as a case study meaning

The Ultimate Guide to Qualitative Research - Part 1: The Basics

as a case study meaning

  • Introduction and overview
  • What is qualitative research?
  • What is qualitative data?
  • Examples of qualitative data
  • Qualitative vs. quantitative research
  • Mixed methods
  • Qualitative research preparation
  • Theoretical perspective
  • Theoretical framework
  • Literature reviews

Research question

  • Conceptual framework
  • Conceptual vs. theoretical framework

Data collection

  • Qualitative research methods
  • Focus groups
  • Observational research

What is a case study?

Applications for case study research, what is a good case study, process of case study design, benefits and limitations of case studies.

  • Ethnographical research
  • Ethical considerations
  • Confidentiality and privacy
  • Power dynamics
  • Reflexivity

Case studies

Case studies are essential to qualitative research , offering a lens through which researchers can investigate complex phenomena within their real-life contexts. This chapter explores the concept, purpose, applications, examples, and types of case studies and provides guidance on how to conduct case study research effectively.

as a case study meaning

Whereas quantitative methods look at phenomena at scale, case study research looks at a concept or phenomenon in considerable detail. While analyzing a single case can help understand one perspective regarding the object of research inquiry, analyzing multiple cases can help obtain a more holistic sense of the topic or issue. Let's provide a basic definition of a case study, then explore its characteristics and role in the qualitative research process.

Definition of a case study

A case study in qualitative research is a strategy of inquiry that involves an in-depth investigation of a phenomenon within its real-world context. It provides researchers with the opportunity to acquire an in-depth understanding of intricate details that might not be as apparent or accessible through other methods of research. The specific case or cases being studied can be a single person, group, or organization – demarcating what constitutes a relevant case worth studying depends on the researcher and their research question .

Among qualitative research methods , a case study relies on multiple sources of evidence, such as documents, artifacts, interviews , or observations , to present a complete and nuanced understanding of the phenomenon under investigation. The objective is to illuminate the readers' understanding of the phenomenon beyond its abstract statistical or theoretical explanations.

Characteristics of case studies

Case studies typically possess a number of distinct characteristics that set them apart from other research methods. These characteristics include a focus on holistic description and explanation, flexibility in the design and data collection methods, reliance on multiple sources of evidence, and emphasis on the context in which the phenomenon occurs.

Furthermore, case studies can often involve a longitudinal examination of the case, meaning they study the case over a period of time. These characteristics allow case studies to yield comprehensive, in-depth, and richly contextualized insights about the phenomenon of interest.

The role of case studies in research

Case studies hold a unique position in the broader landscape of research methods aimed at theory development. They are instrumental when the primary research interest is to gain an intensive, detailed understanding of a phenomenon in its real-life context.

In addition, case studies can serve different purposes within research - they can be used for exploratory, descriptive, or explanatory purposes, depending on the research question and objectives. This flexibility and depth make case studies a valuable tool in the toolkit of qualitative researchers.

Remember, a well-conducted case study can offer a rich, insightful contribution to both academic and practical knowledge through theory development or theory verification, thus enhancing our understanding of complex phenomena in their real-world contexts.

What is the purpose of a case study?

Case study research aims for a more comprehensive understanding of phenomena, requiring various research methods to gather information for qualitative analysis . Ultimately, a case study can allow the researcher to gain insight into a particular object of inquiry and develop a theoretical framework relevant to the research inquiry.

Why use case studies in qualitative research?

Using case studies as a research strategy depends mainly on the nature of the research question and the researcher's access to the data.

Conducting case study research provides a level of detail and contextual richness that other research methods might not offer. They are beneficial when there's a need to understand complex social phenomena within their natural contexts.

The explanatory, exploratory, and descriptive roles of case studies

Case studies can take on various roles depending on the research objectives. They can be exploratory when the research aims to discover new phenomena or define new research questions; they are descriptive when the objective is to depict a phenomenon within its context in a detailed manner; and they can be explanatory if the goal is to understand specific relationships within the studied context. Thus, the versatility of case studies allows researchers to approach their topic from different angles, offering multiple ways to uncover and interpret the data .

The impact of case studies on knowledge development

Case studies play a significant role in knowledge development across various disciplines. Analysis of cases provides an avenue for researchers to explore phenomena within their context based on the collected data.

as a case study meaning

This can result in the production of rich, practical insights that can be instrumental in both theory-building and practice. Case studies allow researchers to delve into the intricacies and complexities of real-life situations, uncovering insights that might otherwise remain hidden.

Types of case studies

In qualitative research , a case study is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on the nature of the research question and the specific objectives of the study, researchers might choose to use different types of case studies. These types differ in their focus, methodology, and the level of detail they provide about the phenomenon under investigation.

Understanding these types is crucial for selecting the most appropriate approach for your research project and effectively achieving your research goals. Let's briefly look at the main types of case studies.

Exploratory case studies

Exploratory case studies are typically conducted to develop a theory or framework around an understudied phenomenon. They can also serve as a precursor to a larger-scale research project. Exploratory case studies are useful when a researcher wants to identify the key issues or questions which can spur more extensive study or be used to develop propositions for further research. These case studies are characterized by flexibility, allowing researchers to explore various aspects of a phenomenon as they emerge, which can also form the foundation for subsequent studies.

Descriptive case studies

Descriptive case studies aim to provide a complete and accurate representation of a phenomenon or event within its context. These case studies are often based on an established theoretical framework, which guides how data is collected and analyzed. The researcher is concerned with describing the phenomenon in detail, as it occurs naturally, without trying to influence or manipulate it.

Explanatory case studies

Explanatory case studies are focused on explanation - they seek to clarify how or why certain phenomena occur. Often used in complex, real-life situations, they can be particularly valuable in clarifying causal relationships among concepts and understanding the interplay between different factors within a specific context.

as a case study meaning

Intrinsic, instrumental, and collective case studies

These three categories of case studies focus on the nature and purpose of the study. An intrinsic case study is conducted when a researcher has an inherent interest in the case itself. Instrumental case studies are employed when the case is used to provide insight into a particular issue or phenomenon. A collective case study, on the other hand, involves studying multiple cases simultaneously to investigate some general phenomena.

Each type of case study serves a different purpose and has its own strengths and challenges. The selection of the type should be guided by the research question and objectives, as well as the context and constraints of the research.

The flexibility, depth, and contextual richness offered by case studies make this approach an excellent research method for various fields of study. They enable researchers to investigate real-world phenomena within their specific contexts, capturing nuances that other research methods might miss. Across numerous fields, case studies provide valuable insights into complex issues.

Critical information systems research

Case studies provide a detailed understanding of the role and impact of information systems in different contexts. They offer a platform to explore how information systems are designed, implemented, and used and how they interact with various social, economic, and political factors. Case studies in this field often focus on examining the intricate relationship between technology, organizational processes, and user behavior, helping to uncover insights that can inform better system design and implementation.

Health research

Health research is another field where case studies are highly valuable. They offer a way to explore patient experiences, healthcare delivery processes, and the impact of various interventions in a real-world context.

as a case study meaning

Case studies can provide a deep understanding of a patient's journey, giving insights into the intricacies of disease progression, treatment effects, and the psychosocial aspects of health and illness.

Asthma research studies

Specifically within medical research, studies on asthma often employ case studies to explore the individual and environmental factors that influence asthma development, management, and outcomes. A case study can provide rich, detailed data about individual patients' experiences, from the triggers and symptoms they experience to the effectiveness of various management strategies. This can be crucial for developing patient-centered asthma care approaches.

Other fields

Apart from the fields mentioned, case studies are also extensively used in business and management research, education research, and political sciences, among many others. They provide an opportunity to delve into the intricacies of real-world situations, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of various phenomena.

Case studies, with their depth and contextual focus, offer unique insights across these varied fields. They allow researchers to illuminate the complexities of real-life situations, contributing to both theory and practice.

as a case study meaning

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Understanding the key elements of case study design is crucial for conducting rigorous and impactful case study research. A well-structured design guides the researcher through the process, ensuring that the study is methodologically sound and its findings are reliable and valid. The main elements of case study design include the research question , propositions, units of analysis, and the logic linking the data to the propositions.

The research question is the foundation of any research study. A good research question guides the direction of the study and informs the selection of the case, the methods of collecting data, and the analysis techniques. A well-formulated research question in case study research is typically clear, focused, and complex enough to merit further detailed examination of the relevant case(s).

Propositions

Propositions, though not necessary in every case study, provide a direction by stating what we might expect to find in the data collected. They guide how data is collected and analyzed by helping researchers focus on specific aspects of the case. They are particularly important in explanatory case studies, which seek to understand the relationships among concepts within the studied phenomenon.

Units of analysis

The unit of analysis refers to the case, or the main entity or entities that are being analyzed in the study. In case study research, the unit of analysis can be an individual, a group, an organization, a decision, an event, or even a time period. It's crucial to clearly define the unit of analysis, as it shapes the qualitative data analysis process by allowing the researcher to analyze a particular case and synthesize analysis across multiple case studies to draw conclusions.

Argumentation

This refers to the inferential model that allows researchers to draw conclusions from the data. The researcher needs to ensure that there is a clear link between the data, the propositions (if any), and the conclusions drawn. This argumentation is what enables the researcher to make valid and credible inferences about the phenomenon under study.

Understanding and carefully considering these elements in the design phase of a case study can significantly enhance the quality of the research. It can help ensure that the study is methodologically sound and its findings contribute meaningful insights about the case.

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Conducting a case study involves several steps, from defining the research question and selecting the case to collecting and analyzing data . This section outlines these key stages, providing a practical guide on how to conduct case study research.

Defining the research question

The first step in case study research is defining a clear, focused research question. This question should guide the entire research process, from case selection to analysis. It's crucial to ensure that the research question is suitable for a case study approach. Typically, such questions are exploratory or descriptive in nature and focus on understanding a phenomenon within its real-life context.

Selecting and defining the case

The selection of the case should be based on the research question and the objectives of the study. It involves choosing a unique example or a set of examples that provide rich, in-depth data about the phenomenon under investigation. After selecting the case, it's crucial to define it clearly, setting the boundaries of the case, including the time period and the specific context.

Previous research can help guide the case study design. When considering a case study, an example of a case could be taken from previous case study research and used to define cases in a new research inquiry. Considering recently published examples can help understand how to select and define cases effectively.

Developing a detailed case study protocol

A case study protocol outlines the procedures and general rules to be followed during the case study. This includes the data collection methods to be used, the sources of data, and the procedures for analysis. Having a detailed case study protocol ensures consistency and reliability in the study.

The protocol should also consider how to work with the people involved in the research context to grant the research team access to collecting data. As mentioned in previous sections of this guide, establishing rapport is an essential component of qualitative research as it shapes the overall potential for collecting and analyzing data.

Collecting data

Gathering data in case study research often involves multiple sources of evidence, including documents, archival records, interviews, observations, and physical artifacts. This allows for a comprehensive understanding of the case. The process for gathering data should be systematic and carefully documented to ensure the reliability and validity of the study.

Analyzing and interpreting data

The next step is analyzing the data. This involves organizing the data , categorizing it into themes or patterns , and interpreting these patterns to answer the research question. The analysis might also involve comparing the findings with prior research or theoretical propositions.

Writing the case study report

The final step is writing the case study report . This should provide a detailed description of the case, the data, the analysis process, and the findings. The report should be clear, organized, and carefully written to ensure that the reader can understand the case and the conclusions drawn from it.

Each of these steps is crucial in ensuring that the case study research is rigorous, reliable, and provides valuable insights about the case.

The type, depth, and quality of data in your study can significantly influence the validity and utility of the study. In case study research, data is usually collected from multiple sources to provide a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the case. This section will outline the various methods of collecting data used in case study research and discuss considerations for ensuring the quality of the data.

Interviews are a common method of gathering data in case study research. They can provide rich, in-depth data about the perspectives, experiences, and interpretations of the individuals involved in the case. Interviews can be structured , semi-structured , or unstructured , depending on the research question and the degree of flexibility needed.

Observations

Observations involve the researcher observing the case in its natural setting, providing first-hand information about the case and its context. Observations can provide data that might not be revealed in interviews or documents, such as non-verbal cues or contextual information.

Documents and artifacts

Documents and archival records provide a valuable source of data in case study research. They can include reports, letters, memos, meeting minutes, email correspondence, and various public and private documents related to the case.

as a case study meaning

These records can provide historical context, corroborate evidence from other sources, and offer insights into the case that might not be apparent from interviews or observations.

Physical artifacts refer to any physical evidence related to the case, such as tools, products, or physical environments. These artifacts can provide tangible insights into the case, complementing the data gathered from other sources.

Ensuring the quality of data collection

Determining the quality of data in case study research requires careful planning and execution. It's crucial to ensure that the data is reliable, accurate, and relevant to the research question. This involves selecting appropriate methods of collecting data, properly training interviewers or observers, and systematically recording and storing the data. It also includes considering ethical issues related to collecting and handling data, such as obtaining informed consent and ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of the participants.

Data analysis

Analyzing case study research involves making sense of the rich, detailed data to answer the research question. This process can be challenging due to the volume and complexity of case study data. However, a systematic and rigorous approach to analysis can ensure that the findings are credible and meaningful. This section outlines the main steps and considerations in analyzing data in case study research.

Organizing the data

The first step in the analysis is organizing the data. This involves sorting the data into manageable sections, often according to the data source or the theme. This step can also involve transcribing interviews, digitizing physical artifacts, or organizing observational data.

Categorizing and coding the data

Once the data is organized, the next step is to categorize or code the data. This involves identifying common themes, patterns, or concepts in the data and assigning codes to relevant data segments. Coding can be done manually or with the help of software tools, and in either case, qualitative analysis software can greatly facilitate the entire coding process. Coding helps to reduce the data to a set of themes or categories that can be more easily analyzed.

Identifying patterns and themes

After coding the data, the researcher looks for patterns or themes in the coded data. This involves comparing and contrasting the codes and looking for relationships or patterns among them. The identified patterns and themes should help answer the research question.

Interpreting the data

Once patterns and themes have been identified, the next step is to interpret these findings. This involves explaining what the patterns or themes mean in the context of the research question and the case. This interpretation should be grounded in the data, but it can also involve drawing on theoretical concepts or prior research.

Verification of the data

The last step in the analysis is verification. This involves checking the accuracy and consistency of the analysis process and confirming that the findings are supported by the data. This can involve re-checking the original data, checking the consistency of codes, or seeking feedback from research participants or peers.

Like any research method , case study research has its strengths and limitations. Researchers must be aware of these, as they can influence the design, conduct, and interpretation of the study.

Understanding the strengths and limitations of case study research can also guide researchers in deciding whether this approach is suitable for their research question . This section outlines some of the key strengths and limitations of case study research.

Benefits include the following:

  • Rich, detailed data: One of the main strengths of case study research is that it can generate rich, detailed data about the case. This can provide a deep understanding of the case and its context, which can be valuable in exploring complex phenomena.
  • Flexibility: Case study research is flexible in terms of design , data collection , and analysis . A sufficient degree of flexibility allows the researcher to adapt the study according to the case and the emerging findings.
  • Real-world context: Case study research involves studying the case in its real-world context, which can provide valuable insights into the interplay between the case and its context.
  • Multiple sources of evidence: Case study research often involves collecting data from multiple sources , which can enhance the robustness and validity of the findings.

On the other hand, researchers should consider the following limitations:

  • Generalizability: A common criticism of case study research is that its findings might not be generalizable to other cases due to the specificity and uniqueness of each case.
  • Time and resource intensive: Case study research can be time and resource intensive due to the depth of the investigation and the amount of collected data.
  • Complexity of analysis: The rich, detailed data generated in case study research can make analyzing the data challenging.
  • Subjectivity: Given the nature of case study research, there may be a higher degree of subjectivity in interpreting the data , so researchers need to reflect on this and transparently convey to audiences how the research was conducted.

Being aware of these strengths and limitations can help researchers design and conduct case study research effectively and interpret and report the findings appropriately.

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Methodology

  • What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

What Is a Case Study? | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on May 8, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 20, 2023.

A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organization, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research.

A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods , but quantitative methods are sometimes also used. Case studies are good for describing , comparing, evaluating and understanding different aspects of a research problem .

Table of contents

When to do a case study, step 1: select a case, step 2: build a theoretical framework, step 3: collect your data, step 4: describe and analyze the case, other interesting articles.

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. It allows you to explore the key characteristics, meanings, and implications of the case.

Case studies are often a good choice in a thesis or dissertation . They keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources to do large-scale research.

You might use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in depth, or conduct multiple case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

Case study examples
Research question Case study
What are the ecological effects of wolf reintroduction? Case study of wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park
How do populist politicians use narratives about history to gain support? Case studies of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán and US president Donald Trump
How can teachers implement active learning strategies in mixed-level classrooms? Case study of a local school that promotes active learning
What are the main advantages and disadvantages of wind farms for rural communities? Case studies of three rural wind farm development projects in different parts of the country
How are viral marketing strategies changing the relationship between companies and consumers? Case study of the iPhone X marketing campaign
How do experiences of work in the gig economy differ by gender, race and age? Case studies of Deliveroo and Uber drivers in London

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Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions , you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to:

  • Provide new or unexpected insights into the subject
  • Challenge or complicate existing assumptions and theories
  • Propose practical courses of action to resolve a problem
  • Open up new directions for future research

TipIf your research is more practical in nature and aims to simultaneously investigate an issue as you solve it, consider conducting action research instead.

Unlike quantitative or experimental research , a strong case study does not require a random or representative sample. In fact, case studies often deliberately focus on unusual, neglected, or outlying cases which may shed new light on the research problem.

Example of an outlying case studyIn the 1960s the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania was discovered to have extremely low rates of heart disease compared to the US average. It became an important case study for understanding previously neglected causes of heart disease.

However, you can also choose a more common or representative case to exemplify a particular category, experience or phenomenon.

Example of a representative case studyIn the 1920s, two sociologists used Muncie, Indiana as a case study of a typical American city that supposedly exemplified the changing culture of the US at the time.

While case studies focus more on concrete details than general theories, they should usually have some connection with theory in the field. This way the case study is not just an isolated description, but is integrated into existing knowledge about the topic. It might aim to:

  • Exemplify a theory by showing how it explains the case under investigation
  • Expand on a theory by uncovering new concepts and ideas that need to be incorporated
  • Challenge a theory by exploring an outlier case that doesn’t fit with established assumptions

To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, you should conduct a literature review of sources related to the topic and develop a theoretical framework . This means identifying key concepts and theories to guide your analysis and interpretation.

There are many different research methods you can use to collect data on your subject. Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews , observations , and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data.

Example of a mixed methods case studyFor a case study of a wind farm development in a rural area, you could collect quantitative data on employment rates and business revenue, collect qualitative data on local people’s perceptions and experiences, and analyze local and national media coverage of the development.

The aim is to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of the case and its context.

In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give as complete a picture as possible of the subject.

How you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard scientific paper or thesis , with separate sections or chapters for the methods , results and discussion .

Others are written in a more narrative style, aiming to explore the case from various angles and analyze its meanings and implications (for example, by using textual analysis or discourse analysis ).

In all cases, though, make sure to give contextual details about the case, connect it back to the literature and theory, and discuss how it fits into wider patterns or debates.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Degrees of freedom
  • Null hypothesis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Control groups
  • Mixed methods research
  • Non-probability sampling
  • Quantitative research
  • Ecological validity

Research bias

  • Rosenthal effect
  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Selection bias
  • Negativity bias
  • Status quo bias

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What Is a Case Study?

Weighing the pros and cons of this method of research

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

as a case study meaning

Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.

as a case study meaning

Verywell / Colleen Tighe

  • Pros and Cons

What Types of Case Studies Are Out There?

Where do you find data for a case study, how do i write a psychology case study.

A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in many different fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

The point of a case study is to learn as much as possible about an individual or group so that the information can be generalized to many others. Unfortunately, case studies tend to be highly subjective, and it is sometimes difficult to generalize results to a larger population.

While case studies focus on a single individual or group, they follow a format similar to other types of psychology writing. If you are writing a case study, we got you—here are some rules of APA format to reference.  

At a Glance

A case study, or an in-depth study of a person, group, or event, can be a useful research tool when used wisely. In many cases, case studies are best used in situations where it would be difficult or impossible for you to conduct an experiment. They are helpful for looking at unique situations and allow researchers to gather a lot of˜ information about a specific individual or group of people. However, it's important to be cautious of any bias we draw from them as they are highly subjective.

What Are the Benefits and Limitations of Case Studies?

A case study can have its strengths and weaknesses. Researchers must consider these pros and cons before deciding if this type of study is appropriate for their needs.

One of the greatest advantages of a case study is that it allows researchers to investigate things that are often difficult or impossible to replicate in a lab. Some other benefits of a case study:

  • Allows researchers to capture information on the 'how,' 'what,' and 'why,' of something that's implemented
  • Gives researchers the chance to collect information on why one strategy might be chosen over another
  • Permits researchers to develop hypotheses that can be explored in experimental research

On the other hand, a case study can have some drawbacks:

  • It cannot necessarily be generalized to the larger population
  • Cannot demonstrate cause and effect
  • It may not be scientifically rigorous
  • It can lead to bias

Researchers may choose to perform a case study if they want to explore a unique or recently discovered phenomenon. Through their insights, researchers develop additional ideas and study questions that might be explored in future studies.

It's important to remember that the insights from case studies cannot be used to determine cause-and-effect relationships between variables. However, case studies may be used to develop hypotheses that can then be addressed in experimental research.

Case Study Examples

There have been a number of notable case studies in the history of psychology. Much of  Freud's work and theories were developed through individual case studies. Some great examples of case studies in psychology include:

  • Anna O : Anna O. was a pseudonym of a woman named Bertha Pappenheim, a patient of a physician named Josef Breuer. While she was never a patient of Freud's, Freud and Breuer discussed her case extensively. The woman was experiencing symptoms of a condition that was then known as hysteria and found that talking about her problems helped relieve her symptoms. Her case played an important part in the development of talk therapy as an approach to mental health treatment.
  • Phineas Gage : Phineas Gage was a railroad employee who experienced a terrible accident in which an explosion sent a metal rod through his skull, damaging important portions of his brain. Gage recovered from his accident but was left with serious changes in both personality and behavior.
  • Genie : Genie was a young girl subjected to horrific abuse and isolation. The case study of Genie allowed researchers to study whether language learning was possible, even after missing critical periods for language development. Her case also served as an example of how scientific research may interfere with treatment and lead to further abuse of vulnerable individuals.

Such cases demonstrate how case research can be used to study things that researchers could not replicate in experimental settings. In Genie's case, her horrific abuse denied her the opportunity to learn a language at critical points in her development.

This is clearly not something researchers could ethically replicate, but conducting a case study on Genie allowed researchers to study phenomena that are otherwise impossible to reproduce.

There are a few different types of case studies that psychologists and other researchers might use:

  • Collective case studies : These involve studying a group of individuals. Researchers might study a group of people in a certain setting or look at an entire community. For example, psychologists might explore how access to resources in a community has affected the collective mental well-being of those who live there.
  • Descriptive case studies : These involve starting with a descriptive theory. The subjects are then observed, and the information gathered is compared to the pre-existing theory.
  • Explanatory case studies : These   are often used to do causal investigations. In other words, researchers are interested in looking at factors that may have caused certain things to occur.
  • Exploratory case studies : These are sometimes used as a prelude to further, more in-depth research. This allows researchers to gather more information before developing their research questions and hypotheses .
  • Instrumental case studies : These occur when the individual or group allows researchers to understand more than what is initially obvious to observers.
  • Intrinsic case studies : This type of case study is when the researcher has a personal interest in the case. Jean Piaget's observations of his own children are good examples of how an intrinsic case study can contribute to the development of a psychological theory.

The three main case study types often used are intrinsic, instrumental, and collective. Intrinsic case studies are useful for learning about unique cases. Instrumental case studies help look at an individual to learn more about a broader issue. A collective case study can be useful for looking at several cases simultaneously.

