure that you don’t miss any crucial details when composing your case study.

Step 1: Select a case to analyze

After you have developed your statement of the problem and research question , the first step in writing a case study is to select a case that is representative of the phenomenon being investigated or that provides an outlier. For example, if a researcher wants to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry, they could select a representative case, such as a hotel chain that operates in multiple locations, or an outlying case, such as a small bed and breakfast that was able to pivot their business model to survive during the pandemic. Selecting the appropriate case is critical in ensuring the research question is adequately explored.

Step 2: Create a theoretical framework

Theoretical frameworks are used to guide the analysis and interpretation of data in a case study. The framework should provide a clear explanation of the key concepts, variables, and relationships that are relevant to the research question. The theoretical framework can be drawn from existing literature, or the researcher can develop their own framework based on the data collected. The theoretical framework should be developed early in the research process to guide the data collection and analysis.

To give your case analysis a strong theoretical grounding, be sure to include a literature review of references and sources relating to your topic and develop a clear theoretical framework. Your case study does not simply stand on its own but interacts with other studies related to your topic. Your case study can do one of the following: 

  • Demonstrate a theory by showing how it explains the case being investigated
  • Broaden a theory by identifying additional concepts and ideas that can be incorporated to strengthen it
  • Confront a theory via an outlier case that does not conform to established conclusions or assumptions

Step 3: Collect data for your case study

Data collection can involve a variety of research methods , including interviews, surveys, observations, and document analyses, and it can include both primary and secondary sources . It is essential to ensure that the data collected is relevant to the research question and that it is collected in a systematic and ethical manner. Data collection methods should be chosen based on the research question and the availability of data. It is essential to plan data collection carefully to ensure that the data collected is of high quality

Step 4: Describe the case and analyze the details

The final step is to describe the case in detail and analyze the data collected. This involves identifying patterns and themes that emerge from the data and drawing conclusions that are relevant to the research question. It is essential to ensure that the analysis is supported by the data and that any limitations or alternative explanations are acknowledged.

The manner in which you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard academic paper, with separate sections or chapters for the methods section , results section , and discussion section , while others are structured more like a standalone literature review.

Regardless of the topic you choose to pursue, writing a case study requires a systematic and rigorous approach to data collection and analysis. By following the steps outlined above and using examples from existing literature, researchers can create a comprehensive and insightful case study that contributes to the understanding of a particular phenomenon.

Preparing Your Case Study for Publication

After completing the draft of your case study, be sure to revise and edit your work for any mistakes, including grammatical errors , punctuation errors , spelling mistakes, and awkward sentence structure . Ensure that your case study is well-structured and that your arguments are well-supported with language that follows the conventions of academic writing .  To ensure your work is polished for style and free of errors, get English editing services from Wordvice, including our paper editing services and manuscript editing services . Let our academic subject experts enhance the style and flow of your academic work so you can submit your case study with confidence.

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How To Write a Case Study: a Helpful Step by Step Guide

Are you wondering how to write a case study? Take a few steps and case study examples you can use.

There’s a saying that you should show your story, not tell it. One of the best ways to show your story is to use a case study. There are lots of types of case studies. You might be interested in a business case study format, or you might be interested in a medical case study. You might even be interested in infographics that can help you augment your case study.

A case study should be a real-life example of a theme, principle, or strategy in action. A robust case study analysis should support your point of view and provide evidence for your argument. If you are interested in writing case studies, take a look at a few steps to follow.

Materials Needed

Study shows eating a healthy diet reduces risk of heart attack, case study shows effective copywriting boosts conversion rate, step 2: provide an abstract at the top, step 3: introduce the client, step 4: state the problem, step 5: state how the client found you, step 6: include information related to strategic approach, step 7: showcase the results, step 8: wrap-up and future directions, step 9: proofread your work.

How to write a case study? You need a computer

To write a successful case study, you need several materials. They include:

  • A computer with a strong internet connection for research purposes
  • Research notes
  • Graphs and charts
  • Paper and writing utensils, such as pens and pencils
  • Notes and recordings from interviews
  • Required outlines or templates

Once you have collected the necessary materials, you can start the writing process.

Step 1: Develop a Compelling Headline

First, you need to develop a compelling headline. Remember that there is never a second chance to make a first impression. Therefore, your headline needs to include the essential information from the case study. A few tips for developing a compelling headline include:

  • You must include all the necessary information, but a shorter headline is better.
  • Try to put the most important words at the front of the headline.
  • Read the headline out loud to make sure it makes sense.
  • If you want to provide a subtitle with supporting details, you can do so, but it is unnecessary.
  • If you have a quote from a customer you want to include, you can add this, but it is not required.

Here are a few sample headlines you may want to model your headline off of. A few examples include:

This is an excellent example headline because it is short, sweet, and to the point. The audience doesn’t have to wonder what the case study is about. Everything is included in the headline.

This is another compelling headline for a potential marketing case study. It says precisely what the case study demonstrates and invites the reader to learn more about what is defined as effective copywriting. You might also find our explainer on how to write a hypothesis useful.

Before diving into your case study’s details, you need to place an abstract at the top of the research paper. Looking at any scientific research paper, you will see an abstract at the top. It would help if you used this as a model for the abstract you will place at the top of your case study.

You need to place several vital pieces of information at the top of the case study. They include:

  • Make sure you include the client’s name. Remember to ask the client for permission before including their results in your case study.
  • You could also include the industry in which the client works. For example, is the client a financial company? Is the client a marketing company? Again, make sure to mention the industry.
  • Do not forget to mention the product or service used. What are you trying to showcase? Mention the specific product or service at the top of the case study.
  • If you have quick results, make sure to list them here. If you have infographics or graphs, be sure to reserve them for later areas of the case study. Include the actual results to convince the reader to keep reading.

If someone does not feel like reading the entire case study, they should be able to read the abstract and figure out what product or service you are promoting and why it is beneficial. 

You may want to provide a quick summary of what the client does. It should only last a few sentences but mention the client’s industry and what they provide. Here are a few sample client summaries you may want to use:

  • “Our client is a leading family medicine practice that serves patients of all ages in the local area. The client provides both acute and preventative care.”
  • “Our client is a local credit union that provides checking and savings account services. The client also provides loan services, such as auto loans and home loans.”

You can use these two examples from different industries to model your client description. 

Just beneath the section introducing the client, you can include information about the problem you were tasked to address. For example, why did the client call you? What were their concerns?

A few examples of problem statements you may want to mention in your case study include:

  • “Our client was having a hard time shortening customer response time. Finally, the client realized that it took customers, on average, more than two hours to get a response to their concerns.”
  • “Our client couldn’t figure out why their low conversion rates. Even though there was plenty of traffic going to the website, not enough people were reaching out to the business itself to learn more about the products and services offered. Less than one percent of people visiting the website were calling or emailing the business.” 

You may find it easier to include quotes from the client in this section. However, before you quote the client in the section, ask for permission. 

Before you move forward into how you helped the client solve their problems, you need to share how they found you. How did the client first make contact with you?

There are a few ways that your client may have found you. They include:

  • You may want to share this information if your client found you using a simple Google search.
  • If the client found you via a referral from the previous client, you may want to mention that. 
  • You could also include if you reached out to the client using a cold call. 

Then, you may want to mention why the client decided to choose you. How did you convince the client to give you a chance to solve the problem? Finally, you may want to share information about your customer service, the strategies you presented, or the project overview you shared. 

Now is the time to get into some of the details. You probably have a lot of products and services that you offer, so you need to explain how you decided to help the client with their problem. What solution did you decide to choose? Why did you decide to go with that solution?

Here is an example of a marketing case study related to an SEO campaign a marketing firm may have constructed. A few portions of this section include:

  • “We started by conducting a comprehensive audit of the existing SEO campaign to determine what was working and what was not.”
  • “During our detailed analysis, we discovered that the client was paying too much attention to competitive keywords. The client was basing its decision to pursue keyword targets based solely on search volume instead of search competitiveness. The client was competing against national brands that are incredibly difficult to displace from the top of the search engine results page.”
  • “We also conducted a detailed target market analysis to determine the optimal target market. That way, we could generate more website traffic and the right type of traffic.”
  • “During our analysis, we developed a list of long-tail keywords that were not as competitive and would still provide the right type of traffic.”
  • “We A/B tested different content types to determine the most appealing content to search engines and the target market.”
  • “We incorporated long-tail keywords into different types of content before posting it on the website.” 

Notice that this detailed strategy clearly explains how it was developed, implemented, and unfolded. This is also an excellent section to include quotes from the client. You may also want to include information on why you chose one strategy over another. This is also an excellent section to include graphs. Some people may not want to read the entire thing, and you can provide them with an excellent visual alternative. Here is a case study example to check out.

After finishing the strategy section, you can showcase the results. This is your time to shine. Make sure to highlight the best case study results, and do not forget to explain why those results are so beneficial. A few examples of results statements you may want to include might be: 

  • “Our results showed a 200 percent increase in traffic and a 300 percent increase in conversion rate over six months by interesting a better landing page into the marketing strategy. Because of this increase in website traffic, the client also enjoyed a significant revenue boost.”
  • “We implemented a change in the automated menu to shorten the number of time customers spent waiting. As a result, customers were routed to the right location 25 percent faster during the next three months.” 
  • “Our results show that the client generated 25 percent more revenue than the same month last year because of the changes we made to the website homepage.” 

Remember that you will probably have multiple results you want to showcase. Make sure to tackle the case study from every direction to provide a well-rounded picture of why your strategy worked well. Here is an example of a case study from a home building company. 

Next, you can wrap up the case study with an excellent conclusion. You can reiterate the main points from the case study, such as the problem, the strategy, and the solution.

You may also want to provide an update on how the client is doing after you parted ways. Is the client still using the strategy you implemented? Is it still working well? This is another good place to use some quotes from your client. For example, if your client appreciates your hard work, include it at the bottom of the case study.

You may also want to mention some other important pieces of advice you shared with the client on your way out the door. The conclusion is also a spot where you can talk about different situations where your best solution or research method might apply. For example, if you helped out a local family medicine practice, you may want to discuss why your strategy might also be helpful for other types of medicine. That way, you can convince people to reach out to you to learn more about this compelling story. Remember that different types of case studies might have different formats.

Step 9: Proofread Your Work

Before you submit your case study, be sure to proofread your work carefully. You must present a polished, finished product, so you must check for any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors. You might also want to have a colleague look over your case study for stylistic purposes.

If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips !

steps on how to write a case study

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What Is a Case Study?

Weighing the pros and cons of this method of research

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

steps on how to write a case study

Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.

steps on how to write a case study

Verywell / Colleen Tighe

  • Pros and Cons

What Types of Case Studies Are Out There?

Where do you find data for a case study, how do i write a psychology case study.

A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in many different fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

The point of a case study is to learn as much as possible about an individual or group so that the information can be generalized to many others. Unfortunately, case studies tend to be highly subjective, and it is sometimes difficult to generalize results to a larger population.

While case studies focus on a single individual or group, they follow a format similar to other types of psychology writing. If you are writing a case study, we got you—here are some rules of APA format to reference.  

At a Glance

A case study, or an in-depth study of a person, group, or event, can be a useful research tool when used wisely. In many cases, case studies are best used in situations where it would be difficult or impossible for you to conduct an experiment. They are helpful for looking at unique situations and allow researchers to gather a lot of˜ information about a specific individual or group of people. However, it's important to be cautious of any bias we draw from them as they are highly subjective.

What Are the Benefits and Limitations of Case Studies?

A case study can have its strengths and weaknesses. Researchers must consider these pros and cons before deciding if this type of study is appropriate for their needs.

One of the greatest advantages of a case study is that it allows researchers to investigate things that are often difficult or impossible to replicate in a lab. Some other benefits of a case study:

  • Allows researchers to capture information on the 'how,' 'what,' and 'why,' of something that's implemented
  • Gives researchers the chance to collect information on why one strategy might be chosen over another
  • Permits researchers to develop hypotheses that can be explored in experimental research

On the other hand, a case study can have some drawbacks:

  • It cannot necessarily be generalized to the larger population
  • Cannot demonstrate cause and effect
  • It may not be scientifically rigorous
  • It can lead to bias

Researchers may choose to perform a case study if they want to explore a unique or recently discovered phenomenon. Through their insights, researchers develop additional ideas and study questions that might be explored in future studies.

It's important to remember that the insights from case studies cannot be used to determine cause-and-effect relationships between variables. However, case studies may be used to develop hypotheses that can then be addressed in experimental research.

Case Study Examples

There have been a number of notable case studies in the history of psychology. Much of  Freud's work and theories were developed through individual case studies. Some great examples of case studies in psychology include:

  • Anna O : Anna O. was a pseudonym of a woman named Bertha Pappenheim, a patient of a physician named Josef Breuer. While she was never a patient of Freud's, Freud and Breuer discussed her case extensively. The woman was experiencing symptoms of a condition that was then known as hysteria and found that talking about her problems helped relieve her symptoms. Her case played an important part in the development of talk therapy as an approach to mental health treatment.
  • Phineas Gage : Phineas Gage was a railroad employee who experienced a terrible accident in which an explosion sent a metal rod through his skull, damaging important portions of his brain. Gage recovered from his accident but was left with serious changes in both personality and behavior.
  • Genie : Genie was a young girl subjected to horrific abuse and isolation. The case study of Genie allowed researchers to study whether language learning was possible, even after missing critical periods for language development. Her case also served as an example of how scientific research may interfere with treatment and lead to further abuse of vulnerable individuals.

Such cases demonstrate how case research can be used to study things that researchers could not replicate in experimental settings. In Genie's case, her horrific abuse denied her the opportunity to learn a language at critical points in her development.

This is clearly not something researchers could ethically replicate, but conducting a case study on Genie allowed researchers to study phenomena that are otherwise impossible to reproduce.

There are a few different types of case studies that psychologists and other researchers might use:

  • Collective case studies : These involve studying a group of individuals. Researchers might study a group of people in a certain setting or look at an entire community. For example, psychologists might explore how access to resources in a community has affected the collective mental well-being of those who live there.
  • Descriptive case studies : These involve starting with a descriptive theory. The subjects are then observed, and the information gathered is compared to the pre-existing theory.
  • Explanatory case studies : These   are often used to do causal investigations. In other words, researchers are interested in looking at factors that may have caused certain things to occur.
  • Exploratory case studies : These are sometimes used as a prelude to further, more in-depth research. This allows researchers to gather more information before developing their research questions and hypotheses .
  • Instrumental case studies : These occur when the individual or group allows researchers to understand more than what is initially obvious to observers.
  • Intrinsic case studies : This type of case study is when the researcher has a personal interest in the case. Jean Piaget's observations of his own children are good examples of how an intrinsic case study can contribute to the development of a psychological theory.

The three main case study types often used are intrinsic, instrumental, and collective. Intrinsic case studies are useful for learning about unique cases. Instrumental case studies help look at an individual to learn more about a broader issue. A collective case study can be useful for looking at several cases simultaneously.

The type of case study that psychology researchers use depends on the unique characteristics of the situation and the case itself.

There are a number of different sources and methods that researchers can use to gather information about an individual or group. Six major sources that have been identified by researchers are:

  • Archival records : Census records, survey records, and name lists are examples of archival records.
  • Direct observation : This strategy involves observing the subject, often in a natural setting . While an individual observer is sometimes used, it is more common to utilize a group of observers.
  • Documents : Letters, newspaper articles, administrative records, etc., are the types of documents often used as sources.
  • Interviews : Interviews are one of the most important methods for gathering information in case studies. An interview can involve structured survey questions or more open-ended questions.
  • Participant observation : When the researcher serves as a participant in events and observes the actions and outcomes, it is called participant observation.
  • Physical artifacts : Tools, objects, instruments, and other artifacts are often observed during a direct observation of the subject.

If you have been directed to write a case study for a psychology course, be sure to check with your instructor for any specific guidelines you need to follow. If you are writing your case study for a professional publication, check with the publisher for their specific guidelines for submitting a case study.

Here is a general outline of what should be included in a case study.

Section 1: A Case History

This section will have the following structure and content:

Background information : The first section of your paper will present your client's background. Include factors such as age, gender, work, health status, family mental health history, family and social relationships, drug and alcohol history, life difficulties, goals, and coping skills and weaknesses.

