Case studies are a great opportunity for your students to consider real world problems. With case-based teaching, students develop skills in analytical thinking and reflective judgment by reading and discussing complex scenarios. Case studies are based on real events and as such they include the multiple levels of complexity and uncertainty that are part of real-life issues.
Cases come in many formats, from a simple “What would you do in this situation?” question to a detailed description of a situation with accompanying data to analyze. Depending on your course objectives, you may encourage students to follow a systematic approach to their analysis. For example:
- What is the issue?
- What is the goal of the analysis?
- What is the context of the problem?
- What key facts should be considered?
- What alternatives are available to the decision-maker?
- What would you recommend — and why?
You may also have students role-play the part of the people involved in the case. This not only actively engages students, but forces them to really understand the perspectives of the case characters.
More information on using case studies:
- Case Studies, Carnegie Mellon
- Tips: Teaching with Cases, Cornell University
- The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo