A case study is a description of an actual situation involving a decision to be made or a problem to be solved.
Most case studies are written in such a way that the reader takes the place of the manager whose responsibility is to make decisions to help solve the problem.
In almost all case studies, a decision must be made, although that decision might be to leave the situation as it is and do nothing.
The case method of analysis is a learning tool in which students and Instructors participate in direct discussion of case studies, as opposed to the lecture method, where the Instructor speaks and students listen and take notes.
In the case method, students teach themselves, with the Instructor being an active guide. The focus is on students learning through their joint, co-operative effort.
Assigned cases are first prepared by students, and this preparation forms the basis for class discussion. Students learn how to evaluate a problem, how to make decisions, and how to orally argue a point of view.
Using this method, they also learn how to think in terms of the problems faced by a manager.
Harvard Business School: Inside the case method. Retrieved July 26, 2012, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Y4j25Pj4JyQ