Best practices: Business case studies
In business and management, case study research allows students to examine "real-life" scenarios to explore effective strategies. Because of the need for brevity, pre-written business cases often present only introductory case "facts". Students may benefit in studying the broader business contexts in which the case is presented. Classes can also analyze a company which is facing a business or management challenge in real-time, tracking case events as they unfold in the media.
Business case studies are assigned to students to emphasize analysis, problem solving, and decision making. This activity will help students to find additional information to facilitate strategic decision making within the broader contexts of the case.
- Assign a case or case question which illustrates your point. Cases can be found in the textbook, in periodicals, or purchased from commercial case suppliers like Harvard Business School. (See Additional information below.) "Real-world" or evolving case examples can be pulled from news or trade publications.
- Assign students to small groups to encourage active learning. Teams facilitate discussion of case issues in a smaller group, capitalize on the theoretical knowledge and strengths of individual team members, and engender competition among groups.
- Generate case questions for the teams to answer based on the information given in the case and additional information the students might need to consider, emphasize, or find. You may wish to utilize pre-written case questions, write and distribute your own questions, or, for students experienced in the case method, you may have the teams generate their own questions.
- Discuss resources students might use to seek additional information with which to answer their questions. Questions of theory, for example human motivations or business strategy or applicable state and federal laws, might be answered by the course textbook, a periodical article, or a library book on the topic.
- Articles from thousands of business and management journals, trade magazines and business newspapers, are available via ABI/Inform Complete, Business Source Complete, and Business & Company Resource Center.
- To find books on a topic, search the Library's online catalog.
- Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage provides industry overviews for more than 50 broad U.S. industries. IBISworld's Industry Market Research offers reports for over 700 U.S. SIC/NAICS industry codes.
- Company financials and stock data can be found on S & P NetAdvantage and via Lexis-Nexis Academic.
- Want students to compare company ratios to the industry? RMA eStatement Studies provides industry ratios for solvency, efficiency, and profitability.
- Morningstar and Value Line: Large-cap edition provide stock reports for thousands of companies.
- For a complete list of Library databases available for business and management, see Additional information below.