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As you look inside the Eames House, you’ll notice countless objects arranged on the various tables (like the LTR in this historic photo) and shelves, and sometimes even directly on the floor itself! Each object was intentionally placed in consideration of how it related to the other items around it. Sometimes that relationship was more functional (like the matches to be used for lighting the cigarettes here), and other times it was more about how certain colors, shapes, and textures played off of each other. Photograph © @EamesOffice #eames #eameshouse #charleseames #rayeames #charlesandrayeames #casestudyhouse #modern #architecture #california #losangeles

The Eames House, also known as Case Study House No. 8, is a landmark of mid-20th century modern architecture located in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. It was designed and constructed in 1949 by husband-and-wife Charles and Ray Eames to serve as their home and studio. They lived in their home until their deaths: Charles in 1978 and Ray, ten years to the day, in 1988.

Charles described the house as unselfconscious . There is a sense of that “way-it-should-be-ness”. Charles and Ray designed a house specifically to meet their needs, but they were those universal needs that we all share as humans. They believed in the honest use of materials and straightforward connections. The details WERE the product!

And then by nestling the house into the hillside, rather than imposing it on the site, they realized their original intent: for the house in nature to serve as a re-orientor. The scent, the sound of birds, the shadow of the trees against the structure whether inside or out, the openness of the site—all the elements join seamlessly.

Charles said, “Just as a good host tries to anticipate the needs of his guest, so a good architect or a designer or a city planner tries to anticipate the needs of those who will live in or use the thing being designed.”

Come visit and explore how the house exemplifies many of the themes of the Eameses’ work: from furniture to exhibitions, the guest/host relationship, the iterative process that leads to meeting the need, the importance of the direct experience, the relation with nature, the life in work and work in life, the importance of details, and more. Together the structure, collections, and landscape tell the story of the couple’s approach to life and work.

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The Eames House consists of two glass and steel rectangular boxes: one is a residence; one, a working studio, exploring process, materiality and color.

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The Eameses looked at life as being an act of design. The residence is filled with the “stuff” of their living: the stuff that tells the story of their lives, interests and loves.

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The Eames House structure and its contents are often the focus of attention, but the landscape is critical to their understanding. As Charles said, “Eventually everything connects”.

Help us share the Eameses’ joy and rigor with future visitors, so they may have a direct experience of Charles and Ray’s approach to life and work.

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The Eames House: A Deep Dive into Case Study House 8

Case Study House Charles and Ray Eames Los Angeles Santa Monica California ArchEyes Taylor Simpson

Nestled in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles stands the Eames House, also known as Case Study House No. 8. It is more than just a work of mid-century modern architecture; it’s an enduring testament to the design sensibilities and philosophies of Charles and Ray Eames, the husband-and-wife team who not only designed it but also called it home. Built in 1949, this iconic structure encapsulates the couple’s holistic approach to design and life.

Eames House Technical Information

  • Architects: Ray and Charles Eames
  • Location: 203 North Chautauqua Boulevard, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles , USA
  • Topics: Mid-Century Modern
  • Area: 1,500 ft 2 |  140  m 2
  • Project Year: 1945 – 1949
  • Photographs: © Eames Office, See Captions
The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.  – Charles and Ray Eames 1-2

Eames House Photographs

Case Study House Charles and Ray Eames Los Angeles Santa Monica California ArchEyes edward

The Eames House: A Living Laboratory for Design Exploration 

From its initial construction to its life today as a museum, the Eames House offers a rich tapestry of history, ingenuity, and practical elegance. Commissioned by Arts & Architecture magazine for their Case Study House program, this residence has endured as a beacon of what Charles and Ray stood for—efficiency, innovation, and the honest use of materials. As Charles once said, “Just as a good host tries to anticipate the needs of his guest, so a good architect or a designer or a city planner tries to anticipate the needs of those who will live in or use the thing being designed.”

The Eameses purchased 1.4 acres from Arts & Architecture owner John Entenza in 1945, but the journey to the final construction was rife with modifications and resource constraints. Initial designs by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen , which envisioned a glass and steel box cantilevering dramatically over the property, were shelved. In part, due to material shortages in the post-war era, Charles and Ray turned inward, observing and soaking in the nuances of the site. The eventual design had the house sitting quietly in the land, harmonizing with the natural surroundings rather than imposing on it.

Two distinct boxes make up the residence—one serves as the living quarters and the other as a studio. The house and studio are separated by a concrete retaining wall that integrates seamlessly with the existing landscape. An 8-foot tall by 200-foot long concrete wall helps to anchor the site while also setting a dramatic backdrop for the architecture.

Both structures are predominantly characterized by their steel frame construction, filled with a variety of colored panels. The colored panels aren’t merely decorative; they are functional elements carefully calibrated to provide shifting patterns of light and shade throughout the day. The impact of light, so finely tuned in the design, showcases influences from Japanese architecture.

The Eames House doesn’t just make a statement from the outside; the interiors are equally compelling. The house is a melting pot of the Eameses’ diverse interests and design sensibilities—featuring Isamu Noguchi lamps , Thonet chairs, Native American baskets, and more. The living spaces are meticulously designed to serve multiple functions—a living room that transforms into a workspace, alcoves that turn into intimate conversation spots, and hallways lined with functional storage closets.

Living as Work, Work as Living

Case Study House Charles and Ray Eames Los Angeles Santa Monica California ArchEyes office

One of the most unique aspects of the Eames House is how it serves as a living laboratory for Charles and Ray’s iterative design process. As is evident from their film “Powers of Ten” or the constant evolution of their iconic furniture, the couple believed in refining, adjusting, and perfecting. The house was no different—it was a perpetual project, an embodiment of their philosophy of “life in work and work in life.”

For Charles and Ray, details weren’t just details—they were the product. The panels, steel columns, and even the gold-leaf panel marking the entry door were not afterthoughts but an integral part of the architectural dialogue. The Eames House reflects this in its intricate interplay of textures, colors, and spaces that come together to create a harmonious whole.

The Eames House is notable for its De Stijl influences, seen in the sliding walls and windows that allow for versatility and openness. It stands as a successful adaptation of European modernist principles within an American context.

The Eames House is not just an architectural statement but a comprehensive worldview translated into physical form. From its thoughtful integration with the landscape to its detailed articulations, it represents the legacy of two of the 20 th century’s most influential designers. Charles and Ray

Eames House Plans

Case Study House Charles and Ray Eames Los Angeles Santa Monica California ArchEyes plans

Eames House Image Gallery

Case Study House Charles and Ray Eames Los Angeles Santa Monica California ArchEyes edward stojakovic

About Ray and Charles Eames

Charles and Ray Eames were a husband-and-wife design team who became icons of mid-20th-century modern design. Working primarily in the United States, they gained prominence for their contributions across multiple disciplines, including architecture, furniture design, industrial design, film, and exhibitions. Perhaps best known for their innovative furniture pieces, like the Eames Lounge Chair and Molded Plastic Chairs, they also left a lasting impact on architecture, most notably with the Eames House, also known as Case Study House No. 8. Their work is characterized by a playful yet disciplined approach, with a focus on functional design, innovative use of materials, and the importance of user experience.

Notes & Additional Credits

  • While the quote is not specifically about the Eames House, it reflects the philosophy the Eameses applied to their design work, including their home. The Eames House is a manifestation of their belief in the “guest-host relationship,” where every design decision is made with the user’s experience in mind.
  • Charles & Ray Eames: 1907-1978, 1912-1988: Pioneers of Mid-century Modernism  by Gloria Koenig

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case studies 8

The Ultimate Guide to Qualitative Research - Part 1: The Basics

case studies 8

  • Introduction and overview
  • What is qualitative research?
  • What is qualitative data?
  • Examples of qualitative data
  • Qualitative vs. quantitative research
  • Mixed methods
  • Qualitative research preparation
  • Theoretical perspective
  • Theoretical framework
  • Literature reviews

Research question

  • Conceptual framework
  • Conceptual vs. theoretical framework

Data collection

  • Qualitative research methods
  • Focus groups
  • Observational research

What is a case study?

Applications for case study research, what is a good case study, process of case study design, benefits and limitations of case studies.

  • Ethnographical research
  • Ethical considerations
  • Confidentiality and privacy
  • Power dynamics
  • Reflexivity

Case studies

Case studies are essential to qualitative research , offering a lens through which researchers can investigate complex phenomena within their real-life contexts. This chapter explores the concept, purpose, applications, examples, and types of case studies and provides guidance on how to conduct case study research effectively.

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Whereas quantitative methods look at phenomena at scale, case study research looks at a concept or phenomenon in considerable detail. While analyzing a single case can help understand one perspective regarding the object of research inquiry, analyzing multiple cases can help obtain a more holistic sense of the topic or issue. Let's provide a basic definition of a case study, then explore its characteristics and role in the qualitative research process.

Definition of a case study

A case study in qualitative research is a strategy of inquiry that involves an in-depth investigation of a phenomenon within its real-world context. It provides researchers with the opportunity to acquire an in-depth understanding of intricate details that might not be as apparent or accessible through other methods of research. The specific case or cases being studied can be a single person, group, or organization – demarcating what constitutes a relevant case worth studying depends on the researcher and their research question .

Among qualitative research methods , a case study relies on multiple sources of evidence, such as documents, artifacts, interviews , or observations , to present a complete and nuanced understanding of the phenomenon under investigation. The objective is to illuminate the readers' understanding of the phenomenon beyond its abstract statistical or theoretical explanations.

Characteristics of case studies

Case studies typically possess a number of distinct characteristics that set them apart from other research methods. These characteristics include a focus on holistic description and explanation, flexibility in the design and data collection methods, reliance on multiple sources of evidence, and emphasis on the context in which the phenomenon occurs.

Furthermore, case studies can often involve a longitudinal examination of the case, meaning they study the case over a period of time. These characteristics allow case studies to yield comprehensive, in-depth, and richly contextualized insights about the phenomenon of interest.

The role of case studies in research

Case studies hold a unique position in the broader landscape of research methods aimed at theory development. They are instrumental when the primary research interest is to gain an intensive, detailed understanding of a phenomenon in its real-life context.

In addition, case studies can serve different purposes within research - they can be used for exploratory, descriptive, or explanatory purposes, depending on the research question and objectives. This flexibility and depth make case studies a valuable tool in the toolkit of qualitative researchers.

Remember, a well-conducted case study can offer a rich, insightful contribution to both academic and practical knowledge through theory development or theory verification, thus enhancing our understanding of complex phenomena in their real-world contexts.

What is the purpose of a case study?

Case study research aims for a more comprehensive understanding of phenomena, requiring various research methods to gather information for qualitative analysis . Ultimately, a case study can allow the researcher to gain insight into a particular object of inquiry and develop a theoretical framework relevant to the research inquiry.

Why use case studies in qualitative research?

Using case studies as a research strategy depends mainly on the nature of the research question and the researcher's access to the data.

Conducting case study research provides a level of detail and contextual richness that other research methods might not offer. They are beneficial when there's a need to understand complex social phenomena within their natural contexts.

The explanatory, exploratory, and descriptive roles of case studies

Case studies can take on various roles depending on the research objectives. They can be exploratory when the research aims to discover new phenomena or define new research questions; they are descriptive when the objective is to depict a phenomenon within its context in a detailed manner; and they can be explanatory if the goal is to understand specific relationships within the studied context. Thus, the versatility of case studies allows researchers to approach their topic from different angles, offering multiple ways to uncover and interpret the data .

The impact of case studies on knowledge development

Case studies play a significant role in knowledge development across various disciplines. Analysis of cases provides an avenue for researchers to explore phenomena within their context based on the collected data.

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This can result in the production of rich, practical insights that can be instrumental in both theory-building and practice. Case studies allow researchers to delve into the intricacies and complexities of real-life situations, uncovering insights that might otherwise remain hidden.

Types of case studies

In qualitative research , a case study is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on the nature of the research question and the specific objectives of the study, researchers might choose to use different types of case studies. These types differ in their focus, methodology, and the level of detail they provide about the phenomenon under investigation.

Understanding these types is crucial for selecting the most appropriate approach for your research project and effectively achieving your research goals. Let's briefly look at the main types of case studies.

Exploratory case studies

Exploratory case studies are typically conducted to develop a theory or framework around an understudied phenomenon. They can also serve as a precursor to a larger-scale research project. Exploratory case studies are useful when a researcher wants to identify the key issues or questions which can spur more extensive study or be used to develop propositions for further research. These case studies are characterized by flexibility, allowing researchers to explore various aspects of a phenomenon as they emerge, which can also form the foundation for subsequent studies.

Descriptive case studies

Descriptive case studies aim to provide a complete and accurate representation of a phenomenon or event within its context. These case studies are often based on an established theoretical framework, which guides how data is collected and analyzed. The researcher is concerned with describing the phenomenon in detail, as it occurs naturally, without trying to influence or manipulate it.

Explanatory case studies

Explanatory case studies are focused on explanation - they seek to clarify how or why certain phenomena occur. Often used in complex, real-life situations, they can be particularly valuable in clarifying causal relationships among concepts and understanding the interplay between different factors within a specific context.

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Intrinsic, instrumental, and collective case studies

These three categories of case studies focus on the nature and purpose of the study. An intrinsic case study is conducted when a researcher has an inherent interest in the case itself. Instrumental case studies are employed when the case is used to provide insight into a particular issue or phenomenon. A collective case study, on the other hand, involves studying multiple cases simultaneously to investigate some general phenomena.

Each type of case study serves a different purpose and has its own strengths and challenges. The selection of the type should be guided by the research question and objectives, as well as the context and constraints of the research.

The flexibility, depth, and contextual richness offered by case studies make this approach an excellent research method for various fields of study. They enable researchers to investigate real-world phenomena within their specific contexts, capturing nuances that other research methods might miss. Across numerous fields, case studies provide valuable insights into complex issues.

Critical information systems research

Case studies provide a detailed understanding of the role and impact of information systems in different contexts. They offer a platform to explore how information systems are designed, implemented, and used and how they interact with various social, economic, and political factors. Case studies in this field often focus on examining the intricate relationship between technology, organizational processes, and user behavior, helping to uncover insights that can inform better system design and implementation.

Health research

Health research is another field where case studies are highly valuable. They offer a way to explore patient experiences, healthcare delivery processes, and the impact of various interventions in a real-world context.

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Case studies can provide a deep understanding of a patient's journey, giving insights into the intricacies of disease progression, treatment effects, and the psychosocial aspects of health and illness.

Asthma research studies

Specifically within medical research, studies on asthma often employ case studies to explore the individual and environmental factors that influence asthma development, management, and outcomes. A case study can provide rich, detailed data about individual patients' experiences, from the triggers and symptoms they experience to the effectiveness of various management strategies. This can be crucial for developing patient-centered asthma care approaches.

Other fields

Apart from the fields mentioned, case studies are also extensively used in business and management research, education research, and political sciences, among many others. They provide an opportunity to delve into the intricacies of real-world situations, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of various phenomena.

Case studies, with their depth and contextual focus, offer unique insights across these varied fields. They allow researchers to illuminate the complexities of real-life situations, contributing to both theory and practice.

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Understanding the key elements of case study design is crucial for conducting rigorous and impactful case study research. A well-structured design guides the researcher through the process, ensuring that the study is methodologically sound and its findings are reliable and valid. The main elements of case study design include the research question , propositions, units of analysis, and the logic linking the data to the propositions.

The research question is the foundation of any research study. A good research question guides the direction of the study and informs the selection of the case, the methods of collecting data, and the analysis techniques. A well-formulated research question in case study research is typically clear, focused, and complex enough to merit further detailed examination of the relevant case(s).


Propositions, though not necessary in every case study, provide a direction by stating what we might expect to find in the data collected. They guide how data is collected and analyzed by helping researchers focus on specific aspects of the case. They are particularly important in explanatory case studies, which seek to understand the relationships among concepts within the studied phenomenon.

Units of analysis

The unit of analysis refers to the case, or the main entity or entities that are being analyzed in the study. In case study research, the unit of analysis can be an individual, a group, an organization, a decision, an event, or even a time period. It's crucial to clearly define the unit of analysis, as it shapes the qualitative data analysis process by allowing the researcher to analyze a particular case and synthesize analysis across multiple case studies to draw conclusions.


This refers to the inferential model that allows researchers to draw conclusions from the data. The researcher needs to ensure that there is a clear link between the data, the propositions (if any), and the conclusions drawn. This argumentation is what enables the researcher to make valid and credible inferences about the phenomenon under study.

Understanding and carefully considering these elements in the design phase of a case study can significantly enhance the quality of the research. It can help ensure that the study is methodologically sound and its findings contribute meaningful insights about the case.

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Conducting a case study involves several steps, from defining the research question and selecting the case to collecting and analyzing data . This section outlines these key stages, providing a practical guide on how to conduct case study research.

Defining the research question

The first step in case study research is defining a clear, focused research question. This question should guide the entire research process, from case selection to analysis. It's crucial to ensure that the research question is suitable for a case study approach. Typically, such questions are exploratory or descriptive in nature and focus on understanding a phenomenon within its real-life context.

Selecting and defining the case

The selection of the case should be based on the research question and the objectives of the study. It involves choosing a unique example or a set of examples that provide rich, in-depth data about the phenomenon under investigation. After selecting the case, it's crucial to define it clearly, setting the boundaries of the case, including the time period and the specific context.

Previous research can help guide the case study design. When considering a case study, an example of a case could be taken from previous case study research and used to define cases in a new research inquiry. Considering recently published examples can help understand how to select and define cases effectively.

Developing a detailed case study protocol

A case study protocol outlines the procedures and general rules to be followed during the case study. This includes the data collection methods to be used, the sources of data, and the procedures for analysis. Having a detailed case study protocol ensures consistency and reliability in the study.

The protocol should also consider how to work with the people involved in the research context to grant the research team access to collecting data. As mentioned in previous sections of this guide, establishing rapport is an essential component of qualitative research as it shapes the overall potential for collecting and analyzing data.

Collecting data

Gathering data in case study research often involves multiple sources of evidence, including documents, archival records, interviews, observations, and physical artifacts. This allows for a comprehensive understanding of the case. The process for gathering data should be systematic and carefully documented to ensure the reliability and validity of the study.

Analyzing and interpreting data

The next step is analyzing the data. This involves organizing the data , categorizing it into themes or patterns , and interpreting these patterns to answer the research question. The analysis might also involve comparing the findings with prior research or theoretical propositions.

Writing the case study report

The final step is writing the case study report . This should provide a detailed description of the case, the data, the analysis process, and the findings. The report should be clear, organized, and carefully written to ensure that the reader can understand the case and the conclusions drawn from it.

Each of these steps is crucial in ensuring that the case study research is rigorous, reliable, and provides valuable insights about the case.

The type, depth, and quality of data in your study can significantly influence the validity and utility of the study. In case study research, data is usually collected from multiple sources to provide a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the case. This section will outline the various methods of collecting data used in case study research and discuss considerations for ensuring the quality of the data.

Interviews are a common method of gathering data in case study research. They can provide rich, in-depth data about the perspectives, experiences, and interpretations of the individuals involved in the case. Interviews can be structured , semi-structured , or unstructured , depending on the research question and the degree of flexibility needed.


Observations involve the researcher observing the case in its natural setting, providing first-hand information about the case and its context. Observations can provide data that might not be revealed in interviews or documents, such as non-verbal cues or contextual information.

Documents and artifacts

Documents and archival records provide a valuable source of data in case study research. They can include reports, letters, memos, meeting minutes, email correspondence, and various public and private documents related to the case.

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These records can provide historical context, corroborate evidence from other sources, and offer insights into the case that might not be apparent from interviews or observations.

Physical artifacts refer to any physical evidence related to the case, such as tools, products, or physical environments. These artifacts can provide tangible insights into the case, complementing the data gathered from other sources.

Ensuring the quality of data collection

Determining the quality of data in case study research requires careful planning and execution. It's crucial to ensure that the data is reliable, accurate, and relevant to the research question. This involves selecting appropriate methods of collecting data, properly training interviewers or observers, and systematically recording and storing the data. It also includes considering ethical issues related to collecting and handling data, such as obtaining informed consent and ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of the participants.

Data analysis

Analyzing case study research involves making sense of the rich, detailed data to answer the research question. This process can be challenging due to the volume and complexity of case study data. However, a systematic and rigorous approach to analysis can ensure that the findings are credible and meaningful. This section outlines the main steps and considerations in analyzing data in case study research.

Organizing the data

The first step in the analysis is organizing the data. This involves sorting the data into manageable sections, often according to the data source or the theme. This step can also involve transcribing interviews, digitizing physical artifacts, or organizing observational data.

Categorizing and coding the data

Once the data is organized, the next step is to categorize or code the data. This involves identifying common themes, patterns, or concepts in the data and assigning codes to relevant data segments. Coding can be done manually or with the help of software tools, and in either case, qualitative analysis software can greatly facilitate the entire coding process. Coding helps to reduce the data to a set of themes or categories that can be more easily analyzed.

Identifying patterns and themes

After coding the data, the researcher looks for patterns or themes in the coded data. This involves comparing and contrasting the codes and looking for relationships or patterns among them. The identified patterns and themes should help answer the research question.

Interpreting the data

Once patterns and themes have been identified, the next step is to interpret these findings. This involves explaining what the patterns or themes mean in the context of the research question and the case. This interpretation should be grounded in the data, but it can also involve drawing on theoretical concepts or prior research.

Verification of the data

The last step in the analysis is verification. This involves checking the accuracy and consistency of the analysis process and confirming that the findings are supported by the data. This can involve re-checking the original data, checking the consistency of codes, or seeking feedback from research participants or peers.

Like any research method , case study research has its strengths and limitations. Researchers must be aware of these, as they can influence the design, conduct, and interpretation of the study.

Understanding the strengths and limitations of case study research can also guide researchers in deciding whether this approach is suitable for their research question . This section outlines some of the key strengths and limitations of case study research.

Benefits include the following:

  • Rich, detailed data: One of the main strengths of case study research is that it can generate rich, detailed data about the case. This can provide a deep understanding of the case and its context, which can be valuable in exploring complex phenomena.
  • Flexibility: Case study research is flexible in terms of design , data collection , and analysis . A sufficient degree of flexibility allows the researcher to adapt the study according to the case and the emerging findings.
  • Real-world context: Case study research involves studying the case in its real-world context, which can provide valuable insights into the interplay between the case and its context.
  • Multiple sources of evidence: Case study research often involves collecting data from multiple sources , which can enhance the robustness and validity of the findings.

On the other hand, researchers should consider the following limitations:

  • Generalizability: A common criticism of case study research is that its findings might not be generalizable to other cases due to the specificity and uniqueness of each case.
  • Time and resource intensive: Case study research can be time and resource intensive due to the depth of the investigation and the amount of collected data.
  • Complexity of analysis: The rich, detailed data generated in case study research can make analyzing the data challenging.
  • Subjectivity: Given the nature of case study research, there may be a higher degree of subjectivity in interpreting the data , so researchers need to reflect on this and transparently convey to audiences how the research was conducted.

Being aware of these strengths and limitations can help researchers design and conduct case study research effectively and interpret and report the findings appropriately.

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A Virtual Look Into The Eames Case Study House #8

  • Written by Frederic Schwarz & Adam Jasper, Archilogic
  • Published on April 17, 2015

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The Eames Case Study House #8 , usually known simply as Eames’ House, is usually presented as a kind of kaleidoscope of details. It remains one of the most exuberantly performative homes in the history of architecture, with its resident designers, Charles and Ray Eames , as the chief actors. They enacted the day-to-day as an ongoing celebration, documenting the daily rituals of work, play, and hospitality with photography and film. What this theatre of life conceals is that the Eames’ house was itself, structurally, a kind of theatre. Examining the house as an interactive Archilogic 3D model holds, for this reason, some revelations even for those for whom the house looks as familiar as an old friend.

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The standard interpretation of Eames’ House has been through its host of humanizing detail. The classic film, “ House: after five years of living ,” made by the Eameses in 1955, is a film montage that focuses on flowers, sea shells, artworks, fabrics—natural objects and craft artifacts that emphasize organic materials, textures, and traces of individual use. In contrast to the perception that pre- fabricated structures were somehow “cold”—mass produced emergency housing suitable to the exigencies of World War II—the film is “warm”: intimate, domestic, tactile. The emphasis on improvisation and immediacy is underscored by a chromatic jazz soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein.

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Eames’ film was so successful in setting the tone for the interpretation of the house that it still dominates readings today. Everything about the film conceals the structure, and focuses on the circulating collection of tchotchkes and keepsakes, flashes of detail rather than spatial relations. Perhaps even more significant is the way that the Eames’ exploit the paradoxical capacity of still photography to capture transience. As well as textures, they sought out shadows, the temporary play of light through leaves, and reflections on polished glass. What the film with its charms leaves strangely obscure is the pure structure of the Eames’ house itself.

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For this reason, being able to fly through a pared back version of Eames’ house in virtual reality comes as something of a shock. In fact, the interior structure of the house resembles the SLR camera that the Eameses’ wielded more than the photos that they took of it.

Stripped of its detail, the house reveals itself as rational structure. Javier Berzal de Dios* recently described how early renaissance theaters were designed so that the audience would spend as much of their attention on their host as on the performers—there were essentially two stages, one being for the actors, and the other being the box seat of the patron. The apparato of the Eames house is similar. There’s the two double-height spaces in which work and living is performed, and these can be read as theatrical stages. They’re compellingly photogenic, and viewable from almost every angle. More surprisingly, the mezzanines of the misnamed "storage" space in the studio and the bedroom in the living quarters also functioned as theatrical spaces, floating above the main stage. Both are box seats over the celebration of daily life, although the bedroom is more exclusive, thanks to the discrete half-helix of the spiral staircase that leads into it, in contrast to the very public stairs trotting up to the mezzanine in the studio. Even the alternating clear and brightly colored opaque panels tempt the visitor into a state of continual voyeurism.

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But who, then, was this theatre for? Well, the guests of the architect. As Charles Eames said, “the role of the architect, or the designer, is that of a very good host, all of whose energies go into trying to anticipate the needs of his guests.”† Conversely, when acting as a host, Eames was also acting as a designer. Part of producing persuasive architecture was the performance of architecture for guests. In the Eames house, the living space mirrors the studio, the kitchen acting as a doppelgänger of the darkroom. Both are spaces of living as a performative kind of work, where experiences are prepared in order that they might be simultaneously remembered and recorded,  consumed and shared, treasured and distributed, private and public. Eames house was structurally modern, but it was conceptually ahead of its time.

The theatrical quality is emphasized by the fact that the building was often used as a set for fashion shoots by magazines such as Life and Vogue. There’s even a short film celebrating the house by Ice Cube .

case studies 8

The Eames weren’t the only ones to realize that the house of the architect had to be a theatre for architecture. Philip Johnson’s “The Glass House” certainly had the same effect. There, as at Eames’ House, the architecture alternated between the role of sculptural object, floating in the landscape, and frame for the view of the landscape itself. Privacy was a third concern, and one that trailed so badly that Johnson ultimately moved from the house in order to live in the guest house—the constant sense of exhibitionism imposed by the glass walls had begun to rattle his nerves. 

case studies 8

Likewise, Breuer’s “bi-nuclear” system was evolved in order that a domestic house could have a double system of circulation, one that was entirely private (a series of small bedrooms and bathrooms) and one that was semi-public (kitchen and dining rooms). The Eames house sits both chronologically and structurally as a successful middle term between Breuer and Johnson. The two spaces (private and guest) are separated by a courtyard, as opposed to being completely structurally separated (as in the case of the opposition between Johnson’s glasshouse and guesthouse).

Using a model developed by Michael Peguero, at Archilogic we’ve developed an entirely new visual reading of the Eames house that inverts the way it can be read. By moving from photography to 3D animation, you can see Eames’ house in a whole new light.

Start the tour above, or via this link . The animation will guide you through different aspects of the building and will finally leave you to furnish your Eames House.

  • In the lower left corner of the screen, the levels icon will let you choose between the two levels. 
  • The camera icon will repeat the  animation. 
  • The floorplan, dollhouse and person icon change the viewing mode. 
  • The black menu bar on the right provides most importantly the account, interior and sharing menu.

References: * Javier Berzal de Dios, “The Question of the Apparato: Plurality and Enclosure in Renaissance Theatrical Environments” (delivered at College Art Association, New York, Wednesday February 11, 2015) † Digby Diehl, “Charles Eames: Q & A”, Los Angeles Times West Magazine, 8 October 1972, p14 

case studies 8

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Chapter 8: Case study

Darshini Ayton

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Identify the key terms and concepts used in qualitative case study research.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative case study research.

What is a case study?

The key concept in a case study is context .

In qualitative research, case studies provide in-depth accounts of events, relationships, experiences or processes. Stemming from the fields of evaluation, political science and law, the aim of a qualitative case study is to explore a phenomenon within the context of the case 1 and to answer how and why research questions. 2 The contextual conditions are relevant to the phenomenon under study and the contextual factors tend to lie with the case. 1 From the outset it is important (a) to determine who or what is your case – this can be a person, program, organisation or group, or a process – and (b) to articulate the phenomenon of interest.

An example of why context is important in understanding the phenomenon of interest is a study of health promotion action by local churches in Victoria, Australia. 3 The phenomenon under study was health promotion action, with 10 churches comprising the cases, which were mapped across the framework of health promotion approaches. 4 The contextual factors included church denomination (Baptist, Church of Christ, Uniting, Anglican, Catholic and Salvation Army), size (small, medium and large), location (rural and metropolitan), partnerships with external organisations (government, local schools and social welfare organisations) and theological orientation (traditional, modern or postmodern), to understand the phenomenon of health promotion action. Data collection took 12 months and involved interviews with 37 church leaders, 10 focus groups with volunteers, 17 instances of participant observation of church activities, including church services, youth events, food banks and community meals, and 12 documentary analyses of church websites, newsletters and annual reports. The case studies identified and illustrated how and why three different expressions of church – traditional, new modern and emerging – led to different levels and types of health promotion activities.

Three prominent qualitative case study methodologists, Robert Stake, Robert Yin and Sharan Merriams, have articulated different approaches to case studies and their underpinning philosophical and paradigmatic assumptions. Table 8 outlines these approaches, based on work by Yazan, 5 whose expanded table covers characteristics of case studies, data collection and analysis.

Table 8.1. Comparison of case study terms used by three key methodologists

Table 8.1 is derived from ‘Three Approaches to Case Study Methods in Education: Yin, Merriam, and Stake ‘  by Bedrettin Yazan,  licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. 5

There are several forms of qualitative case studies. 1,2

Discovery-led case studies, which:

  • describe what is happening in the setting
  • explore the key issues affecting people within the setting
  • compare settings, to learn from the similarities and differences between them.

Theory-led case studies, which:

  • explain the causes of events, processes or relationships within a setting
  • illustrate how a particular theory applies to a real-life setting
  • experiment with changes in the setting to test specific factors or variables.

Single and collective case studies, where: 2, 9

  • the researcher wants to understand a unique phenomenon in detail– known as an intrinsic case study
  • the researcher is seeking insight and understanding of a particular situation or phenomenon, known as an illustrative case study or instrumental case study.

In both intrinsic, instrumental and illustrative case studies, the exploration might take place within a single case. In contrast, a collective case study includes multiple individual cases, and the exploration occurs both within and between cases. Collective case studies may include comparative cases, whereby cases are sampled to provide points of comparison for either context or the phenomenon. Embedded case studies are increasingly common within multi-site, randomised controlled trials, where each of the study sites is considered a case.

Multiple forms of data collection and methods of analysis (e.g. thematic, content, framework and constant comparative analyses) can be employed, since case studies are characterised by the depth of knowledge they provide and their nuanced approaches to understanding phenomena within context. 2,5 This approach enables triangulation between data sources (interviews, focus groups, participant observations), researchers and theory. Refer to Chapter 19 for information about triangulation.

Advantages and disadvantages of qualitative case studies

Advantages of using a case study approach include the ability to explore the subtleties and intricacies of complex social situations, and the use of multiple data collection methods and data from multiple sources within the case, which enables rigour through triangulation. Collective case studies enable comparison and contrasting within and across cases.

However, it can be challenging to define the boundaries of the case and to gain appropriate access to the case for the ‘deep dive’ form of analysis. Participant observation, which is a common form of data collection, can lead to observer bias. Data collection can take a long time and may require lengthy times, resources and funding to conduct the study. 9

Table 8.2 provides an example of a single case study and of a collective case study.

Table 8.2. Examples of qualitative case studies

Qualitative case studies provide a study design with diverse methods to examine the contextual factors relevant to understanding the why and how of a phenomenon within a case. The design incorporates single case studies and collective cases, which can also be embedded within randomised controlled trials as a form of process evaluation.

  • Creswell J, Hanson W, Clark Plano V et al.. Qualitative research designs: selection and implementation. Couns Psychol  2007;35(2):236-264. doi:10.1177/0011000006287390
  • Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, et al. The case study approach. BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011;11:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-100
  • Ayton D, Manderson L, Smith BJ et al. Health promotion in local churches in Victoria: an exploratory study. Health Soc Care Community . 2016;24(6):728-738. doi:10.1111/hsc.12258
  • Keleher H, Murphy C. Understanding Health: A Determinants Approach . Oxford University Press; 2004.
  • Yazan B. Three approaches to case study methods in education: Yin, Merriam, and Stake. The Qualitative Report . 2015;20(2):134-152. doi:10.46743/2160-3715/2015.2102
  • Stake RE. The A rt of C ase S tudy R esearch . SAGE Publications; 1995.
  • Yin RK. Case S tudy R esearch: Design and M ethods . SAGE Publications; 2002.
  • Merriam SB. Qualitative R esearch and C ase S tudy A pplications in E ducation . Jossey-Boss; 1998.
  • Kekeya J. Qualitative case study research design: the commonalities and differences between collective, intrinsic and instrumental case studies. Contemporary PNG Studies . 2021;36:28-37.
  • Nayback-Beebe AM, Yoder LH. The lived experiences of a male survivor of intimate partner violence: a qualitative case study. Medsurg Nurs . 2012;21(2):89-95; quiz 96.
  • Clack L, Zingg W, Saint S et al. Implementing infection prevention practices across European hospitals: an in-depth qualitative assessment. BMJ Qual Saf . 2018;27(10):771-780. doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2017-007675

Qualitative Research – a practical guide for health and social care researchers and practitioners Copyright © 2023 by Darshini Ayton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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What the Case Study Method Really Teaches

  • Nitin Nohria

case studies 8

Seven meta-skills that stick even if the cases fade from memory.

It’s been 100 years since Harvard Business School began using the case study method. Beyond teaching specific subject matter, the case study method excels in instilling meta-skills in students. This article explains the importance of seven such skills: preparation, discernment, bias recognition, judgement, collaboration, curiosity, and self-confidence.

During my decade as dean of Harvard Business School, I spent hundreds of hours talking with our alumni. To enliven these conversations, I relied on a favorite question: “What was the most important thing you learned from your time in our MBA program?”

  • Nitin Nohria is the George F. Baker Professor of Business Administration, Distinguished University Service Professor, and former dean of Harvard Business School.

Partner Center

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Analyzing a Scholarly Journal Article
  • Group Presentations
  • Dealing with Nervousness
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper
  • Types of Structured Group Activities
  • Group Project Survival Skills
  • Leading a Class Discussion
  • Multiple Book Review Essay
  • Reviewing Collected Works
  • Writing a Case Analysis Paper
  • Writing a Case Study
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
  • Writing a Policy Memo
  • Writing a Reflective Paper
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • Acknowledgments

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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28 Case Study Examples Every Marketer Should See

Caroline Forsey

Published: March 08, 2023

Putting together a compelling case study is one of the most powerful strategies for showcasing your product and attracting future customers. But it's not easy to create case studies that your audience can’t wait to read.

marketer reviewing case study examples

In this post, we’ll go over the definition of a case study and the best examples to inspire you.

Download Now: 3 Free Case Study Templates

What is a case study?

A case study is a detailed story of something your company did. It includes a beginning — often discussing a conflict, an explanation of what happened next, and a resolution that explains how the company solved or improved on something.

A case study proves how your product has helped other companies by demonstrating real-life results. Not only that, but marketing case studies with solutions typically contain quotes from the customer. This means that they’re not just ads where you praise your own product. Rather, other companies are praising your company — and there’s no stronger marketing material than a verbal recommendation or testimonial. A great case study is also filled with research and stats to back up points made about a project's results.

There are myriad ways to use case studies in your marketing strategy . From featuring them on your website to including them in a sales presentation, a case study is a strong, persuasive tool that shows customers why they should work with you — straight from another customer. Writing one from scratch is hard, though, which is why we’ve created a collection of case study templates for you to get started.

Fill out the form below to access the free case study templates.

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Showcase your company's success using these three free case study templates.

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There’s no better way to generate more leads than by writing case studies . But without case study examples to draw inspiration from, it can be difficult to write impactful studies that convince visitors to submit a form.

Marketing Case Study Examples

To help you create an attractive and high-converting case study, we've put together a list of some of our favorites. This list includes famous case studies in marketing, technology, and business.

These studies can show you how to frame your company offers in a way that is both meaningful and useful to your audience. So, take a look, and let these examples inspire your next brilliant case study design.

These marketing case studies with solutions show the value proposition of each product. They also show how each company benefited in both the short and long term using quantitative data. In other words, you don’t get just nice statements, like "This company helped us a lot." You see actual change within the firm through numbers and figures.

You can put your learnings into action with HubSpot's Free Case Study Templates . Available as custom designs and text-based documents, you can upload these templates to your CMS or send them to prospects as you see fit.

case study template

1. " How Handled Scaled from Zero to 121 Locations with the Help of HubSpot ," by HubSpot

Case study examples: Handled and HubSpot

What's interesting about this case study is the way it leads with the customer. That reflects a major HubSpot cornerstone, which is to always solve for the customer first. The copy leads with a brief description of why the CEO of Handled founded the company and why he thought Handled could benefit from adopting a CRM. The case study also opens up with one key data point about Handled’s success using HubSpot, namely that it grew to 121 locations.

Notice that this case study uses mixed media. Yes, there is a short video, but it's elaborated upon in the other text on the page. So while your case studies can use one or the other, don't be afraid to combine written copy with visuals to emphasize the project's success.

Key Learnings from the HubSpot Case Study Example

  • Give the case study a personal touch by focusing on the CEO rather than the company itself.
  • Use multimedia to engage website visitors as they read the case study.

2. " The Whole Package ," by IDEO

Case study examples: IDEO and H&M

Here's a design company that knows how to lead with simplicity in its case studies. As soon as the visitor arrives at the page, they’re greeted with a big, bold photo and the title of the case study — which just so happens to summarize how IDEO helped its client. It summarizes the case study in three snippets: The challenge, the impact, and the outcome.

Immediately, IDEO communicates its impact — the company partnered with H&M to remove plastic from its packaging — but it doesn't stop there. As the user scrolls down, the challenge, impact, and progress are elaborated upon with comprehensive (but not overwhelming) copy that outlines what that process looked like, replete with quotes and intriguing visuals.

Key Learnings from the IDEO Case Study Example

  • Split up the takeaways of your case studies into bite-sized sections.
  • Always use visuals and images to enrich the case study experience, especially if it’s a comprehensive case study.

3. " Rozum Robotics intensifies its PR game with Awario ," by Awario

Case study example from Awario

In this case study, Awario greets the user with a summary straight away — so if you’re feeling up to reading the entire case study, you can scan the snapshot and understand how the company serves its customers. The case study then includes jump links to several sections, such as "Company Profile," "Rozum Robotics' Pains," "Challenge," "Solution," and "Results and Improvements."

The sparse copy and prominent headings show that you don’t need a lot of elaborate information to show the value of your products and services. Like the other case study examples on this list, it includes visuals and quotes to demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s efforts. The case study ends with a bulleted list that shows the results.

Key Learnings from the Awario Robotics Case Study Example

  • Create a table of contents to make your case study easier to navigate.
  • Include a bulleted list of the results you achieved for your client.

4. " Chevrolet DTU ," by Carol H. Williams

Case study examples: Carol H. Williams and Chevrolet DTU

If you’ve worked with a company that’s well-known, use only the name in the title — like Carol H. Williams, one of the nation’s top advertising agencies, does here. The "DTU," stands for "Discover the Unexpected." It generates interest because you want to find out what the initials mean.

They keep your interest in this case study by using a mixture of headings, images, and videos to describe the challenges, objectives, and solutions of the project. The case study closes with a summary of the key achievements that Chevrolet’s DTU Journalism Fellows reached during the project.

Key Learnings from the Carol H. Williams Case Study Example

  • If you’ve worked with a big brand before, consider only using the name in the title — just enough to pique interest.
  • Use a mixture of headings and subheadings to guide users through the case study.

5. " How Fractl Earned Links from 931 Unique Domains for Porch.com in a Single Year ," by Fractl

Case study example from Fractl

Fractl uses both text and graphic design in their Porch.com case study to immerse the viewer in a more interesting user experience. For instance, as you scroll, you'll see the results are illustrated in an infographic-design form as well as the text itself.

Further down the page, they use icons like a heart and a circle to illustrate their pitch angles, and graphs to showcase their results. Rather than writing which publications have mentioned Porch.com during Fractl’s campaign, they incorporated the media outlets’ icons for further visual diversity.

Key Learnings from the Fractl Case Study Example

  • Let pictures speak for you by incorporating graphs, logos, and icons all throughout the case study.
  • Start the case study by right away stating the key results, like Fractl does, instead of putting the results all the way at the bottom.

6. " The Met ," by Fantasy

Case study example from Fantasy

What's the best way to showcase the responsiveness and user interface of a website? Probably by diving right into it with a series of simple showcases— which is exactly what Fantasy does on their case study page for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They keep the page simple and clean, inviting you to review their redesign of the Met’s website feature-by-feature.

Each section is simple, showing a single piece of the new website's interface so that users aren’t overwhelmed with information and can focus on what matters most.

If you're more interested in text, you can read the objective for each feature. Fantasy understands that, as a potential customer, this is all you need to know. Scrolling further, you're greeted with a simple "Contact Us" CTA.

Key Learnings from the Fantasy Case Study Example

  • You don’t have to write a ton of text to create a great case study. Focus on the solution you delivered itself.
  • Include a CTA at the bottom inviting visitors to contact you.

7. " Rovio: How Rovio Grew Into a Gaming Superpower ," by App Annie

Case study example from App Annie

If your client had a lot of positive things to say about you, take a note from App Annie’s Rovio case study and open up with a quote from your client. The case study also closes with a quote, so that the case study doesn’t seem like a promotion written by your marketing team but a story that’s taken straight from your client’s mouth. It includes a photo of a Rovio employee, too.

Another thing this example does well? It immediately includes a link to the product that Rovio used (namely, App Annie Intelligence) at the top of the case study. The case study closes with a call-to-action button prompting users to book a demo.

Key Learnings from the App Annie Case Study Example

  • Feature quotes from your client at the beginning and end of the case study.
  • Include a mention of the product right at the beginning and prompt users to learn more about the product.

8. " Embracing first-party data: 3 success stories from HubSpot ," by Think with Google

Case study examples: Think with Google and HubSpot

Google takes a different approach to text-focused case studies by choosing three different companies to highlight.

The case study is clean and easily scannable. It has sections for each company, with quotes and headers that clarify the way these three distinct stories connect. The simple format also uses colors and text that align with the Google brand.

Another differentiator is the focus on data. This case study is less than a thousand words, but it's packed with useful data points. Data-driven insights quickly and clearly show how the value of leveraging first-party data while prioritizing consumer privacy.

Case studies example: Data focus, Think with Google

Key Learnings from the Think with Google Case Study Example

  • A case study doesn’t need to be long or complex to be powerful.
  • Clear data points are a quick and effective way to prove value.

9. " In-Depth Performance Marketing Case Study ," by Switch

Case study example from Switch

Switch is an international marketing agency based in Malta that knocks it out of the park with this case study. Its biggest challenge is effectively communicating what it did for its client without ever revealing the client’s name. It also effectively keeps non-marketers in the loop by including a glossary of terms on page 4.

The PDF case study reads like a compelling research article, including titles like "In-Depth Performance Marketing Case Study," "Scenario," and "Approach," so that readers get a high-level overview of what the client needed and why they approached Switch. It also includes a different page for each strategy. For instance, if you’d only be interested in hiring Switch for optimizing your Facebook ads, you can skip to page 10 to see how they did it.

The PDF is fourteen pages long but features big fonts and plenty of white space, so viewers can easily skim it in only a few minutes.

