case study questions

case study questions

Case Study Analysis: Effective Strategies for Answering Questions

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1. Introduction

As in so many projects, the key to success when answering the final assignment is to put as much effort into the preparation as into the final task. “Gathering the puzzle pieces” does take time but it is time well invested. The skills learnt then will stand you in good stead for many tasks, exams, and future professional situations. At your stage in academic study, you are more often required to write up a practical report on an experimental or theoretical investigation. The advice in this document is particularly aimed at improving your performance in writing this kind of report. But almost all the skills discussed are transferable to other kinds of assignments, exam writing, and indeed communication of your knowledge and understanding in the workplace. This case study will help to illustrate several effective strategies that, when applied systematically, can make answering assignment questions easier and improve the quality of your answers. At all times during the process, whether before writing, whilst writing, or in a tutorial on a return assignment, it is useful to keep the question or the topic in front of you and to be constantly asking yourself about your progress in relation to it. Answering assignment questions can be broken down into several steps: defining the topic skillfully and understanding what is expected; selecting material for relevance; effective reading with the purpose of note-making; and finally noting the information required in a structured and systematic way.

2. Understanding the Case Study Questions

Understanding the question is the most important aspect of the case study. Only after you have understood the question, will you be able to understand what kind of information you will need to collect and what sort of information will you need to convey in your answers. A good way to understand the question is to look for key words. Common key words in case study questions are task words, such as “analyse”, “discuss”, “evaluate”, “compare”, and “describe”. These words tell you what is expected of you when answering the question. This helps to focus your research and analysis. Let’s look at one of the questions from the case study exercise 8.2 on identifying processes: What are the primary characteristics of work organisations that need to be considered when designing an information system? The task word is “identify”. This means that one should look for the characteristics and then bring them out and not just list them. This is important when answering the question later.

3. Analyzing the Case Study

The next step in the analysis is to make a summary by highlighting all information that is relevant to understanding the problem and the solution. This consists of an organized review of the facts relevant to the problem, which is followed by the identification of the problems and issues, trying to answer such questions as who, what, when, where, how, and why. It is important to attempt to visualize the problem using a mind map, diagram, or some other visual aid because it is with this step that the researcher must collect together the information which will formulate the solution.

It is imperative that as you proceed through your analysis, you be certain that you are progressing in a well-guided manner. Keep in mind that you are going to want to write out the process that you take on in the analysis because this will serve as your evidence and it will be extremely helpful in presenting the analysis to others if they have questions. With this in mind, it is vital that you begin to practice a strategy of analysis from the very start of your learning. This will avoid retracing your steps at a later date because you have forgotten what was a disturbing question.

4. Developing a Persuasive Argument

Developing a persuasive argument is paramount to the success of any case. However, it is important to develop a persuasive argument in the context of a litigation setting. The lawyer must take into account the burden of proof for the issue and the possible standards of review for the decision in the case. An argument is a product of the facts and the law. The lawyer must persuasively weave the facts that support the element of the claim or defense with the law that is applicable to that element. Close attention should be given to whether the fact law sequence is better presented in a narrative form or a syllogism. The advocate has some argumentative discretion to make that call. Obviously, clarity is an absolute must on any complex issue. An argument should be void of contradictions and when dealing with mixed questions of law and fact, the lawyer should show why the factual determination is so important to the final correct legal conclusion. Using policy and or practical effects can be an effective way to make the argument on such issues. Today, there is a much more liberal approach in accepting various forms of advocacy. It may be very helpful to conduct a focus group on the case to test which arguments are the most persuasive. With a clear argument developed, it will be much easier to show the judge or the jury that the decision in the case should be in your favor.

5. Conclusion

The strategic problem-solving process requires an extensive time period focused on defining and understanding the problem, diagnosing the cause of the problem, selecting the best resolution of the problem, and reviewing the results (Tyson and Brown, 1998). From the information provided in this case study, it is evident that this company has done extensive research to define the problem at hand. Phase one of problem-solving is problem clarification. This phase involves an exploration of the problem and its causes. This company had engaged in tests to identify the level of understanding of the material between the two groups of learners. This is an effective strategy to measure the gap in knowledge between these two groups of learners. The results of the tests showed that the group of learners who had learned through the translation method had scored worse than those who had learned through problem-based learning. This provided concrete evidence that a problem in learning had occurred.

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