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Using Cases

Because cases provide students with a complete writing context, they can be exceptionally useful for student writers.

A simple use of the case is to set up a single scenario which notes the audience, purpose, and focus of a brief writing task. For example, a business student might encounter this scenario:

Assume that you've just been hired in a local office of a large asset management firm. Your first client has traded stocks conservatively for several years and now wants to try options trading. What basic principles of options trading do you need to be sure your client understands?

A teacher could assign this scenario and ask for a variety of writing tasks in response to it:

A more elaborate case can include both more details for the student writer, as well as a wider range of roles to write from. A full case can call for multiple kinds of writing, drawing on the full range of informal and formal writing outlined in this guide. It can also emphasize the kinds of questions (and writing) most common in the discipline, and full-scale cases work well with both individual and collaborative writing assignments.

Finally, case histories are useful in many disciplines and writing contexts. This use of a case generally focuses on a post hoc analysis, either of what happened in the case or what could have happened with different interventions. Again, case histories can lead to a range of writing assignments, though they tend to restrict the roles students might play as writers within the case context.

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