Education Response Essay

1334 WordsSep 11, 20146 Pages
What are case studies? Case studies are stories. They present realistic, complex, and contextually rich situations and often involve a dilemma, conflict, or problem that one or more of the characters in the case must negotiate. A good case study, according to Professor Paul Lawrence is: “the vehicle by which a chunk of reality is brought into the classroom to be worked over by the class and the instructor. A good case keeps the class discussion grounded upon some of the stubborn facts that must be faced in real life situations.” (quoted in Christensen, 1981) Although they have been used most extensively in the teaching of medicine, law and business, case studies can be an effective teaching tool in any number of disciplines. As an instructional strategy, case studies have a number of virtues. They “bridge the gap between theory and practice and between the academy and the workplace” (Barkley, Cross, and Major 2005, p.182). They also give students practice identifying the parameters of a problem, recognizing and articulating positions, evaluating courses of action, and arguing different points of view. Case studies vary in length and detail, and can be used in a number of ways, depending on the case itself and on the instructor’s goals. They can be short (a few paragraphs) or long (e.g. 20+ pages). They can be used in lecture-based or discussion-based classes. They can be real, with all the detail drawn from actual people and circumstances, or simply realistic. They can provide all the relevant data students need to discuss and resolve the central issue, or only some of it, requiring students to identify, and possibly fill in (via outside research), the missing information. They can require students to examine multiple aspects of a problem, or just a circumscribed piece. They can require students to propose a solution for the case or simply to identify the

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