You are here

Finding case studies

Notes:

1. The term "case studies" can be ambiguous: it can mean specific examples from real companies or fictitious stories written to help students learn a topic. The resources below provide a mix of both types of case studies - be sure that the studies you find are the type you need!

2. This guide has some resources that will be of more use to students (especially the tips on finding case studies in the SFU Library catalogue and in Business Source Complete) and other resources that instructors will find useful (especially the links to case clearinghouses and the sample cases). If you don't find what you need here, don't hesitate to ask for help.

Finding cases

Books

Try searching the SFU Library catalogue and include (case study or case studies or cases) as part of your search. Check out these sample searches:

("case study" or "case studies" or cases) "organizational behavior"

("case study" or "case studies" or cases) "strategic management"

("case study" or "case studies" or cases) "brand name products".

Also try an Advanced Search in which you look for case studies in the Subject field, combined with your specific need (entrepreneurship? strategy?) as a Keyword. Add case* in the Title field as well to increase your chance of getting books that contain large numbers of cases. You can also start by searching for books that have cases in the title and case studies in the subject.

Theses

In the SFU Library catalogue, try searching for theses and graduating projects by SFU Business students. Such publications often involve specific case studies. Try searching the catalogue again, but this time combine the word theses (plural) with your topic. See these sample searches for example theses and electronic commerce // theses and dettwiler. Also, try Dissertations and Theses Abstracts and Index for theses completed elsewhere. See our guide to Finding University Theses and Projects from Simon Fraser and Other Universities for more suggestions.

Articles

  • In Business Source Complete enter your search terms, then either check off the Document Type Case study or include the Subject Case studies as part of your search.
  • CBCA Fulltext Business offers similar ways of finding case studies: either choose the Document Type (click on More Search Options) Case study or include the Subject Case studies as part of your search.
  • See the Sample cases area below for some specific journals focusing on business cases.

Websites

There are several publishers and clearinghouses of cases on the web. Many will allow qualified faculty members to view cases for examination purposes (after registering).

Note, however, that most cases sold by places such as Harvard or the Richard Ivey School of Business are not available via the library. You usually need to pay for the cases if you are not a faculty member, or if you are a faculty member and you want to use cases in your class. If you are a student and a case has been assigned as a reading in your class, double check with your instructor to see if the case might have been pre-purchased for all members of your class.

The Case Centre (formerly the European Case Clearing House)
"[T]he largest single source . . . of management case studies in the world. We hold and distribute all cases produced by the world's best-known management teaching establishments, as well as case studies in many languages produced by individual authors from almost every corner of the globe." Search for a case, then click on the link for an "inspection copy" (if available) and follow the links to register as a faculty member.

Harvard Business School Cases
Thousands of PDF format full-text cases, articles, and teaching notes are ready to download for examination purposes. NOTE: Requires registration (restricted to qualified and registered faculty only) to preview cases. If you aren't a faculty member, or if you want to use copies of specific cases in a class, you can purchase the PDF or paper version of the case at the HBR for Educators site as well, or you could go straight to the HBR store. Also see below for a discussion on how to find a small number of HBS cases in the Harvard Business Review.

CasePlace.org
A searchable database of business case studies and supplemental materials. The cases described tend to focus on social and environmental issues in business. You can search for relevant cases by discipline or topic, then use the supplied contact information for the author/publisher to request the cases. Note that many of the cases they list are from the Harvard Business School and the European Case Clearing House (mentioned above).

Richard Ivey School of Business - Cases
Over 8000 cases, with hundreds more added each year. Faculty can register to preview cases. Note that we have several books in the Ivey Casebook Series.

Sample cases

British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC ) - Business Case Library
A rare focus on BC companies!

Cases online via the Harvard Business Review 

Try searching for Harvard Business Review in the Publication Name field in Business Source Complete, then checking the box to limit your search to the Document Type "case study." Add in other terms to focus your search.  

Journals that feature case studies

Other online sources for cases

  • CaseBase & CaseBase2: Case Studies in Global Business: Covers business case studies focused on issues in emerging markets and emerging industries across the globe.
  • Business Ethics Case Studies: A few cases from Business Ethics Canada - St. Mary's University
  • The Case Centre (formerly the European Case Clearinghouse) offers a selection of free cases.
  • Business Gateway: Case studies from Scotland on starting and running a small business.
  • The Times 100: Free business case studies on real life companies. 
  • Acadia Institute of Case Studies (Acadia University): Most studies are focused on small business and entrepreneurship and include teaching notes. Some of them even include short videos (Quicktime). Permission is granted for educational use. 
  • Company-specific case studies: Intended as examples of how customers have used or could use their products: IBM, Intel, and LANSA.
  • Advertising Education Bureau: Case histories: "Case histories give you an inside look at the steps advertising agencies and advertisers take to create a campaign and how effective it can be. Case histories show the preceding issue/problem, the response and the outcome. Creative is included."
  • MarketLine cases in Business Source: Mostly strategic analysis cases featuring large, global companies.

Developing and analysing cases

  • Writing, Teaching, and Using Cases: A January 2014 presentation by Leyland Pitt and Michael Parent (both of SFU). Michael and Leyland led a full-day workshop with a focus on case teaching.
  • Teaching & Authoring Tools: Part of the Ivey Cases site, this page offers documents and videos to help you create your own cases, as well as lists of additional resources.

  • Application of a Case Study Methodology by Winston Tellis: (The Qualitative Report, Volume 3, Number 3, September, 1997). This academic article covers all of the social science methodologies behind designing, conducting and analysing a case study. It also features a detailed bibliography. Winston Tellis, PhD is Director of Undergraduate Programs in Fairfield University's School of Business and formerly he was Director of Technical Services also in the School of Business at Fairfield.

  • The Art and Craft of Case Writing (3rd ed. 2012): "[A] practical, comprehensive, and multidisciplinary guide that blends an informal, workshop-style with solid theory and practice." Includes a section on video, multimedia, and Internet cases.

  • Basics of Developing Case Studies: Part of the Free Management Library, this site has some basic information on how to develop a case study, as well as links to some sample cases.

  • A Guide to Case Analysis: Focus is on how to analyse company cases when learning strategic management techniques.

  • Case Studies: Covers both analysing and writing a case study from the perspective of a business student.

  • Case Analysis Guide: Developed by a publisher to support students using a Strategic Management text, but applicable in many other situations.

Also, try the subject heading "Case method" in catalogue for books on using the case method in your classes. Suggested sample case method books:

  • Encyclopedia of case study research (print)

  • Case study research: design and methods (4th edition, 2009; print)

  • Case study research: principles and practices (online or print)

  • Case writing for executive education: a survival guide (print)

In Business Source Complete, try a Subject search for "Case Method (Teaching)"

You might also want to try checking an index of education articles such as ERIC: start with the subject heading (or Descriptor) Case Method (Teaching Technique).  Alternatively, try our Education Source database using Case method (Teaching) as your subject search term.