A case study is really just a simple story. The purpose of the story is to help an audience understand a tool or process they might use to solve a problem. The story begins with a description of a problem or opportunity, then talks about the process or tool, and finally talks about the outcome.
Writing a simple case study is an effective technique to persuade colleagues to work in a new way. With as little as a page or two of content, it helps readers understand the value of using a new tool or process.
- Start with Purpose
- What is the point of this case study? Define your purpose in simple terms that everyone can understand. It should be no more than 3 sentences.
- Define your Audience
- Who is your most important targeted audience? In other words, who are you writing it for? Ottawa County employees? The larger community? You want to be sure to frame your message in a way that will engage your audience.
- Consider the mode of communication
- Where will this case study be published? On Ottawa County’s website? In a printed newsletter? Via email? On the online playbook? For an annual report for stakeholders? People absorb information differently, depending on where is it published.
- Add Constraints
- What is the due date for this case study? Does it need to be complete by a certain publication date or do you have some flexibility? Do you have a limited word count or other requirements?
- Gather Assets & Information
- Create a list of people who were involved in the case study and “interview” them to get as much first-hand information as possible. (Be sure to take notes! It is particularly important to talk to the people most affected by the case study so you can hear how their lives have been changed by it. (In this context, “interview” can mean an informal conversation, a phone call, or an email with a list of questions.) In addition, gather photographs or other visual assets from the people involved (if available).