Description of the presenting problem : In the next section of your case study, you will describe the problem or symptoms that the client presented with.

Describe any physical, emotional, or sensory symptoms reported by the client. Thoughts, feelings, and perceptions related to the symptoms should also be noted. Any screening or diagnostic assessments that are used should also be described in detail and all scores reported.

Your diagnosis : Provide your diagnosis and give the appropriate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual code. Explain how you reached your diagnosis, how the client's symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s), or any possible difficulties in reaching a diagnosis.

Section 2: Treatment Plan

This portion of the paper will address the chosen treatment for the condition. This might also include the theoretical basis for the chosen treatment or any other evidence that might exist to support why this approach was chosen.

  • Cognitive behavioral approach : Explain how a cognitive behavioral therapist would approach treatment. Offer background information on cognitive behavioral therapy and describe the treatment sessions, client response, and outcome of this type of treatment. Make note of any difficulties or successes encountered by your client during treatment.
  • Humanistic approach : Describe a humanistic approach that could be used to treat your client, such as client-centered therapy . Provide information on the type of treatment you chose, the client's reaction to the treatment, and the end result of this approach. Explain why the treatment was successful or unsuccessful.
  • Psychoanalytic approach : Describe how a psychoanalytic therapist would view the client's problem. Provide some background on the psychoanalytic approach and cite relevant references. Explain how psychoanalytic therapy would be used to treat the client, how the client would respond to therapy, and the effectiveness of this treatment approach.
  • Pharmacological approach : If treatment primarily involves the use of medications, explain which medications were used and why. Provide background on the effectiveness of these medications and how monotherapy may compare with an approach that combines medications with therapy or other treatments.

This section of a case study should also include information about the treatment goals, process, and outcomes.

When you are writing a case study, you should also include a section where you discuss the case study itself, including the strengths and limitiations of the study. You should note how the findings of your case study might support previous research. 

In your discussion section, you should also describe some of the implications of your case study. What ideas or findings might require further exploration? How might researchers go about exploring some of these questions in additional studies?

Need More Tips?

Here are a few additional pointers to keep in mind when formatting your case study:

  • Never refer to the subject of your case study as "the client." Instead, use their name or a pseudonym.
  • Read examples of case studies to gain an idea about the style and format.
  • Remember to use APA format when citing references .

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach .  BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011;11:100.

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach . BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011 Jun 27;11:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-100

Gagnon, Yves-Chantal.  The Case Study as Research Method: A Practical Handbook . Canada, Chicago Review Press Incorporated DBA Independent Pub Group, 2010.

Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . United States, SAGE Publications, 2017.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

How to write a case study for business.

A woman sitting at a desk types on her laptop.

Show potential clients you have what it takes to solve their problems with a well-written case study.

Wondering how to write a case study effectively but not sure how to get started? Case studies are great for business. They build trust in your operation and show how your product or service solves your clients’ problems. But crafting a good case study takes practice. Read on to learn how to write a case study that will wow your reader.

What is a business case study, and why create one?

A business case study is a document or video that shares a customer’s journey resolving an issue using your company’s products or services. A good case study tells a story and highlights the protagonist (your customer), who has a problem that needs to be solved — which is where your company comes in to save the day.

The business case study serves as proof that your products or services give customers the results they want. It builds engagement with current customers and progresses future sales by putting you forward as a trustworthy business.

Now that you know what a business case study is, you may want to know how to write a business case study. Read on for the steps you’ll need to take.

Step 1. Gather research for the business case study.

Before you begin, review not just what you did for the client but also how you accomplished it. Remember to interview your client to get their point of view — and hopefully, some great quotes for your study. Then, determine your target audience to make sure you include relevant information.

Step 2. Write a case study outline

To write a case study, follow these six steps:

  • Headline. Write a brief headline that tells the most important details — like a news headline.
  • Summary. Include a brief summary of the client’s name and industry, which product or service you offered, and the results. You can use bullet points here.
  • The problem section. In a couple of paragraphs, introduce your client and the challenge they faced. Include quotes if possible.
  • The solution section. Explain why the client chose you, how you approached their problem, and how your service solved it.
  • The results section. Detail the tangible results and benefits the client received. Numbers and statistics are great for this section.
  • Conclusion. If you have a good quote from your client recommending your services, add it as a conclusion. However, this part is optional.

Step 3. Write your case study using the right format.

There are a few different routes you can take when it comes to case study formatting. First, consider what your audience would be interested in viewing and choose the best format that suits their needs.

A report format is typical for a case study. It includes all the details you need to know about a customer’s journey with your company. Business decision-makers likely want to read a format like this when deciding on using your business’s services.

A one-pager provides to-the-point information by highlighting company wins at a glance. For sales teams, this can be a great way to learn about past company wins, and you can easily share it with clients who prefer quick content.

Videos are an excellent way to communicate your message in a visually engaging way. You can tell the story at whatever pace you’d like and add in music, sound, and more to create an even more persuasive takeaway.

Lastly, infographics are a fantastic way to share data in a simple but eye-catching way. Visualizing numbers and statistics can also clarify case study results.

Tips on how to write a business case study.

You have the steps for how to write a case study, but how can you make the content leave your readers wanting to learn more about your business?

Here are some tips for writing an interesting and engaging case study:

  • The process (such as the time needed for the interview or when they should expect a draft for approval)
  • Where the case study will live (such as the website location)
  • Interview options (such as in-person, phone, or video call)
  • Benefits (such as social media exposure or compensation)
  • Include a notable highlight in the results. While great storytelling leaves some details for the end, you want to pique readers’ interest in the beginning and give them important details to help them with decision-making upfront.
  • Think about customers who used your products or services in a unique way.
  • Choose a theme that connects you and the client’s industry.
  • Draw in the reader from the beginning with the best result from your case study.
  • Weave the client’s personality throughout the story.
  • Make sure it’s relatable for all prospects. Pay attention to your target demographics and what would catch their eye. Choose problems that the majority of your customers face to catch their interest.
  • Provide visually interesting content. While case studies may not always be the most riveting reads, they can still be engaging. Creating content that is skimmable, colorful, and organized will make for more successful case studies.
  • Feature the client as the main character. While your company is helping clients out, you should always position the client as the hero. This makes it easier for readers to relate and put themselves in the client’s shoes — the case study is much less relatable if it’s just you bragging about your company. Taking the humble route wins the favor of the reader.
  • Let the client share their story. Your job is to take the client’s story and make it a triumphant narrative about how they overcame an obstacle using your product or service. It’s important to let them share their story in their own words — using quotes can break up text and increase trust with audiences.
  • Set realistic expectations . While case studies serve as a helpful resource for prospective clients, they probably aren’t going to be world-renowned publications. Don’t worry if the case study doesn’t get higher than average engagements. You should continue to create them with the intention of building and maintaining customer relationships.

Learning how to write an executive summary for your case study is crucial to quickly and easily convey the key points of the document.

Share your business case study.

Once you’ve written and edited your case study, share it as a PDF document. PDF is a lightweight, universal document format that works on any device. This way, you can ensure your readers can open your case study wherever they are.

You can convert your case study into a PDF with a PDF converter . You can also compress the PDF file to make it faster and easier to share. Discover all the ways Adobe Acrobat online services help you work with PDF files.

steps on how to write a case study


SpeakUp resources

How to write a case study: step-by-step guide.

  • By Matthew Jones

steps on how to write a case study

What is a Case Study?

Generally speaking, a case study involves the in-depth research of a subject over a specified period of time. Much like an analytical essay , a case study looks at a subject in order to validate the thesis. However, this definition is still pretty broad.

To better understand case studies, let’s say that a business wants to illustrate how one of its products can solve a specific problem for consumers. The business can simply tell people that the products works, but why should they believe them? Where is the evidence?

This is why a case study is extremely useful. The business can examine and record a situation in which a past customer had a problem and used the product to solve it. Then, the business can use this case study as evidence to promote their product in the future.

How to Write a Case Study: A Step-by-Step Guide

Every case study is unique to its subject matter. Case studies can cover a wide range of topics, and organizations can use different methods to research their subjects. That said, in order to write a clear, effective case study, you will need to follow a few simple steps.

