Case study qualities (and a spooky example)
WHAT MAKES A GOOD CASE STUDY?
A good case study has substance. It is not a testimonial or customer endorsement. They describe real-life events, experienced by real-life people, working for real-life organisations, doing real-business and facing real-life issues. They should be told as a story; with a plot, a cast of characters, a chronological sequence of events, and a conclusion. It will take its reader on a journey and shows how others have trodden a similar path. It highlights the pitfalls to be avoided and the hurdles to be overcome, as well as the prizes to be gained. Above all, it is a demonstration of the provider’s potential capability to assist the reader with his or her own particular problems.
As part of understanding the whats, whys and hows of case study composition, here’s a fictionalised example we’ve made (with tongue firmly in cheek):
A MOCK CASE STUDY
The Ghost Is Gone – 100% Success Rate
Mr. Shreeveâ€™s apartment is the sort of place your grandparents would find homely. With its rustic wooden floors and brass doorknobs, its walls hung with trophies and old photographs, the gramophone in the corner on top of the teak drinks cabinet – it is a place enriched by its history. But until three months ago, it was also haunted by an unsightly spectre that Shreeve and his neighbours had taken to call â€œthe Mulberry Apparitionâ€.
Shreeveâ€™s flat is one of thirty-six near-identical flats in the tenement where Mulberry Street meets Bleecker. The residents are made up of the old and the young, workers and the retired, families and singletons, all of them sharing a common problem in the devious spirit that was damaging their property, assaulting their loved ones, and keeping them awake at night. Mr. Shreeve, 82, said: â€œIt came to a point where enough was enough. We had to get the Ghostbusters in.â€
Fortunately, the residents can rest easy now that the ghost problem has been resolved. As the premium paranormal investigation and elimination service, the Ghostbusters implemented a swift and efficient trap and control programme with minimal detriment to the tenementâ€™s populace. The methods utilised in this field have often been frowned upon for the massive health risks they pose, not to mention phenomenally high damage control costs. Most companies see this as a necessary preventative measure, but not the Ghostbusters. We believe careful planning and a considered approach are much more of an asset than running in guns blazing.
A solution to grating ghouls
The origins of â€œthe Mulberry Apparitionâ€ are unclear. The ghost – who appears as a hideously disfigured woman in a long, flowing gown â€“ had haunted the tenement intermittently for long before any of the current residents moved in. After countless calls to the Cityâ€™s Exorcism Department (CED) and other private ghost hunters, the residents soon knew they would need a more complete solution. The tenement committee subsequently contacted the Ghostbusters to see if they could help rid the building of their troublesome phantom.
The Ghostbusters were hired based on their significant experience and innovative approach to ghost control and capture. And for the fact that they could offer their services on a â€œno win, no feeâ€ basis. The costs for any such service are usually inextricably high, but the Ghostbusters ensured the Committee, headed up by Mr. Shreeve and caretaker, Ronald Floss, that they would mitigate their fees if the residency considered letting them instigate a new-fangled technology, which they guaranteed would eliminate the problem once and for all. Weighing up the risks for such an operation was a substantial procedure, but when you consider at this point that the ghost was accounting for $10,000 dollarsâ€™ worth of damage per month (not to mention the fact that the Ghostbusters agreed that in the unlikely event any inadvertent damage was caused during their operation they would cover it in their own expenditure) the value of their services represented too good a proposal to turn down.
Moneyâ€™s worth in moments
As soon as the Ghostbusters were engaged, their field operatives attended the block and conducted a thorough assessment of the situation before implementing a proton portal, designed to lure and trap the bothersome banshee. Where the CED had deployed traditional means of diminishing the foe, such as ritual interrogation, the Ghostbusters recognised that the first action to take would be to remove the offending spirit from the location so that it could then be safely destroyed offsite. The CED operative had spent a number of months trying to engage the Apparition but had achieved little success and had only riled up the ghost, causing a further $75,000 dollars of damage to the apartment block. In contrast, within hours of their arrival, the Ghostbusters had captured and removed the Ghost, at no more than the cost of a broken teapot. Happily, for the people of the tenement, the Ghostbusters had followed through on their guarantee.
Unparalleled service and concrete warranties
The service model offered to the apartment block was completely transparent between provider and customer. The Ghostbusters agreed to help and offered reduced rates on the basis that the residents would sign off on the implementation of this new technology. This was with the understanding that costs to cover any damage caused during the operation would also be covered. With the procedure itself being 100% successful, a reduced rate for a premium service was charged, with the cost of the teapot deducted. There were no hidden fees and the cost was in line with an initial quotation. We, at Ghostbusters, always put an onus on providing our services at a realistic price point that is far more competitive than other similar companies. For example, the services in this instance cost less than a third of the overall costs incurred in damages by the CEDâ€™s attempts to solve the problem. Mary Standing, who manages the buildingâ€™s utilities and upkeep disbursements, supported this by saying: â€œIn the end if we had continued to pump cash in the direction of government-owned services like the CED, we might have all been living out of tents by the end of the year. Ghostbusters, on the other hand, did the job for a fraction of the cost which means we now even have money left over to put towards refurbishment of this historic buildingâ€.
Problem: Ghostly invasion
Project Duration: 3 hours
Problem Recurrence: None
Type of Problem: Malign phantom
Customer Benefits: Avoided major health risks, reduced insurance premiums and damage costs, peace of mind and no more sleepless nights for residents
The Ghostbusters are happy to provide an invaluable service to the people of Manhattan. In cases as particular as these, we recognise the practical needs of the individuals and provide a tailor-made approach to problem solving.
â€œThe Ghostbusters succeeded with embarrassing ease where others had failed. Iâ€™d have no hesitation in recommending their services to anybody in a similar situation. They resolved our issue extremely quickly, for a very reasonable price, and allowed us to get on with our lives once more.â€
Mr B. Shreeve
About the Tenement
Built on the corner of Mulberry Street and Bleecker Street in downtown Manhattan, the apartments are a prime example of 18th century Italian-American architecture.
In the past, the lower floors of the apartments served as a makeshift printing facility for the J. Ottmann Lithographic Company. As such, though now a permanent residency, the building remains culturally relevant for being the origin of the popular â€˜Puck Magazineâ€™.
Now home to a small community from all walks of life, the apartment is a handy place to live for those wanting to experience Little Italy in all its bustling glory.
About the Ghostbusters
Founded in the early 1980s with a focus on providing solutions to paranormal problems, we provide a flexible and efficient service at competitive prices. Our technologies are non-destructive, environmentally sound and 100% infallible.