Case Study Format Documentaire

This set of guidelines provides both instructions and a template for the writing of case reports for publication. You might want to skip forward and take a quick look at the template now, as we will be using it as the basis for your own case study later on. While the guidelines and template contain much detail, your finished case study should be only 500 to 1,500 words in length. Therefore, you will need to write efficiently and avoid unnecessarily flowery language.

These guidelines for the writing of case studies are designed to be consistent with the “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” referenced elsewhere in the JCCA instructions to authors.

After this brief introduction, the guidelines below will follow the headings of our template. Hence, it is possible to work section by section through the template to quickly produce a first draft of your study. To begin with, however, you must have a clear sense of the value of the study which you wish to describe. Therefore, before beginning to write the study itself, you should gather all of the materials relevant to the case – clinical notes, lab reports, x-rays etc. – and form a clear picture of the story that you wish to share with your profession. At the most superficial level, you may want to ask yourself “What is interesting about this case?” Keep your answer in mind as your write, because sometimes we become lost in our writing and forget the message that we want to convey.

Another important general rule for writing case studies is to stick to the facts. A case study should be a fairly modest description of what actually happened. Speculation about underlying mechanisms of the disease process or treatment should be restrained. Field practitioners and students are seldom well-prepared to discuss physiology or pathology. This is best left to experts in those fields. The thing of greatest value that you can provide to your colleagues is an honest record of clinical events.

Finally, remember that a case study is primarily a chronicle of a patient’s progress, not a story about chiropractic. Editorial or promotional remarks do not belong in a case study, no matter how great our enthusiasm. It is best to simply tell the story and let the outcome speak for itself. With these points in mind, let’s begin the process of writing the case study:

  • Title page:
    1. Title: The title page will contain the full title of the article. Remember that many people may find our article by searching on the internet. They may have to decide, just by looking at the title, whether or not they want to access the full article. A title which is vague or non-specific may not attract their attention. Thus, our title should contain the phrase “case study,” “case report” or “case series” as is appropriate to the contents. The two most common formats of titles are nominal and compound. A nominal title is a single phrase, for example “A case study of hypertension which responded to spinal manipulation.” A compound title consists of two phrases in succession, for example “Response of hypertension to spinal manipulation: a case study.” Keep in mind that titles of articles in leading journals average between 8 and 9 words in length.

    2. Other contents for the title page should be as in the general JCCA instructions to authors. Remember that for a case study, we would not expect to have more than one or two authors. In order to be listed as an author, a person must have an intellectual stake in the writing – at the very least they must be able to explain and even defend the article. Someone who has only provided technical assistance, as valuable as that may be, may be acknowledged at the end of the article, but would not be listed as an author. Contact information – either home or institutional – should be provided for each author along with the authors’ academic qualifications. If there is more than one author, one author must be identified as the corresponding author – the person whom people should contact if they have questions or comments about the study.

    3. Key words: Provide key words under which the article will be listed. These are the words which would be used when searching for the article using a search engine such as Medline. When practical, we should choose key words from a standard list of keywords, such as MeSH (Medical subject headings). A copy of MeSH is available in most libraries. If we can’t access a copy and we want to make sure that our keywords are included in the MeSH library, we can visit this address:

  • Abstract: Abstracts generally follow one of two styles, narrative or structured.

    A narrative abstract consists of a short version of the whole paper. There are no headings within the narrative abstract. The author simply tries to summarize the paper into a story which flows logically.

    A structured abstract uses subheadings. Structured abstracts are becoming more popular for basic scientific and clinical studies, since they standardize the abstract and ensure that certain information is included. This is very useful for readers who search for articles on the internet. Often the abstract is displayed by a search engine, and on the basis of the abstract the reader will decide whether or not to download the full article (which may require payment of a fee). With a structured abstract, the reader is more likely to be given the information which they need to decide whether to go on to the full article, and so this style is encouraged. The JCCA recommends the use of structured abstracts for case studies.

    Since they are summaries, both narrative and structured abstracts are easier to write once we have finished the rest of the article. We include a template for a structured abstract and encourage authors to make use of it. Our sub-headings will be:
    1. Introduction: This consists of one or two sentences to describe the context of the case and summarize the entire article.

    2. Case presentation: Several sentences describe the history and results of any examinations performed. The working diagnosis and management of the case are described.

    3. Management and Outcome: Simply describe the course of the patient’s complaint. Where possible, make reference to any outcome measures which you used to objectively demonstrate how the patient’s condition evolved through the course of management.

