Through short narratives, videos, data sets, historical artifacts or other materials; case studies present provocative questions and engage learners in the application of concepts and authentic problem-solving. The real or realistic observations and data provided in the case study help learners develop skills in higher-order thinking, communication and teamwork. Learners discuss observations, make predictions, analyze data, offer interpretations, make decisions, critique existing solutions and propose new avenues of investigation (Herreid, 1994).

Why Would I Use Case Studies?
Case studies are stories that are used as a teaching tool to show the application of a theory or concept to real situations. Dependent on the goal they are meant to fulfill, cases can be fact-driven and deductive where there is a correct answer or they can be context driven where multiple solutions are possible.
When Can I Use Case Studies?
Case studies can be an effective instructional tool as an “opener” (to introduce new concepts) or a “closer” (to allow learners to apply and synthesize concepts) and can be taught through lecture, discussion, Socratic questioning and small group cooperative learning.
Additional Information

Krista Longtin

Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development
Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis