Looking for a case study to use in a class?

Global case studies and scenarios

What would you do in this situation? What does it mean to put your faith into action?

Case studies -- actual examples of thorny situations -- are very effective in a problem-centered learning approach. Case studies help students practice applying principles and concepts in real situations. These real-life case studies and scenarios -- used by Howard Culbertson as classroom teaching / learning aids -- are available on this site:

Case studies: aids for problem-centered learning

Seven steps to effective case study use

  1. Mixed drinks: A prank backfires -- unity on a multicultural mission team
  2. Battling racism in a congregation -- a church divided by prejudice
  3. Breakup of a missionary team -- Tough times
  4. Ancestor veneration / worship
  5. Animism
  6. Buddhism
  7. Hinduism
  8. Islam
  9. Shintoism
  10. Development / economic aid
  11. Conflict during the Lord's Supper -- cultural change polarizes a church and even tears a family apart
  12. "Don't tell Shari": Conflict over entertainment choices by a short term mission group during their day off
  13. Giving Jeff a thrill Flirting on a short-term missions team
  14. Kidnapped missionary: Should the ransom be paid?
  15. Male stripper -- a joke at a youth group sponsors birthday party doesn't turn out as planned
  16. Obi's death
  17. Pastor under attack -- how leaders deal with hidden agendas
  18. Peacemaker or patsy -- reacting to tribal warfare in Papua New Guinea
  19. Reentry from short term mission
  20. Salvage job -- short-term mission team problems during a summer mission experience
  21. Sunday school class in decline
  22. They only knew my name -- trying to plug in to a local church
  23. To drink or not to drink -- a teetotaler in France finds himself in over his head
  24. Walking away: Witnessing/soul winning
  25. When trust erodes -- a congregation loses faith in their pastor
  26. Inappropriate touching

Seven steps to case study discussion Several of the above cases also have specific study guides linked to them.

Brief scenarios or examples with less description than a typical case study

  1. Cultural anthropology scenarios: Gulliver's travels and ethnography in a McDonald's restaurant
  2. Theology of missions scenarios: Are the heathen really lost?
  3. Witnessing scenarios: How would you respond?
  4. Using case studies as a learning tool

What's the best way to use a case study?

Case study exploration guide

Case studies are effective educational tools whose use was pioneered by Harvard University's business school. The best case studies are not made-up, one-upon-a-time stories. Rather, even though names and places may have been changes, these are descriptions of a real situation.

For Christian workers heading into situations where they will be a cultural outsider, discussions of case studies can stimulate and hone critical thinking skills for situations where they will be carrying "foreigner" baggage.

Want to know how to process a case study? Follow these seven steps to reflect on and profitably discuss case studies.

How to use a case study

Seven steps to transforming a case study into a learning experience

  1. Read the entire case study narrative.
  2. Understand the flow of events
  3. Determine from whose perspective the events are described.
  4. Formulate a clear statement of the problem.
  5. Identify the issues at stake.
  6. Clarify facts as well as feelings.
  7. Consider the case study from different angles. A jewel's facets show up best as it is turned to let light hit those facets at different angles. Approach the case study in the same way. Look at it from several different angles. That is, consider it from the points of view of each person involved. What would be the solution each would lean toward?
  8. Dig around for resources.
  9. Make some assertions:

    -- Howard Culbertson


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