Step 1: Identify the Problem and Solution

Most case studies are designed with the goal of promoting a specific solution to a specific problem. So, in order to write a case study, you will need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the problem?
  • What is the solution?

The answers to these questions are extremely important, as they will form the basis of your entire case study. Once you have identified the problem and its solution, you can move on to more in-depth questions that will help you later on in the writing process:

  • How does our product/service solve the problem?
  • What are the key features of our product/service?
  • How does our product/service differ from our competitors?

Step 2: Identify Your Subject

The term “subject” can mean many different things. In this case, we are not referring to the general topic of your case study, but rather the focus of your research. For example, let’s assume that you have already identified the following problem and solution:

  • Problem : Businesses do not have in-house translators to translate documents into different languages.
  • Solution : A service that provides expert linguists to quickly translate documents at a fraction of the cost of an in-house translator.

Based on this solution, we can assume that your organization specializes in translating documents for other businesses. As a result, you probably have a number of past clients for whom you have translated documents. So, how do you choose which client will be the subject of your case study?

This step will require you to research and analyze the experiences of your clients. You may find that you would like to write about more than one client, but this will require you to write more than one case study, as every case study should only have one subject.

To identify your subject, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which client(s) provided positive testimonials about their experience with your product/service?
  • Which client(s) had a problem that most closely aligned with the problem you aim to solve?
  • Do any of the clients continue to use your products/services? If so, for how long?
  • Which client(s) have used your services recently?

Step 3: Research Your Subject

While Step 2 requires some research into your potential subjects, you will need to conduct more in-depth research once you have chosen the subject of your case study. If you have chosen a client that used your product/service more recently, this will likely be easier to do. You may remember specific details about the client’s needs, expectations, deadlines, etc.

In any case, you will likely need to contact the subject and request a testimonial of their experiences (as well as permission to publish a case study). While the specific information you need will depend on the nature of your product/service, you should generally ask the following questions of your client:

  • How did you hear about our organization?
  • What problem did you need our organization to solve?
  • Had you previously tried to solve the problem on your own or with one of our competitors? If so, what happened?
  • How would you describe our customer service?
  • What positive impact did our service have on your business?
  • How do you think we differ from our competitors?

In addition to the testimonial of your client, you will want to research other circumstances that could make this case study (or client) unique. Perhaps this was the first time the client had ever worked with your business to solve this problem, or maybe the client had an extremely tight deadline that your business was able to meet. Either way, look for details that will make your case study stand out and help market your product/service.

Finally, while you do not have to include statistics in your final draft, they do help give your case study a greater sense of legitimacy. For example, when you see an article with charts, graphs, or numerical statistics, you’ll probably think that it is well-researched and informative, right?

Needless to say, you shouldn’t include any facts or figures that would be in breach of your client’s privacy. However, with your client’s permission, you should consider using data related to your client’s budget, the final cost (especially if it is lower than your competitors), the timeline, and the steps that your organization took to solve the problem.

Step 4: Compile the Information and Write Your Case Study

Once you have identified the goal of your case study (including the problem and solution), chosen your subject, and researched the specific case, it’s time to put it all together! But you may still not know how to write a case study. Sure, you have completed all of the necessary research, but how do you give it structure?

Ultimately, every case study tells a story. Like any story, a case study needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. Naturally, you have freedom with how you choose to tell your story, but there are a few factors that you should consider to make your case study as effective as possible:

  • Tone : Most case studies are professional in nature, and therefore have a tone that reflects the voice of the brand. You should always consider your brand’s voice when crafting a case study. That said, you don’t want your case study to be bland or uninteresting, so you need to write a story that you (and your target demographic) would be interested in reading.
  • Structure : As previously stated, every story needs a beginning, middle, and end. Generally, you should start with an introduction of your client; talk about what they do and whom they serve. This is a great opportunity to really show off the best aspects of their business, because it is about their business as much as it is about yours. Then, discuss the problem they faced and how they tried to solve it before finding your organization (if applicable). Finally, talk about how your organization solved the problem, how it impacted your client going forward (increased profits, more conversions, etc), and how it improved your professional relationship with the client. While you the introduction is good for talking up your client, the end is where you can really show readers why your business is better than the competition!
  • Length : The length of your case study will depend on a few factors, namely the complexity of the subject matter and details needed to effectively tell the story. That said, most marketing case studies are relatively short (500-2,000 words), as they are written to provide a concise example for potential clients in need of a solution to a specific problem.

Case Study Templates

Many times, you may know exactly what you want to write, but you don’t know how to format the information. Thankfully, there are a number of free case study templates available online. Keep in mind that you do not have to follow a specific structure, but the following case study templates can still serve as a good frame of reference:

  • Demand Metric Templates – A basic case study template for a wide-variety of topics.
  • Lightboard Templates – 4 templates for stat-heavy case studies.
  • CV Partner Custom Templates – Multiple custom templates for brands, as well as preset case study templates for large organizations.

Case Study Examples

Finally, if you’d like some real-world examples to get your creative juices flowing, we’ve provided the following links to a number of high-quality case study examples:

  • International Translating Company – HR Video Translations – A translation firm translates Human Resources videos at a fraction of the cost of their competitors.
  • Microsoft – Global Steel Distribution – A steel company pioneers digitalization in an industry that requires modern solutions to internal and external communication issues.
  • Wootric – In-Product NPS Surveys – In-product NPS surveys help an English teaching company track student feedback more efficiently.
  • Dimensional Insight – New Balance Athletic Shoe – A data analysis tool helps a large shoe retailer submit and receive reports with greater speed and accuracy.
  • UX Planet – Smart People Inc. – A new application based on data analysis helps English students have more fun on mobile devices.

We hope this guide was helpful! Learning how to write a case study may seem daunting. However, if you follow the steps above and look at some of the examples we’ve provided, you’ll be writing effective case studies in no time!

Matthew Jones

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How to Write a Case Study in 7 Easy Steps (AI Included)

How to Write a Case Study in 7 Easy Steps (AI Included)

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steps on how to write a case study

Meredith Sell

One of the most valuable weapons in a content marketer’s arsenal is the case study. 

While a blog draws customers to your site and web pages explain your products or services, a case study shows your products or services in action. It makes their impact tangible and relatable, and proves the claims made by your other content. 

What’s most important to understand here? Your case studies are for people who are close to making a purchase decision. They might have buying power, they might have influence over those who do. But they are far enough in the scouting process to be weighing different options against each other and seeing how others fared with this or that solution.

Write more in less time with Wortune > Write more in less time with Wortune >

steps on how to write a case study

Case studies are helpful because they flesh out your solution for your prospective customers. They show how it worked to solve another customer’s problem. Case studies serve as evidence for the promises you make all over your website.

Simply put, a case study’s purpose is to demonstrate your solution’s practical impact on real customers for prospective customers .

This is not a journal entry for a company achievements scrapbook. This is an outward-facing marketing and sales tool that speaks directly to your prospects in direct, practical terms, showing how another customer in a similar situation found your solution to be exactly what they needed.

The Basic Elements of B2B and B2C Case Studies

Case studies can come in all shapes and sizes—longform reports, condensed one-pagers, blurb-filled infographics, or even videos—but they all involve the same basic elements.

Boiled down, a case study can be described in two words: problem, solution. How you flesh out the problem and solution will depend on your strategy, your audience, and the particular story you’re telling.

Here’s what you’ll want to include:

1. A Descriptive Headline

A quick glance at your case study’s headline should give your audience a clear idea of the takeaway—and whether or not it relates to their situation. This may be the last part of your case study that you write, but it’s the first thing your audience sees and may be the only part that they actually read, so it’s worth spending extra time crafting your headline.

What makes a good case study headline? Specificity.

The headline should sum up your case study’s core takeaway. This could be the specific outcomes your solution led to, the particular action your customer took with your solution, or the unique problem that was solved. Maybe it’s all three. Make sure you mention your customer — either by name or with a concise description of who or what they are.

A simple subject-verb statement starring your customer could suffice:

Elderly residents keep sidewalks clear amid record-breaking blizzard with SnowForce.

Award-winning interior designer saves nonprofit $500K on office redesign.

Channel your inner newscaster as you draft headlines. What’s the most direct, concise way to describe this case?