    4. Discussion: Synthesize the foregoing subsections and explain both correlations and apparent inconsistencies. If appropriate to the case, within one or two sentences describe the lessons to be learned.

  • Introduction: At the beginning of these guidelines we suggested that we need to have a clear idea of what is particularly interesting about the case we want to describe. The introduction is where we convey this to the reader. It is useful to begin by placing the study in a historical or social context. If similar cases have been reported previously, we describe them briefly. If there is something especially challenging about the diagnosis or management of the condition that we are describing, now is our chance to bring that out. Each time we refer to a previous study, we cite the reference (usually at the end of the sentence). Our introduction doesn’t need to be more than a few paragraphs long, and our objective is to have the reader understand clearly, but in a general sense, why it is useful for them to be reading about this case.

  • Case presentation: This is the part of the paper in which we introduce the raw data. First, we describe the complaint that brought the patient to us. It is often useful to use the patient’s own words. Next, we introduce the important information that we obtained from our history-taking. We don’t need to include every detail – just the information that helped us to settle on our diagnosis. Also, we should try to present patient information in a narrative form – full sentences which efficiently summarize the results of our questioning. In our own practice, the history usually leads to a differential diagnosis – a short list of the most likely diseases or disorders underlying the patient’s symptoms. We may or may not choose to include this list at the end of this section of the case presentation.

    The next step is to describe the results of our clinical examination. Again, we should write in an efficient narrative style, restricting ourselves to the relevant information. It is not necessary to include every detail in our clinical notes.

    If we are using a named orthopedic or neurological test, it is best to both name and describe the test (since some people may know the test by a different name). Also, we should describe the actual results, since not all readers will have the same understanding of what constitutes a “positive” or “negative” result.

    X-rays or other images are only helpful if they are clear enough to be easily reproduced and if they are accompanied by a legend. Be sure that any information that might identify a patient is removed before the image is submitted.

    At this point, or at the beginning of the next section, we will want to present our working diagnosis or clinical impression of the patient.

  • Management and Outcome: In this section, we should clearly describe the plan for care, as well as the care which was actually provided, and the outcome.

    It is useful for the reader to know how long the patient was under care and how many times they were treated. Additionally, we should be as specific as possible in describing the treatment that we used. It does not help the reader to simply say that the patient received “chiropractic care.” Exactly what treatment did we use? If we used spinal manipulation, it is best to name the technique, if a common name exists, and also to describe the manipulation. Remember that our case study may be read by people who are not familiar with spinal manipulation, and, even within chiropractic circles, nomenclature for technique is not well standardized.

    We may want to include the patient’s own reports of improvement or worsening. However, whenever possible we should try to use a well-validated method of measuring their improvement. For case studies, it may be possible to use data from visual analogue scales (VAS) for pain, or a journal of medication usage.

    It is useful to include in this section an indication of how and why treatment finished. Did we decide to terminate care, and if so, why? Did the patient withdraw from care or did we refer them to another practitioner?

  • Discussion: In this section we may want to identify any questions that the case raises. It is not our duty to provide a complete physiological explanation for everything that we observed. This is usually impossible. Nor should we feel obligated to list or generate all of the possible hypotheses that might explain the course of the patient’s condition. If there is a well established item of physiology or pathology which illuminates the case, we certainly include it, but remember that we are writing what is primarily a clinical chronicle, not a basic scientific paper. Finally, we summarize the lessons learned from this case.

  • Acknowledgments: If someone provided assistance with the preparation of the case study, we thank them briefly. It is neither necessary nor conventional to thank the patient (although we appreciate what they have taught us). It would generally be regarded as excessive and inappropriate to thank others, such as teachers or colleagues who did not directly participate in preparation of the paper.

  • References: References should be listed as described elsewhere in the instructions to authors. Only use references that you have read and understood, and actually used to support the case study. Do not use more than approximately 15 references without some clear justification. Try to avoid using textbooks as references, since it is assumed that most readers would already have this information. Also, do not refer to personal communication, since readers have no way of checking this information.

    A popular search engine for English-language references is Medline:

  • Legends: If we used any tables, figures or photographs, they should be accompanied by a succinct explanation. A good rule for graphs is that they should contain sufficient information to be generally decipherable without reference to a legend.

  • Tables, figures and photographs should be included at the end of the manuscript.

  • Permissions: If any tables, figures or photographs, or substantial quotations, have been borrowed from other publications, we must include a letter of permission from the publisher. Also, if we use any photographs which might identify a patient, we will need their written permission.

  • In addition, patient consent to publish the case report is also required.

    Compelling case studies can help you convince potential customers to start to use your product.

