A Few Simple Rules for Case Study Analysis

First of all, the Case Study Method (CSM) should not be confused with the Case Study methodology employed by sociologists within their research field. CSM is a teaching method aiming to help students and trainees experience real-life situations and develop their abilities to make decisions under similar conditions. At the same time, CSM takes advantage of the multitude of experiences of the individuals that participate in the class or training session, providing a more comprehensive approach to the issues at stake.

CSM has been used in teaching by Harvard Business School since its founding year, 1908. By analyzing real-life situations, even when the original names of the organizations or people involved in the case are changed, the students and trainees learn how to identify the most appropriate solutions for particular business administration issues.
In this particular context, the case study method is focusing on the ethical aspects of professional activity. The main objective is to identify the ethical dilemma and find ways to overcome the difficulties posed by the case.


Cristian Ducu talking about ethical journalism during elections (Agerpres, Bucharest, 2012)




Here are some simple rules to guide you through this process of analysing a case study:


Read carefully the entire case study. At first, try a fast, light reading, to get the general context of the case and get acquainted with the facts.


Identify the main ethical issues, the relevant facts and summarize them. Establish the relationships among the characters and their contributions to the ethical issues you previously identified. Explain briefly the way you want to approach the case.


Identify the decision makers and the stakeholders. Determine the individual and the organizational responsibilities (legal, professional, technical, social, ethical etc.), and also the relevant normative frameworks.


Analyse the case data and identify alternative courses of action or corrective measures that are in accordance with some ethical standards you find relevant.


Analyse threats and strengths for your alternatives. Put to test the alternatives you identified by discussing them critically with other specialists.


Set up an action plan meant to change the situation.