Case Control Study Writing: The Basics

Case Study Definition 

Most academic sources define case study as a paper that juxtaposes two groups of patients in order to study the correlation between the risk factors and disease occurrence in these groups. The case group usually consists of patients with a certain disease, while the control group includes the patients without the disease. Such approach allows receiving comprehensive and objective data about the conditions that provoke the disease. 

As a rule, the case control study does not imply interfering with the two groups and their processes, including disease development, as it has an entirely observational nature. Such studies serve the aim of analyzing the progress of the disease post-factum, and tracing back the frequency and impact of a certain risk factor in both groups. 

Case Control Study: Advantages

  • Helps to gain more information about the rare or recently discovered diseases
  • Time-savvy because analyzes the disease progress in retrospective
  • Allows to analyze various risk factors
  • Provides the objective and unbiased information

Case Control Study: Disadvantages

  • The biggest danger of relying on case-study evidence is that it can be inaccurate due to the incomplete or distorted reports of the participants
  • Inappropriate for the purpose of diagnosing 
  • The criteria of selecting the participants to the control group are never definite

Case Study Project Features

  • Case control study is one of the common methods of research applied in medical studies.
  • Case studies deal with practice rather than theory and strive to receive accurate empirical data. 
  • A case control study helps to define the major factors that provoke the development of a certain disease. 
  • Case studies have an observational and analytical nature.
  • A case-control study can involve several case studies, with one disease and a number of risk factors related to it. They can either confirm the existing hypotheses or prove them wrong.

All in all, it is clear that case studies are done in order to find tendencies and patterns of diseases’ development due to some specific conditions. However, they are not limited to diseases and medical conditions only: such studies can research other problems or phenomena from different spheres of human life. An indisputable advantage of such studies is that they can provide a more detailed and scrupulous information about a certain phenomenon, as they usually look for a deeper understanding and a more profound analysis. Combining the quantitative and qualitative methodologies, this approach is very effective for receiving the comprehensive knowledge about the research subject.

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Case Study Research: The Essence

Invented in the late 19th century by Pierre Guillaume Frédéric Le Play, this method was first applied to study the notion of family economy, and later spread to other spheres of human life. A case study analyzes the case as a complex material and is not limited by the features of separate samples. Due to this, a more detailed and accurate result can be expected from this sort of research. Many colleges and universities use this kind of paper as an assignment that reflects the students’ analytical skills. Besides, a case study assignment is definitely simpler than a complex research paper or a dissertation, so it is widely practiced at the beginning of one’s college studying.

This type of assignment is rather flexible and universal, which is why it is given to the students of various specializations. Namely, case control studies can be applied in psychology, pedagogy, political sciences, medicine, sociology, etc. Obviously, it is most suitable for all social sciences, as this discipline always involves studying the groups of people and the dynamics within these groups. Besides, the numerous theories related to behavioral patterns and social interaction can be tested and validated in such empirical researches. As an additional benefit, the students gain the skills of paper structuring, researching, and working with different sources of information.

How to Prepare an Excellent Case Control Study

To those who have never worked with such assignments, case control studies can seem difficult and chaotic. However, if you know how to organize the writing process properly, you will not experience any troubles with it. Below, we have listed the basic principles and useful tips that will make your work easier and more effective.

prepare the case

  • Review the research problem. Read the related literature, note down the significant findings, use brainstorm to unveil all the aspects of the issue.
  • Find the central questions and define them. You need to limit your study with certain aspects that your paper will be built around, otherwise the topic can be too broad and impossible to cover.
  • Make predictions about the possible results of your research. Estimate the expected data that you think will be received.
  • Prove the research value of your study. Support your point of view with the evidence from previous studies published in respected sources. 
  • Prepare a case study outline. List all the necessary sections and problems that your paper will cover and arrange them in the consecutive order.

structure your paper

  • Introduction

In this section, present the topic of your paper and its central problem. At the end of your introduction, place your thesis statement that contains the hypothesis about the study’s results.

  • Context

Draw a general picture for the readers, showing what is happening in the sphere currently. Place your research in the context of the existing works on this topic.

  • Alternatives

Show other solutions to the studied research problems and discuss why they do not work.

  • Solution

Based on your observations and analysis of the data retrieved in the course of the study, you need to produce a viable solution for the claimed research problem. Discuss how the offered solution can be applied and which results it will bring. Support your arguments with specific numbers and qualitative data.

  • Recommendations

Since during your research work you have gained a deep understanding of the matter and all the related nuances, you must have noticed certain patterns, specific features, limitations, etc. All this information needs to be discussed, and any solution has to consider these details.

complete your paper

Once the case control study is finished, it is important to proofread it attentively. First, take some time to rest and take your mind off this work. Then, with a fresh perception, read the whole work from beginning till the end. Pay attention to the general flow of the text, sequence of ideas, paper’s structure and clarity. The secondary aspects that you need to check include grammar, punctuation, word choice, spelling, and format. Fix any errors that you notice and read the whole thing again until you are positive about your paper being flawless.

Case Study Outline

A good outline with a proper structure guarantees an easy writing and good organization of your paper. Thus, be attentive when making your outline and try to optimize it for the utmost effectiveness. Here is what you can do to make your outline work for you:

  • Work on the title. It has to hint at the topic, intrigue the readers and make them want to learn more.
  • Choose the proper language and style. The level of formality can vary depending on your topic.
  • Formulate the research problem clearly.
  • Call for action with specific verbs.
  • Make every line work for you: it has to be engaging for the readers.
  • Stay concise and do not include too many details.
  • Follow the logical order: the elements of the outline need to be arranged consecutively.
  • One section must serve one purpose: narrow down the content of each of them.

The reader has to get the general idea of your paper by looking at its title, and the titles of subheadings need to be clear and informative too. Make sure you produce effective headings for all of your paper’s sections.

Case Study Example

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