    This is especially true if your case study subject is in the same industry or is the same size as your potential customer.

    There’s just one problem.

    Writing an excellent case study is hard.

    So we thought we would help lighten the load for you.

    This post contains 35 case study examples across a variety of industries to help inspire your content writers.

    Plus, we’ll walk through a step-by-step process on how to write a case study of your own (using one of two different template styles can grab for free).

    Create Great Marketing Case Studies With Four Free Templates

    Before we get into the post, let’s not waste time giving you what you came here for.

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    In this, bundle, you’ll get:

    • Three Case Study Templates (Print or PDF): Use this Word template to create a case study you’ll either print or make available via PDF. We’ve included three copies in green, red, and blue header colors.
    • Case Study Template (Web): Use this template to write your case study content as a web page.

    Grab them both and following on with the rest of this post.

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    What Is A Case Study?

    According to Top Rank Blog, a case study is:

    “An analysis of a project, campaign or company that identifies a situation, recommended solutions, implementation actions and identification of those factors that contributed to failure or success.”

    Here’s a case study video example from a brand you might even be drinking right now (if we had to guess, we’d say marketers love their Starbucks):

    TL;DR? Check out this Slideshare if you want a quick overview on developing case studies:

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    7 Steps To Writing a Strong Case Study

    Writing a case study involves gathering all the information you need from your organization, your client or a customer, and then formating into an easy to read document.

    Here are the seven steps you need to follow to write a full study.

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    Step One: Finding the Subject of Your Case Study

    The first step in any case study writing process is deciding who you want to write about. It could be your organization, a client or a customer.

    Some criteria to keep in mind when you’re selecting your case study subject is:

    • If you’re working with a customer or client, how much do they use your product or service?
    • Has there been a dramatic result since they started working with your organization?
    • Have they used a competitor before?

    To find this information, consider:

    • Talking to your sales team to see if there are any prospects who may be willing to participate.
    • Asking your customer support department if they have any exceptional customers.
    • Review recent new customers to see if any prospective candidates have bought from you.

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    Step Two: Ask For Permission to Use Their Story in Your Case Study

    It’s one thing if you’re writing about your organization, it’s another if you’re writing about customers or clients. Don’t just pull information about them and throw it into a case study.

    Ask them before you start.

    Create a Permission Letter

    If you are creating multiple case studies, design a pre-written permission letter. It will help move your writing process along.

    Your letter should include:

    • What the case study undertaking is going to look like.
    • What they get out of the case study.

    Here’s a copy-and-paste template you can tailor to your needs:

    Hi [Name of person],

    Our team is conducting a case study, and we would love to tell the story of [company]. Would you be interested in working with us to create a case study around the use of our product?

    Here’s a description of our process and what we would need from you:

    What we’d like from you:

    • High-resolution company logo (basically as big as possible)
    • High-resolution images of your team, company office, etc – stories with photos of your team will drive more traffic (people like seeing that there are humans behind a story)
    • Stats: before [Company] / after [Company]

    What does the process look like?

    • 1 [phone/video call/coffee] interview with [person].
    • Our team will then take your interview and build a story out of it.
    • 2-3 email conversations may be necessary to gather extra information.
    • Once final draft is complete – we’ll send it over to your team for review.
    • We’ll then finalize the story, create a landing page, and build a campaign around it.
    • Once live we’ll share final story with you (for your marketing efforts)

    Average Turnaround Time: 1 month (subject to change based on response times and edits).

    What’s in it for you?

    • Perk One
    • Perk Two
    • Perk Three
    • Perk Four
    • Perk Five

    Best regards,


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    Consider Using a Legal Release Form

    Another potential step in the process is asking your case study subjects to sign a legal release form so you can use their information.

    You do not have to take this step in your case study creation process. If you do decide to have your subjects sign a form, consult with your legal team first.

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    Step Three: Send Them An Introductory Questionnaire

    Once your client or customer has agreed to participate, you should begin to format your introductory questionnaire.

    This questionnaire will help you get the information you need to shape the story of your case study.

    Some potential questions to include could be:

    • What problem did you experience before using our product/service?
    • Why did you select our product/service instead of a competitor?
    • How did our product/service solve a problem you were experiencing?
    • What are your goals as a business or organization?
    • Are you comfortable sharing data and metrics demonstrating your success?

    You can adjust your questions based on how your customer uses your product to get specific answers or quotes that can be highlighted in your study.

    Recommended Reading:40 Content Writing Tips to Make You a Better Marketer Now

    Step Four: Format Your Case Study Interview Questions

    Once your client or customer has completed your initial questionnaire, it’s time to draft your interview questions.