The type of case study that psychology researchers use depends on the unique characteristics of the situation and the case itself.

There are a number of different sources and methods that researchers can use to gather information about an individual or group. Six major sources that have been identified by researchers are:

  • Archival records : Census records, survey records, and name lists are examples of archival records.
  • Direct observation : This strategy involves observing the subject, often in a natural setting . While an individual observer is sometimes used, it is more common to utilize a group of observers.
  • Documents : Letters, newspaper articles, administrative records, etc., are the types of documents often used as sources.
  • Interviews : Interviews are one of the most important methods for gathering information in case studies. An interview can involve structured survey questions or more open-ended questions.
  • Participant observation : When the researcher serves as a participant in events and observes the actions and outcomes, it is called participant observation.
  • Physical artifacts : Tools, objects, instruments, and other artifacts are often observed during a direct observation of the subject.

If you have been directed to write a case study for a psychology course, be sure to check with your instructor for any specific guidelines you need to follow. If you are writing your case study for a professional publication, check with the publisher for their specific guidelines for submitting a case study.

Here is a general outline of what should be included in a case study.

Section 1: A Case History

This section will have the following structure and content:

Background information : The first section of your paper will present your client's background. Include factors such as age, gender, work, health status, family mental health history, family and social relationships, drug and alcohol history, life difficulties, goals, and coping skills and weaknesses.

Description of the presenting problem : In the next section of your case study, you will describe the problem or symptoms that the client presented with.

Describe any physical, emotional, or sensory symptoms reported by the client. Thoughts, feelings, and perceptions related to the symptoms should also be noted. Any screening or diagnostic assessments that are used should also be described in detail and all scores reported.

Your diagnosis : Provide your diagnosis and give the appropriate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual code. Explain how you reached your diagnosis, how the client's symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s), or any possible difficulties in reaching a diagnosis.

Section 2: Treatment Plan

This portion of the paper will address the chosen treatment for the condition. This might also include the theoretical basis for the chosen treatment or any other evidence that might exist to support why this approach was chosen.

  • Cognitive behavioral approach : Explain how a cognitive behavioral therapist would approach treatment. Offer background information on cognitive behavioral therapy and describe the treatment sessions, client response, and outcome of this type of treatment. Make note of any difficulties or successes encountered by your client during treatment.
  • Humanistic approach : Describe a humanistic approach that could be used to treat your client, such as client-centered therapy . Provide information on the type of treatment you chose, the client's reaction to the treatment, and the end result of this approach. Explain why the treatment was successful or unsuccessful.
  • Psychoanalytic approach : Describe how a psychoanalytic therapist would view the client's problem. Provide some background on the psychoanalytic approach and cite relevant references. Explain how psychoanalytic therapy would be used to treat the client, how the client would respond to therapy, and the effectiveness of this treatment approach.
  • Pharmacological approach : If treatment primarily involves the use of medications, explain which medications were used and why. Provide background on the effectiveness of these medications and how monotherapy may compare with an approach that combines medications with therapy or other treatments.

This section of a case study should also include information about the treatment goals, process, and outcomes.

When you are writing a case study, you should also include a section where you discuss the case study itself, including the strengths and limitiations of the study. You should note how the findings of your case study might support previous research. 

In your discussion section, you should also describe some of the implications of your case study. What ideas or findings might require further exploration? How might researchers go about exploring some of these questions in additional studies?

Need More Tips?

Here are a few additional pointers to keep in mind when formatting your case study:

  • Never refer to the subject of your case study as "the client." Instead, use their name or a pseudonym.
  • Read examples of case studies to gain an idea about the style and format.
  • Remember to use APA format when citing references .

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach .  BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011;11:100.

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach . BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011 Jun 27;11:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-100

Gagnon, Yves-Chantal.  The Case Study as Research Method: A Practical Handbook . Canada, Chicago Review Press Incorporated DBA Independent Pub Group, 2010.

Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . United States, SAGE Publications, 2017.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Case Study – Methods, Examples and Guide

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Case Study Research

A case study is a research method that involves an in-depth examination and analysis of a particular phenomenon or case, such as an individual, organization, community, event, or situation.

It is a qualitative research approach that aims to provide a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the case being studied. Case studies typically involve multiple sources of data, including interviews, observations, documents, and artifacts, which are analyzed using various techniques, such as content analysis, thematic analysis, and grounded theory. The findings of a case study are often used to develop theories, inform policy or practice, or generate new research questions.

Types of Case Study

Types and Methods of Case Study are as follows:

Single-Case Study

A single-case study is an in-depth analysis of a single case. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to understand a specific phenomenon in detail.

For Example , A researcher might conduct a single-case study on a particular individual to understand their experiences with a particular health condition or a specific organization to explore their management practices. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of a single-case study are often used to generate new research questions, develop theories, or inform policy or practice.

Multiple-Case Study

A multiple-case study involves the analysis of several cases that are similar in nature. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to identify similarities and differences between the cases.

For Example, a researcher might conduct a multiple-case study on several companies to explore the factors that contribute to their success or failure. The researcher collects data from each case, compares and contrasts the findings, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as comparative analysis or pattern-matching. The findings of a multiple-case study can be used to develop theories, inform policy or practice, or generate new research questions.

Exploratory Case Study

An exploratory case study is used to explore a new or understudied phenomenon. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to generate hypotheses or theories about the phenomenon.

For Example, a researcher might conduct an exploratory case study on a new technology to understand its potential impact on society. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as grounded theory or content analysis. The findings of an exploratory case study can be used to generate new research questions, develop theories, or inform policy or practice.

Descriptive Case Study

A descriptive case study is used to describe a particular phenomenon in detail. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to provide a comprehensive account of the phenomenon.

For Example, a researcher might conduct a descriptive case study on a particular community to understand its social and economic characteristics. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of a descriptive case study can be used to inform policy or practice or generate new research questions.

Instrumental Case Study

An instrumental case study is used to understand a particular phenomenon that is instrumental in achieving a particular goal. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to understand the role of the phenomenon in achieving the goal.

For Example, a researcher might conduct an instrumental case study on a particular policy to understand its impact on achieving a particular goal, such as reducing poverty. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of an instrumental case study can be used to inform policy or practice or generate new research questions.

Case Study Data Collection Methods

Here are some common data collection methods for case studies:

Interviews involve asking questions to individuals who have knowledge or experience relevant to the case study. Interviews can be structured (where the same questions are asked to all participants) or unstructured (where the interviewer follows up on the responses with further questions). Interviews can be conducted in person, over the phone, or through video conferencing.

Observations

Observations involve watching and recording the behavior and activities of individuals or groups relevant to the case study. Observations can be participant (where the researcher actively participates in the activities) or non-participant (where the researcher observes from a distance). Observations can be recorded using notes, audio or video recordings, or photographs.

Documents can be used as a source of information for case studies. Documents can include reports, memos, emails, letters, and other written materials related to the case study. Documents can be collected from the case study participants or from public sources.

Surveys involve asking a set of questions to a sample of individuals relevant to the case study. Surveys can be administered in person, over the phone, through mail or email, or online. Surveys can be used to gather information on attitudes, opinions, or behaviors related to the case study.

Artifacts are physical objects relevant to the case study. Artifacts can include tools, equipment, products, or other objects that provide insights into the case study phenomenon.

How to conduct Case Study Research

Conducting a case study research involves several steps that need to be followed to ensure the quality and rigor of the study. Here are the steps to conduct case study research:

  • Define the research questions: The first step in conducting a case study research is to define the research questions. The research questions should be specific, measurable, and relevant to the case study phenomenon under investigation.
  • Select the case: The next step is to select the case or cases to be studied. The case should be relevant to the research questions and should provide rich and diverse data that can be used to answer the research questions.
  • Collect data: Data can be collected using various methods, such as interviews, observations, documents, surveys, and artifacts. The data collection method should be selected based on the research questions and the nature of the case study phenomenon.
  • Analyze the data: The data collected from the case study should be analyzed using various techniques, such as content analysis, thematic analysis, or grounded theory. The analysis should be guided by the research questions and should aim to provide insights and conclusions relevant to the research questions.
  • Draw conclusions: The conclusions drawn from the case study should be based on the data analysis and should be relevant to the research questions. The conclusions should be supported by evidence and should be clearly stated.
  • Validate the findings: The findings of the case study should be validated by reviewing the data and the analysis with participants or other experts in the field. This helps to ensure the validity and reliability of the findings.
  • Write the report: The final step is to write the report of the case study research. The report should provide a clear description of the case study phenomenon, the research questions, the data collection methods, the data analysis, the findings, and the conclusions. The report should be written in a clear and concise manner and should follow the guidelines for academic writing.

Examples of Case Study

Here are some examples of case study research:

  • The Hawthorne Studies : Conducted between 1924 and 1932, the Hawthorne Studies were a series of case studies conducted by Elton Mayo and his colleagues to examine the impact of work environment on employee productivity. The studies were conducted at the Hawthorne Works plant of the Western Electric Company in Chicago and included interviews, observations, and experiments.
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment: Conducted in 1971, the Stanford Prison Experiment was a case study conducted by Philip Zimbardo to examine the psychological effects of power and authority. The study involved simulating a prison environment and assigning participants to the role of guards or prisoners. The study was controversial due to the ethical issues it raised.
  • The Challenger Disaster: The Challenger Disaster was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. The study included interviews, observations, and analysis of data to identify the technical, organizational, and cultural factors that contributed to the disaster.
  • The Enron Scandal: The Enron Scandal was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the Enron Corporation’s bankruptcy in 2001. The study included interviews, analysis of financial data, and review of documents to identify the accounting practices, corporate culture, and ethical issues that led to the company’s downfall.
  • The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster : The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the nuclear accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011. The study included interviews, analysis of data, and review of documents to identify the technical, organizational, and cultural factors that contributed to the disaster.

Application of Case Study

Case studies have a wide range of applications across various fields and industries. Here are some examples:

Business and Management

Case studies are widely used in business and management to examine real-life situations and develop problem-solving skills. Case studies can help students and professionals to develop a deep understanding of business concepts, theories, and best practices.

Case studies are used in healthcare to examine patient care, treatment options, and outcomes. Case studies can help healthcare professionals to develop critical thinking skills, diagnose complex medical conditions, and develop effective treatment plans.

Case studies are used in education to examine teaching and learning practices. Case studies can help educators to develop effective teaching strategies, evaluate student progress, and identify areas for improvement.

Social Sciences

Case studies are widely used in social sciences to examine human behavior, social phenomena, and cultural practices. Case studies can help researchers to develop theories, test hypotheses, and gain insights into complex social issues.

Law and Ethics

Case studies are used in law and ethics to examine legal and ethical dilemmas. Case studies can help lawyers, policymakers, and ethical professionals to develop critical thinking skills, analyze complex cases, and make informed decisions.

Purpose of Case Study

The purpose of a case study is to provide a detailed analysis of a specific phenomenon, issue, or problem in its real-life context. A case study is a qualitative research method that involves the in-depth exploration and analysis of a particular case, which can be an individual, group, organization, event, or community.

The primary purpose of a case study is to generate a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the case, including its history, context, and dynamics. Case studies can help researchers to identify and examine the underlying factors, processes, and mechanisms that contribute to the case and its outcomes. This can help to develop a more accurate and detailed understanding of the case, which can inform future research, practice, or policy.

Case studies can also serve other purposes, including:

  • Illustrating a theory or concept: Case studies can be used to illustrate and explain theoretical concepts and frameworks, providing concrete examples of how they can be applied in real-life situations.
  • Developing hypotheses: Case studies can help to generate hypotheses about the causal relationships between different factors and outcomes, which can be tested through further research.
  • Providing insight into complex issues: Case studies can provide insights into complex and multifaceted issues, which may be difficult to understand through other research methods.
  • Informing practice or policy: Case studies can be used to inform practice or policy by identifying best practices, lessons learned, or areas for improvement.

Advantages of Case Study Research

There are several advantages of case study research, including:

  • In-depth exploration: Case study research allows for a detailed exploration and analysis of a specific phenomenon, issue, or problem in its real-life context. This can provide a comprehensive understanding of the case and its dynamics, which may not be possible through other research methods.
  • Rich data: Case study research can generate rich and detailed data, including qualitative data such as interviews, observations, and documents. This can provide a nuanced understanding of the case and its complexity.
  • Holistic perspective: Case study research allows for a holistic perspective of the case, taking into account the various factors, processes, and mechanisms that contribute to the case and its outcomes. This can help to develop a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of the case.
  • Theory development: Case study research can help to develop and refine theories and concepts by providing empirical evidence and concrete examples of how they can be applied in real-life situations.
  • Practical application: Case study research can inform practice or policy by identifying best practices, lessons learned, or areas for improvement.
  • Contextualization: Case study research takes into account the specific context in which the case is situated, which can help to understand how the case is influenced by the social, cultural, and historical factors of its environment.

Limitations of Case Study Research

There are several limitations of case study research, including:

  • Limited generalizability : Case studies are typically focused on a single case or a small number of cases, which limits the generalizability of the findings. The unique characteristics of the case may not be applicable to other contexts or populations, which may limit the external validity of the research.
  • Biased sampling: Case studies may rely on purposive or convenience sampling, which can introduce bias into the sample selection process. This may limit the representativeness of the sample and the generalizability of the findings.
  • Subjectivity: Case studies rely on the interpretation of the researcher, which can introduce subjectivity into the analysis. The researcher’s own biases, assumptions, and perspectives may influence the findings, which may limit the objectivity of the research.
  • Limited control: Case studies are typically conducted in naturalistic settings, which limits the control that the researcher has over the environment and the variables being studied. This may limit the ability to establish causal relationships between variables.
  • Time-consuming: Case studies can be time-consuming to conduct, as they typically involve a detailed exploration and analysis of a specific case. This may limit the feasibility of conducting multiple case studies or conducting case studies in a timely manner.
  • Resource-intensive: Case studies may require significant resources, including time, funding, and expertise. This may limit the ability of researchers to conduct case studies in resource-constrained settings.

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  • Introduction

The case study creation process

Types of case studies, benefits and limitations.

What is it like to never feel fear?

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case study , detailed description and assessment of a specific situation in the real world created for the purpose of deriving generalizations and other insights from it. A case study can be about an individual, a group of people, an organization, or an event, among other subjects.

By focusing on a specific subject in its natural setting, a case study can help improve understanding of the broader features and processes at work. Case studies are a research method used in multiple fields, including business, criminology , education , medicine and other forms of health care, anthropology , political science , psychology , and social work . Data in case studies can be both qualitative and quantitative. Unlike experiments, where researchers control and manipulate situations, case studies are considered to be “naturalistic” because subjects are studied in their natural context . ( See also natural experiment .)

The creation of a case study typically involves the following steps:

  • The research question to be studied is defined, informed by existing literature and previous research. Researchers should clearly define the scope of the case, and they should compile a list of evidence to be collected as well as identify the nature of insights that they expect to gain from the case study.
  • Once the case is identified, the research team is given access to the individual, organization, or situation being studied. Individuals are informed of risks associated with participation and must provide their consent , which may involve signing confidentiality or anonymity agreements.
  • Researchers then collect evidence using multiple methods, which may include qualitative techniques, such as interviews, focus groups , and direct observations, as well as quantitative methods, such as surveys, questionnaires, and data audits. The collection procedures need to be well defined to ensure the relevance and accuracy of the evidence.
  • The collected evidence is analyzed to come up with insights. Each data source must be reviewed carefully by itself and in the larger context of the case study so as to ensure continued relevance. At the same time, care must be taken not to force the analysis to fit (potentially preconceived) conclusions. While the eventual case study may serve as the basis for generalizations, these generalizations must be made cautiously to ensure that specific nuances are not lost in the averages.
  • Finally, the case study is packaged for larger groups and publication. At this stage some information may be withheld, as in business case studies, to allow readers to draw their own conclusions. In scientific fields, the completed case study needs to be a coherent whole, with all findings and statistical relationships clearly documented.

What is it like to never feel fear?

Case studies have been used as a research method across multiple fields. They are particularly popular in the fields of law, business, and employee training; they typically focus on a problem that an individual or organization is facing. The situation is presented in considerable detail, often with supporting data, to discussion participants, who are asked to make recommendations that will solve the stated problem. The business case study as a method of instruction was made popular in the 1920s by instructors at Harvard Business School who adapted an approach used at Harvard Law School in which real-world cases were used in classroom discussions. Other business and law schools started compiling case studies as teaching aids for students. In a business school case study, students are not provided with the complete list of facts pertaining to the topic and are thus forced to discuss and compare their perspectives with those of their peers to recommend solutions.

In criminology , case studies typically focus on the lives of an individual or a group of individuals. These studies can provide particularly valuable insight into the personalities and motives of individual criminals, but they may suffer from a lack of objectivity on the part of the researchers (typically because of the researchers’ biases when working with people with a criminal history), and their findings may be difficult to generalize.

In sociology , the case-study method was developed by Frédéric Le Play in France during the 19th century. This approach involves a field worker staying with a family for a period of time, gathering data on the family members’ attitudes and interactions and on their income, expenditures, and physical possessions. Similar approaches have been used in anthropology . Such studies can sometimes continue for many years.

Case studies provide insight into situations that involve a specific entity or set of circumstances. They can be beneficial in helping to explain the causal relationships between quantitative indicators in a field of study, such as what drives a company’s market share. By introducing real-world examples, they also plunge the reader into an actual, concrete situation and make the concepts real rather than theoretical. They also help people study rare situations that they might not otherwise experience.

Because case studies are in a “naturalistic” environment , they are limited in terms of research design: researchers lack control over what they are studying, which means that the results often cannot be reproduced. Also, care must be taken to stay within the bounds of the research question on which the case study is focusing. Other limitations to case studies revolve around the data collected. It may be difficult, for instance, for researchers to organize the large volume of data that can emerge from the study, and their analysis of the data must be carefully thought through to produce scientifically valid insights. The research methodology used to generate these insights is as important as the insights themselves, for the latter need to be seen in the proper context. Taken out of context, they may lead to erroneous conclusions. Like all scientific studies, case studies need to be approached objectively; personal bias or opinion may skew the research methods as well as the results. ( See also confirmation bias .)

Business case studies in particular have been criticized for approaching a problem or situation from a narrow perspective. Students are expected to come up with solutions for a problem based on the data provided. However, in real life, the situation is typically reversed: business managers face a problem and must then look for data to help them solve it.

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What is a Case Study? Definition & Examples

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Case Study Definition

A case study is an in-depth investigation of a single person, group, event, or community. This research method involves intensively analyzing a subject to understand its complexity and context. The richness of a case study comes from its ability to capture detailed, qualitative data that can offer insights into a process or subject matter that other research methods might miss.

A case study involves drawing lots of connections.

A case study strives for a holistic understanding of events or situations by examining all relevant variables. They are ideal for exploring ‘how’ or ‘why’ questions in contexts where the researcher has limited control over events in real-life settings. Unlike narrowly focused experiments, these projects seek a comprehensive understanding of events or situations.

In a case study, researchers gather data through various methods such as participant observation, interviews, tests, record examinations, and writing samples. Unlike statistically-based studies that seek only quantifiable data, a case study attempts to uncover new variables and pose questions for subsequent research.

A case study is particularly beneficial when your research:

  • Requires a deep, contextual understanding of a specific case.
  • Needs to explore or generate hypotheses rather than test them.
  • Focuses on a contemporary phenomenon within a real-life context.

Learn more about Other Types of Experimental Design .

Case Study Examples

Various fields utilize case studies, including the following:

  • Social sciences : For understanding complex social phenomena.
  • Business : For analyzing corporate strategies and business decisions.
  • Healthcare : For detailed patient studies and medical research.
  • Education : For understanding educational methods and policies.
  • Law : For in-depth analysis of legal cases.

For example, consider a case study in a business setting where a startup struggles to scale. Researchers might examine the startup’s strategies, market conditions, management decisions, and competition. Interviews with the CEO, employees, and customers, alongside an analysis of financial data, could offer insights into the challenges and potential solutions for the startup. This research could serve as a valuable lesson for other emerging businesses.

See below for other examples.

What impact does urban green space have on mental health in high-density cities? Assess a green space development in Tokyo and its effects on resident mental health.
How do small businesses adapt to rapid technological changes? Examine a small business in Silicon Valley adapting to new tech trends.
What strategies are effective in reducing plastic waste in coastal cities? Study plastic waste management initiatives in Barcelona.
How do educational approaches differ in addressing diverse learning needs? Investigate a specialized school’s approach to inclusive education in Sweden.
How does community involvement influence the success of public health initiatives? Evaluate a community-led health program in rural India.
What are the challenges and successes of renewable energy adoption in developing countries? Assess solar power implementation in a Kenyan village.

Types of Case Studies

Several standard types of case studies exist that vary based on the objectives and specific research needs.

Illustrative Case Study : Descriptive in nature, these studies use one or two instances to depict a situation, helping to familiarize the unfamiliar and establish a common understanding of the topic.

Exploratory Case Study : Conducted as precursors to large-scale investigations, they assist in raising relevant questions, choosing measurement types, and identifying hypotheses to test.

Cumulative Case Study : These studies compile information from various sources over time to enhance generalization without the need for costly, repetitive new studies.

Critical Instance Case Study : Focused on specific sites, they either explore unique situations with limited generalizability or challenge broad assertions, to identify potential cause-and-effect issues.

Pros and Cons

As with any research study, case studies have a set of benefits and drawbacks.

  • Provides comprehensive and detailed data.
  • Offers a real-life perspective.
  • Flexible and can adapt to discoveries during the study.
  • Enables investigation of scenarios that are hard to assess in laboratory settings.
  • Facilitates studying rare or unique cases.
  • Generates hypotheses for future experimental research.
  • Time-consuming and may require a lot of resources.
  • Hard to generalize findings to a broader context.
  • Potential for researcher bias.
  • Cannot establish causality .
  • Lacks scientific rigor compared to more controlled research methods .

Crafting a Good Case Study: Methodology

While case studies emphasize specific details over broad theories, they should connect to theoretical frameworks in the field. This approach ensures that these projects contribute to the existing body of knowledge on the subject, rather than standing as an isolated entity.

The following are critical steps in developing a case study:

  • Define the Research Questions : Clearly outline what you want to explore. Define specific, achievable objectives.
  • Select the Case : Choose a case that best suits the research questions. Consider using a typical case for general understanding or an atypical subject for unique insights.
  • Data Collection : Use a variety of data sources, such as interviews, observations, documents, and archival records, to provide multiple perspectives on the issue.
  • Data Analysis : Identify patterns and themes in the data.
  • Report Findings : Present the findings in a structured and clear manner.

Analysts typically use thematic analysis to identify patterns and themes within the data and compare different cases.

  • Qualitative Analysis : Such as coding and thematic analysis for narrative data.
  • Quantitative Analysis : In cases where numerical data is involved.
  • Triangulation : Combining multiple methods or data sources to enhance accuracy.

A good case study requires a balanced approach, often using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

The researcher should constantly reflect on their biases and how they might influence the research. Documenting personal reflections can provide transparency.

Avoid over-generalization. One common mistake is to overstate the implications of a case study. Remember that these studies provide an in-depth insights into a specific case and might not be widely applicable.

Don’t ignore contradictory data. All data, even that which contradicts your hypothesis, is valuable. Ignoring it can lead to skewed results.

Finally, in the report, researchers provide comprehensive insight for a case study through “thick description,” which entails a detailed portrayal of the subject, its usage context, the attributes of involved individuals, and the community environment. Thick description extends to interpreting various data, including demographic details, cultural norms, societal values, prevailing attitudes, and underlying motivations. This approach ensures a nuanced and in-depth comprehension of the case in question.

Learn more about Qualitative Research and Qualitative vs. Quantitative Data .

Morland, J. & Feagin, Joe & Orum, Anthony & Sjoberg, Gideon. (1992). A Case for the Case Study . Social Forces. 71(1):240.

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Definition of case study

Examples of case study in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'case study.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

1914, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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“Case study.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/case%20study. Accessed 10 Jul. 2024.

