When writing a case study, it is important to know that a case study takes two different approaches. The two main approaches are the analytical approach and the problem-oriented approach. In an analytical approach, the case study is examined to help gain an understanding of what has happened and why it has happened. Here, it is not necessary to point at problems or to suggest possible solutions. In a problem-oriented approach, a case is examined to help identify the main problem or problem and suggest possible solutions to the identified problems.
In a problem-oriented approach, the main focus is the identification of the problem and the formulation of a working solution. Here, a successful case study is identified by its ability to analyze the existing real life situation where the existing problems require a suitable solution.
The problem-oriented approach relates a specific theory with the present practical situation or the problem in the case. For instance, this could be an application of the knowledge and ideas that have been discussed in the course work to the problem at hand or the situation being examined. The problem-oriented case study focuses on the identification of the problem, selection of the major problem among the problems available in the case, and suggesting working solutions to the major problems in the case. Additionally, this approach also recommends the best solution needs to be implemented and gives details on how and when the solution provided should be implemented. Normally, the data used in this type of a case study are collected using data collection techniques such as interviews, tape recording, observations and document collections.
The analytical approach, on the other hand, helps in getting an in-depth understanding of what is happening, what happened or why it happened. Analytical case study, unlike the problem-oriented, demands very sharp analytical skills. In approach, there is no specific problem that requires a solution; rather it is a situation that requires keen analysis. The situation under examination is to help draw conclusions on what is happening or what leads to the situation. The analytical approach can also utilize data collection techniques such as interviews and observation in the collection of data.
The main difference between these two approaches is that the problem-oriented focuses on recommending a working solution to the problem at hand while the analytical approach focuses on interpreting reasons behind certain cases. For example, an analytical approach could focus on determining why people prefer Facebook to Twitter or why people prefer to shop in the evening to shopping in the morning.