    Asking quality interview questions is critical to ensure that you get the information you need to write a full case study. Remember your clients or customers are busy, so you don’t want to have to ask for more details multiple times.

    Based on the responses that you received from your initial questionnaire, you can adjust questions to get any additional information you need.

    Here are 25 case study questions to add to your interview.

    Getting To Know Your Subject

    These questions should be similar to the ones you sent in your questionnaire. These should help you gather any information you may have missed.
    Potential examples are:

    • What industry is your company in?
    • How long have you been using our product or service?
    • What is your work process like?
    • How many members are on your team?
    • What goals do you set for your team?

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    What Problems Were They Experiencing?

    Your case study participants were obviously experiencing some problem before they turned to your organization for a solution. Give the readers of your case study, even more, context by getting as much information about their problem as possible.

    Some possible questions to include in your interview are:

    • When did your team first realize there was a problem?
    • What solutions did you try before you came to us?
    • Did your problem happen suddenly or did it occur over time?
    • How did the team come to the decision that outside assistance was required?
    • What factors led to the problem developing?

    [Tweet “Writing a case study? Here are five questions to ask when identifying your subject’s core problems.”

    What Helped Them Make Their Decision?

    Finding out what helped your client or customer decide to work with your company is not only informative for potential new business, but it can help your organization determine what materials to publish.

    Try these questions out during your interview:

    • What materials did you read or watch that influenced your decision?
    • What criteria did you have when you were looking for a solution?
    • What competitors did you look at (if any)?
    • How did you convince your team to make a change?
    • What sealed the deal for you when you choose to work with our organization?

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    How Does Your Solution Help?

    Talk to your customer or client and find out how your solution is helped them fix the problem that they were previously experiencing.

    Add these questions to your interview list:

    • What [product/service] helped solve your problem?
    • What did our product or service replace in your current work process?
    • What tasks did our [product/service] simplify for you?
    • How much time do you save?
    • What tasks did our [product/service] eliminate?

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    How Did They Implement Your Product?

    Another relevant question to ask during your interview process is how your subject implemented your solution into their work process. This could help eliminate nerves from other potential new customers.

    Here are some questions to ask during your interview:

    • How easily did your team adapt our product into their routine?
    • How was your onboarding process?
    • What process did you use to switch over to using our product?
    • What difficulties did you face in the transition process?
    • What advice do you have for anyone implementing our product into their work process?

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    What Results Did They See?

    Results speak volumes so why not let your customer or client data do the talking for you? Remember that you may not be able to gather or showcase all the data you ask for.

    Try adding a few of these questions to your list of questions:

    • How much faster are you at completing [task] now that you use our product?
    • How did we help you reach your goals?
    • Did you see any significant jumps in the data that your team collects?
    • How has your productivity changed since implementing our [product/service]?
    • What positive results have you seen?

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    Want to keep these questions somewhere handy for reference? Save this cheat sheet:

    Step Five: Schedule the Interview

    You’ve found your subject, and your interview questions are at the ready. The next part of your process is going to involve setting up your interview.

    First, you need to set up a time for your interview on a synced calendar.

    Do This With CoSchedule: Did you know you can sync your Google Calendar with your CoSchedule calendar? Learn how.

    Then you need to decide how you’re going to conduct your interview. Here are some options:

    • Phone interview. Use a phone call recording app like [Include some options here]. Make sure you have permission to record your call.
    • Video call. If you’re using a Mac, Quicktime makes it easy to record video calls on your desktop for free. Windows users can use Skype.
    • Face to face meeting. If your client is local, this may be the easiest and most personable option.

    Once you and your client/customer have decided on an interview time and place, make sure that you have a way to document your interview, either through a recording device or note taking (we highly recommend recording your conversation for accuracy and peace of mind).

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    Step Six: Write Your Case Study

    Finally, you have all of your information collected in one place. Now comes the fun part; putting it all together into the case study template you downloaded earlier.

    Writing Your Title

    The first part of any good case study is a catchy title. Your title should include the name of your client or customer as well as their logo. Your subhead should also be short and included information on what product or service they used that helped them solve their problem.

    In your template, add your title (and your subject’s logo):

    What does a quality title look like? Well, it doesn’t have to be complicated. It should:

    • State who it’s about.
    • Explain what was done.
    • Communicate a clear result.

    Take a look at this example from

    This title works because of it explains:

    • The problem the company faced.
    • What type of company is involved in the case study.
    • How helped them tackle the challenge.

    Do This With CoSchedule: Did you know that CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can help you write better headlines? Try it now.