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  • How would you go about finding a place to eat near you in Downtown Oakland? You want something kind of quick, open late, not too expensive, and with a good rating.
  • What do the reviews say about the restaurant you've chosen?
  • What was the most important factor for you in choosing this spot?
  • You're currently close to the 19th St Bart station, and it's 9PM. How would you get to this restaurant? Do you think you'll be able to make it before closing time?
  • Your friend recommended you to check out a place called Belly while you're in Oakland. Try to find where it is, when it's open, and what kind of food options they have.
  • Now go to any restaurant's page and try to leave a review (don't actually submit it).

What was the worst thing about your experience?

It was hard to find the bart station. The collections not being able to be sorted was a bit of a bummer

What other aspects of the experience could be improved?

Feedback from the owners would be nice

What did you like about the website?

The flow was good, lots of bright photos

What other comments do you have for the owner of the website?

I like that you can sort by what you are looking for and i like the idea of collections

You're going on a vacation to Italy next month, and you want to learn some basic Italian for getting around while there. You decided to try Duolingo.

  • Please begin by downloading the app to your device.
  • Choose Italian and get started with the first lesson (stop once you reach the first question).
  • Now go all the way through the rest of the first lesson, describing your thoughts as you go.
  • Get your profile set up, then view your account page. What information and options are there? Do you feel that these are useful? Why or why not?
  • After a week in Italy, you're going to spend a few days in Austria. How would you take German lessons on Duolingo?
  • What other languages does the app offer? Do any of them interest you?

I felt like there could have been a little more of an instructional component to the lesson.

It would be cool if there were some feature that could allow two learners studying the same language to take lessons together. I imagine that their screens would be synced and they could go through lessons together and chat along the way.

Overall, the app was very intuitive to use and visually appealing. I also liked the option to connect with others.

Overall, the app seemed very helpful and easy to use. I feel like it makes learning a new language fun and almost like a game. It would be nice, however, if it contained more of an instructional portion.

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What is a Case Study? Definition, Research Methods, Sampling and Examples

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What is a Case Study?

A case study is defined as an in-depth analysis of a particular subject, often a real-world situation, individual, group, or organization. 

It is a research method that involves the comprehensive examination of a specific instance to gain a better understanding of its complexities, dynamics, and context. 

Case studies are commonly used in various fields such as business, psychology, medicine, and education to explore and illustrate phenomena, theories, or practical applications.

In a typical case study, researchers collect and analyze a rich array of qualitative and/or quantitative data, including interviews, observations, documents, and other relevant sources. The goal is to provide a nuanced and holistic perspective on the subject under investigation.

The information gathered here is used to generate insights, draw conclusions, and often to inform broader theories or practices within the respective field.

Case studies offer a valuable method for researchers to explore real-world phenomena in their natural settings, providing an opportunity to delve deeply into the intricacies of a particular case. They are particularly useful when studying complex, multifaceted situations where various factors interact. 

Additionally, case studies can be instrumental in generating hypotheses, testing theories, and offering practical insights that can be applied to similar situations. Overall, the comprehensive nature of case studies makes them a powerful tool for gaining a thorough understanding of specific instances within the broader context of academic and professional inquiry.

Key Characteristics of Case Study

Case studies are characterized by several key features that distinguish them from other research methods. Here are some essential characteristics of case studies:

  • In-depth Exploration: Case studies involve a thorough and detailed examination of a specific case or instance. Researchers aim to explore the complexities and nuances of the subject under investigation, often using multiple data sources and methods to gather comprehensive information.
  • Contextual Analysis: Case studies emphasize the importance of understanding the context in which the case unfolds. Researchers seek to examine the unique circumstances, background, and environmental factors that contribute to the dynamics of the case. Contextual analysis is crucial for drawing meaningful conclusions and generalizing findings to similar situations.
  • Holistic Perspective: Rather than focusing on isolated variables, case studies take a holistic approach to studying a phenomenon. Researchers consider a wide range of factors and their interrelationships, aiming to capture the richness and complexity of the case. This holistic perspective helps in providing a more complete understanding of the subject.
  • Qualitative and/or Quantitative Data: Case studies can incorporate both qualitative and quantitative data, depending on the research question and objectives. Qualitative data often include interviews, observations, and document analysis, while quantitative data may involve statistical measures or numerical information. The combination of these data types enhances the depth and validity of the study.
  • Longitudinal or Retrospective Design: Case studies can be designed as longitudinal studies, where the researcher follows the case over an extended period, or retrospective studies, where the focus is on examining past events. This temporal dimension allows researchers to capture changes and developments within the case.
  • Unique and Unpredictable Nature: Each case study is unique, and the findings may not be easily generalized to other situations. The unpredictable nature of real-world cases adds a layer of authenticity to the study, making it an effective method for exploring complex and dynamic phenomena.
  • Theory Building or Testing: Case studies can serve different purposes, including theory building or theory testing. In some cases, researchers use case studies to develop new theories or refine existing ones. In others, they may test existing theories by applying them to real-world situations and assessing their explanatory power.

Understanding these key characteristics is essential for researchers and practitioners using case studies as a methodological approach, as it helps guide the design, implementation, and analysis of the study.

Key Components of a Case Study

A well-constructed case study typically consists of several key components that collectively provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject under investigation. Here are the key components of a case study:

  • Provide an overview of the context and background information relevant to the case. This may include the history, industry, or setting in which the case is situated.
  • Clearly state the purpose and objectives of the case study. Define what the study aims to achieve and the questions it seeks to answer.
  • Clearly identify the subject of the case study. This could be an individual, a group, an organization, or a specific event.
  • Define the boundaries and scope of the case study. Specify what aspects will be included and excluded from the investigation.
  • Provide a brief review of relevant theories or concepts that will guide the analysis. This helps place the case study within the broader theoretical context.
  • Summarize existing literature related to the subject, highlighting key findings and gaps in knowledge. This establishes the context for the current case study.
  • Describe the research design chosen for the case study (e.g., exploratory, explanatory, descriptive). Justify why this design is appropriate for the research objectives.
  • Specify the methods used to gather data, whether through interviews, observations, document analysis, surveys, or a combination of these. Detail the procedures followed to ensure data validity and reliability.
  • Explain the criteria for selecting the case and any sampling considerations. Discuss why the chosen case is representative or relevant to the research questions.
  • Describe how the collected data will be coded and categorized. Discuss the analytical framework or approach used to identify patterns, themes, or trends.
  • If multiple data sources or methods are used, explain how they complement each other to enhance the credibility and validity of the findings.
  • Present the key findings in a clear and organized manner. Use tables, charts, or quotes from participants to illustrate the results.
  • Interpret the results in the context of the research objectives and theoretical framework. Discuss any unexpected findings and their implications.
  • Provide a thorough interpretation of the results, connecting them to the research questions and relevant literature.
  • Acknowledge the limitations of the study, such as constraints in data collection, sample size, or generalizability.
  • Highlight the contributions of the case study to the existing body of knowledge and identify potential avenues for future research.
  • Summarize the key findings and their significance in relation to the research objectives.
  • Conclude with a concise summary of the case study, its implications, and potential practical applications.
  • Provide a complete list of all the sources cited in the case study, following a consistent citation style.
  • Include any additional materials or supplementary information, such as interview transcripts, survey instruments, or supporting documents.

By including these key components, a case study becomes a comprehensive and well-rounded exploration of a specific subject, offering valuable insights and contributing to the body of knowledge in the respective field.

Sampling in a Case Study Research

Sampling in case study research involves selecting a subset of cases or individuals from a larger population to study in depth. Unlike quantitative research where random sampling is often employed, case study sampling is typically purposeful and driven by the specific objectives of the study. Here are some key considerations for sampling in case study research:

  • Criterion Sampling: Cases are selected based on specific criteria relevant to the research questions. For example, if studying successful business strategies, cases may be selected based on their demonstrated success.
  • Maximum Variation Sampling: Cases are chosen to represent a broad range of variations related to key characteristics. This approach helps capture diversity within the sample.
  • Selecting Cases with Rich Information: Researchers aim to choose cases that are information-rich and provide insights into the phenomenon under investigation. These cases should offer a depth of detail and variation relevant to the research objectives.
  • Single Case vs. Multiple Cases: Decide whether the study will focus on a single case (single-case study) or multiple cases (multiple-case study). The choice depends on the research objectives, the complexity of the phenomenon, and the depth of understanding required.
  • Emergent Nature of Sampling: In some case studies, the sampling strategy may evolve as the study progresses. This is known as theoretical sampling, where new cases are selected based on emerging findings and theoretical insights from earlier analysis.
  • Data Saturation: Sampling may continue until data saturation is achieved, meaning that collecting additional cases or data does not yield new insights or information. Saturation indicates that the researcher has adequately explored the phenomenon.
  • Defining Case Boundaries: Clearly define the boundaries of the case to ensure consistency and avoid ambiguity. Consider what is included and excluded from the case study, and justify these decisions.
  • Practical Considerations: Assess the feasibility of accessing the selected cases. Consider factors such as availability, willingness to participate, and the practicality of data collection methods.
  • Informed Consent: Obtain informed consent from participants, ensuring that they understand the purpose of the study and the ways in which their information will be used. Protect the confidentiality and anonymity of participants as needed.
  • Pilot Testing the Sampling Strategy: Before conducting the full study, consider pilot testing the sampling strategy to identify potential challenges and refine the approach. This can help ensure the effectiveness of the sampling method.
  • Transparent Reporting: Clearly document the sampling process in the research methodology section. Provide a rationale for the chosen sampling strategy and discuss any adjustments made during the study.

Sampling in case study research is a critical step that influences the depth and richness of the study’s findings. By carefully selecting cases based on specific criteria and considering the unique characteristics of the phenomenon under investigation, researchers can enhance the relevance and validity of their case study.

Case Study Research Methods With Examples

  • Interviews:
  • Interviews involve engaging with participants to gather detailed information, opinions, and insights. In a case study, interviews are often semi-structured, allowing flexibility in questioning.
  • Example: A case study on workplace culture might involve conducting interviews with employees at different levels to understand their perceptions, experiences, and attitudes.
  • Observations:
  • Observations entail direct examination and recording of behavior, activities, or events in their natural setting. This method is valuable for understanding behaviors in context.
  • Example: A case study investigating customer interactions at a retail store may involve observing and documenting customer behavior, staff interactions, and overall dynamics.
  • Document Analysis:
  • Document analysis involves reviewing and interpreting written or recorded materials, such as reports, memos, emails, and other relevant documents.
  • Example: In a case study on organizational change, researchers may analyze internal documents, such as communication memos or strategic plans, to trace the evolution of the change process.
  • Surveys and Questionnaires:
  • Surveys and questionnaires collect structured data from a sample of participants. While less common in case studies, they can be used to supplement other methods.
  • Example: A case study on the impact of a health intervention might include a survey to gather quantitative data on participants’ health outcomes.
  • Focus Groups:
  • Focus groups involve a facilitated discussion among a group of participants to explore their perceptions, attitudes, and experiences.
  • Example: In a case study on community development, a focus group might be conducted with residents to discuss their views on recent initiatives and their impact.
  • Archival Research:
  • Archival research involves examining existing records, historical documents, or artifacts to gain insights into a particular phenomenon.
  • Example: A case study on the history of a landmark building may involve archival research, exploring construction records, historical photos, and maintenance logs.
  • Longitudinal Studies:
  • Longitudinal studies involve the collection of data over an extended period to observe changes and developments.
  • Example: A case study tracking the career progression of employees in a company may involve longitudinal interviews and document analysis over several years.
  • Cross-Case Analysis:
  • Cross-case analysis compares and contrasts multiple cases to identify patterns, similarities, and differences.
  • Example: A comparative case study of different educational institutions may involve analyzing common challenges and successful strategies across various cases.
  • Ethnography:
  • Ethnography involves immersive, in-depth exploration within a cultural or social setting to understand the behaviors and perspectives of participants.
  • Example: A case study using ethnographic methods might involve spending an extended period within a community to understand its social dynamics and cultural practices.
  • Experimental Designs (Rare):
  • While less common, experimental designs involve manipulating variables to observe their effects. In case studies, this might be applied in specific contexts.
  • Example: A case study exploring the impact of a new teaching method might involve implementing the method in one classroom while comparing it to a traditional method in another.

These case study research methods offer a versatile toolkit for researchers to investigate and gain insights into complex phenomena across various disciplines. The choice of methods depends on the research questions, the nature of the case, and the desired depth of understanding.

Best Practices for a Case Study in 2024

Creating a high-quality case study involves adhering to best practices that ensure rigor, relevance, and credibility. Here are some key best practices for conducting and presenting a case study:

  • Clearly articulate the purpose and objectives of the case study. Define the research questions or problems you aim to address, ensuring a focused and purposeful approach.
  • Choose a case that aligns with the research objectives and provides the depth and richness needed for the study. Consider the uniqueness of the case and its relevance to the research questions.
  • Develop a robust research design that aligns with the nature of the case study (single-case or multiple-case) and integrates appropriate research methods. Ensure the chosen design is suitable for exploring the complexities of the phenomenon.
  • Use a variety of data sources to enhance the validity and reliability of the study. Combine methods such as interviews, observations, document analysis, and surveys to provide a comprehensive understanding of the case.
  • Clearly document and describe the procedures for data collection to enhance transparency. Include details on participant selection, sampling strategy, and data collection methods to facilitate replication and evaluation.
  • Implement measures to ensure the validity and reliability of the data. Triangulate information from different sources to cross-verify findings and strengthen the credibility of the study.
  • Clearly define the boundaries of the case to avoid scope creep and maintain focus. Specify what is included and excluded from the study, providing a clear framework for analysis.
  • Include perspectives from various stakeholders within the case to capture a holistic view. This might involve interviewing individuals at different organizational levels, customers, or community members, depending on the context.
  • Adhere to ethical principles in research, including obtaining informed consent from participants, ensuring confidentiality, and addressing any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Conduct a rigorous analysis of the data, using appropriate analytical techniques. Interpret the findings in the context of the research questions, theoretical framework, and relevant literature.
  • Offer detailed and rich descriptions of the case, including the context, key events, and participant perspectives. This helps readers understand the intricacies of the case and supports the generalization of findings.
  • Communicate findings in a clear and accessible manner. Avoid jargon and technical language that may hinder understanding. Use visuals, such as charts or graphs, to enhance clarity.
  • Seek feedback from colleagues or experts in the field through peer review. This helps ensure the rigor and credibility of the case study and provides valuable insights for improvement.
  • Connect the case study findings to existing theories or concepts, contributing to the theoretical understanding of the phenomenon. Discuss practical implications and potential applications in relevant contexts.
  • Recognize that case study research is often an iterative process. Be open to revisiting and refining research questions, methods, or analysis as the study progresses. Practice reflexivity by acknowledging and addressing potential biases or preconceptions.

By incorporating these best practices, researchers can enhance the quality and impact of their case studies, making valuable contributions to the academic and practical understanding of complex phenomena.

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Blog Beginner Guides 6 Types of Case Studies to Inspire Your Research and Analysis

6 Types of Case Studies to Inspire Your Research and Analysis

Written by: Ronita Mohan Sep 20, 2021

What is a Case Study Blog Header

Case studies have become powerful business tools. But what is a case study? What are the benefits of creating one? Are there limitations to the format?

If you’ve asked yourself these questions, our helpful guide will clear things up. Learn how to use a case study for business. Find out how cases analysis works in psychology and research.

We’ve also got examples of case studies to inspire you.

Haven’t made a case study before? You can easily  create a case study  with Venngage’s customizable case study templates .

Click to jump ahead:

What is a case study?

6 types of case studies, what is a business case study, what is a case study in research, what is a case study in psychology, what is the case study method, benefits of case studies, limitations of case studies, faqs about case studies.

A case study is a research process aimed at learning about a subject, an event or an organization. Case studies are use in business, the social sciences and healthcare.

A case study may focus on one observation or many. It can also examine a series of events or a single case. An effective case study tells a story and provides a conclusion.

Case Study Definition LinkedIn Post

Healthcare industries write reports on patients and diagnoses. Marketing case study examples , like the one below, highlight the benefits of a business product.

Bold Social Media Business Case Study Template

Now that you know what a case study is, let’s look at the six different types of case studies next.

There are six common types of case reports. Depending on your industry, you might use one of these types.

Descriptive case studies

Explanatory case studies, exploratory case reports, intrinsic case studies, instrumental case studies, collective case reports.

6 Types Of Case Studies List

We go into more detail about each type of study in the guide below.

Related:  15+ Professional Case Study Examples [Design Tips + Templates]

When you have an existing hypothesis, you can design a descriptive study. This type of report starts with a description. The aim is to find connections between the subject being studied and a theory.

Once these connections are found, the study can conclude. The results of this type of study will usually suggest how to develop a theory further.

A study like the one below has concrete results. A descriptive report would use the quantitative data as a suggestion for researching the subject deeply.

Lead generation business case study template

When an incident occurs in a field, an explanation is required. An explanatory report investigates the cause of the event. It will include explanations for that cause.

The study will also share details about the impact of the event. In most cases, this report will use evidence to predict future occurrences. The results of explanatory reports are definitive.

Note that there is no room for interpretation here. The results are absolute.

The study below is a good example. It explains how one brand used the services of another. It concludes by showing definitive proof that the collaboration was successful.

Bold Content Marketing Case Study Template

Another example of this study would be in the automotive industry. If a vehicle fails a test, an explanatory study will examine why. The results could show that the failure was because of a particular part.

Related: How to Write a Case Study [+ Design Tips]

An explanatory report is a self-contained document. An exploratory one is only the beginning of an investigation.

Exploratory cases act as the starting point of studies. This is usually conducted as a precursor to large-scale investigations. The research is used to suggest why further investigations are needed.

An exploratory study can also be used to suggest methods for further examination.

For example, the below analysis could have found inconclusive results. In that situation, it would be the basis for an in-depth study.

Teal Social Media Business Case Study Template

Intrinsic studies are more common in the field of psychology. These reports can also be conducted in healthcare or social work.

These types of studies focus on a unique subject, such as a patient. They can sometimes study groups close to the researcher.

The aim of such studies is to understand the subject better. This requires learning their history. The researcher will also examine how they interact with their environment.

For instance, if the case study below was about a unique brand, it could be an intrinsic study.

Vibrant Content Marketing Case Study Template

Once the study is complete, the researcher will have developed a better understanding of a phenomenon. This phenomenon will likely not have been studied or theorized about before.

Examples of intrinsic case analysis can be found across psychology. For example, Jean Piaget’s theories on cognitive development. He established the theory from intrinsic studies into his own children.

Related: What Disney Villains Can Tell Us About Color Psychology [Infographic]

This is another type of study seen in medical and psychology fields. Instrumental reports are created to examine more than just the primary subject.

When research is conducted for an instrumental study, it is to provide the basis for a larger phenomenon. The subject matter is usually the best example of the phenomenon. This is why it is being studied.

Take the example of the fictional brand below.

Purple SAAS Business Case Study Template

Assume it’s examining lead generation strategies. It may want to show that visual marketing is the definitive lead generation tool. The brand can conduct an instrumental case study to examine this phenomenon.

Collective studies are based on instrumental case reports. These types of studies examine multiple reports.

There are a number of reasons why collective reports are created:

  • To provide evidence for starting a new study
  • To find pattens between multiple instrumental reports
  • To find differences in similar types of cases
  • Gain a deeper understanding of a complex phenomenon
  • Understand a phenomenon from diverse contexts

A researcher could use multiple reports, like the one below, to build a collective case report.

Social Media Business Case Study template

Related: 10+ Case Study Infographic Templates That Convert

A business or marketing case study aims at showcasing a successful partnership. This can be between a brand and a client. Or the case study can examine a brand’s project.

There is a perception that case studies are used to advertise a brand. But effective reports, like the one below, can show clients how a brand can support them.

Light Simple Business Case Study Template

Hubspot created a case study on a customer that successfully scaled its business. The report outlines the various Hubspot tools used to achieve these results.

Hubspot case study

Hubspot also added a video with testimonials from the client company’s employees.

So, what is the purpose of a case study for businesses? There is a lot of competition in the corporate world. Companies are run by people. They can be on the fence about which brand to work with.

Business reports  stand out aesthetically, as well. They use  brand colors  and brand fonts . Usually, a combination of the client’s and the brand’s.

With the Venngage  My Brand Kit  feature, businesses can automatically apply their brand to designs.

A business case study, like the one below, acts as social proof. This helps customers decide between your brand and your competitors.

Modern lead Generation Business Case Study Template

Don’t know how to design a report? You can learn  how to write a case study  with Venngage’s guide. We also share design tips and examples that will help you convert.

Related: 55+ Annual Report Design Templates, Inspirational Examples & Tips [Updated]

Research is a necessary part of every case study. But specific research fields are required to create studies. These fields include user research, healthcare, education, or social work.

For example, this UX Design  report examined the public perception of a client. The brand researched and implemented new visuals to improve it. The study breaks down this research through lessons learned.

What is a case study in research? UX Design case study example

Clinical reports are a necessity in the medical field. These documents are used to share knowledge with other professionals. They also help examine new or unusual diseases or symptoms.

The pandemic has led to a significant increase in research. For example,  Spectrum Health  studied the value of health systems in the pandemic. They created the study by examining community outreach.

What is a case study in research? Spectrum healthcare example

The pandemic has significantly impacted the field of education. This has led to numerous examinations on remote studying. There have also been studies on how students react to decreased peer communication.

Social work case reports often have a community focus. They can also examine public health responses. In certain regions, social workers study disaster responses.

You now know what case studies in various fields are. In the next step of our guide, we explain the case study method.

In the field of psychology, case studies focus on a particular subject. Psychology case histories also examine human behaviors.

Case reports search for commonalities between humans. They are also used to prescribe further research. Or these studies can elaborate on a solution for a behavioral ailment.

The American Psychology Association  has a number of case studies on real-life clients. Note how the reports are more text-heavy than a business case study.

What is a case study in psychology? Behavior therapy example

Famous psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and Anna O popularised the use of case studies in the field. They did so by regularly interviewing subjects. Their detailed observations build the field of psychology.

It is important to note that psychological studies must be conducted by professionals. Psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists should be the researchers in these cases.

Related: What Netflix’s Top 50 Shows Can Teach Us About Font Psychology [Infographic]

The case study method, or case method, is a learning technique where you’re presented with a real-world business challenge and asked how you’d solve it.

After working through it independently and with peers, you learn how the actual scenario unfolded. This approach helps develop problem-solving skills and practical knowledge.

This method often uses various data sources like interviews, observations, and documents to provide comprehensive insights. The below example would have been created after numerous interviews.

Case studies are largely qualitative. They analyze and describe phenomena. While some data is included, a case analysis is not quantitative.

There are a few steps in the case method. You have to start by identifying the subject of your study. Then determine what kind of research is required.

In natural sciences, case studies can take years to complete. Business reports, like this one, don’t take that long. A few weeks of interviews should be enough.

Blue Simple Business Case Study Template

The case method will vary depending on the industry. Reports will also look different once produced.

As you will have seen, business reports are more colorful. The design is also more accessible . Healthcare and psychology reports are more text-heavy.

Designing case reports takes time and energy. So, is it worth taking the time to write them? Here are the benefits of creating case studies.

  • Collects large amounts of information
  • Helps formulate hypotheses
  • Builds the case for further research
  • Discovers new insights into a subject
  • Builds brand trust and loyalty
  • Engages customers through stories

For example, the business study below creates a story around a brand partnership. It makes for engaging reading. The study also shows evidence backing up the information.

Blue Content Marketing Case Study Template

We’ve shared the benefits of why studies are needed. We will also look at the limitations of creating them.

Related: How to Present a Case Study like a Pro (With Examples)

There are a few disadvantages to conducting a case analysis. The limitations will vary according to the industry.

  • Responses from interviews are subjective
  • Subjects may tailor responses to the researcher
  • Studies can’t always be replicated
  • In certain industries, analyses can take time and be expensive
  • Risk of generalizing the results among a larger population

These are some of the common weaknesses of creating case reports. If you’re on the fence, look at the competition in your industry.

Other brands or professionals are building reports, like this example. In that case, you may want to do the same.

Coral content marketing case study template

What makes a case study a case study?

A case study has a very particular research methodology. They are an in-depth study of a person or a group of individuals. They can also study a community or an organization. Case reports examine real-world phenomena within a set context.

How long should a case study be?

The length of studies depends on the industry. It also depends on the story you’re telling. Most case studies should be at least 500-1500 words long. But you can increase the length if you have more details to share.

What should you ask in a case study?

The one thing you shouldn’t ask is ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. Case studies are qualitative. These questions won’t give you the information you need.

Ask your client about the problems they faced. Ask them about solutions they found. Or what they think is the ideal solution. Leave room to ask them follow-up questions. This will help build out the study.

How to present a case study?

When you’re ready to present a case study, begin by providing a summary of the problem or challenge you were addressing. Follow this with an outline of the solution you implemented, and support this with the results you achieved, backed by relevant data. Incorporate visual aids like slides, graphs, and images to make your case study presentation more engaging and impactful.

Now you know what a case study means, you can begin creating one. These reports are a great tool for analyzing brands. They are also useful in a variety of other fields.

Use a visual communication platform like Venngage to design case studies. With Venngage’s templates, you can design easily. Create branded, engaging reports, all without design experience.

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What Is a Case Study and Why You Should Use Them

Case studies can provide more insights into your business while helping you conduct further research with robust qualitative data analysis to learn more.

If you're in charge of running a company, then you're likely always looking for new ways to run your business more efficiently and increase your customer base while streamlining as many processes as possible.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to determine how to go about implementing the proper program in order to be successful. This is why many business owners opt to conduct a case study, which can help significantly. Whether you've been struggling with brand consistency or some other problem, the right case study can identify why your problem exists as well as provide a way to rectify it.

A case study is a great tool that many businesses aren't even aware exists, and there are marketing experts like Mailchimp who can provide you with step-by-step assistance with implementing a plan with a case study. Many companies discover that not only do they need to start a blog in order to improve business, but they also need to create specific and relevant blog titles.

If your company already has a blog, then optimizing your blog posts may be helpful. Regardless of the obstacles that are preventing you from achieving all your professional goals, a case study can work wonders in helping you reverse this issue.

as a case study meaning

What is a case study?

A case study is a comprehensive report of the results of theory testing or examining emerging themes of a business in real life context. Case studies are also often used in the healthcare industry, conducting health services research with primary research interest around routinely collected healthcare data.

However, for businesses, the purpose of a case study is to help small business owners or company leaders identify the issues and conduct further research into what may be preventing success through information collection, client or customer interviews, and in-depth data analysis.

Knowing the case study definition is crucial for any business owner. By identifying the issues that are hindering a company from achieving all its goals, it's easier to make the necessary corrections to promote success through influenced data collection.

Why are case studies important?

Now that we've answered the questions, "what is a case study?" Why are case studies important? Some of the top reasons why case studies are important include:

 Importance of case studies

  • Understand complex issues: Even after you conduct a significant amount of market research , you might have a difficult time understanding exactly what it means. While you might have the basics down, conducting a case study can help you see how that information is applied. Then, when you see how the information can make a difference in business decisions, it could make it easier to understand complex issues.
  • Collect data: A case study can also help with data tracking . A case study is a data collection method that can help you describe the information that you have available to you. Then, you can present that information in a way the reader can understand.
  • Conduct evaluations: As you learn more about how to write a case study, remember that you can also use a case study to conduct evaluations of a specific situation. A case study is a great way to learn more about complex situations, and you can evaluate how various people responded in that situation. By conducting a case study evaluation, you can learn more about what has worked well, what has not, and what you might want to change in the future.
  • Identify potential solutions: A case study can also help you identify solutions to potential problems. If you have an issue in your business that you are trying to solve, you may be able to take a look at a case study where someone has dealt with a similar situation in the past. For example, you may uncover data bias in a specific solution that you would like to address when you tackle the issue on your own. If you need help solving a difficult problem, a case study may be able to help you.

Remember that you can also use case studies to target your audience . If you want to show your audience that you have a significant level of expertise in a field, you may want to publish some case studies that you have handled in the past. Then, when your audience sees that you have had success in a specific area, they may be more likely to provide you with their business. In essence, case studies can be looked at as the original method of social proof, showcasing exactly how you can help someone solve their problems.

What are the benefits of writing a business case study?

Although writing a case study can seem like a tedious task, there are many benefits to conducting one through an in depth qualitative research process.

Benefits of Case Studies

  • Industry understanding: First of all, a case study can give you an in-depth understanding of your industry through a particular conceptual framework and help you identify hidden problems that are preventing you from transcending into the business world.
  • Develop theories: If you decide to write a business case study, it provides you with an opportunity to develop new theories. You might have a theory about how to solve a specific problem, but you need to write a business case study to see exactly how that theory has unfolded in the past. Then, you can figure out if you want to apply your theory to a similar issue in the future.
  • Evaluate interventions: When you write a business case study that focuses on a specific situation you have been through in the past, you can uncover whether that intervention was truly helpful. This can make it easier to figure out whether you want to use the same intervention in a similar situation in the future.
  • Identify best practices: If you want to stay on top of the best practices in your field, conducting case studies can help by allowing you to identify patterns and trends and develop a new list of best practices that you can follow in the future.
  • Versatility: Writing a case study also provides you with more versatility. If you want to expand your business applications, you need to figure out how you respond to various problems. When you run a business case study, you open the door to new opportunities, new applications, and new techniques that could help you make a difference in your business down the road.
  • Solve problems: Writing a great case study can dramatically improve your chances of reversing your problem and improving your business.
  • These are just a few of the biggest benefits you might experience if you decide to publish your case studies. They can be an effective tool for learning, showcasing your talents, and teaching some of your other employees. If you want to grow your audience , you may want to consider publishing some case studies.

What are the limitations of case studies?

Case studies can be a wonderful tool for any business of any size to use to gain an in-depth understanding of their clients, products, customers, or services, but there are limitations.

One limitation of case studies is the fact that, unless there are other recently published examples, there is nothing to compare them to since, most of the time, you are conducting a single, not multiple, case studies.

Another limitation is the fact that most case studies can lack scientific evidence.

as a case study meaning

Types of case studies

There are specific types of case studies to choose from, and each specific type will yield different results. Some case study types even overlap, which is sometimes more favorable, as they provide even more pertinent data.

Here are overviews of the different types of case studies, each with its own theoretical framework, so you can determine which type would be most effective for helping you meet your goals.

Explanatory case studies

Explanatory case studies are pretty straightforward, as they're not difficult to interpret. This type of case study is best if there aren't many variables involved because explanatory case studies can easily answer questions like "how" and "why" through theory development.

Exploratory case studies

An exploratory case study does exactly what its name implies: it goes into specific detail about the topic at hand in a natural, real-life context with qualitative research.

The benefits of exploratory case studies are limitless, with the main one being that it offers a great deal of flexibility. Having flexibility when writing a case study is important because you can't always predict what obstacles might arise during the qualitative research process.

Collective case studies

Collective case studies require you to study many different individuals in order to obtain usable data.

Case studies that involve an investigation of people will involve many different variables, all of which can't be predicted. Despite this fact, there are many benefits of collective case studies, including the fact that it allows an ongoing analysis of the data collected.

Intrinsic case studies

This type of study differs from the others as it focuses on the inquiry of one specific instance among many possibilities.

Many people prefer these types of case studies because it allows them to learn about the particular instance that they wish to investigate further.

Instrumental case studies

An instrumental case study is similar to an intrinsic one, as it focuses on a particular instance, whether it's a person, organization, or something different.

One thing that differentiates instrumental case studies from intrinsic ones is the fact that instrumental case studies aren't chosen merely because a person is interested in learning about a specific instance.

as a case study meaning

Tips for writing a case study

If you have decided to write case studies for your company, then you may be unsure of where to start or which type to conduct.

However, it doesn't have to be difficult or confusing to begin conducting a case study that will help you identify ways to improve your business.

Here are some helpful tips for writing your case studies:

1. Your case study must be written in the proper format

When writing a case study, the format that you should be similar to this:

Case study format

Administrative summary

The executive summary is an overview of what your report will contain, written in a concise manner while providing real-life context.

Despite the fact that the executive summary should appear at the beginning of your case studies, it shouldn't be written until you've completed the entire report because if you write it before you finish the report, this summary may not be completely accurate.

Key problem statement

In this section of your case study, you will briefly describe the problem that you hope to solve by conducting the study. You will have the opportunity to elaborate on the problem that you're focusing on as you get into the breadth of the report.

Problem exploration

This part of the case study isn't as brief as the other two, and it goes into more detail about the problem at hand. Your problem exploration must include why the identified problem needs to be solved as well as the urgency of solving it.

Additionally, it must include justification for conducting the problem-solving, as the benefits must outweigh the efforts and costs.

Proposed resolution

This case study section will also be lengthier than the first two. It must include how you propose going about rectifying the problem. The "recommended solution" section must also include potential obstacles that you might experience, as well as how these will be managed.

Furthermore, you will need to list alternative solutions and explain the reason the chosen solution is best. Charts can enhance your report and make it easier to read, and provide as much proof to substantiate your claim as possible.

Overview of monetary consideration

An overview of monetary consideration is essential for all case studies, as it will be used to convince all involved parties why your project should be funded. You must successfully convince them that the cost is worth the investment it will require. It's important that you stress the necessity for this particular case study and explain the expected outcome.

Execution timeline

In the execution times of case studies, you explain how long you predict it will take to implement your study. The shorter the time it will take to implement your plan, the more apt it is to be approved. However, be sure to provide a reasonable timeline, taking into consideration any additional time that might be needed due to obstacles.

Always include a conclusion in your case study. This is where you will briefly wrap up your entire proposal, stressing the benefits of completing the data collection and data analysis in order to rectify your problem.

2. Make it clear and comprehensive

You want to write your case studies with as much clarity as possible so that every aspect of the report is understood. Be sure to double-check your grammar, spelling, punctuation, and more, as you don't want to submit a poorly-written document.

Not only would a poorly-written case study fail to prove that what you are trying to achieve is important, but it would also increase the chances that your report will be tossed aside and not taken seriously.

3. Don't rush through the process

Writing the perfect case study takes time and patience. Rushing could result in your forgetting to include information that is crucial to your entire study. Don't waste your time creating a study that simply isn't ready. Take the necessary time to perform all the research necessary to write the best case study possible.

Depending on the case study, conducting case study research could mean using qualitative methods, quantitative methods, or both. Qualitative research questions focus on non-numerical data, such as how people feel, their beliefs, their experiences, and so on.

Meanwhile, quantitative research questions focus on numerical or statistical data collection to explain causal links or get an in-depth picture.

It is also important to collect insightful and constructive feedback. This will help you better understand the outcome as well as any changes you need to make to future case studies. Consider using formal and informal ways to collect feedback to ensure that you get a range of opinions and perspectives.

4. Be confident in your theory development

While writing your case study or conducting your formal experimental investigation, you should have confidence in yourself and what you're proposing in your report. If you took the time to gather all the pertinent data collected to complete the report, don't second-guess yourself or doubt your abilities. If you believe your report will be amazing, then it likely will be.

5. Case studies and all qualitative research are long

It's expected that multiple case studies are going to be incredibly boring, and there is no way around this. However, it doesn't mean you can choose your language carefully in order to keep your audience as engaged as possible.

If your audience loses interest in your case study at the beginning, for whatever reason, then this increases the likelihood that your case study will not be funded.

Case study examples

If you want to learn more about how to write a case study, it might be beneficial to take a look at a few case study examples. Below are a few interesting case study examples you may want to take a closer look at.

  • Phineas Gage by John Martin Marlow : One of the most famous case studies comes from the medical field, and it is about the story of Phineas Gage, a man who had a railroad spike driven through his head in 1848. As he was working on a railroad, an explosive charge went off prematurely, sending a railroad rod through his head. Even though he survived this incident, he lost his left eye. However, Phineas Gage was studied extensively over the years because his experiences had a significant, lasting impact on his personality. This served as a case study because his injury showed different parts of the brain have different functions.
  • Kitty Genovese and the bystander effect : This is a tragic case study that discusses the murder of Kitty Genovese, a woman attacked and murdered in Queens, New York City. Shockingly, while numerous neighbors watched the scene, nobody called for help because they assumed someone else would. This case study helped to define the bystander effect, which is when a person fails to intervene during an emergency because other people are around.
  • Henry Molaison and the study of memory : Henry Molaison lost his memory and suffered from debilitating amnesia. He suffered from childhood epilepsy, and medical professionals attempted to remove the part of his brain that was causing his seizures. He had a portion of his brain removed, but it completely took away his ability to hold memories. Even though he went on to live until the age of 82, he was always forced to live in the present moment, as he was completely unable to form new memories.

Case study FAQs

When should you do a case study.

There are several scenarios when conducting a case study can be beneficial. Case studies are often used when there's a "why" or "how" question that needs to be answered. Case studies are also beneficial when trying to understand a complex phenomenon, there's limited research on a topic, or when you're looking for practical solutions to a problem.

How can case study results be used to make business decisions?

You can use the results from a case study to make future business decisions if you find yourself in a similar situation. As you assess the results of a case study, you can identify best practices, evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention, generate new and creative ideas, or get a better understanding of customer needs.

How are case studies different from other research methodologies?

When compared to other research methodologies, such as experimental or qualitative research methodology, a case study does not require a representative sample. For example, if you are performing quantitative research, you have a lot of subjects that expand your sample size. If you are performing experimental research, you may have a random sample in front of you. A case study is usually designed to deliberately focus on unusual situations, which allows it to shed new light on a specific business research problem.

Writing multiple case studies for your business

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the idea of writing a case study and it seems completely foreign, then you aren't alone. Writing a case study for a business is a very big deal, but fortunately, there is help available because an example of a case study doesn't always help.

Mailchimp, a well-known marketing company that provides comprehensive marketing support for all sorts of businesses, can assist you with your case study, or you can review one of their own recently published examples.

Mailchimp can assist you with developing the most effective content strategy to increase your chances of being as successful as possible. Mailchimp's content studio is a great tool that can help your business immensely.

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  • Roberta Heale 1 ,
  • Alison Twycross 2
  • 1 School of Nursing , Laurentian University , Sudbury , Ontario , Canada
  • 2 School of Health and Social Care , London South Bank University , London , UK
  • Correspondence to Dr Roberta Heale, School of Nursing, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON P3E2C6, Canada; rheale{at}laurentian.ca

https://doi.org/10.1136/eb-2017-102845

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What is it?

Case study is a research methodology, typically seen in social and life sciences. There is no one definition of case study research. 1 However, very simply… ‘a case study can be defined as an intensive study about a person, a group of people or a unit, which is aimed to generalize over several units’. 1 A case study has also been described as an intensive, systematic investigation of a single individual, group, community or some other unit in which the researcher examines in-depth data relating to several variables. 2

Often there are several similar cases to consider such as educational or social service programmes that are delivered from a number of locations. Although similar, they are complex and have unique features. In these circumstances, the evaluation of several, similar cases will provide a better answer to a research question than if only one case is examined, hence the multiple-case study. Stake asserts that the cases are grouped and viewed as one entity, called the quintain . 6  ‘We study what is similar and different about the cases to understand the quintain better’. 6

The steps when using case study methodology are the same as for other types of research. 6 The first step is defining the single case or identifying a group of similar cases that can then be incorporated into a multiple-case study. A search to determine what is known about the case(s) is typically conducted. This may include a review of the literature, grey literature, media, reports and more, which serves to establish a basic understanding of the cases and informs the development of research questions. Data in case studies are often, but not exclusively, qualitative in nature. In multiple-case studies, analysis within cases and across cases is conducted. Themes arise from the analyses and assertions about the cases as a whole, or the quintain, emerge. 6

Benefits and limitations of case studies

If a researcher wants to study a specific phenomenon arising from a particular entity, then a single-case study is warranted and will allow for a in-depth understanding of the single phenomenon and, as discussed above, would involve collecting several different types of data. This is illustrated in example 1 below.

Using a multiple-case research study allows for a more in-depth understanding of the cases as a unit, through comparison of similarities and differences of the individual cases embedded within the quintain. Evidence arising from multiple-case studies is often stronger and more reliable than from single-case research. Multiple-case studies allow for more comprehensive exploration of research questions and theory development. 6

Despite the advantages of case studies, there are limitations. The sheer volume of data is difficult to organise and data analysis and integration strategies need to be carefully thought through. There is also sometimes a temptation to veer away from the research focus. 2 Reporting of findings from multiple-case research studies is also challenging at times, 1 particularly in relation to the word limits for some journal papers.

Examples of case studies

Example 1: nurses’ paediatric pain management practices.

One of the authors of this paper (AT) has used a case study approach to explore nurses’ paediatric pain management practices. This involved collecting several datasets:

Observational data to gain a picture about actual pain management practices.

Questionnaire data about nurses’ knowledge about paediatric pain management practices and how well they felt they managed pain in children.

Questionnaire data about how critical nurses perceived pain management tasks to be.

These datasets were analysed separately and then compared 7–9 and demonstrated that nurses’ level of theoretical did not impact on the quality of their pain management practices. 7 Nor did individual nurse’s perceptions of how critical a task was effect the likelihood of them carrying out this task in practice. 8 There was also a difference in self-reported and observed practices 9 ; actual (observed) practices did not confirm to best practice guidelines, whereas self-reported practices tended to.

Example 2: quality of care for complex patients at Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics (NPLCs)

The other author of this paper (RH) has conducted a multiple-case study to determine the quality of care for patients with complex clinical presentations in NPLCs in Ontario, Canada. 10 Five NPLCs served as individual cases that, together, represented the quatrain. Three types of data were collected including:

Review of documentation related to the NPLC model (media, annual reports, research articles, grey literature and regulatory legislation).

Interviews with nurse practitioners (NPs) practising at the five NPLCs to determine their perceptions of the impact of the NPLC model on the quality of care provided to patients with multimorbidity.

Chart audits conducted at the five NPLCs to determine the extent to which evidence-based guidelines were followed for patients with diabetes and at least one other chronic condition.

The three sources of data collected from the five NPLCs were analysed and themes arose related to the quality of care for complex patients at NPLCs. The multiple-case study confirmed that nurse practitioners are the primary care providers at the NPLCs, and this positively impacts the quality of care for patients with multimorbidity. Healthcare policy, such as lack of an increase in salary for NPs for 10 years, has resulted in issues in recruitment and retention of NPs at NPLCs. This, along with insufficient resources in the communities where NPLCs are located and high patient vulnerability at NPLCs, have a negative impact on the quality of care. 10

These examples illustrate how collecting data about a single case or multiple cases helps us to better understand the phenomenon in question. Case study methodology serves to provide a framework for evaluation and analysis of complex issues. It shines a light on the holistic nature of nursing practice and offers a perspective that informs improved patient care.

  • Gustafsson J
  • Calanzaro M
  • Sandelowski M

Competing interests None declared.

Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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15 Real-Life Case Study Examples & Best Practices

15 Real-Life Case Study Examples & Best Practices

Written by: Oghale Olori

Real-Life Case Study Examples

Case studies are more than just success stories.

They are powerful tools that demonstrate the practical value of your product or service. Case studies help attract attention to your products, build trust with potential customers and ultimately drive sales.

It’s no wonder that 73% of successful content marketers utilize case studies as part of their content strategy. Plus, buyers spend 54% of their time reviewing case studies before they make a buying decision.

To ensure you’re making the most of your case studies, we’ve put together 15 real-life case study examples to inspire you. These examples span a variety of industries and formats. We’ve also included best practices, design tips and templates to inspire you.

Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

What is a case study, 15 real-life case study examples, sales case study examples, saas case study examples, product case study examples, marketing case study examples, business case study examples, case study faqs.

  • A case study is a compelling narrative that showcases how your product or service has positively impacted a real business or individual. 
  • Case studies delve into your customer's challenges, how your solution addressed them and the quantifiable results they achieved.
  • Your case study should have an attention-grabbing headline, great visuals and a relevant call to action. Other key elements include an introduction, problems and result section.
  • Visme provides easy-to-use tools, professionally designed templates and features for creating attractive and engaging case studies.

A case study is a real-life scenario where your company helped a person or business solve their unique challenges. It provides a detailed analysis of the positive outcomes achieved as a result of implementing your solution.

Case studies are an effective way to showcase the value of your product or service to potential customers without overt selling. By sharing how your company transformed a business, you can attract customers seeking similar solutions and results.

Case studies are not only about your company's capabilities; they are primarily about the benefits customers and clients have experienced from using your product.

Every great case study is made up of key elements. They are;

  • Attention-grabbing headline: Write a compelling headline that grabs attention and tells your reader what the case study is about. For example, "How a CRM System Helped a B2B Company Increase Revenue by 225%.
  • Introduction/Executive Summary: Include a brief overview of your case study, including your customer’s problem, the solution they implemented and the results they achieved.
  • Problem/Challenge: Case studies with solutions offer a powerful way to connect with potential customers. In this section, explain how your product or service specifically addressed your customer's challenges.
  • Solution: Explain how your product or service specifically addressed your customer's challenges.
  • Results/Achievements : Give a detailed account of the positive impact of your product. Quantify the benefits achieved using metrics such as increased sales, improved efficiency, reduced costs or enhanced customer satisfaction.
  • Graphics/Visuals: Include professional designs, high-quality photos and videos to make your case study more engaging and visually appealing.
  • Quotes/Testimonials: Incorporate written or video quotes from your clients to boost your credibility.
  • Relevant CTA: Insert a call to action (CTA) that encourages the reader to take action. For example, visiting your website or contacting you for more information. Your CTA can be a link to a landing page, a contact form or your social media handle and should be related to the product or service you highlighted in your case study.

Parts of a Case Study Infographic

Now that you understand what a case study is, let’s look at real-life case study examples. Among these, you'll find some simple case study examples that break down complex ideas into easily understandable solutions.

In this section, we’ll explore SaaS, marketing, sales, product and business case study examples with solutions. Take note of how these companies structured their case studies and included the key elements.

We’ve also included professionally designed case study templates to inspire you.

1. Georgia Tech Athletics Increase Season Ticket Sales by 80%

Case Study Examples

Georgia Tech Athletics, with its 8,000 football season ticket holders, sought for a way to increase efficiency and customer engagement.

Their initial sales process involved making multiple outbound phone calls per day with no real targeting or guidelines. Georgia Tech believed that targeting communications will enable them to reach more people in real time.

Salesloft improved Georgia Tech’s sales process with an inbound structure. This enabled sales reps to connect with their customers on a more targeted level. The use of dynamic fields and filters when importing lists ensured prospects received the right information, while communication with existing fans became faster with automation.

As a result, Georgia Tech Athletics recorded an 80% increase in season ticket sales as relationships with season ticket holders significantly improved. Employee engagement increased as employees became more energized to connect and communicate with fans.

Why Does This Case Study Work?

In this case study example , Salesloft utilized the key elements of a good case study. Their introduction gave an overview of their customers' challenges and the results they enjoyed after using them. After which they categorized the case study into three main sections: challenge, solution and result.

Salesloft utilized a case study video to increase engagement and invoke human connection.

Incorporating videos in your case study has a lot of benefits. Wyzol’s 2023 state of video marketing report showed a direct correlation between videos and an 87% increase in sales.

The beautiful thing is that creating videos for your case study doesn’t have to be daunting.

With an easy-to-use platform like Visme, you can create top-notch testimonial videos that will connect with your audience. Within the Visme editor, you can access over 1 million stock photos , video templates, animated graphics and more. These tools and resources will significantly improve the design and engagement of your case study.

Simplify content creation and brand management for your team

  • Collaborate on designs , mockups and wireframes with your non-design colleagues
  • Lock down your branding to maintain brand consistency throughout your designs
  • Why start from scratch? Save time with 1000s of professional branded templates

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as a case study meaning

2. WeightWatchers Completely Revamped their Enterprise Sales Process with HubSpot

Case Study Examples

WeightWatchers, a 60-year-old wellness company, sought a CRM solution that increased the efficiency of their sales process. With their previous system, Weightwatchers had limited automation. They would copy-paste message templates from word documents or recreate one email for a batch of customers.