2. TLDR Section

Too long, didn’t read. You can see those four words as the bane of your existence — or as an opportunity to flex your writing muscles.

For case studies, a TLDR section enables people to grasp the main points without reading every word — and it may entice some to read further.

The concept is simple: In one to three sentences, summarize the main points of the case study. You’ll want to include the problem, the solution, and the outcomes (i.e., beginning, middle, and end). 

Housebound adults may face fines if they don’t shovel their sidewalks within the city’s required timeframe, but these elderly adults found the timely help they needed through SnowForce, a snow removal program.

3. Customer Problem

Depending on the length of your case study and the complexity of your customer’s problem, this section could be anywhere from a paragraph to several pages long. It describes the problem your customer was dealing with when they sought out your solution. 

Along with the what of the problem, you’ll also want to make clear:

  • Why this problem was important and difficult to solve
  • How it impacted the customer and/or their business functions

4. Previous Failed Solutions (If Applicable)

Before they came to you, did your customer try multiple solutions, all of which failed? Your case study should mention that. 

Your business can decide whether or not to name the failed solutions, but showing that your solution worked where others failed will help your solution stand out. Be sure to get specific on what those other solutions lacked, whether quality customer service, software integrations, understanding of the customer’s industry, or something else relevant to your target audience.

You can write this as its own section or weave it into the “problem” section.

5. Customer Concerns and Limitations in Addressing Their Problem

Did your customer have a tight budget or privacy concerns or a brief time window to work within? These sorts of concerns and limitations are relevant to your target audience, who may have similar restrictions. You can put these details in their own section (if there’s a lot to cover) or make them part of the “problem” or “solution” sections.

6. Company Solution

How did your company solve the customer’s problem, while respecting their concerns and limitations? What steps did you take with the customer to solve their problem? How did this compare to the previous solutions they tried? Did you exceed their expectations? Finish well within their timeframe?

The solution section should answer these questions, leading with the most significant and compelling information. 

Be as specific as possible about how you solved their problem — but keep the customer the main character. One trick for doing this? Instead of adopting a first person narrator that refers to your company as “we”, use third person perspective (like a newspaper reporter) and make your customer the acting subject of as many sentences as possible.

What were the outcomes of your company’s solution? Are there any statistics or measurable benefits you can detail here? 

The results section is also a great place to include customer quotes describing their happiness with your solution, how effective your solution was, and what they can now do because their problem has been solved. 

Just make sure to favor quotes with more concrete information. A few breathless “SnowForce is a godsend”-type quotes are fine, but quotes describing tangible outcomes carry more weight.

8. Conclusion

Sometimes, the results section is enough, but longer case studies are served well by a conclusion that:

  • Sums up major takeaways
  • Integrates a final customer quote
  • Includes a relevant call to action (CTA), if applicable

If you’re writing a one-pager, though, skip the conclusion. The TLDR section covers this and the results section will end your case study in a strong spot. You can always add a quick CTA.

💫 Just like you can use Wordtune's Summarizer tool to pull out key points for the TLDR section, you can also use it to identify major takeaways to cover in the conclusion.

steps on how to write a case study

7 Tips for Writing Effective Case Studies

1. choose customer case studies based on your target audience..

Your content marketing department has limited resources — maybe you’re the only resource! So don’t waste your time writing a case study about every happy customer your company has helped. Instead, decide who to write about by focusing on your marketing and sales goals. 

Is there a certain corner of the market, a certain “persona” or audience, that your marketing or sales teams are targeting?

If so, what is that audience’s key pain point? Has your company addressed that same issue for another customer already? Were they pleased with the results?

If so, that’s the customer you should write a case study about.

2. Treat your case study like a story.

The main character is your past customer. The audience is your prospective customer. The plot is your past customer’s journey from problem to solution. Your business and solution are mere supporting characters . 

Use your storytelling skills to bring the case study to life and entice your target audience. Craft a killer headline and an attention-grabbing hook . Focus on the most compelling details. Show and tell. Answer the why as well as the who , what , when , where , and how . 

Even if your case study is only five paragraphs long, your reader should reach the end and feel like they went on a journey.

3. Be as specific as possible.

A vague sentence helps no one. Your prospects have specific problems that need specific solutions. They’ve already waded through too many company websites that make bold, vague claims but never really explain what they do or how they do it. One reason case studies are useful is because they’re not vague — so prioritize specificity.

This means you’ll need to gather specific details in the research stage, ask specific questions when you’re interviewing your customer. Do the hard work up front and the writing process will be much smoother.

4. Focus on your customer’s (and prospective customer’s) perspectives.

The customer is the hero , not you, so make sure the case study keeps the spotlight on them. Your solution is just a way to help them achieve their ultimate goals. When you revise your case study, pay attention to who is doing most of the action—and make sure it’s your customer as much as possible.

5. Stick to the point.

This is typical writing advice, but: only take as much space as you need to tell the story. If it helps, write long and edit down ( Wordtune comes in handy for that editing process!). Don’t waste readers’ time.

6. Break your case study up into scannable sections.

These sections will generally correspond to the basic elements we described earlier, but instead of using generic “problem”, “solution”, and “results” headings, write descriptive headings that are specific to the case study. Match them to the style of your headline — or play around with themes and puns — but make sure they’re understandable at a glance.

💫 Wordtune can help you write headings by summarizing your sections refining them! 

7. Make the takeaway crystal clear.

The takeaway is mentioned in the headline, TLDR, and conclusion — and it should be clear in each of those places. If you’re muddy on what the takeaway is, focus on the problem and solution sections. Work on summing up the takeaway in a simple, declarative sentence, and then riff on that sentence in those three places.

‍ A case study is a great tool for showing your prospective customers that your solution works — and it’s right for them. Take the time to craft a vivid, well-structured case study and your sales teams will thank you. Your solution won’t be vague and hypothetical to customers anymore.

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Home Blog Education Learning Objectives Examples: How to Create High-Quality Educational Slides

Learning Objectives Examples: How to Create High-Quality Educational Slides

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Learning objectives are the foundations of any course or training program. They provide a clear roadmap for both educators and learners. They set a direction for the learning journey by outlining the expected outcomes. Therefore, trainers need to ensure their programs are purposeful, engaging, and aligned with their educational goals.

In this article, we’ll explore learning objectives, why they matter, and how they differ from other goals in terms of creating presentation slides to depict them. 

Table of Contents

Defining Learning Objectives

Characteristics of good learning objectives, steps to write learning objectives, training learning objectives examples, lesson objective examples, common mistakes to avoid when writing learning objective examples, tools and resources to represent learning objective examples.

According to Melton (1997), learning objectives, also known as learning outcomes, are concise statements that outline the specific achievements expected from trainees after receiving training or a lesson [1]. Unlike general learning goals, these objectives offer explicit criteria, enabling instructors to evaluate whether students have successfully attained the intended learning outcomes. Using clearly defined and actionable learning objectives enhances your ability to assess texts or activities for appropriateness and relevance.[1] Learning objectives are specific statements that describe the measurable and observable skills, knowledge, or attitudes that learners should acquire after completing a training program. In training programs , these objectives act as a guide, helping to focus instructional efforts and assess the effectiveness of the learning experience.

Learning objectives play a crucial role for instructors and trainers in developing assessments that align with the course’s learning activities and training materials . Alignment is how effectively learning objectives, assessments, and instructional materials collaborate to accomplish the intended learning goals. Learning objectives indicate that assessments are focused on the materials covered in the course, simplifying the process of creating assessment items for instructors [2]. Learning objectives communicate what is essential for learning. Without learning objectives, students struggle to identify their learning and areas that demand specific attention. Clearly, articulated learning objectives contribute to students or trainees adopting more efficient and effective study approaches. Moreover, well-crafted learning objectives help them acquire new knowledge that can be applied flexibly and appropriately across various contexts, both in the short term and in the future. This application of knowledge, termed “transfer,” as emphasized by Barnett and Ceci (2002), is a significant indicator of profound learning [3].

Learning objectives should be short and clear statements about what learners can do after a lesson.  These objectives can be based on three things: what learners know, their skills, and their attitudes [4]. A good learning objective has these characteristics:

Clear and Concise

Learners must understand the objectives clearly. Learning objectives should be expressed straightforwardly, avoiding unnecessary complexity or ambiguity [10]. Everyone needs to be aware of what they are learning and the reasons behind it. They need to grasp how these objectives fit into the broader picture – connecting with the previous lesson, the ongoing course, and the overall goal [5]. Merely writing the objectives on the board and expecting students or trainees to copy them isn’t sufficient. It requires thorough explanation in context, active engagement from the learners, and the ability to articulate and explain the objectives to any observer.

A learning objective should be created with a specific action verb representing an observable and measurable outcome related to the identified knowledge or skills. The use of action verbs conveys what learners are expected to accomplish, ensuring a tangible and quantifiable outcome [7].

Make sure each goal focuses on one thing the learner should be able to show or perform. Actionable goals should start with a word like “recall,” “describe,” “explain,” or “select,” not unclear words like “understand” or “know” that you can’t see or measure. Keep it simple and practical.

Learning Objectives word cloud

Learning objectives, serving as evaluation criteria, should assist trainers in assessing the extent to which learners achieve the intended learning outcomes. Much of the impact training has on learners is internal and remains unseen. Learners may alter their perspectives, shift attitudes, and acquire new knowledge [6]; however, trainers cannot directly observe the internal processes of a trainee’s mind. They must rely on external indicators (observable actions or statements) to gauge the trainee’s progress. Therefore, assessing progress based on what a student “learns,” “understands,” “knows,” or “feels” becomes challenging. Learning objectives, therefore, should focus on observable and measurable changes. An objective can be made measurable by adding specific criteria. It could specify a percentage of accuracy, a number of items, a time frame, or other measurable criteria. For example, the learner will solve 90% of math problems correctly.

Relevant to the Training Program

Objectives must directly contribute to the overall goals and purpose of the training program, maintaining relevance and coherence. Learning objectives should address these questions. Is the objective aligned with the program’s primary goal(s)? Will achieving the objective contribute to reaching the main goal(s)? Design the course or training thoughtfully to ensure that each learning objective is relevant to training.  Likewise, the learning materials, activities, and assessments should be interlinked.

Time-Bound (SMART Objectives)

A learning goal needs a defined timeframe for completion, like the conclusion of a lesson, module, or entire course. It is crucial to allocate sufficient time within the lesson, module, or course to accomplish the necessary steps for reaching the goal.  In short, a learning objective should be smart;

SMART Goals in Learning Objective Examples

S- Specific : Effective learning objectives divide a broad subject into manageable parts and clearly outline the expected outcomes connected to these components.

M-Measurable: Learning objectives should be quantifiable, allowing for easy assessment of whether the desired outcome has been achieved.

A-Achievable: Considering the available resources, timeframe, Learner’s background, and readiness, set achievable objectives. The cognitive complexity of the learning goals should match both the training level and the learners’ proficiency. Therefore, take into account factors like whether it’s basic or advanced level training before making a learning objective.

R-Result Oriented: Learning objectives should emphasize the outcomes rather than the processes or tasks learners will undertake (such as presenting or completing a task). A good learning goal describes the end results – what knowledge, skills, or attitudes learners should gain based on what the trainer can assess.

T-Time bound: Clearly mention the timeframe if it’s relevant. This can assist in determining the level of performance learners need to demonstrate to be competent.

As you create your learning objectives, you need to follow these steps.

Step 1: Identify the Desired Outcome of the Training Program

Identifying the desired outcome sets the direction for your entire training program. It provides a clear goal for both trainers and learners. It aligns the training program with broader organizational goals. It sets expectations and helps measure the success of the program.

Begin by considering the broader organizational goals. What specific improvements in skills or performance will contribute to these goals?

Break down the outcome into measurable components. What specific skills or knowledge gaps exist? Then, envision the ideal scenario after the training – what should the team be capable of doing? What skills or knowledge do you want participants to gain?

The importance lies in setting a clear, achievable target that aligns with organizational objectives. When you identify the broader goal of the training program, narrow it down into a learning objective [8].

70-20-10 learning framework for learning objectives planning

This step is crucial because it sets the direction for your entire training program. It defines what success looks like and guides the subsequent steps in the process.  Consider the current state of the team, the challenges they face, and the skills they need to overcome those challenges.

Imagine you’ve assessed that your sales team struggles with closing deals effectively. The desired outcome, in this case, would be to improve their closing techniques and boost overall conversion rates. In the context of sales training, the desired result could be to enhance the sales team’s ability to close deals and increase conversion rates. Why is this important?

Step 2: Use Action Verbs to Describe What Trainees Will Be Able to Do

Now that we know what we want to achieve, the next step is to articulate it using action verbs. Action verbs make objectives actionable and observable. How do I choose these verbs? They should precisely convey the expected behaviors or skills. It’s essential to avoid vague verbs that can lead to unclear expectations. Action verbs are crucial in learning objectives as they define the observable behaviors or skills that learners should acquire. Choosing the proper verbs is essential for clarity and precision.

Action verbs describe an observable action, giving a clear picture of what learners are expected to do. Action verbs provide clarity on what exactly we expect our learners to do. They help in crafting specific and measurable objectives. When choosing action verbs, consider the level of performance you want to see. Words like ‘understand’ or ‘know’ are vague. Instead, opt for strong verbs that denote observable actions.

In our sales training program, we’ve chosen the action verb ‘demonstrate.’ This emphasizes the sales team’s importance in understanding and actively showcasing effective closing techniques.

We have come up with this learning objective so far;

“By the end of the training program, sales team members will be able to demonstrate effective closing techniques to increase conversion rates.”

‘Demonstrate’ is an intense action verb that implies a visible and practical application of knowledge. In sales, demonstrating effective closing techniques is a tangible and measurable skill.

Step 3: Ensure the Objective is Measurable

Measurability is crucial for assessing the success of your learning objective. It involves defining clear criteria to determine whether the desired outcome has been achieved. Without measurable criteria, evaluating the effectiveness of the training becomes challenging.

Attach specific metrics or criteria that provide a quantitative or observable way to assess success. This could involve percentages, numbers, or other tangible measures.

Think about how you can quantify or assess the outcome. In our example, we set a measurable criterion: a 15% increase in the overall conversion rate within the next quarter.

KPIs for learning objectives

Step 4: Align the Objective with the Overall Goals of the Training Program

Aligning the objective with the overall goals ensures coherence and relevance. The aim should not be an isolated achievement but a meaningful contribution to the broader success of the training program.

Consider how achieving this specific objective fits into the larger picture. How does it support your training program’s overall goals and objectives and, by extension, your organization?

In our case, the overall goal is to improve the sales team’s performance to meet and exceed quarterly revenue targets. Our learning objective aligns perfectly by directly contributing to this overarching goal.

“By the end of the training program, sales team members will be able to demonstrate effective closing techniques, contributing to a 15% increase in the overall conversion rate within the next quarter, thereby supporting the overall goal of improving the sales team’s performance to meet and exceed quarterly revenue targets.”

Training needs assessment slide

Real-Life Case Studies of Learning Objective Examples

So far, we’ve analyzed how to write actionable and measurable learning objectives, but now it’s time to consider how to represent these learning objectives in presentation slides with the idea of stepping into the shoes of an instructor. Thinking about the design aspects can be challenging for some; thus, we will showcase a series of learning objective examples in two different categories: training and lesson planning. Below each case, you can find a visual representation of the learning objective to deliver more audience engagement.

A training is conducted by a firm on Time Management for Managers. This training is vital because effective time management is crucial for managers to maintain productivity and meet deadlines. It is realized that many managers struggle with task prioritization, leading to missed deadlines and increased stress.

Learning Objective Example 01

Use the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize tasks based on urgency and importance within two weeks.

This learning objective is evident in what managers need to do (Use the matrix), measurable by their ability to categorize tasks, achievable within two weeks, relevant to task prioritization, and time-bound.

Training learning objective example

Learning Objective Example 02

Implement project management software to streamline task organization and meet deadlines within one month.

This objective addresses the broader aspect of time management by introducing a tool. It specifies the action (implement software), is measurable through enhanced task organization, achievable in one month, relevant to meeting deadlines, and time-bound.

Training learning objective example for software implementation

A lesson is about understanding literary devices in poetry. Understanding literary devices is crucial for students to appreciate and analyze poetry effectively.

