In essay-writing, just as in case studies, crafting an outline organizes your writing, thus allowing your readers to follow your argument clearly and easily, which are the aims as well as the marks of a well-written piece. The organization of thoughts brought about by crafting an outline further serves to expedite your writing process. The outline’s importance increases with the intricacy of the writing project you are embarking upon. Certainly the case study outline is a mandatory step in the creation of a case study, due to the degree of detailed research and information that is involved.
In a case study, the case structure, or case study outline should be prepared after the writer has identified his study’s objective. The case study outline will serve as a framework for the project, upon which the writer carefully sets out his points and supporting arguments, data and research, in a logical order and flow that his reader will easily be able to assimilate. As such, the case study outline may be considered as the backbone for the entire project, and may determine its very success. A weak structure will promptly lead both the writer and his readers on a long convoluted journey to nowhere, due to lack of focus and clear direction.
The process of crafting a good case study outline is a logical one, and begins with the writer’s clear, concise determination of what his study will be about. His initial research must therefore be for an in-depth history of the person, group, company or other entity that he has chosen to examine.
The case study outline begins to come together when the writer follows his historical research by jotting down all of the points he wishes to analyze in his study, as case study milestones. Each of these will then be carefully researched and analyzed. Under each point, the writer must collect all of his analytical observations, and bolster them with adequate, detailed and relevant research material.
Case studies require detailed analysis, and this can very quickly become confusing even to the writer, if he does not use exactly what research material he needs, and does not organize his arguments carefully. Therefore, just as the case study format is neatly structured, from Title to References, the case study should essentially be broken down into sections of analyzed information. If, for example, the case study’s objective is the analysis of a merger between two companies, clear sections dealing with company A’s issues must be distinguished from company B’s. Subsequent sections will draw detailed parallels, comparisons and contrasts between them. Yet another section may consist in an analysis of the potential for success of this merger, and so on.
The case study outline is vital also because, once the meat of the study has been set down, the writer will still have to discuss the larger picture formed by his study, or its implications, which themselves must be analyzed in detail. Without being able to tie up all of his points, the writer is likely to lose points.