This required a huge effort from sales reps, account managers and leadership, as they were unable to track leads or pull customized reports for planning and growth.

WeightWatchers transformed their B2B sales strategy by leveraging HubSpot's robust marketing and sales workflows. They utilized HubSpot’s deal pipeline and automation features to streamline lead qualification. And the customized dashboard gave leadership valuable insights.

As a result, WeightWatchers generated seven figures in annual contract value and boosted recurring revenue. Hubspot’s impact resulted in 100% adoption across all sales, marketing, client success and operations teams.

Hubspot structured its case study into separate sections, demonstrating the specific benefits of their products to various aspects of the customer's business. Additionally, they integrated direct customer quotes in each section to boost credibility, resulting in a more compelling case study.

Getting insight from your customer about their challenges is one thing. But writing about their process and achievements in a concise and relatable way is another. If you find yourself constantly experiencing writer’s block, Visme’s AI writer is perfect for you.

Visme created this AI text generator tool to take your ideas and transform them into a great draft. So whether you need help writing your first draft or editing your final case study, Visme is ready for you.

3. Immi’s Ram Fam Helps to Drive Over $200k in Sales

Case Study Examples

Immi embarked on a mission to recreate healthier ramen recipes that were nutritious and delicious. After 2 years of tireless trials, Immi finally found the perfect ramen recipe. However, they envisioned a community of passionate ramen enthusiasts to fuel their business growth.

This vision propelled them to partner with Shopify Collabs. Shopify Collabs successfully cultivated and managed Immi’s Ramen community of ambassadors and creators.

As a result of their partnership, Immi’s community grew to more than 400 dedicated members, generating over $200,000 in total affiliate sales.

The power of data-driven headlines cannot be overemphasized. Chili Piper strategically incorporates quantifiable results in their headlines. This instantly sparks curiosity and interest in readers.

While not every customer success story may boast headline-grabbing figures, quantifying achievements in percentages is still effective. For example, you can highlight a 50% revenue increase with the implementation of your product.

Take a look at the beautiful case study template below. Just like in the example above, the figures in the headline instantly grab attention and entice your reader to click through.

Having a case study document is a key factor in boosting engagement. This makes it easy to promote your case study in multiple ways. With Visme, you can easily publish, download and share your case study with your customers in a variety of formats, including PDF, PPTX, JPG and more!

Financial Case Study

4. How WOW! is Saving Nearly 79% in Time and Cost With Visme

This case study discusses how Visme helped WOW! save time and money by providing user-friendly tools to create interactive and quality training materials for their employees. Find out what your team can do with Visme. Request a Demo

WOW!'s learning and development team creates high-quality training materials for new and existing employees. Previous tools and platforms they used had plain templates, little to no interactivity features, and limited flexibility—that is, until they discovered Visme.

Now, the learning and development team at WOW! use Visme to create engaging infographics, training videos, slide decks and other training materials.

This has directly reduced the company's turnover rate, saving them money spent on recruiting and training new employees. It has also saved them a significant amount of time, which they can now allocate to other important tasks.

Visme's customer testimonials spark an emotional connection with the reader, leaving a profound impact. Upon reading this case study, prospective customers will be blown away by the remarkable efficiency achieved by Visme's clients after switching from PowerPoint.

Visme’s interactivity feature was a game changer for WOW! and one of the primary reasons they chose Visme.

“Previously we were using PowerPoint, which is fine, but the interactivity you can get with Visme is so much more robust that we’ve all steered away from PowerPoint.” - Kendra, L&D team, Wow!

Visme’s interactive feature allowed them to animate their infographics, include clickable links on their PowerPoint designs and even embed polls and quizzes their employees could interact with.

By embedding the slide decks, infographics and other training materials WOW! created with Visme, potential customers get a taste of what they can create with the tool. This is much more effective than describing the features of Visme because it allows potential customers to see the tool in action.

To top it all off, this case study utilized relevant data and figures. For example, one part of the case study said, “In Visme, where Kendra’s team has access to hundreds of templates, a brand kit, and millions of design assets at their disposal, their team can create presentations in 80% less time.”

Who wouldn't want that?

Including relevant figures and graphics in your case study is a sure way to convince your potential customers why you’re a great fit for their brand. The case study template below is a great example of integrating relevant figures and data.

UX Case Study

This colorful template begins with a captivating headline. But that is not the best part; this template extensively showcases the results their customer had using relevant figures.

The arrangement of the results makes it fun and attractive. Instead of just putting figures in a plain table, you can find interesting shapes in your Visme editor to take your case study to the next level.

5. Lyte Reduces Customer Churn To Just 3% With Hubspot CRM

Case Study Examples

While Lyte was redefining the ticketing industry, it had no definite CRM system . Lyte utilized 12–15 different SaaS solutions across various departments, which led to a lack of alignment between teams, duplication of work and overlapping tasks.

Customer data was spread across these platforms, making it difficult to effectively track their customer journey. As a result, their churn rate increased along with customer dissatisfaction.

Through Fuelius , Lyte founded and implemented Hubspot CRM. Lyte's productivity skyrocketed after incorporating Hubspot's all-in-one CRM tool. With improved efficiency, better teamwork and stronger client relationships, sales figures soared.

The case study title page and executive summary act as compelling entry points for both existing and potential customers. This overview provides a clear understanding of the case study and also strategically incorporates key details like the client's industry, location and relevant background information.

Having a good summary of your case study can prompt your readers to engage further. You can achieve this with a simple but effective case study one-pager that highlights your customer’s problems, process and achievements, just like this case study did in the beginning.

Moreover, you can easily distribute your case study one-pager and use it as a lead magnet to draw prospective customers to your company.

Take a look at this case study one-pager template below.

Ecommerce One Pager Case Study

This template includes key aspects of your case study, such as the introduction, key findings, conclusion and more, without overcrowding the page. The use of multiple shades of blue gives it a clean and dynamic layout.

Our favorite part of this template is where the age group is visualized.

With Visme’s data visualization tool , you can present your data in tables, graphs, progress bars, maps and so much more. All you need to do is choose your preferred data visualization widget, input or import your data and click enter!

6. How Workato Converts 75% of Their Qualified Leads

Case Study Examples

Workato wanted to improve their inbound leads and increase their conversion rate, which ranged from 40-55%.

At first, Workato searched for a simple scheduling tool. They soon discovered that they needed a tool that provided advanced routing capabilities based on zip code and other criteria. Luckily, they found and implemented Chili Piper.

As a result of implementing Chili Piper, Workato achieved a remarkable 75–80% conversion rate and improved show rates. This led to a substantial revenue boost, with a 10-15% increase in revenue attributed to Chili Piper's impact on lead conversion.

This case study example utilizes the power of video testimonials to drive the impact of their product.

Chili Piper incorporates screenshots and clips of their tool in use. This is a great strategy because it helps your viewers become familiar with how your product works, making onboarding new customers much easier.

In this case study example, we see the importance of efficient Workflow Management Systems (WMS). Without a WMS, you manually assign tasks to your team members and engage in multiple emails for regular updates on progress.

However, when crafting and designing your case study, you should prioritize having a good WMS.

Visme has an outstanding Workflow Management System feature that keeps you on top of all your projects and designs. This feature makes it much easier to assign roles, ensure accuracy across documents, and track progress and deadlines.

Visme’s WMS feature allows you to limit access to your entire document by assigning specific slides or pages to individual members of your team. At the end of the day, your team members are not overwhelmed or distracted by the whole document but can focus on their tasks.

7. Rush Order Helps Vogmask Scale-Up During a Pandemic

Case Study Examples

Vomask's reliance on third-party fulfillment companies became a challenge as demand for their masks grew. Seeking a reliable fulfillment partner, they found Rush Order and entrusted them with their entire inventory.

Vomask's partnership with Rush Order proved to be a lifesaver during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rush Order's agility, efficiency and commitment to customer satisfaction helped Vogmask navigate the unprecedented demand and maintain its reputation for quality and service.

Rush Order’s comprehensive support enabled Vogmask to scale up its order processing by a staggering 900% while maintaining a remarkable customer satisfaction rate of 92%.

Rush Order chose one event where their impact mattered the most to their customer and shared that story.

While pandemics don't happen every day, you can look through your customer’s journey and highlight a specific time or scenario where your product or service saved their business.

The story of Vogmask and Rush Order is compelling, but it simply is not enough. The case study format and design attract readers' attention and make them want to know more. Rush Order uses consistent colors throughout the case study, starting with the logo, bold square blocks, pictures, and even headers.

Take a look at this product case study template below.

Just like our example, this case study template utilizes bold colors and large squares to attract and maintain the reader’s attention. It provides enough room for you to write about your customers' backgrounds/introductions, challenges, goals and results.

The right combination of shapes and colors adds a level of professionalism to this case study template.

Fuji Xerox Australia Business Equipment Case Study

8. AMR Hair & Beauty leverages B2B functionality to boost sales by 200%

Case Study Examples

With limits on website customization, slow page loading and multiple website crashes during peak events, it wasn't long before AMR Hair & Beauty began looking for a new e-commerce solution.

Their existing platform lacked effective search and filtering options, a seamless checkout process and the data analytics capabilities needed for informed decision-making. This led to a significant number of abandoned carts.

Upon switching to Shopify Plus, AMR immediately saw improvements in page loading speed and average session duration. They added better search and filtering options for their wholesale customers and customized their checkout process.

Due to this, AMR witnessed a 200% increase in sales and a 77% rise in B2B average order value. AMR Hair & Beauty is now poised for further expansion and growth.

This case study example showcases the power of a concise and impactful narrative.

To make their case analysis more effective, Shopify focused on the most relevant aspects of the customer's journey. While there may have been other challenges the customer faced, they only included those that directly related to their solutions.

Take a look at this case study template below. It is perfect if you want to create a concise but effective case study. Without including unnecessary details, you can outline the challenges, solutions and results your customers experienced from using your product.

Don’t forget to include a strong CTA within your case study. By incorporating a link, sidebar pop-up or an exit pop-up into your case study, you can prompt your readers and prospective clients to connect with you.

Search Marketing Case Study

9. How a Marketing Agency Uses Visme to Create Engaging Content With Infographics

Case Study Examples

SmartBox Dental , a marketing agency specializing in dental practices, sought ways to make dental advice more interesting and easier to read. However, they lacked the design skills to do so effectively.

Visme's wide range of templates and features made it easy for the team to create high-quality content quickly and efficiently. SmartBox Dental enjoyed creating infographics in as little as 10-15 minutes, compared to one hour before Visme was implemented.

By leveraging Visme, SmartBox Dental successfully transformed dental content into a more enjoyable and informative experience for their clients' patients. Therefore enhancing its reputation as a marketing partner that goes the extra mile to deliver value to its clients.

Visme creatively incorporates testimonials In this case study example.

By showcasing infographics and designs created by their clients, they leverage the power of social proof in a visually compelling way. This way, potential customers gain immediate insight into the creative possibilities Visme offers as a design tool.

This example effectively showcases a product's versatility and impact, and we can learn a lot about writing a case study from it. Instead of focusing on one tool or feature per customer, Visme took a more comprehensive approach.

Within each section of their case study, Visme explained how a particular tool or feature played a key role in solving the customer's challenges.

For example, this case study highlighted Visme’s collaboration tool . With Visme’s tool, the SmartBox Dental content team fostered teamwork, accountability and effective supervision.

Visme also achieved a versatile case study by including relevant quotes to showcase each tool or feature. Take a look at some examples;

Visme’s collaboration tool: “We really like the collaboration tool. Being able to see what a co-worker is working on and borrow their ideas or collaborate on a project to make sure we get the best end result really helps us out.”

Visme’s library of stock photos and animated characters: “I really love the images and the look those give to an infographic. I also really like the animated little guys and the animated pictures. That’s added a lot of fun to our designs.”

Visme’s interactivity feature: “You can add URLs and phone number links directly into the infographic so they can just click and call or go to another page on the website and I really like adding those hyperlinks in.”

You can ask your customers to talk about the different products or features that helped them achieve their business success and draw quotes from each one.

10. Jasper Grows Blog Organic Sessions 810% and Blog-Attributed User Signups 400X

Jasper, an AI writing tool, lacked a scalable content strategy to drive organic traffic and user growth. They needed help creating content that converted visitors into users. Especially when a looming domain migration threatened organic traffic.

To address these challenges, Jasper partnered with Omniscient Digital. Their goal was to turn their content into a growth channel and drive organic growth. Omniscient Digital developed a full content strategy for Jasper AI, which included a content audit, competitive analysis, and keyword discovery.

Through their collaboration, Jasper’s organic blog sessions increased by 810%, despite the domain migration. They also witnessed a 400X increase in blog-attributed signups. And more importantly, the content program contributed to over $4 million in annual recurring revenue.

The combination of storytelling and video testimonials within the case study example makes this a real winner. But there’s a twist to it. Omniscient segmented the video testimonials and placed them in different sections of the case study.

Video marketing , especially in case studies, works wonders. Research shows us that 42% of people prefer video testimonials because they show real customers with real success stories. So if you haven't thought of it before, incorporate video testimonials into your case study.

Take a look at this stunning video testimonial template. With its simple design, you can input the picture, name and quote of your customer within your case study in a fun and engaging way.

Try it yourself! Customize this template with your customer’s testimonial and add it to your case study!

Satisfied Client Testimonial Ad Square

11. How Meliá Became One of the Most Influential Hotel Chains on Social Media

Case Study Examples

Meliá Hotels needed help managing their growing social media customer service needs. Despite having over 500 social accounts, they lacked a unified response protocol and detailed reporting. This largely hindered efficiency and brand consistency.

Meliá partnered with Hootsuite to build an in-house social customer care team. Implementing Hootsuite's tools enabled Meliá to decrease response times from 24 hours to 12.4 hours while also leveraging smart automation.

In addition to that, Meliá resolved over 133,000 conversations, booking 330 inquiries per week through Hootsuite Inbox. They significantly improved brand consistency, response time and customer satisfaction.

The need for a good case study design cannot be over-emphasized.

As soon as anyone lands on this case study example, they are mesmerized by a beautiful case study design. This alone raises the interest of readers and keeps them engaged till the end.

If you’re currently saying to yourself, “ I can write great case studies, but I don’t have the time or skill to turn it into a beautiful document.” Say no more.

Visme’s amazing AI document generator can take your text and transform it into a stunning and professional document in minutes! Not only do you save time, but you also get inspired by the design.

With Visme’s document generator, you can create PDFs, case study presentations , infographics and more!

Take a look at this case study template below. Just like our case study example, it captures readers' attention with its beautiful design. Its dynamic blend of colors and fonts helps to segment each element of the case study beautifully.

Patagonia Case Study

12. Tea’s Me Cafe: Tamika Catchings is Brewing Glory

Case Study Examples

Tamika's journey began when she purchased Tea's Me Cafe in 2017, saving it from closure. She recognized the potential of the cafe as a community hub and hosted regular events centered on social issues and youth empowerment.

One of Tamika’s business goals was to automate her business. She sought to streamline business processes across various aspects of her business. One of the ways she achieves this goal is through Constant Contact.

Constant Contact became an integral part of Tamika's marketing strategy. They provided an automated and centralized platform for managing email newsletters, event registrations, social media scheduling and more.

This allowed Tamika and her team to collaborate efficiently and focus on engaging with their audience. They effectively utilized features like WooCommerce integration, text-to-join and the survey builder to grow their email list, segment their audience and gather valuable feedback.

The case study example utilizes the power of storytelling to form a connection with readers. Constant Contact takes a humble approach in this case study. They spotlight their customers' efforts as the reason for their achievements and growth, establishing trust and credibility.

This case study is also visually appealing, filled with high-quality photos of their customer. While this is a great way to foster originality, it can prove challenging if your customer sends you blurry or low-quality photos.

If you find yourself in that dilemma, you can use Visme’s AI image edit tool to touch up your photos. With Visme’s AI tool, you can remove unwanted backgrounds, erase unwanted objects, unblur low-quality pictures and upscale any photo without losing the quality.

Constant Contact offers its readers various formats to engage with their case study. Including an audio podcast and PDF.

In its PDF version, Constant Contact utilized its brand colors to create a stunning case study design.  With this, they increase brand awareness and, in turn, brand recognition with anyone who comes across their case study.

With Visme’s brand wizard tool , you can seamlessly incorporate your brand assets into any design or document you create. By inputting your URL, Visme’s AI integration will take note of your brand colors, brand fonts and more and create branded templates for you automatically.

You don't need to worry about spending hours customizing templates to fit your brand anymore. You can focus on writing amazing case studies that promote your company.

13. How Breakwater Kitchens Achieved a 7% Growth in Sales With Thryv

Case Study Examples

Breakwater Kitchens struggled with managing their business operations efficiently. They spent a lot of time on manual tasks, such as scheduling appointments and managing client communication. This made it difficult for them to grow their business and provide the best possible service to their customers.

David, the owner, discovered Thryv. With Thryv, Breakwater Kitchens was able to automate many of their manual tasks. Additionally, Thryv integrated social media management. This enabled Breakwater Kitchens to deliver a consistent brand message, captivate its audience and foster online growth.

As a result, Breakwater Kitchens achieved increased efficiency, reduced missed appointments and a 7% growth in sales.

This case study example uses a concise format and strong verbs, which make it easy for readers to absorb the information.

At the top of the case study, Thryv immediately builds trust by presenting their customer's complete profile, including their name, company details and website. This allows potential customers to verify the case study's legitimacy, making them more likely to believe in Thryv's services.

However, manually copying and pasting customer information across multiple pages of your case study can be time-consuming.

To save time and effort, you can utilize Visme's dynamic field feature . Dynamic fields automatically insert reusable information into your designs.  So you don’t have to type it out multiple times.

14. Zoom’s Creative Team Saves Over 4,000 Hours With Brandfolder

Case Study Examples

Zoom experienced rapid growth with the advent of remote work and the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such growth called for agility and resilience to scale through.

At the time, Zoom’s assets were disorganized which made retrieving brand information a burden. Zoom’s creative manager spent no less than 10 hours per week finding and retrieving brand assets for internal teams.

Zoom needed a more sustainable approach to organizing and retrieving brand information and came across Brandfolder. Brandfolder simplified and accelerated Zoom’s email localization and webpage development. It also enhanced the creation and storage of Zoom virtual backgrounds.

With Brandfolder, Zoom now saves 4,000+ hours every year. The company also centralized its assets in Brandfolder, which allowed 6,800+ employees and 20-30 vendors to quickly access them.

Brandfolder infused its case study with compelling data and backed it up with verifiable sources. This data-driven approach boosts credibility and increases the impact of their story.

Bradfolder's case study goes the extra mile by providing a downloadable PDF version, making it convenient for readers to access the information on their own time. Their dedication to crafting stunning visuals is evident in every aspect of the project.

From the vibrant colors to the seamless navigation, everything has been meticulously designed to leave a lasting impression on the viewer. And with clickable links that make exploring the content a breeze, the user experience is guaranteed to be nothing short of exceptional.

The thing is, your case study presentation won’t always sit on your website. There are instances where you may need to do a case study presentation for clients, partners or potential investors.

Visme has a rich library of templates you can tap into. But if you’re racing against the clock, Visme’s AI presentation maker is your best ally.

as a case study meaning

15. How Cents of Style Made $1.7M+ in Affiliate Sales with LeadDyno

Case Study Examples

Cents of Style had a successful affiliate and influencer marketing strategy. However, their existing affiliate marketing platform was not intuitive, customizable or transparent enough to meet the needs of their influencers.

Cents of Styles needed an easy-to-use affiliate marketing platform that gave them more freedom to customize their program and implement a multi-tier commission program.

After exploring their options, Cents of Style decided on LeadDyno.

LeadDyno provided more flexibility, allowing them to customize commission rates and implement their multi-tier commission structure, switching from monthly to weekly payouts.

Also, integrations with PayPal made payments smoother And features like newsletters and leaderboards added to the platform's success by keeping things transparent and engaging.

As a result, Cents of Style witnessed an impressive $1.7 million in revenue from affiliate sales with a substantial increase in web sales by 80%.

LeadDyno strategically placed a compelling CTA in the middle of their case study layout, maximizing its impact. At this point, readers are already invested in the customer's story and may be considering implementing similar strategies.

A well-placed CTA offers them a direct path to learn more and take action.

LeadDyno also utilized the power of quotes to strengthen their case study. They didn't just embed these quotes seamlessly into the text; instead, they emphasized each one with distinct blocks.

Are you looking for an easier and quicker solution to create a case study and other business documents? Try Visme's AI designer ! This powerful tool allows you to generate complete documents, such as case studies, reports, whitepapers and more, just by providing text prompts. Simply explain your requirements to the tool, and it will produce the document for you, complete with text, images, design assets and more.

Still have more questions about case studies? Let's look at some frequently asked questions.

How to Write a Case Study?

  • Choose a compelling story: Not all case studies are created equal. Pick one that is relevant to your target audience and demonstrates the specific benefits of your product or service.
  • Outline your case study: Create a case study outline and highlight how you will structure your case study to include the introduction, problem, solution and achievements of your customer.
  • Choose a case study template: After you outline your case study, choose a case study template . Visme has stunning templates that can inspire your case study design.
  • Craft a compelling headline: Include figures or percentages that draw attention to your case study.
  • Work on the first draft: Your case study should be easy to read and understand. Use clear and concise language and avoid jargon.
  • Include high-quality visual aids: Visuals can help to make your case study more engaging and easier to read. Consider adding high-quality photos, screenshots or videos.
  • Include a relevant CTA: Tell prospective customers how to reach you for questions or sign-ups.

What Are the Stages of a Case Study?

The stages of a case study are;

  • Planning & Preparation: Highlight your goals for writing the case study. Plan the case study format, length and audience you wish to target.
  • Interview the Client: Reach out to the company you want to showcase and ask relevant questions about their journey and achievements.
  • Revision & Editing: Review your case study and ask for feedback. Include relevant quotes and CTAs to your case study.
  • Publication & Distribution: Publish and share your case study on your website, social media channels and email list!
  • Marketing & Repurposing: Turn your case study into a podcast, PDF, case study presentation and more. Share these materials with your sales and marketing team.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Case Study?

Advantages of a case study:

  • Case studies showcase a specific solution and outcome for specific customer challenges.
  • It attracts potential customers with similar challenges.
  • It builds trust and credibility with potential customers.
  • It provides an in-depth analysis of your company’s problem-solving process.

Disadvantages of a case study:

  • Limited applicability. Case studies are tailored to specific cases and may not apply to other businesses.
  • It relies heavily on customer cooperation and willingness to share information.
  • It stands a risk of becoming outdated as industries and customer needs evolve.

What Are the Types of Case Studies?

There are 7 main types of case studies. They include;

  • Illustrative case study.
  • Instrumental case study.
  • Intrinsic case study.
  • Descriptive case study.
  • Explanatory case study.
  • Exploratory case study.
  • Collective case study.

How Long Should a Case Study Be?

The ideal length of your case study is between 500 - 1500 words or 1-3 pages. Certain factors like your target audience, goal or the amount of detail you want to share may influence the length of your case study. This infographic has powerful tips for designing winning case studies

What Is the Difference Between a Case Study and an Example?

Case studies provide a detailed narrative of how your product or service was used to solve a problem. Examples are general illustrations and are not necessarily real-life scenarios.

Case studies are often used for marketing purposes, attracting potential customers and building trust. Examples, on the other hand, are primarily used to simplify or clarify complex concepts.

Where Can I Find Case Study Examples?

You can easily find many case study examples online and in industry publications. Many companies, including Visme, share case studies on their websites to showcase how their products or services have helped clients achieve success. You can also search online libraries and professional organizations for case studies related to your specific industry or field.

If you need professionally-designed, customizable case study templates to create your own, Visme's template library is one of the best places to look. These templates include all the essential sections of a case study and high-quality content to help you create case studies that position your business as an industry leader.