Example of Vague Objective

Learn about poetry devices.

This objective is too broad and lacks specificity. It doesn’t specify which poetry devices students should focus on. To enhance clarity, we should specify the devices, such as “Identify similes and metaphors in assigned poems.

A Well-Established Lesson Objective Example

Identify Similes and Metaphors in Assigned Poems during One Class Period

What is a learning objective example

It is a clear and concise objective focusing explicitly on identifying similes and metaphors in assigned poems. Students will actively read and analyze poems to “identify” and differentiate between similes and metaphors. “Identify” is used as an action verb here, so the objective is actionable. Success is observable when students accurately point out similes and metaphors in the assigned poems during the class period. At the same time, it is relevant to the lesson plan that directly addresses the challenge of understanding and recognizing literary devices in poetry. It is achievable within the timeframe of one class period.

Another example can be visualized in the format of an end-of-unit exercise:

Develop a strategy for effective delegation, reducing workload stress by 20% over the next quarter.

Focusing on delegation, this objective is specific in developing a strategy that is measurable by workload stress reduction, achievable in the next quarter, directly relevant to the issue, and time-bound, providing a clear timeframe for improvement.

steps on how to write a case study

Vague or Unclear Objectives

Vague or unclear objectives lack specificity, making it challenging for learners to understand what is expected. When a purpose is unclear, it can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. To address this, learning objectives should be articulated with precision, clearly outlining the specific skill or knowledge area that learners are expected to acquire. This clarity provides a roadmap for both learners and instructors, fostering a more effective learning process.

Example of Lack of Clarity – “Write better essays.”

The term “better” is subjective and doesn’t provide a clear benchmark for improvement. We should define the improvement to enhance clarity, such as “Organize ideas logically within paragraphs using transitions.”

Objectives That Are Not Measurable

Measurability is crucial for assessing progress and achievement. Objectives that lack a measurable component make it challenging to determine whether the desired outcome has been met. Learning objectives should incorporate specific criteria or actions that can be observed, evaluated, or quantified to enhance measurability. This not only provides a clear standard for success but also allows for practical evaluation and feedback. Measurable objectives contribute to a more transparent and accountable learning process.

Example of Non-Measurable Objective – “Enhance academic writing abilities.”

The term “enhance” is vague and lacks a measurable outcome. To make it more effective, we should make it measurable, like “Apply proper citation formats in academic writing.”

Indeed, let’s delve into a detailed discussion on common mistakes to avoid when writing learning objectives without relying on excessive adjectives.

Objectives That Are Not Aligned with the Training Program’s Goals

Alignment between individual learning objectives and the broader goals of the training program is essential for overall program success. When objectives are not in harmony with the program’s goals, there is a risk of diverging efforts that may not contribute to the desired outcomes. Ensuring alignment involves thoroughly understanding the overarching program goals and carefully crafting objectives that directly support those goals. This strategic alignment ensures that every learning objective plays a meaningful role in achieving the overall objectives of the training program. For instance, if a training program aims to enhance customer service skills, an objective like “Master advanced technical troubleshooting” might not align with the program’s focus. To ensure alignment, objectives should directly contribute to the overarching goals of the training program. An aligned objective would be to “Resolve customer issues efficiently following company protocols.”

You need resources like educational content guidelines, collaboration tools, and text editors to write practical learning objectives for courses or training. Presentation templates are crucial for efficiency, consistency, and visual appeal. They save time by providing pre-designed structures, ensuring a professional look, and allowing customization to match the course theme.

In essence, SlideModel offers a comprehensive toolkit for educators and trainers. From visual excellence to efficient customization and alignment with SMART goals , these templates elevate the process of creating learning objectives. 

Using visually engaging graphics and layouts adds more clarity to learning objectives. This makes the content more attractive and facilitates better understanding for your audience. SlideModel offers an extensive collection of Google Slides templates , providing educators and trainers with a visually stunning canvas for crafting learning objectives.

The ready-made nature of PowerPoint templates significantly accelerates the aim of the learning creation process. Instead of starting from scratch, you can use these templates to structure your content quickly. This time-saving advantage allows you to focus on the substance of your learning objectives without getting bogged down by formatting complexities.

1. E-Learning Objective Examples PowerPoint Template

steps on how to write a case study

If you intend to harness the power of visuals to boost your lesson objective examples, this is the slide deck to use. Filled with hand-made vector graphics, this learning objectives examples for training template allows us to present exercises to students, establish deadlines with clear requirements, express the learning objectives of each course unit, and more.

Use This Template

2. Employee Training Objectives PowerPoint Template

steps on how to write a case study

Display the learning objectives for your in-company training program, evaluate the training needs and where your employees currently stand, and properly plan the agenda for these professional training courses using a minimalistic layout PPT template. Easy to customize, we also include a roadmap and two slides for 3-month and 6-month training plans.

3. Course Syllabus Lesson Plan Objectives PowerPoint Templates

steps on how to write a case study

Teachers can easily connect with their students about the expected outcome of the course and learning objective examples by using this best PPT template. Explain the expectations for the course, the content that will be shared, the main learning objectives, and the required materials.

4. Creative Lessons Learned PowerPoint Template

steps on how to write a case study

Summarize the core points to be covered as learning objectives for any course or training program by using this slide deck. It allow us to work lesson by lesson, which is ideal for online courses, and also to brief students about the key takeaways of each unit.

5. Math Symbols PowerPoint Template

steps on how to write a case study

Present math-related learning objectives in a visually appealing format by using our Math Symbols PowerPoint Template. Instructors can find slides with math symbols, compass, calculators, and other relevant vector graphics to reinforce the topic they want to present as a lesson objective.

The Objective slide and other templates in SlideModel are customizable to suit the specific needs of your learning objectives. You can easily modify text, insert relevant images, and adapt the layout to align with your educational context. This customization feature ensures your learning objectives are visually appealing and tailored to your unique instructional requirements. Whether you are creating a detailed training module or a standalone learning objective presentation, these templates enhance the overall visual consistency, contributing to a polished and professional look.

Learning objectives are like guides in the learning world. Think of them as maps showing the way to knowledge and skills. With practical examples, we’ve made creating these objectives less of a mystery. They’re not just fancy educational talk; they’re like step-by-step plans for success. Whether you’re a trainer, someone designing lessons, or just curious about learning, nailing down these objectives becomes a shared way of talking about goals. The principles of specificity, measurability, relevance, and alignment are emphasized, showcasing the characteristics that make learning objectives genuinely effective.

[1] Melton, R. 1997. Objectives, Competencies, and Learning Outcomes: Developing Instructional Materials in Open and Distance Learning. London, UK: Kogan Page.

[2] Stapleton-Corcoran, E. 2023. Learning Objectives , Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence. University of Illinois Chicago. .

[3] Barnett, S. M., & Ceci, S. J. 2002. When and Where Do We Apply What We Learn? A Taxonomy for Far Transfer. Psychological Bulletin , 128(4), 612-637.


[5] Course Objectives & Learning Outcomes.

[6] Course design (no date) CTE Resources.

[7] Learning Objectives – Eberly center – Carnegie Mellon University (no date) Learning Objectives – Eberly Center – Carnegie Mellon University.

[8] Course design CTE Resources.

[9] Chatterjee, D., & Corral, J. (2017). How to Write Well-Defined Learning Objectives. The journal of education in perioperative medicine : JEPM, 19(4), E610.


