Creating Case Studies

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How do I capture a case study?


Could any one help me in finding a good format or template for writing case studies?

NOTE: Need to cross reference or reduce duplication with Tips for Developing Case Studies


case studies

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Dear All,

Could any one help me in finding a good format or template for writing case studies?

Thanks for your help and I'm looking forward to receiving your reactions!

Best regards,

Esther Germans

Dear Esther,

You might find useful to take a look to the methodology "capitalizacion de experiencias" that some organizations in LAC like Centro Internacional de la Papa ( and Escuela para el Desarrollo (write to Rosa Mendoza, had being applying. I also found this link interesting,

Beside this, the guide of the methodology "Most Significant Change" ( includes some orientation for writing good stories that could be adapted for writing case studies.

Best regards, Brenda Bucheli

Dear Esther,

I am attaching a document, which I came across just within the past few days, containing South Asian case studies of livelihood options for trafficking survivors. The format used is survivor/person-centric , as opposed to just detailing factual information on the activity/organisation. Hope it is useful. NEED TO UPLOAD TO KM4DEV SITE

Regards, Deepika Naruka.

Dear Esther,

Case studies can take different forms depending on their intended use. The Harvard Business School model is a well-known model for teaching. Their cases are set up so students can practice real-world decision making. That means students don't get to read the actual outcome to the case before class! If you want to be more explicit about lessons learned from an experience, you would write those in.

Here are some resources that introduce the Harvard Business approach:

"Developing a Teaching Case" (Abridged) Publication Date: Jun 28, 2001 Author(s): Michael J. Roberts Product Number: 9-901-055 Length: 21p Available from

A template can be useful, but I shy away from becoming too formulaic in casewriting so as to maintain interest. For me the questions one asks are the important thing, and the outline of the case itself can vary depending on the project or experience described. I'm attaching some questions I use to guide cases for my organization, CIPE. Feel free to look at some of our cases:

There is an art in providing the right amount of detail in a case. Detail should provide context; it should not distract from the general themes. Once you've selected a few themes to organize your thinking, just tell the story. Keep it easy to understand and don't make it too long!

Good luck! Kim Bettcher

(Here is the template Kim shared)

Center for International Private Enterprise: Case Study Guidelines

Case studies should address the following questions:

• What problem (“democratic deficit”) does the project attempt to solve? Why does it matter?

• Who is the partner or reform organization leading the project?

• What is distinctive about the project’s approach to the problem?

• What are the essential steps/features of the approach?

• Why does the approach work? What is required for it to work?

• What changed as a result? Laws? Policies? Processes? Attitudes?

• What were the major challenges?

• What was the impact on democracy? (institutional change, policymaking, participation, dialogue, etc.)

• What was the impact on the economy? (market institutions, private sector development)

Case studies should be written with consideration for the following points:

• Reader: An educated person with an interest in political or economic reform; someone contemplating designing a reform project.

• Style: Not like a report; clear, to the point; should tell a story.

• Section headings: These are helpful and should add interest.

• Tense: Generally simple past tense.

• Include quotations where they add interest or credibility.

• Sources: Careful use of sources is important. List all sources used. Material from CIPE reports can be used without additional attribution. Material from outside authors (even if published by CIPE) must be placed in quotation marks or, if not a direct quotation, appropriately referenced.