Get More Out Of Your Case Studies With Visme

Case studies are an essential tool for converting potential customers into paying customers. By following the tips in this article, you can create compelling case studies that will help you build trust, establish credibility and drive sales.

Visme can help you create stunning case studies and other relevant marketing materials. With our easy-to-use platform, interactive features and analytics tools , you can increase your content creation game in no time.

There is no limit to what you can achieve with Visme. Connect with Sales to discover how Visme can boost your business goals.

Easily create beautiful case studies and more with Visme

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Definition of case study noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • She co-authored a case study on urban development.

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as a case study meaning

  •  ⋅ 

Google Says These Are Not Good Signals

Google's Gary Illyes said that markup that SEOs and site owners control, including authorship, are generally not good signals

as a case study meaning

Google’s Gary Illyes’ answer about authorship shared insights about why Google has less trust for signals that are under direct control of site owners and SEOs and provides a better understanding about what site owners and SEOs should focus on when optimizing a website.

The question that Illyes answered was in the context of a live interview at a search conference in May 2024. The interview went largely unnoticed but it’s full of great information related to digital marketing and how Google ranks web pages.

Authorship Signals

Someone asked the question about whether Google would bring back authorship signals. Authorship has been a fixation by some SEOs based on Google’s encouragement that SEOs and site owners review the Search Quality Raters Guidelines to understand what Google aspires to rank. SEOs however took the encouragement too literally and started to parse the document for ranking signal ideas instead.

Digital marketers came to see the concept of EEAT (Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) as actual signals that Google’s algorithms were looking for and from there came the idea that authorship signals were important for ranking.

The idea of authorship signals is not far-fetched because Google at one time created a way for site owners and SEOs pass along metadata about webpage authorship but Google eventually abandoned that idea.

SEO-Controlled Markup Is Untrustworthy

Google’s Gary Illyes answered the question about authorship signals and very quickly, within the same sentence, shared that Google’s experience with SEO-controlled data on the web page (markup) tends to become spammy (implying that it’s untrustworthy).

This is the question as relayed by the interviewer:

“Are Google planning to release some authorship sooner or later, something that goes back to that old authorship?”

Google’s Gary Illyes answered:

“Uhm… I don’t know of such plans and honestly I’m not very excited about anything along those lines, especially not one that is similar to what we had back in 2011 to 2013 because pretty much any markup that SEOs and site owners have access to will be in some form spam.”

Gary next went into greater detail by saying that SEO and author controlled markup are not good signals.

Here is how he explained it:

“And generally they are not good signals. That’s why rel-canonical, for example is not a directive but a hint. And that’s why Meta description is not a directive, but something that we might consider and so on. Having something similar for authorship, I think would be a mistake.”

The concept of SEO-controlled data not being a good signal is important to understand because many in search marketing believe that they can manipulate Google by spoofing authorship signals with fake author profiles, with reviews that pretend to be hands-on, and with metadata (like titles and meta descriptions) that is specifically crafted to rank for keywords.

What About Algorithmically Determined Authorship?

Gary then turned to the idea of algorithmically determined authorship signals and it may surprise some that Gary describes those siganls as lacking in value. This may come as a blow to SEOs and site owners who have spent significant amounts of time updating their web pages to improve their authorship data.

The concept of the importance of “authorship signals” for ranking is something that some SEOs created all by themselves, it’s not an idea that Google encouraged. In fact, Googlers like John Mueller and SearchLiaison have consistently downplayed the necessity of author profiles for years.

Gary explained about algorithmically determined authorship signals:

“Having something similar for authorship, I think would be a mistake. If it’s algorithmically determined, then perhaps it would be more accurate or could be higher accuracy, but honestly I don’t necessarily see the value in it.”

The interviewer commented about rel-canonicals sometimes being a poor source of information:

“I’ve seen canonical done badly a lot of times myself, so I’m glad to hear that it is only a suggestion rather than a rule.”

Gary’s response to the observation about poor canonicals is interesting because he doesn’t downplay the importance of “suggestions” but implies that some of them are stronger although still falling short of a directive. A directive is something that Google is obligated to obey, like a noindex meta tag.

Gary explained about rel-canonicals being a strong suggestion:

“I mean it’s it’s a strong suggestion, but still it’s a suggestion.”

Gary affirmed that even though rel=canonicals is a suggestion, it’s a strong suggestion. That implies a relative scale of how much Google trusts certain inputs that publishers make. In the case of a canonical, Google’s stronger trust in rel-canonical is probably a reflection of the fact that it’s in a publisher’s best interest to get it right, whereas other data like authorship could be prone to exaggeration or outright deception and therefore less trustworthy.

What Does It All Mean?

Gary’s comments should give a foundation for setting the correct course on what to focus on when optimizing a web page. Gary (and other Googlers) have said multiple times that authorship is not really something that Google is looking for. That’s something that SEOs invented, not something that Google encouraged.

This also provides guidance on not overestimating the importance of metadata that is controlled by a site owner or SEO.

Watch the interview starting at about the two minute mark:

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Asier Romero

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Comparison of robot-assisted versus fluoroscopy-guided transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) for lumbar degenerative diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trails and cohort studies

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As an emerging technology in robot-assisted (RA) surgery, the potential benefits of its application in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) lack substantial support from current evidence.

We aimed to investigate whether the RA TLIF is superior to FG TLIF in the treatment of lumbar degenerative disease.

We systematically reviewed studies comparing RA versus FG TLIF for lumbar degenerative diseases through July 2022 by searching PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, CINAHL (EBSCO), Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), WanFang, VIP, and the Cochrane Library, as well as the references of published review articles. Both cohort studies (CSs) and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included. Evaluation criteria included the accuracy of percutaneous pedicle screw placement, proximal facet joint violation (FJV), radiation exposure, duration of surgery, estimated blood loss (EBL), and surgical revision. Methodological quality was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias and ROBINS-I Tool. Random-effects models were used, and the standardized mean difference (SMD) was employed as the effect measure. We conducted subgroup analyses based on surgical type, the specific robot system used, and the study design. Two investigators independently screened abstracts and full-text articles, and the certainty of evidence was graded using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) approach.

Our search identified 539 articles, of which 21 met the inclusion criteria for quantitative analysis. Meta-analysis revealed that RA had 1.03-folds higher “clinically acceptable” accuracy than FG (RR: 1.0382, 95% CI: 1.0273–1.0493). And RA had 1.12-folds higher “perfect” accuracy than FG group (RR: 1.1167, 95% CI: 1.0726–1.1626). In the case of proximal FJV, our results indicate a 74% reduction in occurrences for patients undergoing RA pedicle screw placement compared to those in the FG group (RR: 0.2606, 95%CI: 0.2063- 0.3293). Seventeen CSs and two RCTs reported the duration of time. The results of CSs suggest that there is no significant difference between RA and FG group (SMD: 0.1111, 95%CI: -0.391–0.6131), but the results of RCTs suggest that the patients who underwent RA-TLIF need more surgery time than FG (SMD: 3.7213, 95%CI: 3.0756–4.3669). Sixteen CSs and two RCTs reported the EBL. The results suggest that the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement had fewer EBL than FG group (CSs: SMD: -1.9151, 95%CI: -3.1265–0.7036, RCTs: SMD: -5.9010, 95%CI: -8.7238–3.0782). For radiation exposure, the results of CSs suggest that there is no significant difference in radiation time between RA and FG group (SMD: -0.5256, 95%CI: -1.4357–0.3845), but the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement had fewer radiation dose than FG group (SMD: -2.2682, 95%CI: -3.1953–1.3411). And four CSs and one RCT reported the number of revision case. The results of CSs suggest that there is no significant difference in the number of revision case between RA and FG group (RR: 0.4087,95% CI 0.1592–1.0495). Our findings are limited by the residual heterogeneity of the included studies, which may limit the interpretation of the results.

In TLIF, RA technology exhibits enhanced precision in pedicle screw placement when compared to FG methods. This accuracy contributes to advantages such as the protection of adjacent facet joints and reductions in intraoperative radiation dosage and blood loss. However, the longer preoperative preparation time associated with RA procedures results in comparable surgical duration and radiation time to FG techniques. Presently, FG screw placement remains the predominant approach, with clinical surgeons possessing greater proficiency in its application. Consequently, the integration of RA into TLIF surgery may not be considered the optimal choice.

Systematic review registration

PROSPERO CRD42023441600.

Peer Review reports

Introduction

Since the first report of transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) for the treatment of lumbar spondylolisthesis by Harms and Rolinger et al. [ 1 ] in 1982, TLIF has progressively evolved into a standard surgical procedure for addressing lumbar degenerative diseases [ 2 ]. Subsequently, Foley et al. [ 3 ] further advanced TLIF by introducing the minimally invasive technique (Wiltse technique). This breakthrough facilitated the initial adoption of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) in TLIF, leading to decreased surgical trauma, accelerated recovery, and an overall alleviation of the patient's daily life burden. Nevertheless, TLIF is not without its drawbacks, including prolonged surgical time and a steep learning curve. The duration of the surgery frequently hinges on the surgeon's proficiency in mastering technical skills [ 4 , 5 ]. The restricted operating field frequently results in imprecise screw placement, often requiring additional corrective surgeries. To guarantee optimal accuracy in screw placement, real-time fluoroscopic examination is typically considered essential throughout the procedure. Consequently, the potential for excessive radiation exposure during MIS-TLIF remains a significant concern [ 6 , 7 ]. Undoubtedly, whether it is fluoroscopy-guided (FG) TLIF or MIS-TLIF, the most critical aspect of the surgical procedure is the swift and accurate placement of pedicle screws. This objective is paramount in reducing surgical time, minimizing intraoperative bleeding, enhancing surgical outcomes, lowering the rate of revision surgeries, and mitigating radiation exposure. Therefore, achieving expedient and precise placement of pedicle screws remains an urgent concern in TLIF.

The integration of robotic technology into spine surgery has offered a solution for achieving accurate and efficient pedicle screw placement. Robotics can assist surgeons in precise navigation and access to critical anatomical structures during spinal surgery, leveraging 3D imaging. Furthermore, the employment of surgical robots for pedicle screw placement ensures both safety and accuracy, while also minimizing the surgeon's exposure to intraoperative radiation. However, at present, FG techniques persist as the predominant method for screw insertion in TLIF, with surgeons exhibiting greater proficiency in its application. As a nascent robot-assisted (RA) technology, the potential superiority of its application in TLIF surgery has not yet been substantiated by relevant evidence. Furthermore, opting for RA procedures in TLIF imposes a heightened financial burden on patients compared to traditional FG-TLIF. Consequently, the suitability of integrating RA technology into TLIF surgery remains uncertain [ 8 , 9 ]. In order to examine the potential advantages of RA in terms of screw placement accuracy and its ability to address the limitations of FG in TLIF, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis.

This systematic review and meta-analysis are performed based on the guidance of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA, Text 1) and Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions [ 10 , 11 ]. No ethical approval and patient consent are required because all analyses are based on previous published studies. The full protocol for this study is available in the supplementary material (Text 2). Literature search, data extraction, data synthesis, and quality assessment were conducted by at least two professional reviewers. The review protocols were retrospective registered on PROSPERO (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews, No. CRD42023441600). Our study was conducted retrospectively on July 12, 2022. The retrospective registration in no way compromises the quality, validity, or integrity of the research findings presented in this manuscript. All research procedures, data collection, and data analysis were carried out systematically and well-documented, ensuring the reliability and reproducibility of our results.

Search strategy and selection criteria

We systematically searched several databases, including PubMed, Excerpta Medical database (Embase), Web of Science, CINAHL (EBSCO), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), WanFang Database (WanFang), China Science and Technology Journal Database (VIP), and the Cochrane Library, from inception to July 2022 using the following keywords combined with MeSH terms: 'robot-assisted,' 'fluoroscopy-assisted,' 'lumbar surgery,' 'spinal surgery,' 'transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion,' and 'minimally invasive surgery,' 'TLIF,' 'MIS-TLIF,' 'RA,' 'FG,' and 'lumbar degenerative diseases.' Search terms were combined using the Boolean operators 'AND' or 'OR.' Furthermore, the reference lists of manuscripts were also hand-searched to ensure that some studies, which were not identified by our original search, were also included in the present study. The complete search strategies were shown in Supplementary material 1.

We incorporated all types of relevant studies, encompassing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) as well as prospective and retrospective cohort studies (CSs). The study population comprised patients diagnosed with degenerative lumbar spinal diseases, such as spondylolisthesis and lumbar spinal stenosis, who underwent treatment via TLIF. In the included studies, the intervention group must be RA TLIF, and the control group is FG TLIF (Table  1 ). The following exclusion criteria were used: (1) studies with insufficient data; (2) cadaveric and animal studies; (3) sample size per arm < 10 participants; and (4) patients with other treatment. Moreover, there were no language restrictions.

Data extraction and synthesis

The two reviewers (JB.G and NN.F) extracted data independently using a standardized form. The following factors were recorded when the information in the reviewed articles was available: first author, year, participants and surgery, type of surgery, type of robot system, sample size, age, sex, study design, intra-pedicular accuracy, proximal facet joint violation (FJV), duration of surgery, estimated blood loss (EBL), radiation time and dose, and revision case. Any disagreements between the reviewers (JB.G and NN.F) were resolved through discussion. In case of insolvable discrepancies, a third reviewer (KT.Y) acted as an arbitrator.

The primary outcomes include the accuracy of percutaneous pedicle screw placement and the occurrence of proximal facet joint violation (FJV). For intra-pedicular accuracy, the positions of pedicle screws were classified using the Gertzbein and Robbins criteria [ 12 ]. Grade A represents an intra-pedicular screw without breaching the cortical layer of the pedicle. Grade B refers to a screw that breaches the cortical layer of the pedicle but does not exceed it laterally by more than 2 mm. Grades C and D indicate penetration of less than 4 mm and 6 mm, respectively (indicated by arrows). Grade E is assigned to screws (indicated by arrows) that either do not pass through the pedicle or, at any point in their intended intra-pedicular course, breach the cortical layer of the pedicle in any direction by more than 6 mm. Proximal FJV was assessed according to the violation grade proposed by Babu et al. [ 13 ]. The grading system for violations was as follows: Grade 0 represented pedicle screws that did not encroach on the facet joint. Grade 1 defined pedicle screws that violated the facet joint surface by ≤ 1 mm. Grade 2 represented pedicle screws that clearly violated the facet joint. The secondary outcomes include radiation time and dose (duration of radiation exposure and amount of radiation administered during the surgery), duration of surgery (total time required for the surgical procedure), estimated blood loss (EBL, an estimation of the amount of blood lost during surgery), and surgical revision (instances where revision surgery was required due to complications or issues with the initial pedicle screw placement).

The minimally important difference (MID) is the smallest amount of improvement in a treatment outcome that patients would recognize as important. For Proximal FJV, a lower grade is better, and the MID is Grade A. Regarding intra-pedicular accuracy, the MID of Grade 0 represents perfect intra-pedicular localization with no cortical breach. Any deviation from perfect intra-pedicular localization (i.e., any grade higher than 0) would be considered clinically meaningful. As for all secondary outcomes, there are no articles discussing the MID for them, but lower values are considered better.

Two investigators independently selected articles based on the criteria described above. The full text was scanned to determine whether the articles met the inclusion criteria. Disagreements were resolved through discussion until a consensus was reached. If no consensus was reached, a third investigator was consulted.

In this study, our primary objectives included assessing the accuracy of percutaneous pedicle screw placement, proximal FJV, radiation exposure, duration of surgery, EBL, and the necessity for surgical revision. We selected these outcomes based on their clinical relevance to spinal surgery and their alignment with the specific research questions we aimed to address. However, we must acknowledge that the manuscript does not include several outcomes that were initially planned in the study protocol, such as the length of hospital stay, VAS for leg pain and back pain, and the Oswestry Disability Index. The decision to exclude these outcomes was made after careful consideration of data availability and their alignment with the primary research objectives. The omission of these outcomes does not compromise the validity of our findings concerning the primary objectives mentioned above. We believe that focusing on these specific outcomes provided a more focused and in-depth analysis of the key aspects of our study.

Risk of bias and quality of evidence

The methodological quality of the included studies was evaluated using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and the Risk of Bias in Non-Randomized Studies—of Interventions (ROBINS-I) Tool for non-RCTs. Two researchers conducted the assessments independently. In instances of disagreement, a third researcher made the final decision. The ROBINS-I tool encompasses an evaluation of bias risks related to confounding factors (such as insufficient information on the number of operation levels, baseline health status, surgeon experience, patient selection criteria, or center-specific factors), participant selection, intervention classification, deviations from the intended intervention, missing data, outcome measurement, and the selection of reported results [ 14 ].

The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) tool was used to assess the overall quality and strength of available evidence. With the use of this approach, evidence is classified as “very low,” “low,” “moderate,” or “high” quality. Evidence from RCTs receives a default grade of “high” quality but may be downgraded based on prespecified criteria. Reasons for downgrading include risk of bias (assessed through the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and ROBIN-I tool), inconsistency (substantial unexplained interstudy heterogeneity; I 2  ≥ 50%, P  < 0.10), indirectness (presence of factors that limited the generalizability of the results), imprecision (the 95% CI for effect estimates were wide or crossed a minimally important difference for benefit or harm), and publication bias (significant evidence of small-study effects).

Subgroup analysis

We conducted subgroup analyses if there were 2 or more studies in a given subgroup and performed tests of interaction to establish whether the subgroups differed significantly from one another. We assessed the credibility of significant subgroup effects ( P  < 0.05) using previously suggested criteria. Subgroup analyses was performed for type of surgery, type of robot system and study design.

Statistical analysis

We assess standard mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence interval (CI) for continuous outcomes and risk ratio (RR) with 95% CI for dichotomous outcomes. Random models were used for all analyses and not to rely on (arbitrary) cut of values for heterogeneity. The rationale for this is that studies on these patient populations cannot be assumed to have one true mean estimate. Statistical heterogeneity was assessed with the Q-test and the I 2 statistic. I 2 values of 25%, 50%, and 75% were considered to indicate low, moderate, and high heterogeneity, respectively [ 15 ]. If more than 10 studies were available for a particular comparison, we used funnel plots to determine publication bias. Sensitivity analysis using the trim and fill method is employed to assess the stability of the meta-analysis results [ 16 ]. If there is little difference in the funnel plot before and after the trim and fill method, it indicates that the results are stable and highly reliable. And missing values were handled, and imputation methods (mean SD from similar studies) was used.

Data were analyzed with the open-source, meta-analysis software OpenMeta-Analyst, which uses R as the underlying statistical engine [ 17 ]. All figures were generated using RStudio.

Search results and trial characteristics

Title and abstract literature review yielded 539 articles, of which 72 met the inclusion criteria for full text review (Fig.  1 ). References of 7 systematic reviews found through our online search were also reviewed for relevant articles. A final 21 articles met the inclusion criteria for quantitative analysis. Among them, there were 2 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) [ 18 , 19 ] and 19 CSs [ 8 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ]. Among the twenty-one studies, six of included studies used Renaissance™ system [ 20 , 21 , 26 , 27 , 30 , 32 ], eleven of included studies used TiRobot system [ 18 , 19 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 28 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ], three of included studies used ROSA™ system [ 8 , 31 , 33 ] and one of included studies used Mazor X Robot system [ 29 ]. In terms of surgical type, five of included studies applied the robot system in TLIF surgery [ 20 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 30 ] and sixteen of included studies used the robot system in MIS-TLIF surgery [ 8 , 18 , 19 , 21 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ]. Characteristics of included studies are summarized in Table  2 .

figure 1

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) flow chart of the selection process. (The PRISMA 2020 statement: an updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews) [ 38 ]

Primary outcome

The accuracy of pedicle screw placement.

The comparison of the accuracy of pedicle screw placement between RA-and FG-TLIF according to Gertzbein and Robbins criteria in fourteen CSs. If any portion of the screw was ≤ 3 mm outside the pedicle (Grade A + B), we categorized them as “clinically acceptable” accuracy. And the portion of the screw was not deviation (Grade A), we categorized them as “perfect” accuracy.

The “clinically acceptable” accuracy

Low-quality evidence from fourteen CSs [ 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 28 , 31 , 32 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ] (Table  3 ), reported a significant difference in “clinically acceptable” accuracy between RA- and FG-TLIF, and RA had 1.03-folds higher “clinically acceptable” accuracy than FG (RR: 1.0382, 95% CI: 1.0273–1.0493, z = 6.96, I 2  = 9%, p  < 0.0001, Fig.  2 ). The funnel plot demonstrates a mostly symmetrical distribution, and minimal changes are observed after applying the trim-and-fill method. This indicates a high level of confidence in the result (Fig.  3 ).

figure 2

Pooled Analysis of Pedicle Screw Insertion “clinically acceptable” Accuracy. a Subgroup of surgical type. b Subgroup of robotic type

figure 3

Funnel plot of CSs comparing the “clinically acceptable” accuracy of pedicle screw placement between RA and FG TLIF (left). And the shape of funnel plot after trim-and-fill method (right). No funnel plot of RCTs has been included as there were fewer than 10 RCTs

Subgroup analysis based on surgical type showed that RA had higher “clinically acceptable” accuracy than FG both in TLIF (RR: 1.04, 95% CI: 1.02–1.06, I 2  = 0%, p  < 0.05, Fig.  2 a) and MIS-TLIF (RR: 1.03, 95% CI: 1.02–1.04, I 2  = 32%, p  < 0.05, Fig.  2 a).

Subgroup analysis based on robotic type showed that Renaissance™ system, TiRobot and ROSA ™ system assisted TLIF have higher “clinically acceptable” accuracy than FG-TLIF (Fig.  2 b).

The “perfect” accuracy

Low-quality evidence from fourteen CSs [ 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 28 , 31 , 32 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ] (Table  3 ), reported a significant difference in “perfect” accuracy between RA and FG TLIF. RA exhibited 1.12-folds higher “perfect” accuracy than FG group, with high evidence of heterogeneity (RR: 1.1167, 95% CI: 1.0726–1.1626, z = 5.37, I 2  = 75%, p  < 0.0001, Fig.  4 ). The funnel plot demonstrates a mostly symmetrical distribution, and minimal changes are observed after applying the trim-and-fill method. This indicates a high level of confidence in the result (Fig.  5 ).

figure 4

Pooled Analysis of Pedicle Screw Insertion “perfect” Accuracy. a Subgroup of surgical type. b Subgroup of robotic type

figure 5

Funnel plot of CSs comparing the “perfect” accuracy of pedicle screw placement between RA and FG TLIF (top). And the shape of funnel plot after trim-and-fill method (bottom)

Subgroup analysis based on surgical type showed that RA had higher “perfect acceptable” accuracy than FG in both TLIF (RR: 1.08, 95% CI: 1.04–1.12, I 2  = 0%, p  < 0.05, Fig.  3 a) and MIS-TLIF (RR: 1.13, 95% CI: 1.07–1.19, I 2  = 82%, p  < 0.05, Fig.  3 a). Subgroup analysis based on robotic type indicated that Renaissance™ system, TiRobot and ROSA ™ system assisted TLIF have higher “perfect acceptable” accuracy than FG-TLIF (Fig.  3 b).

A RCT reported the accuracy of pedicle screw placement with the following result [ 28 ]. Among the 92 pedicle screws in the RA group, 87 were Grade A, and 5 were Grade B. Among the 100 pedicle screws in the FG group, 85 were Grade A, and 15 were Grade B. The superiority of Grade A screws was observed in the robot-assisted MIS-TLIF group.

Proximal facet joint violation

Low-quality evidence from five CSs [ 21 , 22 , 23 , 35 , 36 ], reported proximal FJV assessed through CT scans. The results suggest that the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement had 74% fewer proximal FJV than the FG group (RR: 0.2606, 95%CI: 0.2063- 0.3293, z = -11.27, I 2  = 3%, p  < 0.0001) (Fig.  6 ).

figure 6

Pooled Analysis of Proximal Facet Joint Violation

Secondary outcome

Duration of surgery.

