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Case studies

This guide explains the variety of case studies and how to locate them using Library resources.

What are case studies?

Case studies are used in a variety of disciplines, both as teaching and research tools. When looking for cases studies be aware that there are three types.

  1. Teaching case studies present real-world problems and give students the opportunity to explore ambiguities, test assumptions, develop decision-making skills and evaluate recommendations.  They reflect the ambiguity of a situation and need not have a single outcome.
  2. Research case studies employ a specific methodology to develop an in-depth and multidimensional understanding of an issue or research problem.  They add to the body of theoretical knowledge and are more academically focused and evidence-based (Crowe, 2011).
  3. Cases that are reported examinations of a particular real-life circumstance or entity, such as a specific legal case, an example of a medical issue in a single patient or group of patients, or a discussion of a particular business entity or situation.  In medicine and allied health these may be called 'case reports'. In law these are simply called 'cases'.  In business these are often called 'case studies'.

Crowe, S., Cresswell, K., Robertson, A., Huby, G., Avery, A., & Sheikh, A. (2011). The case study approach. BMC Medical Research Methodology11, 100.

Finding case studies (Library Shorts)

Finding Case Studies - Library Shorts (3:36 mins), RMIT University Library, Microsoft Stream (RMIT login required)