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 Hoffmann-Longtin

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