Case study exploration guide
Case studies are effective educational tools whose use was
pioneered by Harvard University's business school. For Christian workers heading into
cross-cultural situations, good case studies can help develop critical thinking skills.
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: 7 steps to transforming a case study into a learning
- Read the entire case study narrative.
- Get acquainted with the cast of characters
- Who is involved?
- What are their historical relationships?
- What constituencies do they represent?
- What might be the agenda of each character in this narrative?
- Understand the flow of events
- How did the problem arise?
- Is there a deadline for a decision?
- Determine from whose perspective the events are described.
- Formulate a clear statement of the problem.
- What values or interests are being challenged?
- What should be the central or focal question?
- Identify the issues at stake.
- List factors that are relevant to comprehending, facing and solving the problem.
- What ingredients have compounded the problem or perhaps have even created it?
- Which area has some negotiating room in it?
- Can some of the negative concerns be re-framed positively?
- Clarify facts as well as feelings.
- In your initial reading, some of the case's facts, elements or issues may not have seemed
very important. As you reflect on the case, are there items which have grown in importance in
- What details need clarification? In order to effectively process the case study, will you have
to make some assumptions about some unstated details?
- What feelings did you and others have after the initial reading of the case study?
- 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?
- Dig around for resources.
- What assets are available to resolve the problem?
- Are there opportunities to partner or network in some way?
- Make some assertions:
- What ought to be going on?
- What needs to happen to set that in motion?
- To implement the most viable solution, what must be done and by whom?
Ready to jump in using case studies?
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