Case Method

Pioneered by the Harvard Business School, the Case Method uses real world problems or issues and tasks students with the challenge of addressing various constraints to eventually arrive at some desired solution or goal.

To structure a basic Case Method assignment you:

  1. Present students with a case and ask them to position themselves as decision makers as they read through and identify the specific challenge(s) presented in the case.
  2. Students analyse the case and consider various actions and solutions to inform a set of recommendations.
  3. After students read and reflect on their cases, instructors may decide to group students in learning teams to discuss their cases with other students in small groups.
  4. As a large group, the instructor guides the students to probe underlying issues, compare alternatives, and offer recommendations that align with the goals and objectives of the stakeholders in the case (e.g., an organization).

Watch a 3-minute video explaining the Case Method activity from the K. Patricia Cross Academy.


Barkley, E.F. & Major, C.H. (2016). Learning assessment techniques. Jossey-Bass.

  • Note: Section on Case Study, pages 243-247.

What is the Case Study Method. (n.d.). Harvard Business School Executive Education.

The K. Patricia Cross Academy. (n.d.). Case Studies [Video]. YouTube.