Case Analysis: Format, Structure, & Examples for Students

Case analysis.

Do you want to find out how to write a case analysis?

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It is a challenging assignment, including both theory and practice. Strategic managers use this analysis tool to improve the performance of a company. For example, Netflix conducts case studies regularly, which lets them implement new strategies.

And there’s no need to tell how successful they are, right?

This article is a guide for students who want to write a perfect case analysis. You will find information on the structure and purposes of your writing. Look for report examples at the end!

📌 What Is a Case Analysis?

Case analysis allows you to use the knowledge gained in class in an actual situation. You need to demonstrate your understanding of the theory and how you can use it.

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We will discuss the objectives and case analysis format below.

Case Analysis Definition

A case analysis is a thorough study of an issue, primarily used in business & marketing. It is an effective decision-making tool and requires attention to the following aspects. Consider all costs, risks, and benefits to the potential choices you might make. In the corporate world, businesses and project managers use case analysis to develop their strategies.

Is a Business Case Analysis Any Different from a Business Case?

Yes, it is. A business case refers just to the presented report. A business case analysis is an overall approach to research, its procedures, and results.

Case Analysis Purpose

While being a handy tool for managers and researchers, a case analysis presents the following purposes.

  1. Finding existing and potential problems of a business. You need to analyze all the factors that influence the business’ performance to find issues.
  2. Evaluating possible solutions and decisions. To do that, consider the previous strategies that the company used. At this stage, you need to compare all the potential factors and pay attention to the details that might influence the results.
  3. Choosing the best strategy for a business. After you have assessed all the available options, you need to find out which is the best one. Then it’s time to prove the critical point of case analysis to the readers.
The picture lists three main purposes of a case analysis.

📑 Case Analysis Format & Structure

Now you know what a case analysis is so that we can move on.

A typical case analysis incorporates seven parts. We will explain what to write in each of them and how to avoid common mistakes.

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Here, we will focus on business cases. Read the passages below to know everything about the report format.

Let’s start!

1. Executive Summary

An executive summary is a short review of the whole research, covering the main points. Better write it last, and here’s why: once you have a complete case analysis in front of you, it is easier to highlight the key information.

Here are the main points that you need to mention in the executive summary:

  1. The purpose of your paper.
  2. The field of research you have chosen.
  3. Key issues and findings.
  4. Your theory and suggested course of action.

Always think about the readers – there is no need to include details they already know. At the same time, ensure to show your deep understanding of the problem and the business needs.

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2. Introduction

In this part, include a detailed description of the case study analysis problems. Mention the purposes of the research. Add the background information and aspects you haven’t covered before.

At the end of the introduction, state your hypothesis. It should include an explanation of the problems and the suggested solution strategies.

Try to fit your introduction in 2-4 paragraphs.

3. Methods

A case study method is how you gather and use the information in the study.

Here are some standard methods:

  1. Observation
  2. Experiment
  3. Interview
  4. Documentary analysis

Each method defines certain boundaries of the case. In other words, you state your data gathering method and the scope you want to cover. It can be a specific place, period, market, etc. At this point, there should be clear answers to these questions: What are the characteristics of your case? Which data do you need to collect? How are you going to do it?

4. Solutions & Assumptions

According to the case analysis structure, this is the section to describe the solutions. Reveal those solutions that were briefly mentioned in the introduction. To show that you’ve researched your case correctly, provide as many details as possible. All the solutions should be realistic and achievable in the existing circumstances.

Also, assume what the consequences of these solutions might be. Explain your predictions with the help of the gathered evidence. The best idea is to rely on scientific data, research results, or interviews conducted.

5. Recommendations

In this part, share your thoughts in a persuasive tone to convince the audience. If you have chosen one strategy that you think works best, describe how to implement it. If not, share ideas on several strategies a business can use to succeed.

An excellent bonus will be to mention minor problems you’ve noticed during the research. Offer ways to eliminate these problems. And don’t forget to refer to the theory you’ve learned in the classroom.

6. Conclusion

The case analysis format requires more than just summarizing the main points. The goal here is to synthesize the key findings of the case study: show the role of each and how they work together. Remind your readers about the importance of the research and its results.

It is essential to share the insights you’ve had while studying the issue. State if the case needs further research and its possible directions. You might address a controversy or knowledge gap you’ve found while researching.

7. References & Appendices

Gather all the external sources used during the analysis. You need to be careful with the formatting at this stage. A reference list is usually made in APA, MLA, or Chicago citation styles. If you are not sure how to use them, find guidelines on your college’s website. Or check this mini-guide about three major referencing styles of academic writings.

Appendices that come in the very end contain charts, graphs, tables, etc. These data would be destructive to the readers if you placed it in the main body.

👔 Case Analysis Examples for Students

We hope it was a helpful structure manual. Now we are ready to provide you with some case study samples for high school and college students.

We will take a look at three popular companies: Starbucks, Netflix, and Tesla. While being successful, all of them have issues and need adjustments constantly. Solve these puzzles with us!

Starbucks Case Analysis

A closer look at the specifics of Starbucks’ operations in the target environment revealed some problems. Although Starbucks has become a household name for a significant part of the population across the world, it had seen its dark days, when the company’s leaders were trying to find the solution that would make the company unique and memorable, while at the same time expanding into the global economy and catering to a broader audience (Koehn et al. 1-3). […]  

Read how Starbucks has dealt with the problems that occurred during the crisis of 2008.

Netflix Case Analysis

Throughout the years, Netflix has been expanding to new markets by developing relationships with partners and creating its media content (“Long-term view,” n.d.). These measures can ensure the organization’s sustainable development in the long-term perspective. It might be assumed that Netflix is the leader in the market because the company focuses both on internal and external processes. […]

Check the full version of the Netflix case analysis to figure out the company’s position in the competitive environment.

Tesla Motors Case Analysis

Tesla is an excellent example of how a developing and successful company might fall behind on producing a new product and become unable to keep up with demand. The company executives believe lack of motivation and ineffective training to be the significant factors contributing to the team’s slow progress and poor quality of the finished product. Considering these problems to be influencing the final product significantly, this case analysis will be dedicated to creating a training plan to address the situation. The main focus will be on shaping the company’s strategies, changing the leadership approach, and executing a motivational system for employees. […]

Continue reading about Tesla’s ways to deal with the business decline and rising demand.

Case Analysis Checklist for Students

To wrap the discussion, we’ve made this checklist for you. Go through each step to ensure your case analysis is done qualitatively.

  1. Define the issue that you will study. Choose the specific problem and dig into its main defects.
  2. Research the issue. Find more data about this particular case or compare it with similar ones.
  3. Filter the data that you will use. Not all the information you’ve found is necessary to your case analysis.
  4. Think about how to solve the issue. It is enough to have at least three solutions or strategies.
  5. Compare the solutions. Define their advantages, disadvantages, risks, and costs.
  6. Take a look at examples. Use them as references, and don’t forget to check credibility.
  7. Study the structure. Check the requirements for your paper and make a list of the sections you will need.
  8. Draft your case analysis. Note the main thoughts for each section. Then you can make everything you’ve written more detailed and sophisticated.
  9. Make sure you don’t repeat yourself. Your thoughts should flow in one direction, but don’t use the same words. Try to at least paraphrase everything that looks similar.
  10. Proofread your paper. Start with the cover page and end with the last one. Everything has to be perfect.

Well, that’s all for today. Thank you for being so attentive and motivated to read this article till the end. We hope you’ve found all the information you need to write a perfect case analysis. Take some notes on the most important moments of this article and begin your journey.

You have a lot of work ahead, but we believe you can make it.

Good luck!

Comments
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Jarrett Banwarth
Jarrett Banwarth

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Kelly Lauren Kane

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