Key Learnings from the Switch Case Study Example

  • If you want to go into specialized information, include a glossary of terms so that non-specialists can easily understand.
  • Close with a CTA page in your case study PDF and include contact information for prospective clients.

10. " Gila River ," by OH Partners

Case study example from OH Partners

Let pictures speak for you, like OH Partners did in this case study. While you’ll quickly come across a heading and some text when you land on this case study page, you’ll get the bulk of the case study through examples of actual work OH Partners did for its client. You will see OH Partners’ work in a billboard, magazine, and video. This communicates to website visitors that if they work with OH Partners, their business will be visible everywhere.

And like the other case studies here, it closes with a summary of what the firm achieved for its client in an eye-catching way.

Key Learnings from the OH Partners Case Study Example

  • Let the visuals speak by including examples of the actual work you did for your client — which is especially useful for branding and marketing agencies.
  • Always close out with your achievements and how they impacted your client.

11. " Facing a Hater ," by Digitas

Case study example from Digitas

Digitas' case study page for Sprite’s #ILOVEYOUHATER campaign keeps it brief while communicating the key facts of Digitas’ work for the popular soda brand. The page opens with an impactful image of a hundred people facing a single man. It turns out, that man is the biggest "bully" in Argentina, and the people facing him are those whom he’s bullied before.

Scrolling down, it's obvious that Digitas kept Sprite at the forefront of their strategy, but more than that, they used real people as their focal point. They leveraged the Twitter API to pull data from Tweets that people had actually tweeted to find the identity of the biggest "hater" in the country. That turned out to be @AguanteElCofler, a Twitter user who has since been suspended.

Key Learnings from the Digitas Case Study Example

  • If a video was part of your work for your client, be sure to include the most impactful screenshot as the heading.
  • Don’t be afraid to provide details on how you helped your client achieve their goals, including the tools you leveraged.

12. " Better Experiences for All ," by HermanMiller

Case study example from HermanMiller

HermanMiller sells sleek, utilitarian furniture with no frills and extreme functionality, and that ethos extends to its case study page for a hospital in Dubai.

What first attracted me to this case study was the beautiful video at the top and the clean user experience. User experience matters a lot in a case study. It determines whether users will keep reading or leave. Another notable aspect of this case study is that the video includes closed-captioning for greater accessibility, and users have the option of expanding the CC and searching through the text.

HermanMiller’s case study also offers an impressive amount of information packed in just a few short paragraphs for those wanting to understand the nuances of their strategy. It closes out with a quote from their client and, most importantly, the list of furniture products that the hospital purchased from the brand.

Key Learnings from the HermanMiller Case Study Example

  • Close out with a list of products that users can buy after reading the case study.
  • Include accessibility features such as closed captioning and night mode to make your case study more user-friendly.

13. " Capital One on AWS ," by Amazon

Case study example from Amazon AWS

Do you work continuously with your clients? Consider structuring your case study page like Amazon did in this stellar case study example. Instead of just featuring one article about Capital One and how it benefited from using AWS, Amazon features a series of articles that you can then access if you’re interested in reading more. It goes all the way back to 2016, all with different stories that feature Capital One’s achievements using AWS.

This may look unattainable for a small firm, but you don’t have to go to extreme measures and do it for every single one of your clients. You could choose the one you most wish to focus on and establish a contact both on your side and your client’s for coming up with the content. Check in every year and write a new piece. These don’t have to be long, either — five hundred to eight hundred words will do.

Key Learnings from the Amazon AWS Case Study Example

  • Write a new article each year featuring one of your clients, then include links to those articles in one big case study page.
  • Consider including external articles as well that emphasize your client’s success in their industry.

14. " HackReactor teaches the world to code #withAsana ," by Asana

Case study examples: Asana and HackReactor

While Asana's case study design looks text-heavy, there's a good reason. It reads like a creative story, told entirely from the customer's perspective.

For instance, Asana knows you won't trust its word alone on why this product is useful. So, they let Tony Phillips, HackReactor CEO, tell you instead: "We take in a lot of information. Our brains are awful at storage but very good at thinking; you really start to want some third party to store your information so you can do something with it."

Asana features frequent quotes from Phillips to break up the wall of text and humanize the case study. It reads like an in-depth interview and captivates the reader through creative storytelling. Even more, Asana includes in-depth detail about how HackReactor uses Asana. This includes how they build templates and workflows:

"There's a huge differentiator between Asana and other tools, and that’s the very easy API access. Even if Asana isn’t the perfect fit for a workflow, someone like me— a relatively mediocre software engineer—can add functionality via the API to build a custom solution that helps a team get more done."

Key Learnings from the Asana Example

  • Include quotes from your client throughout the case study.
  • Provide extensive detail on how your client worked with you or used your product.

15. " Rips Sewed, Brand Love Reaped ," by Amp Agency

Case study example from Amp Agency

Amp Agency's Patagonia marketing strategy aimed to appeal to a new audience through guerrilla marketing efforts and a coast-to-coast road trip. Their case study page effectively conveys a voyager theme, complete with real photos of Patagonia customers from across the U.S., and a map of the expedition. I liked Amp Agency's storytelling approach best. It captures viewers' attention from start to finish simply because it's an intriguing and unique approach to marketing.

Key Learnings from the Amp Agency Example

  • Open up with a summary that communicates who your client is and why they reached out to you.
  • Like in the other case study examples, you’ll want to close out with a quantitative list of your achievements.

16. " NetApp ," by Evisort

Case study examples: Evisort and NetApp

Evisort opens up its NetApp case study with an at-a-glance overview of the client. It’s imperative to always focus on the client in your case study — not on your amazing product and equally amazing team. By opening up with a snapshot of the client’s company, Evisort places the focus on the client.

This case study example checks all the boxes for a great case study that’s informative, thorough, and compelling. It includes quotes from the client and details about the challenges NetApp faced during the COVID pandemic. It closes out with a quote from the client and with a link to download the case study in PDF format, which is incredibly important if you want your case study to be accessible in a wider variety of formats.

Key Learnings from the Evisort Example

  • Place the focus immediately on your client by including a snapshot of their company.
  • Mention challenging eras, such as a pandemic or recession, to show how your company can help your client succeed even during difficult times.

17. " Copernicus Land Monitoring – CLC+ Core ," by Cloudflight

Case study example from Cloudflight

Including highly specialized information in your case study is an effective way to show prospects that you’re not just trying to get their business. You’re deep within their industry, too, and willing to learn everything you need to learn to create a solution that works specifically for them.

Cloudflight does a splendid job at that in its Copernicus Land Monitoring case study. While the information may be difficult to read at first glance, it will capture the interest of prospects who are in the environmental industry. It thus shows Cloudflight’s value as a partner much more effectively than a general case study would.

The page is comprehensive and ends with a compelling call-to-action — "Looking for a solution that automates, and enhances your Big Data system? Are you struggling with large datasets and accessibility? We would be happy to advise and support you!" The clean, whitespace-heavy page is an effective example of using a case study to capture future leads.

Key Learnings from the Cloudflight Case Study Example

  • Don’t be afraid to get technical in your explanation of what you did for your client.
  • Include a snapshot of the sales representative prospects should contact, especially if you have different sales reps for different industries, like Cloudflight does.

18. " Valvoline Increases Coupon Send Rate by 76% with Textel’s MMS Picture Texting ," by Textel

Case study example from Textel

If you’re targeting large enterprises with a long purchasing cycle, you’ll want to include a wealth of information in an easily transferable format. That’s what Textel does here in its PDF case study for Valvoline. It greets the user with an eye-catching headline that shows the value of using Textel. Valvoline saw a significant return on investment from using the platform.

Another smart decision in this case study is highlighting the client’s quote by putting it in green font and doing the same thing for the client’s results because it helps the reader quickly connect the two pieces of information. If you’re in a hurry, you can also take a look at the "At a Glance" column to get the key facts of the case study, starting with information about Valvoline.

Key Learnings from the Textel Case Study Example

  • Include your client’s ROI right in the title of the case study.
  • Add an "At a Glance" column to your case study PDF to make it easy to get insights without needing to read all the text.

19. " Hunt Club and Happeo — a tech-enabled love story ," by Happeo

Case study example from Happeo

In this blog-post-like case study, Happeo opens with a quote from the client, then dives into a compelling heading: "Technology at the forefront of Hunt Club's strategy." Say you’re investigating Happeo as a solution and consider your firm to be technology-driven. This approach would spark your curiosity about why the client chose to work with Happeo. It also effectively communicates the software’s value proposition without sounding like it’s coming from an in-house marketing team.

Every paragraph is a quote written from the customer’s perspective. Later down the page, the case study also dives into "the features that changed the game for Hunt Club," giving Happeo a chance to highlight some of the platform’s most salient features.

Key Learnings from the Happeo Case Study Example

  • Consider writing the entirety of the case study from the perspective of the customer.
  • Include a list of the features that convinced your client to go with you.

20. " Red Sox Season Campaign ," by CTP Boston

Case study example from CTP Boston

What's great about CTP's case study page for their Red Sox Season Campaign is their combination of video, images, and text. A video automatically begins playing when you visit the page, and as you scroll, you'll see more embedded videos of Red Sox players, a compilation of print ads, and social media images you can click to enlarge.

At the bottom, it says "Find out how we can do something similar for your brand." The page is clean, cohesive, and aesthetically pleasing. It invites viewers to appreciate the well-roundedness of CTP's campaign for Boston's beloved baseball team.

Key Learnings from the CTP Case Study Example

  • Include a video in the heading of the case study.
  • Close with a call-to-action that makes leads want to turn into prospects.

21. " Acoustic ," by Genuine

Case study example from Genuine

Sometimes, simple is key. Genuine's case study for Acoustic is straightforward and minimal, with just a few short paragraphs, including "Reimagining the B2B website experience," "Speaking to marketers 1:1," and "Inventing Together." After the core of the case study, we then see a quote from Acoustic’s CMO and the results Genuine achieved for the company.

The simplicity of the page allows the reader to focus on both the visual aspects and the copy. The page displays Genuine's brand personality while offering the viewer all the necessary information they need.

  • You don’t need to write a lot to create a great case study. Keep it simple.
  • Always include quantifiable data to illustrate the results you achieved for your client.

22. " Using Apptio Targetprocess Automated Rules in Wargaming ," by Apptio

Case study example from Apptio

Apptio’s case study for Wargaming summarizes three key pieces of information right at the beginning: The goals, the obstacles, and the results.

Readers then have the opportunity to continue reading — or they can walk away right then with the information they need. This case study also excels in keeping the human interest factor by formatting the information like an interview.

The piece is well-organized and uses compelling headers to keep the reader engaged. Despite its length, Apptio's case study is appealing enough to keep the viewer's attention. Every Apptio case study ends with a "recommendation for other companies" section, where the client can give advice for other companies that are looking for a similar solution but aren’t sure how to get started.

Key Learnings from the Apptio Case Study Example

  • Put your client in an advisory role by giving them the opportunity to give recommendations to other companies that are reading the case study.
  • Include the takeaways from the case study right at the beginning so prospects quickly get what they need.

23. " Airbnb + Zendesk: building a powerful solution together ," by Zendesk

Case study example from Zendesk

Zendesk's Airbnb case study reads like a blog post, and focuses equally on Zendesk and Airbnb, highlighting a true partnership between the companies. To captivate readers, it begins like this: "Halfway around the globe is a place to stay with your name on it. At least for a weekend."

