How to Outline a Case Study

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A case study applies academic theories to a real-life event. The theories help analyze a problem encapsulated in the event and allow the scholar to hypothesize a solution to that problem. Writing an outline for your case study will help you organize your thoughts and data. It allows you to step back from the details you have been analyzing. When you do this, you can see the big picture and write a more comprehensive case study paper.

  • State the problem in the first line of the outline. Create subheadings under the problem statement to explain parts of the problem that might not be self-evident.

  • Write the thesis statement as the next major point. The thesis statement is the purpose of the paper. In this case, it should outline the solution to the case study problem. Create subheadings under the thesis statement to explain any parts of the thesis that are not self-evident.

  • List the theories relevant to the case study and thesis statement. Each theory should be its own main point. Create subheadings under each theory to explain key parts or terms.

  • Explain your method of research in three or four main points. This describes how you went about the case study. Explain any variables or constants.

  • Write the main findings of the case study in two or three points. These findings should be a direct result of applying the theories to the case study. They should support your thesis statement. Use subheadings to explain each point, if necessary.

  • Summarize the problem, thesis statement and theories in one or two points. This effectively wraps up your paper and details any further research that should take place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Each main point should be listed in Roman numeral format. For example, the statement of the problem should be "I" and the thesis statement should be "II."
  • If you use subheadings to explain a point, use at least two subheadings. These should be listed as "A" and "B."

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