Do you need to describe in detail the effectiveness of a project, or document the situation or experiences of an individual or a group of people? This sort of detailed study is called a case study.
Case studies are used to test hypotheses, help plan for real-world problems, and generate a discussion of potential needs and solutions, among other things.
For example, a pharmaceutical company might do a case study to determine how a group of individuals has benefited from a drug therapy, or a school administrator might do a case study to show whether or not individual students have benefited from tutoring programs.
Case study reports are usually complete standalone documents. However, if you write business proposals or grant applications, you may find that including summaries of case studies within your proposal can show how your product or service has benefited groups or provided the solution to needs in the past. And if you write business proposals, you may already be aware of a product called Proposal Kit. But you might not realize that Proposal Kit includes everything you need to write all sorts of studies and reports, too.
Each case study report should include these sections within the body of the report:
- Goal(s) of the study. Do you want to determine whether a past process, product, or service has been successful in order to modify it for future use? Are you trying to determine if there's a need for a product or service among a certain group of people, or show the benefits of a project your organization has done in the past?
- A hypothesis or proposition you want to test. Depending on your organization, this might be demonstrating that a group has a specific need or that recipients of a product or service benefited in measurable ways.
- The specific questions you want to answer. These will be derived from the goals and hypothesis of the study.
- The methodology (how information was collected). This might include interviews, measurements, sampling, and so forth. Be sure to include all relevant details such as schedules, dates and times, locations, and personnel who performed the collection. You may want to summarize this information in the body of the report and include details in an appendix.
- Participants. How did you select participants or subjects for the study? What is each participant's background and history?
- The data that was or will be collected. Depending on what you are studying, this section could include videos, transcripts of interviews, collections of documents, descriptions of test results, recorded observations - all kinds of topics could go in this section. If your data is extensive, you may want to summarize it in the body of your report and provide the details in an appendix.
- Analysis of the data. This section is likely to include statistical summaries and patterns found in the data.
- Conclusions. Were your questions answered? Did the study meet the goals? Was the hypothesis supported or refuted? What are the implications for the future?
As with any report, you'll start off with a Title Page and a Table of Contents (Proposal Kit can produce one for you). You'll probably want to include a summary of the important summary points, too, for the high-level readers who will only skim your report. After the body of the report, you may need all sorts of appendices, too - lists of statistics, diagrams, charts, a bibliography or list of sources, and so forth. Proposal Kit will contain all of the individual topics used to flesh out the details of your study.
Remember to always keep your readers in mind. What do they know about you and the study? What do you need to tell them so they can judge the results? You may need to include background information about your organization, the resumes of personnel who participated, your training or education credentials, and so forth.
It's important that your case study sounds professional, so be sure to proofread every page. If possible, get someone who is unfamiliar with the study to read and comment on your work. It's always a good idea to choose a reviewer with a similar background to your readers so that he or she can ask appropriate questions and provide useful comments to improve your report.
After you have all the information written for your proposal, work on making your document visually appealing. Add some color and graphics by incorporating your company logo, using colored borders, and selecting custom bullet points and fonts that match your business's style. Learn how to effectively select colors for a winning business proposal.
You also want your report to look professional, too. Proposal Kit can help with that because it allows you to choose from a variety of graphic designs.
There's no need to start each section of your case study report by staring at a blank page. Proposal Kit includes templates for all the topics mentioned in this article. Each template includes instructions and examples of information to include on that page to give you a jump start on writing. And Proposal Kit includes samples of all kinds of proposals and studies, too. You'll find yourself using the product for business documents and reports of all kinds.