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  • Published: 12 February 2024

Plasma proteomic profiles predict future dementia in healthy adults

  • Yu Guo 1   na1 ,
  • Jia You   ORCID: 1 , 2   na1 ,
  • Yi Zhang 1   na1 ,
  • Wei-Shi Liu 1 ,
  • Yu-Yuan Huang 1 ,
  • Ya-Ru Zhang 1 ,
  • Wei Zhang 2 ,
  • Qiang Dong   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Jian-Feng Feng   ORCID: 2 , 3 ,
  • Wei Cheng   ORCID: 1 , 2 , 3 &
  • Jin-Tai Yu   ORCID: 1  

Nature Aging volume  4 ,  pages 247–260 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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  • Neurodegeneration
  • Predictive markers

The advent of proteomics offers an unprecedented opportunity to predict dementia onset. We examined this in data from 52,645 adults without dementia in the UK Biobank, with 1,417 incident cases and a follow-up time of 14.1 years. Of 1,463 plasma proteins, GFAP, NEFL, GDF15 and LTBP2 consistently associated most with incident all-cause dementia (ACD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD), and ranked high in protein importance ordering. Combining GFAP (or GDF15) with demographics produced desirable predictions for ACD (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.891) and AD (AUC = 0.872) (or VaD (AUC = 0.912)). This was also true when predicting over 10-year ACD, AD and VaD. Individuals with higher GFAP levels were 2.32 times more likely to develop dementia. Notably, GFAP and LTBP2 were highly specific for dementia prediction. GFAP and NEFL began to change at least 10 years before dementia diagnosis. Our findings strongly highlight GFAP as an optimal biomarker for dementia prediction, even more than 10 years before the diagnosis, with implications for screening people at high risk for dementia and for early intervention.

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steps on how to write a case study

Data availability

The data used in the present study are available from UK Biobank with restrictions applied. Data were used under license and are thus not publicly available. Access to the UK Biobank data can be requested through a standard protocol ( ). Data used in this study are available in the UK Biobank under application number 19542. All data supporting the findings described in this manuscript are available in the article and in the supplementary materials and from the corresponding author upon request. Source data are provided with this paper.

Code availability

All software used in this study is publicly available. The code used in this study can be accessed at .

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We thank all the participants and researchers from the UK Biobank. W.C. was funded by National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant no. 2023YFC3605400). J.T.-Y. was funded by grants from the Science and Technology Innovation 2030 Major Projects (grant no. 2022ZD0211600), National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 82071201, 92249305), Research Start-up Fund of Huashan Hospital (grant no. 2022QD002) and Excellence 2025 Talent Cultivation Program at Fudan University (grant no. 3030277001). J.F.-F. was funded by National Key R&D Program of China (grant nos. 2018YFC1312904, 2019YFA0709502), Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project (grant no. 2018SHZDZX01) and the 111 Project (no. B18015). J.Y. was funded by Shanghai Pujiang Talent Program (grant no. 23PJD006). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis; decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. Further, we would like to thank the support from the ZHANGJIANG LAB, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute, and the State Key Laboratory of Neurobiology and Frontiers Center for Brain Science of Ministry of Education, Fudan University.

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These authors contributed equally: Yu Guo, Jia You, Yi Zhang.

Authors and Affiliations

Department of Neurology and National Center for Neurological Disorders, Huashan Hospital, State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology and MOE Frontiers Center for Brain Science, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Yu Guo, Jia You, Yi Zhang, Wei-Shi Liu, Yu-Yuan Huang, Ya-Ru Zhang, Qiang Dong, Wei Cheng & Jin-Tai Yu

Institute of Science and Technology for Brain-inspired Intelligence, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Jia You, Wei Zhang, Jian-Feng Feng & Wei Cheng

Key Laboratory of Computational Neuroscience and Brain-inspired Intelligence, Fudan University, Ministry of Education, Shanghai, China

Jian-Feng Feng & Wei Cheng

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J.-T.Y. undertook conceptualization and design of the study, interpretation of the data and revision of the manuscript. Y.G., J.Y. and Y.Z. collected, analyzed and interpreted the data, and drafted and revised the manuscript. J.-F.F., W.C. and J.-T.Y. were responsible for funding, administrative, technical or material support. All authors carried out revision of the manuscript. All authors had full access to all the study data and accepted responsibility for submitting it for publication.

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Correspondence to Jian-Feng Feng , Wei Cheng or Jin-Tai Yu .

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Nature Aging thanks Keenan Walker and Alexa Pichet Binette for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Extended data

Extended data fig. 1 flowchart for participants’ enrollment..

From the UK Biobank cohort, we excluded individuals with dementia at baseline or with self-reported dementia and those who did not undergo plasma proteomic assay. The remaining participants were classified based on their first reported years of ACD or AD or VaD after baseline. Abbreviations: ACD, all-cause dementia; AD, Alzheimer’s disease; VaD, vascular dementia.

Supplementary information

Supplementary information.

Supplementary Figs. 1–6.

Reporting Summary

Supplementary tables 1–13., source data, source data fig. 1.

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Source Data Fig. 2

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Source Data Fig. 3

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Source Data Fig. 4

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Guo, Y., You, J., Zhang, Y. et al. Plasma proteomic profiles predict future dementia in healthy adults. Nat Aging 4 , 247–260 (2024).

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EU AI Act: first regulation on artificial intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence in the EU will be regulated by the AI Act, the world’s first comprehensive AI law. Find out how it will protect you.

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As part of its digital strategy , the EU wants to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure better conditions for the development and use of this innovative technology. AI can create many benefits , such as better healthcare; safer and cleaner transport; more efficient manufacturing; and cheaper and more sustainable energy.

In April 2021, the European Commission proposed the first EU regulatory framework for AI. It says that AI systems that can be used in different applications are analysed and classified according to the risk they pose to users. The different risk levels will mean more or less regulation. Once approved, these will be the world’s first rules on AI.

Learn more about what artificial intelligence is and how it is used

What Parliament wants in AI legislation

Parliament’s priority is to make sure that AI systems used in the EU are safe, transparent, traceable, non-discriminatory and environmentally friendly. AI systems should be overseen by people, rather than by automation, to prevent harmful outcomes.

Parliament also wants to establish a technology-neutral, uniform definition for AI that could be applied to future AI systems.

Learn more about Parliament’s work on AI and its vision for AI’s future

AI Act: different rules for different risk levels

The new rules establish obligations for providers and users depending on the level of risk from artificial intelligence. While many AI systems pose minimal risk, they need to be assessed.

Unacceptable risk

Unacceptable risk AI systems are systems considered a threat to people and will be banned. They include:

  • Cognitive behavioural manipulation of people or specific vulnerable groups: for example voice-activated toys that encourage dangerous behaviour in children
  • Social scoring: classifying people based on behaviour, socio-economic status or personal characteristics
  • Biometric identification and categorisation of people
  • Real-time and remote biometric identification systems, such as facial recognition

Some exceptions may be allowed for law enforcement purposes. “Real-time” remote biometric identification systems will be allowed in a limited number of serious cases, while “post” remote biometric identification systems, where identification occurs after a significant delay, will be allowed to prosecute serious crimes and only after court approval.

AI systems that negatively affect safety or fundamental rights will be considered high risk and will be divided into two categories:

1) AI systems that are used in products falling under the EU’s product safety legislation . This includes toys, aviation, cars, medical devices and lifts.

2) AI systems falling into specific areas that will have to be registered in an EU database:

  • Management and operation of critical infrastructure
  • Education and vocational training
  • Employment, worker management and access to self-employment
  • Access to and enjoyment of essential private services and public services and benefits
  • Law enforcement
  • Migration, asylum and border control management
  • Assistance in legal interpretation and application of the law.

All high-risk AI systems will be assessed before being put on the market and also throughout their lifecycle.

General purpose and generative AI

Generative AI, like ChatGPT, would have to comply with transparency requirements:

  • Disclosing that the content was generated by AI
  • Designing the model to prevent it from generating illegal content
  • Publishing summaries of copyrighted data used for training

High-impact general-purpose AI models that might pose systemic risk, such as the more advanced AI model GPT-4, would have to undergo thorough evaluations and any serious incidents would have to be reported to the European Commission.

Limited risk

Limited risk AI systems should comply with minimal transparency requirements that would allow users to make informed decisions. After interacting with the applications, the user can then decide whether they want to continue using it. Users should be made aware when they are interacting with AI. This includes AI systems that generate or manipulate image, audio or video content, for example deepfakes.

On December 9 2023, Parliament reached a provisional agreement with the Council on the AI act . The agreed text will now have to be formally adopted by both Parliament and Council to become EU law. Before all MEPs have their say on the agreement, Parliament’s internal market and civil liberties committees will vote on it.

More on the EU’s digital measures

  • Cryptocurrency dangers and the benefits of EU legislation
  • Fighting cybercrime: new EU cybersecurity laws explained
  • Boosting data sharing in the EU: what are the benefits?
  • EU Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act
  • Five ways the European Parliament wants to protect online gamers
  • Artificial Intelligence Act

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