Very low-quality evidence from seventeen CSs [ 8 , 20 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ] and two RCTs [ 18 , 19 ] (Table  3 ), reported the duration of time, as shown in Fig.  7 . The results of CSs suggest that there is no significant difference between RA and FG group, with high evidence of heterogeneity (SMD: 0.1111, 95%CI: -0.391–0.6131, z = 0.43, I 2  = 93%, p  = 0.6646). The funnel plot demonstrates a symmetrical distribution, and the funnel plot shows minimal changes after trim-and-fill method, indicating this result with a high level of confidence (Fig.  8 ).

figure 7

Pooled Analysis of Duration of Surgery. a Subgroup of surgical type (Cohort study). b Subgroup of robotic type (Cohort study). c Pooled Analysis of RCT

figure 8

Funnel plot of CSs comparing the duration of surgery between RA-and FG-TLIF (top). And the shape of funnel plot after trim-and-fill method (bottom). No funnel plot of RCTs has been included as there were fewer than 10 RCTs

Subgroup analysis of surgical type showed that the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement need more surgery time than FG group in TLIF surgery (Fig.  7 a). However, the duration of surgery did not show a difference between RA and FG group in MIS-TILF surgery (Fig.  7 a).

According to subgroup analysis of robotic types, no robotic system outperforms the FG-TLIF in terms of duration of surgery (Fig.  7 b).

And the subgroup analysis of study types [ 18 , 19 ] showed that the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement need more surgery time (3.72 × SD minutes) than FG group (SMD: 3.7213, 95%CI: 3.0756–4.3669, z = 11.30, I 2  = 0%, p  < 0.0001, Fig.  7 c).

Estimated blood loss

Low-quality evidence from sixteen CSs [ 8 , 20 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ] and two RCTs [ 18 , 19 ] (Table  3 ), reported the estimated blood loss, as shown in Fig.  9 . The results of CSs suggest that the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement had fewer estimated blood loss than FG group, with high evidence of heterogeneity (SMD: -1.9151, 95%CI: -3.1265–0.7036, z = -3.10, I 2  = 98%, p  = 0.0019). The funnel plot demonstrates a symmetrical distribution, and the funnel plot shows minimal changes after trim-and-fill method, indicating this result is reliable (Fig.  10 ).

figure 9

Pooled Analysis of Estimated Blood Loss. a Subgroup of surgical type. b Subgroup of robotic type. c Pooled Analysis of RCT

figure 10

Funnel plot of CSs comparing the estimated blood loss between RA-and FG-TLIF (top). And the shape of funnel plot after trim-and-fill method (bottom). No funnel plot of RCTs has been included as there were fewer than 10 RCTs

Subgroup analysis of surgical type showed that the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement with fewer EBL than FG group both in TLIF and MIS-TLIF surgery (Fig.  9 a). And Subgroup analysis of robotic type showed that the patients who underwent Renaissance™ system and TiRobot assisted pedicle screw placement with fewer EBL both in TLIF and MIS-TLIF surgery, however, the Mazor X Robot and ROSA™ do not demonstrate this advantage (Fig.  9 b).

And the results of RCTs [ 18 , 19 ] suggest that the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement had fewer estimated blood loss than FG group, with high evidence of heterogeneity (SMD: -5.9010, 95%CI: -8.7238–3.0782, z = -4.10, I 2  = 88%, p  < 0.0001, Fig.  9 c).

Radiation exposure

Radiation time.

Very low-quality evidence from seven CSs [ 22 , 23 , 24 , 28 , 32 , 34 , 37 ] (Table  3 ), reported the radiation time, as shown in Fig.  11 . The results of CSs suggest that there is no significant difference in radiation time between RA and FG group, with high evidence of heterogeneity (SMD: -0.5256, 95%CI: -1.4357–0.3845, z = -1.13, I 2  = 98%, p  = 0.2576).

figure 11

Pooled Analysis of Radiation Time

Subgroup analysis of surgical type showed that the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement with fewer radiation exposure time in TLIF surgery, however, RA pedicle screw placement does not demonstrate this advantage when compared to FG pedicle screw placement in MIS-TLIF surgery (Fig.  11 ).

Radiation dose

Very low-Grade quality evidence from seven CSs [ 22 , 23 , 24 , 29 , 32 , 34 , 37 ] (Table  3 ), reported the radiation dose, as shown in Fig.  12 . The results of CSs suggest that the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement had fewer radiation dose than FG group, with high evidence of heterogeneity (SMD: -2.2682, 95%CI: -3.1953–1.3411, z = -4.79, I 2  = 94%, p  < 0.0001).

figure 12

Pooled Analysis of Radiation Dose

Subgroup analysis of surgical type and robotic type showed that the patients who underwent RA pedicle screw placement with fewer radiation exposure dose both in TLIF and MIS-TLIF surgery.

Surgical revision

Low-quality evidence from four CSs [ 8 , 22 , 30 , 32 ] and one RCT [ 18 ] (Table  3 ), reported the number of surgical revisions, as shown in Fig.  13 . The results of CSs suggest that there is no significant difference in the number of surgical revisions between RA and FG group (RR: 0.4087, 95% CI 0.1592–1.0495, z = -1.86, I 2  = 0%, p  = 0.0629). However, the RCT [ 18 ] reported that the number of surgical revisions of RA pedicle screw placement is lower than FG pedicle screw placement.

figure 13

Pooled Analysis of Surgical Revision

Risk of bias

The Cochrane risk of bias tool was adopted evaluate the mythological quality of two RCTs, and the results were presented in Table  4 . The quality of two RCTs was limited predominantly by lack of blinding, given the nature of clinical study. Regarding the random sequence generation and allocation concealment, two studies [ 18 , 19 ] were low risk. In terms of blinding of outcome assessment, no information was reported to affect the outcomes because of the deviations [ 19 ]. With respect to the incomplete outcome data, two studies [ 18 , 19 ] were not mentioned, thus these two studies were at unclear risks. As for selective reporting, all the RCTs were at low risk, because there is complete data and results reported with no selection. Other bias was not mentioned in these two RCTs, thus the risk of bias was unclear risks.

The ROBINS-I was used to assess the risk of bias for four prospective cohort studies [ 23 , 24 , 26 , 35 ] and fifteen retrospective cohort studies [ 8 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 25 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 36 , 37 ] (Table  5 ), and detail of reasons for bias are documented in Supplemental 2.

Main findings and interpretation of the results

Lumbar degenerative diseases, such as spinal stenosis, disc herniation and spondylolisthesis, represent the primary causes of low back and leg pain in elderly patients [ 39 ]. When conservative treatments prove ineffective, surgical intervention becomes an inevitable option, and the choice of surgical methods varies significantly based on individual patient characteristics and their specific symptoms [ 40 ]. The conventional PLIF necessitates extensive soft tissue dissection, such as paraspinal muscles, resulting in surgical trauma and an increased risk of recurring postoperative pain [ 41 ]. This significantly impairs the postoperative quality of life for patients [ 42 ]. With the widespread promotion and application of minimally invasive techniques, there has been an increasing number of surgical options for lumbar degenerative diseases. TLIF, a technique that combines interbody fusion with pedicle screw fixation, has addressed several issues encountered in the traditional PLIF. TLIF utilizes a tube to access the intervertebral space through the intervertebral foramen, gradually expanding the muscle interval to avoid extensive soft tissue dissection. This technique effectively reduces damage to the paraspinal muscles and significantly lowers the risk of neurological and vascular injuries [ 43 , 44 ]. However, the placement of channels for screw insertion and percutaneous pedicle screw fixation in TLIF requires fluoroscopic guidance, leading to extended surgical duration and increased radiation exposure compared to PLIF. In recent years, remarkable progress has been made in the clinical utilization of intelligent and digital technologies in the field of orthopedic surgery. Robot-assisted spinal surgery offers the benefits of minimally invasive procedures, enhanced precision, and reduced trauma. Through meticulous planning of optimal entry points, angles, and depths, the safety, accuracy, and precision of surgical procedures, including screw placement, have undergone significant enhancements [ 45 , 46 ]. However, RA-TLIF has a steep learning curve compared to traditional FG-TLIF, requiring additional time and money. Hence, clinicians should thoroughly contemplate whether utilizing RA technology for TLIF is a more fitting choice.

The evaluation of RA pedicle screw placement primarily focuses on the accuracy of screw insertion, followed by factors such as radiation exposure, surgical duration, and blood loss. While most studies have demonstrated positive results for the RA screw placement compared to the free-hand or FG screw placement [ 47 ], there are still varying opinions in some studies. Some studies have indicated that in scenarios where anatomical structures are adequately visualized, RA screw placement may not necessarily provide a substantial accuracy advantage over traditional FG screw placement [ 20 , 48 ]. Additionally, some studies indicating that RA may decrease accuracy of screw placement [ 49 ]. The debate of RA screw placement may stem from factors such as preoperative planning, image quality, and intraoperative manipulation. The automatic calculations for robot parameters still require surgeon verification, fine-tuning, or manual planning. The efficiency and accuracy of planning are closely related to image calibration and image mode selection. Currently, the automatic combination of 2D and 3D multimodal images is possible but may require more time-consuming. The design of screw placement still relies primarily on manual assessment, lacking self-planning and validation that incorporate motion and individual patient conditions. Therefore, whether RA-TLIF offers advantages in terms of accuracy, surgical time, and intraoperative blood loss over traditional FG-TLIF remains inconclusive until evidence from systematic reviews and meta-analyses becomes available.

Screw placement accuracy

For the assessment of screw placement accuracy, the Gertzbein and Robbins criteria are commonly used [ 12 ]. Based on previous literature categorizing the accuracy of screw placement, this study considers the combination of Grade A + Grade B as "clinically acceptable" accuracy of pedicle screw placement, while Grade A is categorized as "perfect" accuracy of pedicle screw placement. We conducted a meta-analysis with pooled data from fourteen CSs [ 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 28 , 31 , 32 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ] that included 1432 patients and 5466 cranial pedicle screws to explore whether RA-TLIF is superior to FG-TLIF in terms of “clinically acceptable” and “perfect” accuracy of pedicle screw placement. We believe that this study is the first meta-analysis to systematically compare the accuracy of pedicle screw placement between RA and FG pedicle screw placement in TLIF; however, the quality of evidence is low. The meta-analysis demonstrated that RA insertion was associated with substantially higher accuracy of pedicle screw placement than conventional FG screw insertion in TLIF. Furthermore, the pooled results of subgroup analysis suggest that RA pedicle screw placement demonstrated greater accuracy than FG in both TLIF and MIS-TLIF. In terms of robotic type, the Renaissance™ system, TiRobot, and ROSA™ system assisted TLIF have higher accuracy than FG-TLIF.

A previous study conducted by Molliqaj et al. [ 50 ] retrospectively analyzed the comparison between RA and FG screw placement in thoracolumbar fractures. The study found that RA screw placement had a higher accuracy rate compared to FG screw placement. Macke et al. [ 51 ] demonstrated the application of RA screw placement in the treatment of idiopathic scoliosis, and found a screw placement accuracy rate of 99.04% for RA placement, superior to FG placement (90.74%). Serval studies also indicate that in spinal surgeries, RA screw placement achieves significantly higher accuracy rates than FG screw placement [ 46 , 52 , 53 ]. However, currently, there is still a lack of evidence to suggest that RA has a superiority over traditional FG in terms of screw placement accuracy in TLIF. Generally speaking, due to the specific anatomical characteristics of each patient, RA surgery requires preoperative detailed 3D planning. Through above, the surgeon gains a comprehensive understanding of the surgical anatomical structures and reduces the likelihood of intraoperative complications. Preoperative planning also allows for optimization of implant size and trajectory based on the specific pedicle anatomy of patients. The robot system can simulate ideal screw trajectories based on individual anatomical differences and accurately reproducing these simulations during surgery. This is the primary reason why RA-TLIF.

This meta-analysis revealed that RA screw placement in TLIF can indeed reduce proximal FJV compared to FG-PLIF [ 21 , 22 , 23 , 35 , 36 ] (RR: 0.2606, 95%CI: 0.2063- 0.3293). The quality of evidence for proximal facet joint violation is low.

The accuracy of screw placement is also related to the proximal FJV [ 54 ], which has been regarded as an independent risk factor for ASD after spinal fusion [ 55 , 56 ]. Sakaura et al. [ 57 ] conducted a comparative study, comparing cortical bone trajectory and traditional trajectory insertion techniques. They reported that the use of cortical bone trajectory may potentially decrease the occurrence of radiographic and systemic spinal degeneration by preserving the proximal facet joints. Levin et al. [ 58 ] pointed out that the FJV was associated with increased reoperation rates and reduced improvement in quality of life. Hyun et al. [ 59 ] conducted a prospective RCT and found no significant difference in the incidence of FJV between RA and FG insertion methods (0.00% vs. 0.71%). Similarly, Archavlis et al. [ 60 ] revealed that the occurrence of FJV in the RA group was similar to that in the FG group (5% vs. 6%). FG pedicle screw placement remains the most used technique for lumbar fusion. Meanwhile, RA screw placement has emerged as a novel minimally invasive technique, which has gradually gained acceptance for reducing screw misplacement rates and enhancing insertion safety. However, contradictory results exist regarding the incidence of FJV between FG-and RA-TLIF. We believe that the use of RA enables precise positioning, ensuring optimal screw placement within the target area of each pedicle. This minimizes the disturbance caused by pedicle screws to the adjacent proximal segment structures, reduces stress on the adjacent vertebrae, improves the biomechanical environment of the segmental structure, and ultimately decreases the probability of pseudoarthrosis and ASD.

Perioperative indicators

According to GRADE assessment of included studies, the quality of evidence for surgery duration is very low. Surgical duration and intraoperative blood loss are perioperative indicators directly related to screw placement accuracy. Currently, there is no evidence suggesting that RA-TLIF can reduce surgical time and intraoperative blood loss. The results of this meta-analysis revealed that there was no significant difference in surgical time between the two groups [ 8 , 20 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ], and the funnel plot remained unchanged after applying the trim-and-fill method, indicating result stability. However, results of RCTs [ 18 , 19 ] showed that RA had a longer surgical time compared to the FG group. Although RCTs have higher methodological quality and evidence levels than CSs, we feel that this analysis contained a greater number of moderate-quality CSs, while the number of included RCTs was limited and lacked blinding. As a result, we have greater confidence in the CS results, which show that there is no significant difference in surgical time between RA-TLIF and FG-TLIF. This may be attributed to the higher proficiency level in manual percutaneous screw placement in MIS surgery. It is speculated that as proficiency in robot usage increases, this time difference may become more prominent. Furthermore, the pooled results of subgroup analysis show that RA has a benefit over FG only in open TLIF surgery in terms of shorting surgical time, but not in MIS-TLIF surgery (SMD: 0.57, 95%CI: 0.15–1). This could be because the field of view in open TLIF surgery is greater and the operation of the surgical robot is easier, resulting in a shorter operation time than in FG-MISTLIF.

Regarding EBL, the quality of evidence for surgery duration is low. The pooled results of this study indicated that both CSs [ 8 , 20 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ] and RCTs [ 18 , 19 ] showed lower EBL with the application of RA in TLIF compared to FG. Furthermore, the surgical type and robotic type subgroups all revealed that RA screw placement accuracy can lower EBL when compared to FG screw placement accuracy. This is primarily attributed to the more accurate screw placement in RA surgeries, where the planned screw trajectory may reduce tension on the pedicle screw insertion, thus decreasing stress on the pedicle and potentially reducing tension and damage to surrounding soft tissues, such as muscles and skin.

Intraoperative radiation exposure caused by fluoroscopy is another concern to consider in TLIF [ 61 , 62 ]. This study found no significant difference in radiation exposure time between the RA-TLIF and FG-TLIF [ 22 , 23 , 24 , 28 , 32 , 34 , 37 ], and the evidence for them are low quality. Subgroup analysis showed that RA pedicle screw placement is associated with a reduction in radiation exposure time compared to FG techniques. This suggests that the use of robotics is particularly effective in decreasing radiation exposure in open TLIF procedures. In MIS-TLIF, there is no significant difference in radiation exposure time between RA and FG techniques. This implies that, in the context of MIS-TLIF, both RA and FG may result in similar levels of radiation exposure. However, the intraoperative radiation dose in the RA group was significantly lower than in the FG group [ 8 , 18 , 19 , 22 , 30 , 32 ]. And subgroup analysis has the same results.

Most studies suggest that one of the advantages of surgical robots is their ability to minimize intraoperative radiation exposure. Roser et al. [ 63 ] compared the radiation doses between RA and FG techniques and found that RA has lower doses compared to the FG group. However, Ringel et al. [ 49 ] reported no significant difference in intraoperative radiation doses between RA an FG. Schizas et al. [ 64 ] reported similar radiation times between the two groups. Based on our results of RA surgeries, there is contradictory in reducing radiation time, and the analysis indicates that the experience of the surgeon is important factors in determining radiation exposure. We believe that while RA can reduce radiation exposure in the operating room, patients often require preoperative CT scans for surgical planning, and these studies may have included the radiation time from preoperative CT scans. FG techniques rely on repeated intraoperative fluoroscopy, while RA techniques rely on the patient's preoperative 3D CT scans and preoperative planning. This is the main reason for the lack of significant difference in radiation exposure time between the two techniques.

It is important to note that the absence of a significant difference in the number of surgical revisions due to misplacement between the RA and FG screw placement in the study suggests that both techniques, when properly performed, have a similar rate of accuracy in pedicle screw placement [ 8 , 18 , 22 , 30 , 32 ]. However, the quality of evidence for surgical revision outcomes in the study is low, which affect the confidence in the results related to surgical revisions.

Surgical revision is necessary in cases of severe screw misplacement or persistent radicular pain following the initial surgery. This is because FG techniques, being the gold standard for implantation, are performed by experienced clinicians who can effectively avoid severe misplacements and postoperative complications, similar to the RA-TLIF. Nevertheless, we believe that with the advancement of modern spine surgery, the increasing complexity of spinal disorders poses higher demands on minimally invasive techniques. Robotic assistance, combined with artificial intelligence, can alleviate factors such as insufficient clinical experience, enabling more precise and accurate operations. Considering the diverse and complex clinical conditions and the need for different indications, the development of robotic technology is expected to become more refined and systematic, providing better service in the clinic.

Limitations

Several limitations should be interpreted in this meta-analysis. The main limitation of this study is that there were too few relevant RCTs devoted to the evaluation of the difference of RA-TLIF and FG-TLIF. Thus, we did not perform the assessment of publication bias in some outcome, such as proximal facet joint violation, radiation exposure and surgical revision. Another limitation is that our study included only two RCTs, four prospective CSs and fifteen retrospective CSs. A meta-analysis of such data will lead to less powerful results compared to study obtained purely from RCTs. This difficulty primarily arises from the challenges associated with executing double-blind, randomized selection of surgical techniques in a clinical setting. Next, a limitation of this systematic review is that the general quality of the available RCTs was not high. Because studies could not blind the participants because they had the right to know about the surgery interventions., blinding of personnel and participants was impossible in practice. Investigators in most of the included studies did not describe clearly whether the outcome assessments were blinded. Moreover, our findings are limited by the heterogeneity of the included studies, therefore, the reliability of the results may be insufficient. Then, an important limitation of this study is that not all initially planned outcomes were investigated. While the primary objectives were rigorously addressed, the decision to omit certain planned outcomes introduces a potential source of bias and limits the overall comprehensiveness of our analysis. Finally, while we took rigorous measures to ensure the systematic and well-documented execution of all research procedures, data collection, and data analysis, we acknowledge that the retrospective nature of protocol registration is a serious limitation. We want to emphasize that this retrospective registration does not compromise the quality, validity, or integrity of the research findings presented in this manuscript. However, we recognize its potential impact on the perception of study transparency and pre-specification.

Implications for future research

The results of this systematic review suggest that RA-TLIF may have certain advantages over traditional FG-TLIF. However, additional RCTs and CSs are needed to confirm these findings and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each approach. Furthermore, large-scale, multicenter studies could provide more robust evidence by increasing the sample size and diversity of patient populations. Collaborative efforts can help validate the findings and enhance the generalizability of the results.

Further research in this field should focus on the following aspects. Future trials should pay attention to this area, expand the sample size, and adopt more rigorous RCT designs including the assessment of adverse effects, to incorporate additional studies in the meta-analysis. Furthermore, a critical aspect of future research should involve a comprehensive cost-effectiveness analysis comparing RA-TLIF with FG-TLIF. This would provide healthcare decision-makers with valuable information regarding the economic implications of adopting robotic technology. Last, Investigating the learning curve for surgeons adopting RA-TLIF is important. Future research should assess how surgeon experience and training impact patient outcomes to ensure safe and effective implementation of this technology.

In TLIF, RA technology demonstrates more accurate placement of pedicle screws compared to FG, offering advantages in protecting adjacent facet joints and reducing intraoperative radiation dosage and blood loss. However, due to longer preoperative preparation time, the surgical duration and radiation time of RA is comparable to FG techniques. Currently, FG screw placement continues to be the predominant technique, and surgeons have greater proficiency in its application. Thus, the integration of RA into TLIF surgery may not be an optimal choice.

Availability of data and materials

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article or are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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JBG and KTY designed the systematic review. JBG and NNF drafted the protocol and KTY revised the manuscript. GJB and NNF will independently screen the potential studies, extract data, assess the risk of bias and finish data synthesis. GJB and KTY will arbitrate any disagreements during the review. Xing Yu revised English language of the manuscript. All authors approved the publication of the protocol. JBG is the first author and KTY is corresponding author.

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Guan, J., Feng, N., Yu, X. et al. Comparison of robot-assisted versus fluoroscopy-guided transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) for lumbar degenerative diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trails and cohort studies. Syst Rev 13 , 170 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-024-02600-6

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Efficacy of injection of autologous adipose tissue in the treatment of patients with complex and recurrent fistula-in-ano of cryptoglandular origin

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as a case study meaning

  • S. Guillaumes 1 ,
  • N. J. Hidalgo 1 ,
  • I. Bachero 1 ,
  • R. Pena 1 ,
  • S. T. Nogueira 1 ,
  • J. Ardid 1 &
  • M. Pera 1  

Adipose tissue injections, a rich source of mesenchymal stem cells, have been successfully used to promote anal fistula healing. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of adipose tissue injection in treating patients with complex and recurrent fistulas of cryptoglandular origin.

We conducted a prospective, single-center, open-label, non-randomized, interventional clinical trial from January 2020 to December 2022. We enrolled nine patients, who were evaluated after at least 12 months of follow-up. All patients had seton removal, fistula tract excision or curettage, and a mucosal flap if possible or, alternatively, an internal opening suture. We used a commercially available system to collect and process adipose tissue prior to injection. This system allowed the collection, microfragmentation, and filtration of tissue.

Selected cases included six men and three women with a median age of 42 (range 31–55) years. All patients had an extended disease course period, ranging from 3 to 13 (mean 6.6) years, and a history of multiple previous surgeries, including two to eight interventions (a mean of 4.4 per case). All fistulas were high transsphincteric, four cases horseshoe and two cases with secondary suprasphincteric or peri-elevator tract fistulas. Six cases (66%) achieved complete fistula healing at a mean follow-up of 18 (range 12–36) months. Three cases (33.3%) experienced reduced secretion and decreased anal discomfort.

Conclusions

In patients with complex and recurrent fistulas, such as the ones described, many from palliative treatments with setons, the adjuvant injection of adipose tissue might help achieve complete healing or improvement in a significant percentage of cases.

ClinicalTrials

The study protocol was prospectively registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT 04750499).

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Introduction

Complex fistulas are those that have multiple external openings, involve > 30% of the external anal sphincter, are located above the sphincters (suprasphincteric), have large blind extensions or horseshoe-shaped trajectories, are in patients with pre-existing incontinence or Crohn’s disease (CD), or have an anterior location in women [ 1 , 2 ].

