Writing and analyzing case studies allows students to demonstrate proficiency in many facets of business education—especially, in this case, in business communications and analysis.


Writing a Case Study

“News is what you don’t want to tell me. Everything else is public relations.” –David Brinkley, journalist

The case study is an excellent way to help prepare students and managers to be prepared to face real-life business situations—analyzing all the relevant data, making efficient decisions, and taking appropriate action. The writing of a business case study is an important skill that demonstrates communications and analytical skills. Case studies are, in essence, narratives that tell the story of the business problem or issue at hand. These narratives, or stories, do not provide answers directly; rather, they offer as much background and situational information as possible to present the situation in as unbiased and thorough a manner as possible, writing from the viewpoints of as many of the parties as reasonably possible.

Writing and analyzing case studies allows students to demonstrate proficiency in many facets of business education—especially, in this case, in business communications and analysis. The case study is therefore a tool to offer students the opportunity to explore business communications issues in a complex manner—not simply deducing or memorizing the answer, but thinking deeply about the issues involved and how to approach a solution.

A library case study—the kind involved in this Portfolio Project assignment—does not include information that cannot be found in the public record by anyone with internet access, a library card, and rudimentary research skills. A wealth of information is available to such interested individuals, including TV and newspaper stories, blogs, government documents, federal court proceedings, and sometimes other resources—especially for organizations that are publicly traded, such as IPOs or other public disclosures.

  1. Follow the instructions completely do not deviate from these instructions 

To write your case study:

First select a topic that is interesting both to you and to your intended audience—in this case, your instructor. Try to find a subject that is relatively timely, that is or has been in the public eye, at least until recently.

Then, do some preliminary research on your topic, using the internet and/or online library databases. Next, consider the perspective from which you will tell the story. Who is the primary decision-maker in your scenario? Nail down the beginning and end dates of your narrative, and think about the level of detail that you want to write.

Then, build a timeline of events that are important to your case, in chronological order.

Identify key characters in your narrative; and identify the key issues that you’ll write about, in order of importance.

Next, prepare your first and second drafts, keeping in mind the importance of capturing your audience’s attention with a quote, a crucial event, or an anecdote in the opening paragraphs. After grabbing your reader’s attention, offer a brief explanation of the company’s history, its industry, and its size (such as annual revenues, number of employees, market share, etc.). Introduce your reader to the key players and decision-makers. Keep in mind the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of your story. Be sure to enumerate important assumptions; and use quotes from key players where possible. Finally, read your drafts for flow, grammar, and syntax. As much as possible, be sure that your writing is lively, accurate, and cogent. Consider any tables, graphs, figures, stock charts, maps, or other graphics to include in the appendices that will help your reader to navigate the narrative. Be sure to indicate the source of anything you use, unless you build it yourself.

Your well-written paper must include the following considerations:

7 pages in length, including reference page(s) (not including appendices).

Formatted according to APA Requirements.

Be clear, concise, and focused on the assignment.

Utilize approximately six different outside sources that will help to support your assertions and strengthen your arguments

Meet the requirements of the assignment.

Below is an example of the title and précis of a (rather lengthy, with the appendices) student-written business case study, to give you an idea of the tone and scope of your case study.




American Apparel: The Plus-Sized Problem

Categories: Apparel and Textile, Brand Management, Conflict Management, Customer Communication, Manufacturing

Authors: Garg, P.; Fan, K.; and O’Rourke, J.S. (Editor)

American Apparel, a multinational fashion retailer headquartered in Downtown Los Angeles, looked to target the plus-size clothing customer segment in an effort to grow its stagnant sales. It launched “The Next Big Thing,” a marketing campaign requiring contestants to submit modeling shots for American Apparel’s online audience to vote on. Little did they know that their ad copy, which utilized several puns as adjectives to describe larger women, would invoke a negative response by media outlets as well as inc

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