A case study is an in-depth investigation conducted over a given length of time. They are used to collect and present detailed information about a person, group or situation, to try to understand what has happened and why, or to analyse the situation to solve a problem. A case study has a number of different phases:
• Identifying the problem or issue.
• Linking theory to real life.
• Research, including interviews and/or role play.
• Analysis of the information.
• Deciding on a solution or reach a conclusion(s).
• Justifying your conclusion(s).
• Making recommendations.
• Outlining how the recommendations can be implemented.
Writing a case study
A written case study is usually made up of some, or all, of the following parts:
• An executive summary / abstract / overview.
• Introduction / background.
• Discussion, including the methods used.
• Appendices (if relevant).
For more information about case studies:
Answering a case study – RMIT University (Opens in new window)
An abstract is a short summary of an academic article, thesis, conference presentation or an in-depth research paper. The aim of an abstract is to provide a brief overview of the purpose of the paper. The terms précis or synopsis are sometimes used instead of abstract.
An abstract usually contains:
• a brief problem statement, i.e. the objective
• an outline of the method(s) or approach followed
• the results or findings of the investigation
• the implications of what was found, and
• a conclusion(s).
For more information on abstracts:
Writing an abstract – Victoria University (PDF, 297KB, opens in new window)
An annotated bibliography is a list of resources, including books, articles and documents. Each entry is followed by a concise summary and evaluation of the resource, i.e. the annotation.
For more information on bibliographies: