Case Study Analysis – How Do You Do Case Study Analysis? HBS Case Analysis


You’ve just learned of a case study analysis in a Harvard Business Review. Can you relate? If not, read on to discover how and why.

So, what is a case study analysis? In academic circles, this is a formal statistical method used to track the progression of a group of research subjects. Most have already been subjected to standard case studies, but there are some who were subject to more comprehensive “case study” analyses, so they can attest to the benefits of an investigation that took that approach.

In this case study analysis, a set of questions is posed and several prospective subjects are chosen. The researchers will then discuss with each subject the purpose of the case study and any information or activities which may be considered unethical. The subjects may also provide information regarding themselves, their family, and their relationship to the others. For example, a student in a class will provide details about his or her relatives or a family member in the other room.

The researchers will extract and analyze all pertinent information which may be relevant to the issues of the study. Because case studies are a small-scale study of a small number of people, the differences between the behavior of the participants and that of a standard case study may be hard to find.

When investigators use case studies as a means of examining human behavior, they are essentially creating a “behavioral laboratory.” This is the first step in applying statistics in order to draw conclusions from the findings of the case study. The second step is to interpret the results and see if they fit the standard guidelines of research methodology.

This has been described as a logical continuation of the case study analysis. It requires that the exact same information is gathered each time the experiment is conducted.

What is different in this type of research is that the time frame of the experiment may be varied. The use of a case study may extend over a period of several months, one year, or even several years. Therefore, the participants of a case study should have had the opportunity to do as much research as possible before the case study was initiated.

One of the most common questions asked about case study analysis is the use of an ego-based model. Why did the person in the room become curious about the case study? Why was he or she the first to ask questions?

This is often difficult to answer in a single question answer format when it comes to case study analysis because it involves the pattern of behavior observed by the subject. A researcher will also be able to answer that question by talking to the subjects, but many subjects might not want to divulge such information.

Ego-based modeling may actually be a better way to answer this question, especially for individuals who are participating in case studies and are still relatively young. They are more likely to be excited by the case study, but only if the researcher treats them with kindness and treats them with respect. This is due to the fact that the subjects are beginning to develop an ego based on their past behaviors.

There is another issue which is sometimes overlooked during case study analysis: time. Some subjects may be busy doing other things. They might not be able to give full attention to the research, while others may have other pressing issues.

A good way to determine what types of information should be revealed in case study analysis is to consult with the subjects. It is important to know the information these subjects are willing to divulge. Although this information may not be given under oath, a request for a self-administered disclosure form should be honored and the researcher should be willing to discuss the data that is provided with the subjects.