ENGL215: English Composition II
Guidelines for Writing a Case Study
|Primary vs. Secondary Research||Researchers attempt to answer questions about things
they are interested in by studying available resources and attempting to
discover what these sources are saying. Often researchers rely on the
published work of other researchers. An individual might want to find
out whether lower speed limits really do save lives. To answer this
question, the researcher studies statistics covering accident rates in
the United States before 1973 when the speed limit dropped to 55 on all
major highways and interstates. This kind of information represents
secondary research. The researcher refers to sources compiled and
arranged by someone else. When you conduct library research, you are
probably doing secondary research.
But suppose that the same researcher wants to know whether a street light
would save lives at the intersection of Kephart and Old 31, between the
Taco Bell and the McDonalds restaurants. This time the researcher can't
look at statistics that someone else has compiled, so she sets up a chair
in front of McDonalds and counts the number of kids trying to cross the
street between the two restaurants and the number of near misses and the
number of actual accidents. This time the researcher is conducting
primary research. The information she wants to know doesn't exist
anywhere because no one else has thought to do this study yet, so she has
to start from the beginning. Researchers who read original documents, do
original observations, or conduct original clinical research are doing
|Rationale for Case Studies||One type of primary research is the case study. The
researcher identifies someone who knows something important to the
researcher's study and interviews this person to see what can be
learned. Much of the world's knowledge exists not in books but in the
minds of people who know about the researcher's area of interest. The
case study allows the researcher to gather first-hand information about a
topic by talking directly to someone who has had experience in this
area. While the case study by itself provides useful information only
about one person's experience, many case studies together are useful in
showing what may be happening across a whole discipline. Linda Flower
and John Hayes, for instance, have interviewed hundreds of writers about
their writing practices. Each individual case study provides one
experience of a writer writing. Together, all of the case studies helped
Flower and Hayes identify many of the differences between skilled and
|Assignment||Your assignment is to conduct an in-depth interview
with someone who has had experience in the health care field, either as a
patient or as a care giver. You will write up your interview in a case
study, then you will publish your case study on the web where others will
be able to use your research in future research of their own. Directions
appear below. |
|Directions for writing a case study||Follow these steps in writing your case study:
|Case Study Outline||Case studies, like many other research projects in
the health care field, include the following sections. Typically, the
section headings actually appear in the paper. Note: The
introduction and Review of literature sections are often combined.
Open up your essay with a statement about the importance of strong patient-care provider relationships. This could be done in a paragraph or two.
Review of Literature
In this section describe what is known about patient-care provider relationships. Think of this section as a mini-research paper where you explain what the research is saying. This section provides the background or the explanation for the questions you want to ask your interview subject. It helps readers understand why your case study is important. This section will probably be from 1 to 2 pages long.
In this section identify who you selected to be your subject. Explain why you selected this person and tell what experience he or she has had with the health care industry. Mention any background about this person which might help the reader understand the significance of his/her experience. Explain what sorts of questions you asked this person, Even list the questions you asked. Also tell when and where you conducted your interview with this person, whether you taped the interview, and whether you had permission to tape. This section could probably be done in one or two paragraphs.
In this section tell how your subject answered the questions you asked. This section doesn't require you to comment on the answers, but only to report what they were. Summarize or paraphrase your subject's responses to each question. Don't simply type out each answer verbatim. This section is likely to be around a page or two in length.
In your conclusion section discuss the significance of your research. What important things have you noticed? Do you think that the results of your interview suggests that the health care profession is doing an acceptable job of providing sympathetic care to its patients? If your subject was a patient, does his or her comments lead you to believe that he or she was satisfied with the care he or she received? If your subject is a health care provider, is he or she satisfied with the quality of the care provided? What general comments might you make about the health care industry based on your conclusions? Do you feel confident about the state of the health care industry's ability to provide compassionate health care? What concerns do you have for the future based on your interview? This section will be no longer than a page.
List here, in APA format, each source you mention in your paper. See
below for documentation instructions.
|Documenting Your Sources||Document journal articles like this:
Smith, B. (2003). The history of bedside manners. Journal of Nursing History, 45(3), 45-59.
Document interviews in the text of your essay like this:
The patient said that the nurse never took the time to "talk to me about my feelings" (R. Jones, personal communication, September 25, 2005).
APA doesn't document personal correspondence, telephone calls, or interviews in the Reference list.
If you have questions about how to document anything else in APA
style, see pp.236 and onward in your textbook.
|Due Date||The final draft of this project is due on Monday,
October 3. Note: This is a change from the syllabus. It gives you an
additional weekend to work on this project.|
|Writing Center||Don't forget that it's a good idea to get someone
from the Writing Center to have a look at your draft before you revise
and submit it. Drop by Nethery Hall 203 or call 3358 to make an
appointment. The Writing Center is open from 2-8 pm, Monday through
Thursday and 4:30-8 pm on Sunday.|