The piece focuses on telling a good story and provides photographs of beautiful Airbnb locations. In a case study meant to highlight Zendesk's helpfulness, nothing could be more authentic than their decision to focus on Airbnb's service in such great detail.

Key Learnings from the Zendesk Case Study Example

  • Include images of your client’s offerings — not necessarily of the service or product you provided. Notice how Zendesk doesn’t include screenshots of its product.
  • Include a call-to-action right at the beginning of the case study. Zendesk gives you two options: to find a solution or start a trial.

24. " Biobot Customer Success Story: Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida ," by Biobot

Case study example from Biobot

Like some of the other top examples in this list, Biobot opens its case study with a quote from its client, which captures the value proposition of working with Biobot. It mentions the COVID pandemic and goes into detail about the challenges the client faced during this time.

This case study is structured more like a news article than a traditional case study. This format can work in more formal industries where decision-makers need to see in-depth information about the case. Be sure to test different methods and measure engagement .

Key Learnings from the Biobot Case Study Example

  • Mention environmental, public health, or economic emergencies and how you helped your client get past such difficult times.
  • Feel free to write the case study like a normal blog post, but be sure to test different methods to find the one that best works for you.

25. " Discovering Cost Savings With Efficient Decision Making ," by Gartner

Case study example from Gartner

You don't always need a ton of text or a video to convey your message — sometimes, you just need a few paragraphs and bullet points. Gartner does a fantastic job of quickly providing the fundamental statistics a potential customer would need to know, without boggling down their readers with dense paragraphs. The case study closes with a shaded box that summarizes the impact that Gartner had on its client. It includes a quote and a call-to-action to "Learn More."

Key Learnings from the Gartner Case Study Example

  • Feel free to keep the case study short.
  • Include a call-to-action at the bottom that takes the reader to a page that most relates to them.

26. " Bringing an Operator to the Game ," by Redapt

Case study example from Redapt

This case study example by Redapt is another great demonstration of the power of summarizing your case study’s takeaways right at the start of the study. Redapt includes three easy-to-scan columns: "The problem," "the solution," and "the outcome." But its most notable feature is a section titled "Moment of clarity," which shows why this particular project was difficult or challenging.

The section is shaded in green, making it impossible to miss. Redapt does the same thing for each case study. In the same way, you should highlight the "turning point" for both you and your client when you were working toward a solution.

Key Learnings from the Redapt Case Study Example

  • Highlight the turning point for both you and your client during the solution-seeking process.
  • Use the same structure (including the same headings) for your case studies to make them easy to scan and read.

27. " Virtual Call Center Sees 300% Boost In Contact Rate ," by Convoso

Case study example from Convoso

Convoso’s PDF case study for Digital Market Media immediately mentions the results that the client achieved and takes advantage of white space. On the second page, the case study presents more influential results. It’s colorful and engaging and closes with a spread that prompts readers to request a demo.

Key Learnings from the Convoso Case Study Example

  • List the results of your work right at the beginning of the case study.
  • Use color to differentiate your case study from others. Convoso’s example is one of the most colorful ones on this list.

28. " Ensuring quality of service during a pandemic ," by Ericsson

Case study example from Ericsson

Ericsson’s case study page for Orange Spain is an excellent example of using diverse written and visual media — such as videos, graphs, and quotes — to showcase the success a client experienced. Throughout the case study, Ericsson provides links to product and service pages users might find relevant as they’re reading the study.

For instance, under the heading "Preloaded with the power of automation," Ericsson mentions its Ericsson Operations Engine product, then links to that product page. It closes the case study with a link to another product page.

Key Learnings from the Ericsson Case Study Example

  • Link to product pages throughout the case study so that readers can learn more about the solution you offer.
  • Use multimedia to engage users as they read the case study.

Start creating your case study.

Now that you've got a great list of examples of case studies, think about a topic you'd like to write about that highlights your company or work you did with a customer.

A customer’s success story is the most persuasive marketing material you could ever create. With a strong portfolio of case studies, you can ensure prospects know why they should give you their business.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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

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

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.




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

Solving Case Studies: 8 Step-by-Step Strategies for Management Students

  • by Tanu Bhatnagar
  • Published: Oct 08, 2023, 09:45 IST
  • Updated: Oct 08, 2023, 00:54 IST
  • Tanu Bhatnagar
  • October 8, 2023


Mastering the Art of Analyzing and Resolving Business Case Studies 

Case study analysis is useful for management students. It’s more than a course—it’s a preview of your future job problems. These real-life examples allow you to apply class ideas and acquire a business-ready problem-solving attitude.

It’s not easy to master case study solving. Strategic thinking, critical thinking, and innovation are needed. This book covers the finest case study solution tactics to help you succeed academically and become a good manager. Solving a management case study is a crucial skill for students pursuing degrees in fields such as MBA, HRM, Finance, and Marketing.

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8 Step-by-Step Strategies for Management Students

These case studies offer a practical application of management concepts, requiring students to analyze complex scenarios and devise solutions. In this comprehensive guide, we will outline a step-by-step approach to solving management case studies and provide a real-world example with a solution.

  Step 1: Comprehensive Case Study Analysis

Comprehensive case study analysis is the cornerstone of effective problem-solving. It involves immersing yourself in the case study, not just skimming through it. Start by reading the case thoroughly, absorbing its context, characters, and central problem or objective. It’s crucial to understand the nuances of the situation presented, as even subtle details may significantly impact the solution.

During this phase, consider the following:

  • Context : Understand the setting, time frame, and circumstances that led to the current situation.
  • Characters : Familiarize yourself with the key individuals involved, their roles, motivations, and potential biases.
  • Problem/Objective : Identify the core challenge or goal that the case revolves around.

Step 2: Familiarize with the Industry and Company

Familiarizing yourself with the industry and the specific company involved in the case study is pivotal. This step provides essential context and aids in making informed decisions and recommendations. Here’s how to approach it:

  • Industry Analysis : Research the industry’s characteristics, trends, and dynamics. This knowledge helps you understand the broader competitive landscape and market forces at play.
  • Company Background : Delve into the company’s history, products or services, market position, financial performance, and strategic priorities. This information helps you align your recommendations with the company’s goals and capabilities.

Step 3: Define the Core Problem/Objective

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In this step, your objective is to pinpoint the primary issue or objective that the case study revolves around. By clarifying the problem that needs resolution or the goal that must be achieved, you set the stage for your analysis and decision-making. Consider the following:

  • Problem Statement : Summarize the problem in a concise, clear statement. Ensure that your understanding aligns with the essence of the case.
  • Objective Clarity : If the case involves an objective, such as expanding market share or improving profitability, define it with precision.

Step 4: Extract Relevant Information

A key aspect of case study analysis is extracting relevant facts and details from the case materials. This process involves revisiting the case study, both to reinforce your understanding and to gather pertinent information. Here’s how to approach it:

  • Detailed Examination : Scrutinize the case for data, statistics, anecdotes, and any other information that sheds light on the problem or objective.
  • Note-taking : Create a system for recording critical information, whether through written notes or mental models. This will aid in organizing your analysis.

Step 5: Identify Key Statements

8 Step By Step Strategies For Management Student

Within the case study, there are often statements or pieces of information that hold particular significance. These statements can serve as guideposts during your analysis, helping you define and address the problem more precisely. Consider:

  • Problem Clues : Look for statements that hint at the underlying issues or challenges.
  • Objective Relevance : Identify statements that directly relate to the stated objective.

Step 6: Assess the External Environment

To make informed recommendations, you must assess the external environment surrounding the case. This step involves considering various factors that can influence the solution, including:

  • Market Conditions : Analyze the market’s size, growth rate, trends, and competitive landscape.
  • Regulatory Environment : Evaluate the impact of regulations, laws, and government policies on the case.
  • Resource Availability : Understand the availability of resources, such as capital, talent, and technology.
  • Competitive Forces : Assess the competitive forces at play, including existing rivals, potential entrants, suppliers, and buyers.

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Step 7: Address Real-Life Constraints

Recognize that real-life problem-solving often comes with limitations, including incomplete information and time constraints. You should be prepared to make decisions based on the available data and within reasonable time limits. Consider:

  • Time Sensitivity : Acknowledge any time pressures that may affect the decision-making process.
  • Resource Constraints : Understand the limits of available resources, such as budget, manpower, or technology.

Step 8: Fill Information Gaps with Realistic Assumptions

Information gaps are common in real-world scenarios. To bridge these gaps, make realistic assumptions that align with the context of the case study. Use your judgment and critical thinking to supplement missing details while staying grounded in the case’s reality.

By following these steps diligently, you can approach management case studies methodically and develop well-structured, informed solutions that address the core problem or objective effectively

Address Real Life Situations For Students

Problem: XYZ Corporation, a well-established software development firm, is grappling with ongoing employee performance challenges. Several members of its software development team consistently fail to meet project deadlines and produce work below the company’s quality standards.

Problem Question 1: What is the core problem that XYZ Corporation is facing concerning employee performance?

The central issue that XYZ Corporation is confronting concerning employee performance is the persistent underperformance of several software developers within the organization. These individuals consistently fail to meet project deadlines and produce work that falls significantly below the company’s established quality standards. This recurring problem has become a significant impediment to the company’s software development projects.

Problem Question 2: How are the underperforming employees affecting the company’s software development projects and overall business operations?

The underperforming employees in XYZ Corporation are having a substantial negative impact on the company’s software development projects and overall business operations. Their consistent inability to meet project deadlines results in significant delays in project completion, disrupting project schedules and affecting the company’s ability to deliver products and services on time. Furthermore, the compromised quality of their work leads to subpar products, potentially resulting in client dissatisfaction and eroding the company’s reputation. These issues collectively undermine the company’s profitability as it grapples with missed opportunities and the costs associated with addressing substandard work. Addressing this challenge is imperative for XYZ Corporation to ensure its continued success and competitiveness in the software development industry.

. Student Approach to Solve:

  • Begin by thoroughly reading the case study to grasp its context, characters, and the central problem or objective.
  • Understanding the broader business environment will aid in making informed decisions and recommendations.
  • Identify the primary issue or objective in the case.
  • Create a mental or written model of the core problem or objective and make note of critical information that informs your understanding.
  • Acknowledge that real-life problems often come with incomplete information and time constraints.
  • Use your judgment to supplement missing details.

By following these steps and considering the provided answers, students can approach and solve the case study effectively, offering valuable insights and recommendations to address XYZ Corporation’s employee performance challenges.

Finally, the case study solution connects management theory with practice. It helps students analyse difficult circumstances, make educated judgements, and find effective solutions, which employers in numerous sectors value.

The above guide’s techniques can help students succeed in management school and prepare them for job difficulties and possibilities. Accept case studies as learning opportunities, improve your problem-solving abilities, and become a skilled and resourceful manager. The greatest method to learn is through doing, and case study solution leads to real-world success.

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Sepsis and case fatality rates and associations with deprivation, ethnicity, and clinical characteristics: population-based case–control study with linked primary care and hospital data in England

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  • Published: 16 April 2024

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  • Tjeerd Pieter van Staa   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9363-742X 1 ,
  • Alexander Pate   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0849-3458 1 ,
  • Glen P. Martin   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-3410-9472 1 ,
  • Anita Sharma 2 ,
  • Paul Dark   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-3309-0164 3 ,
  • Tim Felton   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6868-6633 3 , 4 ,
  • Xiaomin Zhong 1 ,
  • Sian Bladon 1 ,
  • Neil Cunningham   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-8578-7628 5 ,
  • Ellie L. Gilham   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4266-4844 5 ,
  • Colin S. Brown   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4776-3403 5 , 6 ,
  • Mariyam Mirfenderesky   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-6795-6491 5 ,
  • Victoria Palin   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0851-8619 1 , 7 &
  • Diane Ashiru-Oredope   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9579-2028 5 , 8  

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Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by dysregulated host response to infection. The purpose of the study was to measure the associations of specific exposures (deprivation, ethnicity, and clinical characteristics) with incident sepsis and case fatality.

Two research databases in England were used including anonymized patient-level records from primary care linked to hospital admission, death certificate, and small-area deprivation. Sepsis cases aged 65–100 years were matched to up to six controls. Predictors for sepsis (including 60 clinical conditions) were evaluated using logistic and random forest models; case fatality rates were analyzed using logistic models.

108,317 community-acquired sepsis cases were analyzed. Severe frailty was strongly associated with the risk of developing sepsis (crude odds ratio [OR] 14.93; 95% confidence interval [CI] 14.37–15.52). The quintile with most deprived patients showed an increased sepsis risk (crude OR 1.48; 95% CI 1.45–1.51) compared to least deprived quintile. Strong predictors for sepsis included antibiotic exposure in prior 2 months, being house bound, having cancer, learning disability, and diabetes mellitus. Severely frail patients had a case fatality rate of 42.0% compared to 24.0% in non-frail patients (adjusted OR 1.53; 95% CI 1.41–1.65). Sepsis cases with recent prior antibiotic exposure died less frequently compared to non-users (adjusted OR 0.7; 95% CI 0.72–0.76). Case fatality strongly decreased over calendar time.

Given the variety of predictors and their level of associations for developing sepsis, there is a need for prediction models for risk of developing sepsis that can help to target preventative antibiotic therapy.

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Nationwide case–control study of risk factors and outcomes for community-acquired sepsis

Community-onset sepsis and its public health burden: a systematic review, growing burden of sepsis-related mortality in northeastern italy: a multiple causes of death analysis.

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Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by dysregulated host responses to infection due to a variety of microorganisms [ 1 ]. The dysregulated immune responses lead to an uncontrolled systemic inflammatory response, with resultant tissue and multi-organ dysfunction [ 2 ]. Most cases develop sepsis outside the hospital (community-acquired sepsis) while some develop sepsis while hospitalized, often related to invasive devices, procedures, or operations (hospital-acquired sepsis). Although definitions vary between studies, hospital-acquired sepsis cases represent about 10.1% to 53.0% of all sepsis cases [ 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 ].

The National Health Service (NHS) and UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) are committed to tackling health inequalities [ 9 ]. A recent literature review by our group reported on risk factors for sepsis that were associated with health inequalities [ 10 ]. We found that socioeconomic factors associated with increased sepsis incidence included lower socioeconomic status and lower education level. However, findings were not consistent across studies and most of the studies were conducted in the USA. For ethnicity, mixed results were reported [ 10 ]. Also, there are only a few studies in literature that have evaluated the incidence and predictors of community-acquired sepsis. The purpose of the study was to measure the association of specific exposures (deprivation, ethnicity, and clinical characteristics) with incident sepsis and case fatality. The approach in this study was data driven without prior hypotheses of specific predictor effects (we refer to predictors as exposure that are associated with the outcome sepsis without implication of causality).

Materials and methods

Data sources were the Clinical Practice Research Databank (CPRD) GOLD [ 11 ] and CPRD Aurum [ 12 ] that contain longitudinal, anonymized, patient-level electronic health records (EHRs) from general practices in the UK. Almost all UK residents are registered with a general practice, which typically provides almost all primary healthcare. If a patient received emergency care (e.g., at Accident and Emergency), inpatient or outpatient hospital care, the general practice of the patient will typically be informed. All UK general practices use EHRs which are provided by several different EHR vendors, including EMIS and Vision. EMIS is the most frequently used primary care EHR [ 13 ]. The CPRD GOLD databases includes general practices that use Vision EHR software system, while CPRD Aurum practices use EMIS Web. CPRD GOLD included data on about 11.3 million patients [ 11 ] and CPRD Aurum included data on 19 million patients [ 12 ]. These databases include the clinical diagnoses, medication prescribed, vaccination history, diagnoses, lifestyle information, clinical referrals, as well as patient’s age, sex, ethnicity, smoking history, and body mass index (BMI). Patient-level data from the general practices were linked to Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), which is a database containing details about hospital admissions. The medical charts with longitudinal information collected during a hospital admission are reviewed and coded using the ICD-10 dictionary by the hospital and clinical codes and dates provided to the HES database. Patient records were also linked to small area deprivation information using socioeconomic information from Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) based on the patient’s residential postcode [ 14 ]. Patient-level IMD was aggregated into quintiles for the current analysis.

Study population

This study focused on community-acquired sepsis (most frequent) given the difference in etiology with hospital-acquired sepsis, and on patients aged 65–100 given their higher rates of sepsis. This study was done simultaneously with a study with similar objectives but that used a different English data source [ 15 ].

The overall study population consisted of patients aged 65–100 years at any time during the observation period (from January 1, 2000, to July 1, 2020, for CPRD GOLD or up to September 1, 2020, for CPRD Aurum) and who were registered at a GP practice in England. The lower age limit was related to inclusion criteria in the approved protocol; the upper age limit was selected based on the challenges in matching very elderly patients. The practices were restricted to those that contributed to CPRD GOLD or CPRD Aurum and that participated in record linkage. Patient information included sex, age, ethnicity, and medical history. Follow-up of individual patients was defined from the earliest of: (a) their start date of registration with a general practice, (b) prior duration of the patient’s registration in the practice of at least 1 year, or (c) time of reaching age 65 years, until the earliest of: (a) end date due to patients leaving practice, (b) death or (c) time of reaching 101 years of age.

A case–control methodology was selected to measure association between individual exposures and sepsis. Cases were patients who had a hospital record with a sepsis diagnosis (based on the ICD10 codes in HES for sepsis A40 and A41). Only incident cases (i.e., the first sepsis record) were included into study. Each case was randomly matched with up to six controls who had not been hospitalized in the year before. The matching was done by age, sex, calendar time (stepwise by same calendar year and quarter of year, calendar year and then within 5 years), and level of clinical coding in a practice. For each practice, the mean level of coding of clinical information was assessed for each general practice (details are provided elsewhere [ 16 ]). Sepsis cases were stratified into community- and hospital-acquired cases. Community-acquired cases were defined as those with a sepsis record within 2 days of the date of hospital admission; hospital-acquired were those that occurred more than 2 days after the hospital admission. Patients were classified at 3-monthly period into four frailty groups (based on the Qfrailty classification). This was based on the Qmortality score [ 17 ] (predicting risk of all-cause mortality) in conjunction with the Qadmissions score [ 18 ]. Qfrailty was categorized as severe, moderate, minor or non-frailty. The most recent record for frailty prior to the index date was used. Body mass index (BMI), smoking history, and history of 60 clinical conditions prior to the index date were also measured (using code lists from different sources including [ 19 ]). Antibiotic exposure in the 2 months before the index date was also measured (as indicator of GP-diagnosed presence of infection).

All-cause mortality outcome for the sepsis cases in the 30 days after the date of sepsis hospital record was assessed using linked death certificates (i.e., case fatality rates). To explore the effects of the age and sex matching on the discrimination between sepsis cases and controls of the logistic models, a second case–control data were also created by only matching cases to controls by calendar time and level of clinical coding in a practice.

The analyses of associations of specific exposures (deprivation, ethnicity, and clinical characteristics) on risk of developing sepsis were conducted in two separate parts. The first one focused on deprivation, ethnicity, frailty, BMI, smoking history, and prior antibiotic exposure. The second one focused on the 60 clinical characteristics. The reason for analyzing the clinical characteristics separately from, e.g., deprivation was that possible causal pathways could be bi-directional (e.g., deprivation could lead to higher incidence of diabetes mellitus but also diabetes could lead to deprivation). With such possible complex causal pathways, adjustment for variables is not preferred statistically.

Statistical analysis

The matching for age was based on a propensity matching procedure using a caliper (pre-specified maximum difference) of 0.25 of the logit of the propensity score [ 20 ]. Greedy nearest neighbor matching was used to select the control unit nearest to each treated unit. Patients were only included once in the analysis. The SAS procedure PSMATCH was used to conduct the matching.

Conditional logistic regression models analyzed the overall effects of individual exposures. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were estimated. Crude ORs assessed the effects of an individual predictor in developing sepsis in matched cases and controls. Adjusted ORs estimated the effects adjusted for other predictors. Random forest (RF) models assessed the relative importance of the 60 clinical characteristics and antibiotic exposure in discriminating between cases and controls; these models predict the probabilities (RF scores) of being a case or control. RF is a supervised tree-based classifier developed by Breiman [ 21 ]. Tree-based methods such as RF offer superior performance for sub-group classification over techniques such as logistic regression due to its difficulty to a-priori define the subgroups [ 22 ]. A recent study used RF models to identify the medicine combinations associated with higher risks of adverse drug-related hospital admission [ 23 ]. The RF models estimated the variable importance index (also known as Gini index) which ranks the explanatory (independent) variables in importance in the tree classifications. We pragmatically selected the maximums of number of trees of 500, depth of 50, and leaf node of 25. Sensitivity analyses were conducted doubling the number of trees and doubling the leaf node. The RF scores were divided into decile groups in the fourth analysis (ranging from low to high risk of developing sepsis) and the distribution of the deprivation, ethnicity, and frailty assessed across these deciles.

Case fatality rates (i.e., 30-days all-cause mortality) were analyzed in unconditional logistic regression models. Crude models evaluated the effects of individual exposures, and adjusted models included all exposures as analyzed for case fatality.

In the matching process, 99.3% of the sepsis patients were matched to at least one control. Of the matched cases, 94.1% were matched to six controls and 0.2% to one control. 45.1% of the cases were hospitalized during the calendar years 2015–2020. Table 1 shows the characteristics of matched sepsis cases and controls. Cases and controls were well matched on age and sex. The mean age was 80.6 years for cases and 80.4 for controls. For sex, the percentage of women was 50.8% in cases and 51.4% in controls (this small difference in the percentages was related to varying ratios of controls to each case between men and women). Of the 119,529 cases, 108,317 (90.6%) were classified as community-acquired sepsis.

As shown in Table  2 , severe frailty was strongly associated with the risk of developing community-acquired sepsis (crude OR 14.93; 95% CI 14.37–15.52). The most deprived patients (with deprivation measured by IMD) also showed an increased risk of community-acquired sepsis (crude OR 1.48; 95% CI 1.45–1.51). Non-white races showed lower risks of developing sepsis (crude OR 0.92 in Black people; 95% CI 0.86–0.97). 34.1% of the community-acquired sepsis cases and 11.0% of the controls received an antibiotic in the 2 months before. The presence of infections (as measured by antibiotic exposure in prior two months) was also strongly associated to the risk of community-acquired sepsis (crude OR 4.43; 95% CI 4.36–4.50).

