Case Study Research (The Quick Guide)


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Philip’s story

So it's vital that you narrow down which buyer persona your video is targeted at before jumping any further. This might seem like a simple step, but you'd be surprised how many smart people forget it.

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It's simply not possible to speak effectively to all your diverse target audiences in one case study, so go ahead and just choose one. It's time to identify it. This is the major reason why your target audience buy from you. Now it's time to get down to details. It begins with a screening process.

When it comes to asking your client to be interviewed, it's important to ease any concerns they may have. Be upfront yet gracious. Negotiating the more issues of theirs you alleviate, the more likely they'll be to say yes.

Writing a case study

All great case studies rest on a compelling story. But how do you get your client to tell that story in a natural way?

Through the right interview questions. Video is a unique medium. In , the UK became the first country to comprehensively assess the impact of its research as part of a national assessment. Although scores were not made public for individual cases, we looked for institutions whose case studies were all given grades in the same range to identify out of 7, high- or low-scoring case studies from a cross-section of disciplines.

We combined qualitative thematic analysis with quantitative linguistic analysis to explore what made a high-scoring submission. In a nutshell, high-scoring case studies clearly articulated evidence of significance and far-reaching benefits that could be clearly be attributed to research conducted at submitting institutions. However, new rules are being introduced for the next REF and best practice is changing rapidly in some areas. This could mean sticking to best practice from REF may not be enough to reach top scores in , so the lessons from this research should be seen as the minimum required to write a top-scoring case study for REF Part 1: Three key lessons from high-scoring case studies in REF Scores for individual case studies in REF were not made public, but based on the distribution of scores received by some institutions e.

The sample for quantitative linguistic analysis includes high-scoring and 93 low-scoring ICS. The Keyword statistics used were Log Likelihood for significance combined with minimum expected values and Log Ratio for effect size. This resulted in a list of typical bundles and functions that appear significantly more often in high- or low-scoring case studies, from which the above conclusions and examples are drawn.

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In order to quantify the readability of the texts, they were analysed using the Coh-Metrix online tool. This tool gives descriptive indices of language features, including 8 principal component scores made up of combinations of the other indices. Relevant indices have been selected and compared across corpus sections using t-tests. Articulate how specific groups have benefited and provide evidence of significance and reach.

Findings from the quantitative linguistic analysis show how high-scoring impact case studies contained more phrases that specified reach e. They also include more phrases implicitly indicating the significance of the impact e. Establish links between research cause and impact effect convincingly.

Those phrases indicate a focus on the effect, that is, on what the activity led to. In contrast, low-scoring case studies tended to link backwards, foregrounding the research activity e. High-scoring case studies made causal relationships more explicit above average when compared to general English texts, where low-scoring case studies are below average , which makes a text easier to process. Make your narrative easy to understand.

High-scoring impact case studies scored more highly on a readability measure correlated with reading speed because they included shorter, less complex sentences.

The Flesch Reading Ease score, out of , was Low-scoring cases were more likely to include academic phrasing with unnecessary phrases such as: in relation, in terms of, the way s in which. These findings are based on a preliminary analysis of data presented at the KMb conference, held in Newcastle on 21—23 March Part 2: Writing your summary, underpinning research and corroborating sources. The following two parts of this guide are based on experience reviewing and advising on case studies from a wide range of disciplines during the current REF period.

Dissemination is not impact: even if you have impressive numbers of reads, downloads, views or listens, how do you know if anyone learned anything from it, benefited, or did anything different as a result? To do this, design your communications so you can legitimately follow up longitudinally with audiences to re-engage, deepen interest and learning, and ask them how they benefited.

Developing resources for schools and doing work in schools is a pathway to impact, not an impact in its own right.

Identify specific changes you would like to see e. Follow-up to find out if your interventions worked or not.

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Make sure the majority of the words in your summary are about the impact, rather than the context and pathway to impact. Spend time making sure your summary resonates strongly with readers, communicating your impact straight-forwardly and persuasively. Get multiple reviews of your summary and keep polishing till you can improve it no further. Case studies submitted to UoAs by researchers from outside the discipline because they think assessment criteria will be easier may find a less sympathetic or understanding audience than they expected.

Describe the key findings from the underpinning research that pertain to your impact.

Only include essential contextual material, and avoid unnecessary detail on methods or other findings that were not integral to the impact. Number your list of underpinning research outputs and cite each output by number in your description of the underpinning research. Ensure your corroborating evidence is robust and credible, for example:. Work with credible stakeholders to conduct independent evaluations of your impact e. Offer help designing the evaluation to ensure it is robust. There are a number of ways you can publish corroborating evidence in the peer-reviewed literature.

The evaluation will not be not independent, but if well designed and written, few reviewers will doubt the veracity of your claims. If that's not possible, then publishing in the grey literature e. Although some impacts will require rigorous research to prove cause and effect beyond reasonable doubt e. Randomised Control Trials to demonstrate the efficacy of an intervention, or social science studies of attitude or cultural change , the evidence just needs to be credible and convincing enough, which in many cases will be less resource intensive.

Take advice from your Unit of Assessment lead if you are worried that the effort required to evaluate your impact is disproportionate, as they will have a more strategic overview of the number of case studies needed and their maturity, and can help decide if the effort is worth it in this context.

Assess impacts longitudinally, to look for longer term benefits that may not have been apparent at the time you did the work. For policy impacts, where possible include evidence that the policy was implemented, enforced and worked on the ground.

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For public engagement impacts, create opportunities to re-engage with participants to deepen their interest and learning and find out how they have benefited in the long-term. Impacts from public engagement are among the most challenge to evaluate and evidence, but there are a number of methods available to evaluate different types of impact arising from public engagement.

Make sure case studies that were previously submitted to REF only claim additional, new impacts that took place since You will need to declare if your case study is a continuation of a REF impact. See my blog on Everything you need to know about impact in the final REF guidance for more details on this. Part 3: Writing well. Give your most significant, far-reaching and well-evidenced impacts room to shine. Choose your words carefully. High scoring case studies are typically written in concise, accessible language, making specific claims with clear causal links back to the underpinning research.

Tell a story. Create a clear narrative that respects the timeline and realities of the pathway to impact, but that builds logically and sequentially towards the impact as the culmination of the story. Link disparate impacts together into a coherent narrative using thematic links if there were not links in practice. Use structure to your advantage. Sign-post each of your key impacts so they cannot be missed.

Case Study Research (The Quick Guide) Case Study Research (The Quick Guide)
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