Treatment of these complex anal fistulas is an unresolved issue. Surgery, the only curative treatment, obtains suboptimal results with high percentages of persistence or recurrence and a high risk of postoperative fecal incontinence [ 2 , 3 ]. Recurrent anal fistulas after previous surgery are usually associated with a higher risk of re-recurrence and continence disturbance [ 2 , 3 ]. In some cases, palliative treatment with long-term setons is considered [ 4 , 5 ].

In this scenario, the association of surgery with stem cell transplantation has been considered, aiming to regenerate tissues and promote healing [ 6 ]. In fistulas related to CD, treatment with stem cells seems to offer hope, with remission rates of 51.5–56% in the treatment group vs. 35.6–40% in the control group [ 7 , 8 , 9 ]. In complex fistulas of cryptoglandular origin, stem cells in combination with simple surgery have also obtained promising results, with healing rates close to 60% [ 6 , 10 , 11 , 12 ].

Autologous or allogeneic transplantation of non-commercial cultured stem cells is a complex procedure subjected to strict safety regulations and unavailable outside the scope of research projects. Using commercially available cultured allogeneic stem cells (Darvadstrocel-Alofisel®) is a highly expensive technique, costing between $65,000 and $87,000 per therapy [ 13 , 14 ]. The Spanish public health system covers the cost of Alofisel® for CD fistulas but not for cryptoglandular fistulas.

An alternative to allogeneic stem cell treatment could be injecting freshly collected autologous adipose tissue [ 13 , 15 ]. This treatment has been effective for CD-related and cryptoglandular fistulas [ 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 ]. Much evidence supports the regenerative capacity of adipose tissue and the association between these effects and the presence of stem cell precursors in these tissues [ 17 ]. These adipose tissue stem cells are known as adult mesenchymal stem cells (AMSCs), also called mesenchymal stromal cells.

This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of adipose tissue injection in treating patients with complex and recurrent fistulas of cryptoglandular origin. Injection of autologous adipose tissue, in addition to a surgical technique, combines the benefits of surgery with those of regenerative medicine, hoping that the beneficial effects of AMSCs will aid in the healing and repair process. In this preliminary study, we decided to limit the indications to cases of complex and recurrent fistulas.

We conducted a prospective, non-randomized, interventional, single-center, open-label clinical trial from January 2020 to December 2022. The study enrolled nine patients and assessed them after a minimum of 12 months of follow-up. The study was approved by the Hospital Clinic Ethics Committee (reg. HCB/2020/0935) and was conducted following the Declaration of Helsinki. The study protocol was prospectively registered on Clinicaltrials.gov (NCT04750499).

Inclusion criteria: patients over 18 years of age, with complex and recurrent fistulas, diagnosis confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or endoanal ultrasound (EUAS), and written informed consent signed.

Exclusion criteria: Crohn’s disease, active septic process, pregnancy, patient unable to follow the pathway required by the protocol, and failure to sign the informed consent form.

Surgical optimization before undergoing definitive surgery

We scheduled an optimization procedure for 4–6 weeks before definitive surgery in all cases. This procedure included exploration under anesthesia, exclusion of active infections or cavities, curettage of tracts or unroofing of cavities, and implantation of one or more loose setons (in most cases changing previous setons). In cases where the external fistula opening was far from the anus (long fistula tract), a modified rerouting procedure was also applied [ 18 , 19 ]. In one case, the tracts were rerouted to the interesphinteric space; in two more cases, the tracts were rerouted only to approximate the external opening to the external anal sphincter and convert large fistulous tracts into short tracts to facilitate healing.

Surgical procedure

The collection of autologous adipose tissue, fistula tract treatment, and injection of filtered adipose tissue were performed in a single surgical procedure under spinal anesthesia. A prophylactic intravenous antibiotic (2 g cefotaxime) was administered before surgery. We did not administer preoperative enema or mechanical bowel preparation.

The patient was supine for the liposuction step, which was always performed in the anterior abdominal wall. In six cases, we used the jackknife position for the fistula treatment step. In two cases with a high posterior internal fistula opening, we used the lithotomy position to make the advancement flap technique easier.

We collected and processed the adipose tissue using the Lipogems® system (Lipogems International SpA, Milan, Italy), which comes with a kit that contains all the necessary components for collection (liposuction needle and syringe), processing (filter and washing system), and injection (injection needles). Before harvesting the adipose tissue, we added a mixture of 10 ml 2% lidocaine (200 mg) and 0.5 mg adrenaline to 500 ml saline; 200–300 ml of this modified Klein solution was injected into the subcutaneous adipose tissue of the lower abdomen. After a gentle massage, liposuction was performed using a 13G blunt cannula with side holes connected to a VacLock 20-ml syringe. In each case, we collected approximately 100–150 ml adipose tissue and immediately processed it with the Lipogems® device as previously described [ 17 , 20 ]. The mechanical processes of microfracturing, washing, and filtration take place in this system completely immersed in physiological solution, avoiding the presence of air, to make the reduction in volume possible and minimize any traumatic action on cellular products. This process reduces the size of the fragments of adipose tissue while eliminating oily substances and blood residues, which have pro-inflammatory properties. The resulting microfragmented and filtered adipose tissue (20–30 ml) was collected in 10-ml syringes. Finally, the product was transferred to several 2-ml syringes to be injected into the patient. A schematic representation of the successive steps in fat processing can be seen in the papers of Tremolada [ 17 ] and Bianchi [ 20 ].

If possible, a “core-out” fistulectomy, whether entire or partial, was performed. We performed vigorous curettage of the fistula tract using a metallic curette in situations with a weak external sphincter, followed by irrigation with saline solution. External openings were excised, and internal openings were sutured with 000 polyglactin absorbable sutures (Novosyn, B. Braun, Rubí, Barcelona, Spain). If local tissue conditions allowed, a mucosal flap was dissected and sutured with 000 absorbable sutures (Novosyn, B Braun, Rubi, Barcelona, Spain) over the internal opening suture. In all cases, adipose tissue was injected with a 22G and 30-mm-length needle in the mucosal and muscular layers around the internal opening (6 ml) and the mucosal flap (4 ml). Approximately 10–15 ml adipose tissue was injected along the fistula tract until firm swelling was obtained.

Patients were discharged after a clinical evaluation on the day of surgery. Postoperative treatment consisted of dexketoprofen (25 mg/8 h po) and paracetamol (1000 mg/8 h po). No postoperative antibiotics were administered. We advised the patients to take a mild laxative if they were constipated and to perform a sitz bath every 8 h and after every bowel movement.

At the end of the surgical procedure, we registered the characteristics of the fistula tract, intraoperative problems, and the volume of injected fat. At each postoperative follow-up visit, we prospectively evaluated complications such as fever, bleeding, abdominal or perineal hematoma, or abscesses.

The primary end point was fistula healing at clinical examination 12 months after the last injection. Complete fistula healing was defined as the closing of the internal and external openings without any discharge or symptoms. Secondary end points were (1) achieving reduced secretion and anal discomfort in patients who did not completely heal and (2) treatment-related complications. Follow-up visits were scheduled for 10 days and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. If the patient was asymptomatic, a clinical examination, including a digital rectal examination, was accepted to evaluate the outcome. An MRI was used to assess the situation in symptomatic patients with persistence or recurrence of discharge. Impaired continence was assessed before and after the surgery using the Wexner score [ 21 ].

Between January 2020 and December 2022 (see Fig.  1 , flow chart), 131 cases of cryptoglandular anal fistulas were surgically treated in our hospital; 30 more cases of fistulas related to CD were operated on in a separate protocol that included seton drainage or treatment with allogeneic expanded adipose-derived stem cells (Darvadstrocel-Alofisel®). Twelve cryptoglandular cases (9.2%) were initially chosen for combined treatment with injection of adipose tissue according to selection criteria. Three patients were later excluded because they had unresolved abscesses discovered during the preliminary optimization procedures. We treated these cases with new deroofings, curettages, and seton maintenance; we will reevaluate them once the abscesses heal.

figure 1

Case selection flow chart

The final selected cases (Table  1 ) included six men and three women with a mean age of 41.6 (31–55) years. The nine included cases represented 6.9% of the cryptoglandular fistulas operated on at our center during the study period. Five cases corresponded to patients initially operated on in other centers. In five cases, a waiver of cure was originally assumed using palliative setons. All cases had an extended course period, ranging from 3 to 13 (average 6.6) years, and a history of many previous surgeries (two to eight interventions, with an average of 4.4 per case). EUAS and MRI investigations revealed high transsphincteric fistulas in all cases, horseshoes in four cases, and secondary suprasphincteric or perielevator tracts in two cases. In all cases, there was a non-severe alteration in continence before surgery, primarily in the form of “soiling;” preoperative Wexner scores are shown in Table  1 .

In two cases, a pilonidal disease in the sacrococcygeal region coexisted with anal fistula; in both cases, there was histological confirmation of pilonidal disease, and EAUS, MRI, and serum injection identified anal fistula existence. In one instance, the pilonidal disease was treated before derivation to our hospital, and in the other, a Limberg flap was performed 6 months after anal fistula treatment.

As shown in Table  2 , each patient received a "tailored" treatment during definitive surgery, with fat injection working as the unifying characteristic. All patients underwent removal of the seton, fistula “core-out” or curettage, transanal closure of the internal opening by suture or a mucosal flap (performed in six cases), and adipose tissue injection. In one case with suprasphincteric fistula, the internal opening suture could not be carried out; therefore, extensive curettage and fat injection were used. The volumes of adipose tissue finally injected ranged between 10 and 30 (mean 20.4) ml. Two to 3 months after the initial procedure, two patients underwent a second procedure that included new curettage and adipose tissue reinjection.

Six cases (66.6%) showed complete healing at a mean follow-up of 22 (range: 12–38) months, and three cases (33.3%) showed a significant reduction in secretion and discomfort. Five cases achieved complete healing with a single operation. In another case, a new curettage of a residual cavity combined with a new fat injection resulted in complete healing of the fistula tract.

The mean time to achieve total or partial healing was 2 months. There were no complications derived from liposuction or adipose tissue injection. One patient presented a minor hemorrhagic complication after preparatory curettage of the fistula tracts. Only one patient reported deterioration in fecal continence. In five cases, continence improved with the disappearance of soiling; postoperative Wexner scores are shown in Table  2 .

MRI: magnetic resonance imaging; IO: internal opening; EO: external opening; ml milliliters; mos: months.

We report the successful use of a combined sphincter-sparing surgical technique with adjuvant fat tissue injection in patients with complex and recurrent cryptoglandular anal fistulas. We aimed to enhance the healing power of the surgery and decrease the risk of incontinence by adding the regenerative effect of adipose tissue injection in these apparently untreatable cases.

In this preliminary study, we decided to limit the indications of adipose tissue injection to cases of extremely complex and recurrent fistulas, many under palliative treatments with setons. The included cases represented 6.9% of the cryptoglandular fistulas operated on at our center during the study period. We believe a basic fistulotomy can heal > 70% of fistulas [ 2 ], and other standard procedures like LIFT or “core-out” fistulectomy with mucosal flap can treat a substantial proportion of the remaining, more complex cases.

In our experience, microfragmented adipose tissue injection resulted in full healing in six of nine cases (66%) of complex and recurrent fistulas. The remaining three patients significantly improved compared with their previous situation. We believe that our results in these extremely complex circumstances are quite satisfactory.

In our proposed approach, preparing the patient beforehand with the unroofing and curettage of intermediate cavities is very important. We have excluded cases with untreated intermediate cavities and will reconsider them once they resolve. Rerouting techniques [ 18 , 19 ] to convert large fistulous tracts, with an external opening far from the anus, into short tracts can facilitate healing.

The standardization of surgical treatment of the fistula tract in such severe cases is very difficult. We prefer a "core-out" excision, whether entire or partial. We perform a partial core-out with curettage of the intrasphincteric portion when excising the tract inside the sphincter is difficult or dangerous. We also believe that, whenever possible, treating the internal opening with a mucosal flap improves the outcomes.

Previous studies have shown that injecting adipose tissue is a therapeutic alternative for treating cryptoglandular fistulas [ 13 , 22 , 23 ]. In the only existing randomized study, Ascanelli [ 23 ], associating various surgical techniques with fat injection in 58 patients per group, found no differences in the percentage of healing at 6 months (86.2% vs. 81.3% in the control group). However, improvement in the mean healing time was very significant (16 vs. 60 days). In a recent study, Dalby [ 13 ] found that adipose tissue injection along with simple suturing of the internal fistula opening led to 51% clinical healing and a 12% decrease in secretion and pain. Naldini [ 22 ] published 19 cases of patients with complex fistulas unrelated to CD: 12 primary and 7 relapsed. Treatment consisted of the closure of the internal opening and the injection of adipose tissue. The healing rate was 83.3% in primary fistulas and 57.1% in previously relapsed fistulas. Another series [ 24 ] treated ten cases of complex fistulas unrelated to CD with simple internal opening sutures and adipose tissue injection, achieving a 70% healing rate at 9 months. In another small series of nine patients with five cases of multiple relapses, Tutino [ 25 ] proposes a combination of adipose tissue and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection, showing a 66% healing rate at 2 years.

Adipose tissue injection is a low-cost and technically simple procedure, although the heterogeneity of lipoaspirate preparation methods (centrifugation, filtration, microfragmentation, among others) makes standardization of the technique difficult [ 26 ]. In our study, we used the Lipogems® system [ 17 ], a sterile, single-use closed circuit, that avoids the risks of using centrifuges and non-specific filters. In addition, there are numerous studies that describe its final product and the types of cells it contains [ 17 , 20 , 27 , 28 , 29 ].

Injection of adipose tissue has become increasingly popular in other fields, showing promising results in treating diabetic foot ulcers and other chronic scars [ 30 , 31 , 32 ]. The effects of adipose tissue injection on tissue regeneration and the healing of chronic wounds are poorly understood. Proangiogenic, antiapoptotic, antifibrotic, immunoregulatory, anti-inflammatory, and trophic properties of the stromal vascular fraction of adipose tissue are widely recognized [ 27 , 30 , 32 , 33 ]. Some authors suggest AMSCs are able to differentiate and grow in their transplanted environment, regenerating surrounding tissues [ 34 ]. Furthermore, the paracrine effects of AMSCs may result from the secretion of cytokines, such as different growth factors or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factors [ 34 ]. Other biological treatments, like the application of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in anal fistulas, argue for similar effects. Biologically active factors released by platelets, such as cytokines, growth factors, adhesion proteins, and others, can initiate tissue repair and induce revascularization [ 35 , 36 ].

Another aspect to analyze is the possible beneficial effect of adipose tissue injection on the preservation of continence. Evidence shows that even sphincter-sparing surgical techniques cause high incontinence rates [ 2 ]. Injection of adipose tissue into sphincters has been described as a treatment for fecal incontinence [ 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 ]. In this regard, we suggest that the injection of adipose tissue may have significantly influenced the preservation or improvement of our patients’ continence.

There is no doubt that the current study has substantial limitations. This initial experience only included a few patients, with no control group. Other drawbacks include the variability of clinical situations and the individually tailored surgical techniques used for each patient. Additionally, it is difficult to discern between the injected adipose tissue and the advancing flap’s contributions to healing. We are on a learning curve regarding patient selection, preparation, and the best surgical method to use in conjunction with cellular injection. Additional work is required to develop appropriate treatment protocols for these challenging cases.

In patients with complex recurrent fistulas, such as the ones described, many from palliative treatments with setons, the adjuvant injection of adipose tissue might help achieve complete healing or improvement in a significant percentage of cases.

Availability of data and materials

The regulations stated in our institutional policies prevent us from making the dataset we generated and analyzed for this study publicly available. The first author could provide de-identified data upon reasonable request.

Abbreviations

Crohn disease

Adult mesenchymal stem cells

Endoanal ultrasound

Magnetic resonance imaging

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SG: project development, data collection, analysis, manuscript writing, and editing. NH: project development, data analysis, manuscript writing, and editing. IB: project development, data collection, manuscript editing. RP, ST, JA and MP data analysis and manuscript review. All authors approved the final manuscript.

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Guillaumes, S., Hidalgo, N.J., Bachero, I. et al. Efficacy of injection of autologous adipose tissue in the treatment of patients with complex and recurrent fistula-in-ano of cryptoglandular origin. Tech Coloproctol 28 , 81 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10151-024-02963-x

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s10151-024-02963-x

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  1. 15 Case Study Examples for Business, Marketing & Sales

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  3. case study meaning and characteristics

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  4. the meaning of case study

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  6. Case Study

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  6. Case study Meaning

COMMENTS

  1. What is a Case Study?

    Definition of a case study. A case study in qualitative research is a strategy of inquiry that involves an in-depth investigation of a phenomenon within its real-world context. It provides researchers with the opportunity to acquire an in-depth understanding of intricate details that might not be as apparent or accessible through other methods ...

  2. What Is a Case Study?

    A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organization, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research. A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods, but quantitative methods are sometimes also used.

  3. Case Study: Definition, Examples, Types, and How to Write

    A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in many different fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

  4. Case study

    A case study is an in-depth, detailed examination of a particular case (or cases) within a real-world context. For example, case studies in medicine may focus on an individual patient or ailment; case studies in business might cover a particular firm's strategy or a broader market; similarly, case studies in politics can range from a narrow happening over time like the operations of a specific ...

  5. Case Study

    A case study is a research method that involves an in-depth examination and analysis of a particular phenomenon or case, such as an individual, organization, community, event, or situation. It is a qualitative research approach that aims to provide a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the case being studied.

  6. Case Study: Definition, Types, Examples and Benefits

    Researchers, economists, and others frequently use case studies to answer questions across a wide spectrum of disciplines, from analyzing decades of climate data for conservation efforts to developing new theoretical frameworks in psychology. Learn about the different types of case studies, their benefits, and examples of successful case studies.

  7. Case study

    A case study is a detailed description and assessment of a specific situation in the real world, often for the purpose of deriving generalizations and other insights about the subject of the case study. Case studies can be about an individual, a group of people, an organization, or an event, and they are used in multiple fields, including business, health care, anthropology, political science ...

  8. What is a Case Study? Definition & Examples

    Case Study Definition. A case study is an in-depth investigation of a single person, group, event, or community. This research method involves intensively analyzing a subject to understand its complexity and context. The richness of a case study comes from its ability to capture detailed, qualitative data that can offer insights into a process ...

  9. Case study Definition & Meaning

    The meaning of CASE STUDY is an intensive analysis of an individual unit (such as a person or community) stressing developmental factors in relation to environment. How to use case study in a sentence.

  10. Case Study Methods and Examples

    The purpose of case study research is twofold: (1) to provide descriptive information and (2) to suggest theoretical relevance. Rich description enables an in-depth or sharpened understanding of the case. It is unique given one characteristic: case studies draw from more than one data source. Case studies are inherently multimodal or mixed ...

  11. CASE STUDY

    CASE STUDY meaning: 1. a detailed account giving information about the development of a person, group, or thing…. Learn more.

  12. What Is a Case Study? Definition, Elements and 15 Examples

    A case study is an in-depth analysis of specific, real-world situations or the scenarios inspired by them. Both teachers and professionals use them as training tools. They're used to present a problem, allowing individuals to interpret it and provide a solution. In the business world, organizations of many sizes use case studies to train ...

  13. What is a Case Study? Definition, Research Methods, Sampling and Examples

    A case study is defined as an in-depth analysis of a particular subject, often a real-world situation, individual, group, or organization. It is a research method that involves the comprehensive examination of a specific instance to gain a better understanding of its complexities, dynamics, and context.

  14. 6 Types of Case Studies to Inspire Your Research and Analysis

    A case study is a research process aimed at learning about a subject, an event or an organization. Case studies are use in business, the social sciences and healthcare. A case study may focus on one observation or many. It can also examine a series of events or a single case. An effective case study tells a story and provides a conclusion.

  15. Case Study: Definition, Types, Examples & More

    A case study is a comprehensive report of the results of theory testing or examining emerging themes of a business in real life context. Case studies are also often used in the healthcare industry, conducting health services research with primary research interest around routinely collected healthcare data.

  16. What is a case study?

    Case study is a research methodology, typically seen in social and life sciences. There is no one definition of case study research.1 However, very simply… 'a case study can be defined as an intensive study about a person, a group of people or a unit, which is aimed to generalize over several units'.1 A case study has also been described as an intensive, systematic investigation of a ...

  17. CASE STUDY

    CASE STUDY definition: 1. a detailed account giving information about the development of a person, group, or thing…. Learn more.

  18. 15 Real-Life Case Study Examples & Best Practices

    Advantages of a case study: Case studies showcase a specific solution and outcome for specific customer challenges. It attracts potential customers with similar challenges. It builds trust and credibility with potential customers. It provides an in-depth analysis of your company's problem-solving process. Disadvantages of a case study:

  19. Case Study

    Case Study | Definition, Examples & Methods. Published on 5 May 2022 by Shona McCombes. Revised on 30 January 2023. A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organisation, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research.

  20. CASE STUDY Definition & Meaning

    Case study definition: a study of an individual unit, as a person, family, or social group, usually emphasizing developmental issues and relationships with the environment, especially in order to compare a larger group to the individual unit.. See examples of CASE STUDY used in a sentence.

  21. What Is a Case Study? Definition, Examples, Types & Methods

    A case study is a particular research h method involving an up-close and in-depth investigation of any subject, and it is related to a contextual position. These are produced by following a research form. The case study helps in bringing the understanding of any complex issue. This can extend experience or add strength to the already existing ...

  22. case study noun

    a person, group of people, situation, etc. that is used to study a particular idea or theory . Athletes make an interesting case study for doctors. See case study in the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary See case study in the Oxford Learner's Dictionary of Academic English

  23. Medical Terms in Lay Language

    PHARMACOKINETICS the study of the way the body absorbs, distributes, and gets rid of a drug PHASE I first phase of study of a new drug in humans to determine action, safety, and proper dosing PHASE II second phase of study of a new drug in humans, intended to gather information about safety and effectiveness of the drug for certain uses

  24. Google Says These Are Not Good Signals

    In the case of a canonical, Google's stronger trust in rel-canonical is probably a reflection of the fact that it's in a publisher's best interest to get it right, whereas other data like ...

  25. Efficient Data Migration: Methods and Case Studies

    Data migration is essential for businesses upgrading their IT infrastructure, optimizing processes, or transitioning to cloud solutions. This article explores effective data migration methods and presents case studies highlighting successful migrations facilitated by Visual Flow's cutting-edge technology. Key Methods for Efficient Data Migration Planning and Assessment Define Objectives ...

  26. Analysis: The Supreme Court just gave presidents a superpower. Here's

    With its immunity ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court granted former President Donald Trump's wish of all but guaranteeing that his criminal trial for trying to overturn the 2020 presidential ...

  27. The Intertwining of Children's Interests and Micro-Practices at a

    Abstract. Children's multiple interests intersect with their participation in informal learning practices in dynamic ways. Using a theoretical framework illustrating interest as a multifaceted construct that has different forms and a range of scope and durability, this study investigates how children's situational interests and individual interests are developed and reinforced and how they ...

  28. CASE STUDY Definition & Meaning

    Case study definition: a study of an individual unit, as a person, family, or social group, usually emphasizing developmental issues and relationships with the environment, especially in order to compare a larger group to the individual unit.. See examples of CASE STUDY used in a sentence.

  29. Comparison of robot-assisted versus fluoroscopy-guided transforaminal

    Data extraction and synthesis. The two reviewers (JB.G and NN.F) extracted data independently using a standardized form. The following factors were recorded when the information in the reviewed articles was available: first author, year, participants and surgery, type of surgery, type of robot system, sample size, age, sex, study design, intra-pedicular accuracy, proximal facet joint violation ...

  30. Efficacy of injection of autologous adipose tissue in the ...

    Background Adipose tissue injections, a rich source of mesenchymal stem cells, have been successfully used to promote anal fistula healing. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of adipose tissue injection in treating patients with complex and recurrent fistulas of cryptoglandular origin. Methods We conducted a prospective, single-center, open-label, non-randomized, interventional ...