Sample Case Study Report

Sample Case Study Report

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

(This document is referenced from Case Study Design.)

Here is a sample of a case study report. Evaluation included focus on the program's process, outcomes and facilitation. The following case study was used to convey the funder, a holistic depiction of the experience and outcomes from the program. "Jack" is a fictional name in this sample.

"Jack"
Jack is a chief executive of an organization with a small budget and staff. Jack's overall goal in his circle was to communicate with other executives about projects and challenges they face, including brainstorming solutions together. He mentioned numerous challenges that he faced in running his organization, some of which needed specific, technical information to address.

In the first meeting, he mentioned other issues that he wanted to address. In comparison to other members in his circle, he had the most issues. He also wanted help managing his time more effectively and he wanted to improve the effectiveness of his board. He stated, "They don't even know what we're about. They just sit there when we meet." And he wanted to improve his understanding of his role as a chief executive. He asked, "How do I know what I can ask the board to do?" "What is my role with them?" In another area, he said he wanted some ideas about how to expand his organization's revenue.

In the first meeting, members asked him many questions, mostly to obtain additional information about his issues. Jack responded that his most pressing project was time management. Another member responded, "I'd challenge you on that," and asked Jack if he would have more time if he got more support from his board. Jack laughed and answered, "I suppose so." Other group members concurred. From his first meeting, he took away actions including listing and ranking his issues, scheduling a time management course, and identifying a course that would provide an overview of the chief executive's role. One member asked him to also list and rank his issues for the next meeting.

In the second meeting, Jack produced the following list: improving his understanding of the chief executive and board roles, developing/energizing the board, and conducting strategic planning with the board that would include expanding the revenue in his organization. Other group members agreed with Jack's list.

In discussion in the second meeting, Jack acknowledged that he was doing more as an chief executive than is usually expected from that role. He also realized that he was overloaded because he got little or no support from his board. He indicated that he did not feel confident, though, approaching his board members for more support. As a result of other circle members' support and coaching, he resolved to approach the board -- and a month later, he had. He and the board members committed to complete board training. He arranged training to include strong focus on strategic planning, which included expanding revenue. To further build rapport, he elected to have lunch with one board member a month, including giving them a tour of the organization.

Jack noted on his evaluation questionnaire: "[The process had!!] just the right amount of structure. The conversation is pretty free-flowing, but there's enough attention paid to time so that everyone gets a fair chance." His top reported outcomes were in the categories of access to a network, professional development, and effectiveness. "[The program provided me!!] an opportunity to meet other chief executives and hear about projects that they faced and how they handled those projects." He stated, "The program has restored some order to my job," and "A lot has happened with my job."



For the Category of Evaluations (Many Kinds):

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books

Evaluation (General)

Program Evaluation



Evaluation (General)

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.

Program Evaluation

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.

Field Guide to Nonprofit Program Design, Marketing and Evaluation
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. There are few books, if any, that explain how to carefully plan, organize, develop and evaluate a nonprofit program. Also, too many books completely separate the highly integrated activities of planning, marketing and evaluating programs. This book integrates all three into a comprehensive, straightforward approach that anyone can follow in order to provide high-quality programs with strong appeal to funders. Includes many online forms that can be downloaded. Many materials in this Library topic are adapted from this book.

Also see

Business Research -- Recommended Books

Supervision (Evaluating Employees) -- Recommended Books




This section provides some advice on the process of writing up your report.

Plan the report 

Before you begin to write the report, it is essential to have a plan of its structure. You can begin to plan the report while you are investigating the case.

Fist, prepare an outline (in list or mind-map format) of the main headings and subheadings you will have in the report. Then add notes and ideas to the outline which remind you of what you want to achieve in each section and subsection. Use the outline to help you consider what information to include, where it should go and in what sequence. Be prepared to change your outline as your ideas develop. Finally, the outline headings and subheadings can be converted into the contents page of your report. 

Schedule your writing time

Prepare a schedule for writing and editing the sections of the report. Allow some extra time just in case you find some sections difficult to write. Begin by writing the sections you feel most confident about. Preliminary sections (executive summary, introduction) and supplementary sections (conclusions, reference list and appendices) are usually prepared last. Some writers like to begin with their conclusions (where the writer's thoughts are at that moment) or the methodology (it's easier to write about your own work). 

Analyse your audience 

In writing a case study report in your course, the report is often intended for an imaginary person so you need to make sure that your language and style suites that person. For example, a report for senior management will be different in content and style and language to a technical report. A report to a community group would also be different again in content, style and language. Audience definition helps you decide what to include in the report based on what readers need to know to perform their jobs better or what the readers need to know to increase their knowledge about your subject. These notes on audience analysis are adapted from Huckin and Olsen (p1991)

 

 

*After: Huckin & Olsen ,1991.1.

  • Who will read the report? Think about all the uses of the report and where and when it would be read. Reports written within an organisation may be read by different people and different departments; for example, technical and design specialists, supervisors, senior managers, lawyers, marketing and finance specialists.
  • What are the readers' needs and goals? Each department or unit in an organisation has its own needs and goals. Understanding the different perspectives can help you decide how to communicate persuasively to these groups. For example while design engineers may prefer to develop new or alternative design to show progress in their field, the marketing specialist may prefer that the organisation imitate a known successful design to save time.
  • How do I make communication clear for managers? Communication must be accessible and useful to busy managers as they will primarily seek important generalisations. This has implications for the report's structure, the amount of orientation or background information provided and the level of technical language used. An executive summary, introductions to new sections and concluding summaries for major sections should be included in the report.
  • What might be the readers' preferences or objections to the report? You may need to address the significance and benefits/limitations of your recommendations from a number of readers' perspectives in the report. You may also need to consider compromises as a way to acknowledge potential conflicts or criticisms of your recommendations or solutions.

Prepare a draft report 

Writers rarely produce a perfect piece of text in their first attempt so a number of drafts are usually produced. Careful planning and editing will ensure a consistent professional standard in the report. You will need to do the following:

  • Revise the task often 

Do this by keeping both the reader's needs and the report's objectives in mind as you gather information, take notes and write sections of the report.

Do this by taking clear notes, which include the information gathered and your thoughts about the usefulness and the implications of this information. Review your notes to decide what is essential information to include in the report.

  • Create a logical structure 

Use your contents page outline to decide where information will go. Within each section, plan the subheadings and then decide on the sequence of information within these.

Check that your writing flows and that your ideas are supported and plausible. If you are not sure what to look for, here are links to advice and activities on report organisation, cohesion and evidence.

Ensure that all your figures and tables communicate a clear message. Show a colleague your visuals to check how they will be interpreted or 'read'.

For first drafts, a word processor's spell checker and grammar checker can be useful however, do not rely solely on these tools in your final edit as they are not perfect. Errors will be overlooked or even created by these programs! The best ways to edit are to read a printed copy and where possible get a colleague to read and give feedback.

Here is a report checklist that you can print out: CHECKLIST

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