Case Study Teaching

Case studies are an increasingly popular form of teaching and have an important role in developing skills and knowledge. There are a number of definitions for the term case study.  For example, Fry et al (1999) describe case studies as complex examples which give an insight into the context of a problem as well as illustrating the main point.

We define our case studies as student-centred activities based around topics that demonstrate theoretical concepts in an applied setting. Our reasons for using this case study approach can be summarised as follows:

  • To allow the application of theoretical concepts to be demonstrated, thus bridging the gap between theory and practice. It is hoped that this approach will add new dimensions and insights into the subject.
  • To encourage active learning.
  • To provide an opportunity for the development of key skills, such as communication, group working and problem solving.
  • To increase the students’ enjoyment of the topic and hence their desire to learn. 

As a student in this department, you will take part in a number of case studies. These may range from a three-hour exercise in class, to a longer project-based activity. They may require you to work in groups or individually to complete the assignment. Our case studies are designed to give you a greater understanding of your discipline and how it relates to real-life situations or applications. 


Fry, H., Ketteridge, S. and Marshall, S. (1999) A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Kogan Page, Glasgow, pp408