Some University of Waikato courses use case studies as assessments. Students are often required to complete tasks using, and referring to, various cases. These cases can be real, or they may have been created for a particular purpose. They can be assessed in several ways:

  • A report
  • An oral presentation
  • An essay
  • Short answer questions

What is a case study?

A case study is a “story” which can vary in length. It might include a dialogue between speakers involved in the case, or it may have quotations.

What are case studies useful for?

The purpose of case studies is to provide students with examples of “real life” situations, experience and practice. Case studies are a useful way to show the teacher that you have read and understood the theories/models and can apply them to the conditions of the case.

Analysing the case

After carefully reading the case, the first step is to identify the problems or issues presented, and possible causes. The next step is to analyse the problem, and to view it from different perspectives.


There are several tools that students may use to analyse the case. The two most common are:

  • SWOT analysis
  • PEST analysis


Students provide possible solutions to the issues raised in the case, or offer recommendations. It is also a great idea to develop a plan and a time-frame for implementation.

Student Learning