What is it?

A case study is essentially a story into which an instructor can introduce relevant content. Case studies enable instructors to provide their students with realistic and stimulating situations in which to carry out a defined task (e.g., solve a problem, identify a pattern, resolve a conflict, etc.). Case studies can be approached by individuals, groups or entire classes.

To be effectives, the case(s) provided to students must be of interest to them and relevant to the discipline or field of study. Otherwise, they may fail to make a connection with the material. Furthermore, it is imperative that students ...

Read More +

A case study is essentially a story into which an instructor can introduce relevant content. Case studies enable instructors to provide their students with realistic and stimulating situations in which to carry out a defined task (e.g., solve a problem, identify a pattern, resolve a conflict, etc.). Case studies can be approached by individuals, groups or entire classes.

To be effectives, the case(s) provided to students must be of interest to them and relevant to the discipline or field of study. Otherwise, they may fail to make a connection with the material. Furthermore, it is imperative that students learn to apply what they experience in completing the case study to future problems and cases (e.g., they must recognize what can be generalized and applied to other scenarios/cases).

Read Less -

When to use it?

Context & Requirements

Level
All levels
Discipline
All discipline
Class size
All class sizes
Classroom settings
No specific classroom setting required
Technological requirements
Strategy has no specific technological requirements

Skills Promoted

  • Inductive reasoning
  • Analytical reasoning
  • Problem solving
  • Knowledge integration

Who’s using it?

SALTISE community members who use this strategy and are willing to share advice and/or resources.

Level University
Institution McGill University
Discipline Engineering
Instructor Lawrence R. Chen
Class size 200
Classroom setting Lecture room
Resources used View More
Level College
Institution Dawson College
Discipline Interior Design
Instructor Leigh Barnett Shapiro
Class size 15-20
Classroom setting Active Learning Classroom
Resources used View More
Level College
Institution Dawson College
Discipline Applied Arts – National Building Code
Instructor Leigh Barnett Shapiro
Class size 30-40
Classroom setting Active Learning Classroom
Resources used View More
Level College
Institution Dawson College
Discipline Chemistry
Instructor Yann Brouillette
Class size 30-40
Classroom setting Lecture room/Active Learning Classroom
Resources used View More
Level College
Institution Dawson College
Discipline Chemistry
Instructor Adamo R. Petosa
Class size 25-40
Classroom setting Lecture room/Active Learning Classroom
Resources used View More

Why use it?

An interesting case study truly gets the students speaking/discussing. Throughout the process, students can be seen working together enthousiastically. If the underlying story interests them, they will solve the problem! Furthermore, if peer-review and peer-feedback is built into the case study, students are always interested to see how their group's findings compare with their peers. Overall, case studies allow the instructor to make things "real" for the students. He/she has an opportunity to be creative and to think up interesting ways to get their students attention. I personally enjoy providing my students with a mystery or rescue scenario to work in.

(Adamo Petosa, Dawson College)

The real challenge is ensuring students will be able to apply what they learn in completing the case study to future problems and cases. They must recognize what can be generalized and applied to other scenarios/cases. To facilitate this, the teacher can follow up the case study with strategies that result in the generation of flow charts, heuristics or other tools that help students to solve future problems.

(Adamo Petosa, Dawson College)

Ready to try it out?

A case study generally requires four distinct steps.

STEP 1: The instructor selects and distributes a case study to the students.

STEP 2: Students read the case and identify key components.

STEP 3: In groups, students discuss the case’s key components and lessons learned.

STEP 4: The instructor distributes a new case.

STEP 5: In groups, students try to solve the new case using general principles and lessons learned from the previous problem.

STEP 6 / Additional step(s):

As a class, students discuss their solution(s) to the new problem and similarities/differences from the original case.

Alone, students reflect on their learning and apply lessons learned to a new problem.

Download Flowchart

Helpful resources

Tech Tools

SMART amp: online collaborative platform

References

Herreid, C. F. and Schiller, N. A. (2013). Case studies and the flipped classroom. Journal of College Science Teaching..

Herreid, C. F. (2005). Using case studies to teach science education: Classroom methodology. American Institute of Biological Sciences, ERIC.

Weinberg, S. L. and Abramowitz, S. K. (2000). Making general principles come alive in the classroom using an active case studies approach. Journal of Statistics Education..

Bartholomew, H., Osborne, J. and Ratcliffe, M. (2002). Teaching pupils “ideas-about-science”: Case studies from the classroom. Annual Conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, New Orleans..

George A. L. and Bennett, A. (2005). Case studies and theory development in the social sciences. MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Video

Teaching by the Case Method -Center for Teaching and Learning, Stanford University

The Case Study Method for Advanced Teacher Education – NAATE Teachers

To Learn More

For more reading resources check out Articles and Books