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Writing cases: a brief guide

Field-based or desk-based?

Field-based cases involve working closely with a company and key employees. This type of case is great for bringing a slice of reality into the classroom. Field-based cases are also an excellent way to blend teaching and research and will help to build valuable relationships with real-life companies in the world of business.


Desk-based cases rely on thorough research and judicious selection of materials. They can be a good choice where access to a particular company is impossible. Both field-based and desk-based cases can be highly successful and very effective in the classroom.

Using multimedia

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The case method constantly adapts and changes to meet new challenges and expectations. Case authors now use multimedia in a variety of ways to enhance their students’ classroom experience and ensure today’s tech-savvy learners stay engaged.

A protagonist: telling stories

A compelling protagonist will quickly engage students. They will identify with the lead character as the story in the case unfolds. The key question, ‘What would I do next?’ will be the start of a great classroom discussion and steep learning curve.

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Choosing a format

The traditional written case remains hugely popular. However, case writers now have a number of options to supplement or even replace the written word. Examples include video cases, comic book cases, and even virtual world cases. It’s an exciting time to be a case writer!

Testing in the classroom

This is the only way to find out if your case ‘works’ or not and a great opportunity to gain invaluable feedback from students, colleagues, and – if you’re lucky – the case protagonist who may wish to see the case being taught.

Teaching notes

The figures speak for themselves: under half of the cases in The Case Centre’s collection have teaching notes, but 98% of the 50 most popular cases have one.

A teaching note is vital if you want your case to have wide appeal, and can also help when writing the case; some case authors even draft the teaching note first to help clarify their thoughts. It’s hugely important, so make sure you include one.

Case release

If your case is field-based, you must get permission from the organisation to release it. The Case Centre cannot publish field-based cases without this permission. By maintaining good relationships and communications with your contacts, case release should be a matter of routine.

Publish with The Case Centre

Make your case available worldwide by publishing with The Case Centre. We are unique in offering a publishing and distribution service to both institutions and independent authors across the globe. We also allow you or your institution to retain copyright.


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