Of the 60 clinical characteristics evaluated, strong predictors for community-acquired sepsis included chronic hepatitis (crude OR 2.89; 95% CI 2.72–3.08), being housebound (crude OR 2.66; 95% CI 2.62–2.70), and learning disability (crude OR 3.02; 95% CI 2.68–3.40) (Table  3 ). Table 4 shows the distribution of frailty, ethnicity, and deprivation by deciles of RF scores (for community-acquired sepsis). The range of predictions by the RF model of being a case ranged from 5.9% in the lowest RF decile to 58.6% in the highest decile. Severe frailty was more prevalent in the highest deciles of the RF score (21.5% in highest decile versus 0% in lowest decile). Deprivation was strongly associated with higher RF probabilities for developing community-acquired sepsis. A logistic model with RF scores as predictors found a c-statistic of 0.788 in the discrimination between sepsis cases and controls.

All-cause mortality within 30 days was found to be high in community-acquired sepsis cases (Table  5 ). Severely frail patients had a case fatality rate of 42.0% while non-frail patients had a rate of 24.0% (crude OR 2.30; 95% CI 2.17–2.43, adjusted OR 1.53; 95% CI 1.41–1.65). Sepsis cases with antibiotic exposure in the prior 2 months were less likely to die compared to sepsis not using antibiotics (crude OR 0.71; 95% CI 0.70–0.73, adjusted OR 0.74; 95% CI 0.72–0.76). Case fatality rates strongly decreased over calendar time. The adjusted OR for a yearly change in sepsis mortality was 0.94 (95% CI 0.94–0.95).

This study found that severe frailty was strongly associated with the risk of developing sepsis. The most deprived patients also showed a 48% increased sepsis risk. Other strong predictors for developing sepsis included antibiotic exposure in prior 2 months, being house bound, having cancer, a skin ulcer, or diabetes mellitus. Fatality rates of sepsis were high and much higher in severely frail patients compared to non-frail patients. Sepsis cases with recent prior antibiotic exposure were less likely to die compared to non-users. Case fatality strongly decreased over calendar time.

There are several limitations in this study. The first was that the sepsis diagnosis was based on coded data (as done by each hospital at discharge or death within the hospital without clinical details of severity or the specific criteria supporting the evidence of the sepsis diagnosis). The diagnosis criteria for sepsis have also changed over the last 2 decades and this study could not apply the latest criteria for sepsis diagnosis. However, sensitivity analyses showed only small effects of the ORs of sepsis with ethnicity, deprivation, and frailty. Also, coding quality may vary between hospitals [ 24 ], although it is likely that any misclassification may be random and non-differential leading to underestimates of associations. Another limitation was that this study used broad categories for ethnicity and deprivation, while these characteristics involve heterogenous patient groups with diverse drivers for the incidence of sepsis. The study was observational, and patients could not be randomized between different categories, so we could not separate between direct causal effects of, e.g., ethnicity and indirect effects through higher prevalence of causal factors in these groups. This study assessed the calibration of logistic models. As this analysis was based on a case–control study, the results cannot be generalized to performance in the general population as the rate of the outcome sepsis is very different in a population compared to a case–control setting.

Most published studies on sepsis were hospital-based with limited data on prior medical history and without population-based controls. No studies on community-acquired sepsis were conducted in the UK with the exception of our recent study that used OpenSAFELY and included all ages and covered recent calendar time [ 15 ]. In this study of about 250,000 sepsis cases (about 80% were community-acquired), similar results were found. Socioeconomic deprivation and comorbidity were associated with an increased odds of developing non-COVID-19-related sepsis and 30-day mortality in England [ 15 ]. With respect to deprivation, four population-based studies on sepsis incidence were found in the literature (other than our recent OpenSAFELY study). All reported increased rates of sepsis incidence with deprivation [ 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 ]. Two of these studies did not differentiate between hospital- and community-acquired sepsis, which often have different causes and predictors. The two other studies did evaluate community-acquired sepsis, although they included only about 3500 sepsis cases [ 27 , 28 ]. A prospective cohort with 30,000 US participants also reported a risk prediction model for the development of community-acquired sepsis. It included a smaller number of clinical risk factors such as chronic lung disease, peripheral artery disease, diabetes, stroke, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, hypertension, and deep vein thrombosis [ 29 ]. The strength of the present study is that it included a large number of clinical risk factors for a large number of sepsis cases. There is an urgent need to improve our understanding of risk factors for community-acquired sepsis (which in this study involved about 90% of all sepsis cases). As outlined by Kempker et al. sepsis could be viewed as a preventable challenge that can be addressed with population and system-based solutions, including management of risk, factors, appropriate and risk-proportionate antibiotic usage, public awareness, hygiene, and immunization [ 30 ].

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in England has developed a guideline for the recognition, diagnosis, and early management of sepsis [ 31 ]. It individually lists patient groups at higher risk of developing sepsis. Most of these are chronic risk factors (such as elderly age, impaired immunity) or include those that affect a substantive number of patients (such as diabetes or other comorbidities). The challenge is that the pathogenesis of sepsis is rapid, and interventions need to be targeted to early triggers of deterioration. A recent review looked at studies of sepsis triggers and tools to support better recognition in healthcare settings. Only 17.7% of identified studies concerned pre-hospital settings [ 32 ] and most of those concerned screening by paramedics [ 33 ]. Furthermore, some existing tools, such as the Modified Early Warning System (MEWS) [ 34 ], Robson criteria [ 35 ], Simple Sepsis Early Prognostic Score [ 36 ], and a machine learning model [ 37 ], mostly concern physiological measurements to support earlier recognition of acute decline. Another widely used tool is NEWS-2 which uses routinely recorded physiological measurements, already recorded in routine practice [ 38 ]. However, this tool has not been validated in primary care settings [ 39 ]. While these tools focus on early recognition of sepsis in hospital setting [ 40 ], there is a lack of monitoring tools that have been tested and can be used at home by patients at high risk of developing sepsis to facilitate earlier contact with the healthcare system. Remote patient monitoring has been used in patients with COVID-19 for early identification of deterioration [ 41 ].

The implication of this study is that there is a need for prediction models for risk of developing sepsis that can help to target preventative antibiotic therapy. Important predictors included frailty, deprivation, people with learning difficulties and conditions such as diabetes mellitus and being house bound. The finding of frailty being a major predictor for development of sepsis suggests that interactions between different conditions likely impact the risk of sepsis. The most important predictor in our risk stratification, as expected, was an indicator of infection (antibiotic use in prior two months). Thus, there is a need for developing risk prediction models that consider not only chronic diseases but also, importantly, the acute early triggers and details on infection severity.

In conclusion, the development of community-acquired sepsis is strongly associated with socioeconomic deprivation and some clinical characteristics. Strong predictors of sepsis included recent prior antibiotic exposure, frailty, and conditions such as diabetes mellitus and being house bound. Case fatality rates of community-acquired sepsis were high, particularly in severely frail patients. Given the variety of predictors and their level of associations for developing sepsis, there is a need for prediction models for risk of developing sepsis that can help to target preventative antibiotic therapy.

Data availability

Electronic health records are, by definition, considered ‘sensitive’ data in the UK by the Data Protection Act 2018, and cannot be shared via public deposition because of information governance restrictions in place to protect patient confidentiality. Access to data is available only once approval has been obtained through the individual constituent entities controlling access to the data. The data can be requested via application to the Clinical Practice Research Datalink ( www.cprd.com ).

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This study is based on data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) obtained under license from the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The data are provided by patients and collected by the NHS as part of their care and support. Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data are subject to Crown copyright (2022) protection, re-used with the permission of The Health & Social Care Information Centre, all rights reserved. The interpretation and conclusions contained in this study are those of the authors alone, and not necessarily those of the MHRA, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health and Social Care. The study protocol was approved by CPRD’s Independent Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) (reference: 19_055). We would like to acknowledge all the data providers and general practices who make anonymized data available for research.

This study was supported by funding from the UK Health Security Agency, Health Data Research UK (Better prescribing in frail elderly people with polypharmacy: learning from practice and nudging prescribers into better practice-BetterRx) and by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR130581-Cluster randomised trial to improve antibiotic prescribing in primary care: individualised knowledge support during consultation for general practitioners and patients–BRIT2).

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Tjeerd Pieter van Staa, Alexander Pate, Glen P. Martin, Xiaomin Zhong, Sian Bladon & Victoria Palin

Chadderton South Health Centre, Eaves Lane, Chadderton, Oldham, OL9 8RG, UK

Anita Sharma

Division of Infection, Immunity and Respiratory Medicine, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, UK

Paul Dark & Tim Felton

Intensive Care Unit, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, UK

Healthcare-Associated Infection (HCAI), Fungal, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), Antimicrobial Use (AMU) & Sepsis Division, United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA), London, SW1P 3JR, UK

Neil Cunningham, Ellie L. Gilham, Colin S. Brown, Mariyam Mirfenderesky & Diane Ashiru-Oredope

NIHR Health Protection Unit in Healthcare-Associated Infection & Antimicrobial Resistance, Imperial College London, London, UK

Colin S. Brown

Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, Division of Developmental Biology and Medicine, The University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9WL, UK

Victoria Palin

School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK

Diane Ashiru-Oredope

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All authors contributed to the interpretation of the study. Study conception was performed by Tjeerd Pieter van Staa, Alexander Pate, Glen P Martin, Xiaomin Zhong, Neil Cunningham, Ellie L. Gilham, Colin S Brown, Mariyam Mirfenderesky, Victoria Palin, and Diane Ashiru-Oredope. Data analysis was performed by Tjeerd Pieter van Staa. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Tjeerd Pieter van Staa and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.”

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Correspondence to Tjeerd Pieter van Staa .

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This is an observational study. The study protocol was approved by CPRD’s Independent Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) (reference: 19_055). Approval from an NHS Research Ethics Committee is not required if the proposed study is purely observational https://cprd.com/guidance-completion-cprd-research-data-governance-rdg-application ).

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van Staa, T.P., Pate, A., Martin, G.P. et al. Sepsis and case fatality rates and associations with deprivation, ethnicity, and clinical characteristics: population-based case–control study with linked primary care and hospital data in England. Infection (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s15010-024-02235-8

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s15010-024-02235-8

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Computer Science > Artificial Intelligence

Title: do large language models show decision heuristics similar to humans a case study using gpt-3.5.

Abstract: A Large Language Model (LLM) is an artificial intelligence system that has been trained on vast amounts of natural language data, enabling it to generate human-like responses to written or spoken language input. GPT-3.5 is an example of an LLM that supports a conversational agent called ChatGPT. In this work, we used a series of novel prompts to determine whether ChatGPT shows heuristics, biases, and other decision effects. We also tested the same prompts on human participants. Across four studies, we found that ChatGPT was influenced by random anchors in making estimates (Anchoring Heuristic, Study 1); it judged the likelihood of two events occurring together to be higher than the likelihood of either event occurring alone, and it was erroneously influenced by salient anecdotal information (Representativeness and Availability Heuristic, Study 2); it found an item to be more efficacious when its features were presented positively rather than negatively - even though both presentations contained identical information (Framing Effect, Study 3); and it valued an owned item more than a newly found item even though the two items were identical (Endowment Effect, Study 4). In each study, human participants showed similar effects. Heuristics and related decision effects in humans are thought to be driven by cognitive and affective processes such as loss aversion and effort reduction. The fact that an LLM - which lacks these processes - also shows such effects invites consideration of the possibility that language may play a role in generating these effects in humans.

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