How to approach Case Studies

There is no set way in which you should approach case studies, however using the rule of the ‘five Ws’ is always a good place to start.

The ‘five Ws’ are:

  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?
  • Who was affected by it happening?

When you revise a case study or meet new content for the first time you should be thinking about the five Ws:

  • What happened? – Can you recall some background on what actually happened, with some facts and figures?
  • When did it happen? – Have you some idea of the date that the case study happened and if possible the time of day?
  • Where did it happen? – The geographical setting is very important, so can you name the location, the country, could you draw a sketch map to show the location?
  • Why did it happen? – What causes the case study incident to occur? What natural systems were interacting with human activity?
  • Who was affected by it happening? – Which people were affected? How many were affected? Can you say something about the wealth of the people affected? Students aiming for the higher grades will also be able to discuss what the affected people did about the situation. They would be able to discuss the management strategies put in place to reduce the impacts of the case study incident while it was happening and should be able to discuss what could be done to reduce the impacts of any future incident.
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