    Executive Summary

    Your executive summary should be a two to three sentence paragraph that describes the story of your client/customer. You can also include a statistic or two to help illustrate the success of your case study subject.

    Here’s what this section looks like in your template:

    Check out this executive summary example about Patagonia:


    This executive summary works because:

    • It explains what Patagonia is about.
    • It highlights the problem the company was experiencing.
    • It’s short and concise.

    Who is The Case Study About?

    The next part of your case study should explain who your case study is about. This is where the information that you gathered from your initial questionnaire would go.

    Here’s what this section looks like in your template:

    This one, from a case study about Adobe, is tied in with its executive summary:

    Why this works:

    • It explains who Adobe is.
    • It highlights what the Adobe team is already doing.
    • It ties together the problem Adobe experienced with the reason it turned to LinkedIn for a solution.

    Problems They’ve Faced

    In this part of the study, write about the top two to three issues that your case study participant was experiencing. You should summarize what challenges they faced as well as their previous goals.

    Cirque de Soleil’s case study is a great example of address problems a company faces in a case study:


    Why it works:

    1. The study cuts right to the heart of the problem.
    2. It mentions the specific part of the company that helped Cirque.
    3. It breaks through the fluff and gets the point across right away.

    How Did You Help?


    This section of your case study is going to show off the solutions that your customers and clients use. It should highlight the changes that you’ve brought to their team.

    Callaway Golf is another great example of a case study that explains how it’s researcher helped solve their problem.

    Why this works:

    • It shows people how LinkedIn has access to Callaway’s target demographic.
    • It explains how they created an app to help solve Callaway’s problem.
    • It explains parts of the data they used to target Callaway’s target audience.

    Progress and Results

    The final section of your case study should feature the progress that has been made since your customer or client began to use your services. This could be shown through progress towards their goals, changes in metrics they track, and more.

    Here’s what this section looks like in your template:

    Take a look at the results section in a case study on Weebly.


    Why this works:

    • The results are one of the most visuals aspects of the case study.
    • They are easy to skim.
    • You can easily tell what type of growth or improvement they experienced.

    Using Visuals In Your Case Study

    Visuals can help add the extra oomph you need to make a great case study. It can also help make the document easier to skim.

    Whether that means graphs, logos, or photos, visuals can make a huge difference.


    Here are a few extra resources to help you create solid visuals for your case study.

    Do This In CoSchedule: You can manage projects and hold your team accountable to meeting deadlines with CoSchedule?Learn how.

    Step Seven: Promoting Your Case Study

    Your case study is finally complete. You sent it off to your client/customer, and they approved your work.

    Now what?

    You did all that work, don’t forget to get it out there for the world to see.

    Promote your case study by:

    The great thing about case studies is that they are an easy piece of marketing material to tack on to any additional campaign.

    Do This In CoSchedule: You can plan and promote all your content in one place with CoSchedule? Learn how to create and schedule automated social media promo campaigns in CoSchedule.

    What Does A Case Study Look Like? Let’s Look at 5 Examples.

    Now that you know how to create a great case study let’s look at some well-executed examples.

    Vega Case Study Example

    Here’s an example of a case study our team at CoSchedule created for Vega, a customer specializing in premium plant-based lifestyle products. It makes it clear who they are and exactly how CoSchedule has improved their business.


    Red Bull Marketing Case Study Example

    Red Bull is known for its amazing content marketing. This case study from Link Humans turns a typical blog post into a full-blown case study examining how the brand executes its wildly innovative strategy:


    Automotive Case Study Example

    Why does this case study work? It’s about an automotive company, and it’s coming from one of the biggest family brands ever: Disney.

    It’s also:

    1. Concise and to the point. There is no fluff that would distract the reader from the information they need to find.
    2. Outside of Disney’s wheelhouse and therefore reaches a different but desired target market. Who would think of Disney as a resource to help craft a new company culture? This case study shows that they can.

    Big-Box Store Case Study Example

    Target is a big brand box store that is branching out and trying new things to interact with its customers. This case study from TED landed on our highlight list for two reasons.

    1. One is its visually appealing images …
    2. … and the other is the way the TED team formatted the study for the web. It’s short, sweet and broken into easy to skim paragraphs.

    Hotel Case Study Example

    This case study from Hilton is a great example of how a company can conduct a study on itself. This brief document is a perfect example of how to format a case study for easy printing.

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    Now Go Write An Awesome Case Study

    The fear of creating a compelling case study is gone. You have great examples to follow and two different templates to help you format the information you gather.

    We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

    Do you have a question or two about formatting case studies? Let us know in the comments below.

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