Introduction

"Case studies" can mean examples from organisations provided simply to illustrate a point or descriptions of organisational situations designed to be interpreted and analysed by a learner. The resources below provide a mix of all types of case studies.

This guide also includes some resources that will be of more use to students (e.g., the tips on finding case studies in databases) and other resources that instructors will find useful (e.g., the links to case clearinghouses).

If you don't find what you need here, don't hesitate to ask for help.

Finding cases

   New!  We've recently acquired two large collections of business case studies:
 
Logo of Harvard Business PublishingA selection of over 2200 Harvard Business School case studies are now available in our Harvard Business Publishing Student Success database. Read this blog post for details about this one-year pilot subscription and share your feedback. 
 
Logo of SAGE Business CasesAnd our new SAGE Business Cases database delivers a further 4200+ cases on a diverse range of issues, perspectives, and countries. Read this blog post for details.

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) AND "organizational behavior"

("case study" OR "case studies" OR cases) AND "strategic management"

("case study" OR "case studies" OR cases) AND "project management"

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 & 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

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.

SAGE Business Cases
A global and diverse collection of case studies designed to help students see theoretical business concepts put into practice. This collection is available to all SFU students, instructors, and alumni. See this blog post for further details.

Harvard Business School Cases
SFU instructors and students can access a selection of over 2200 HBS cases in our Harvard Business Publishing Student Success database. (See this blog post for details.) This collection is only a small subset of the thousands of cases published by Harvard. The remainder of Harvard's cases are available for direct purchase from the HBR StoreQualified and registered instructors can access Harvard's Educator site to preview cases and access Teaching Notes and other supporting materials. Also see below for a discussion on how to find a small number of HBS cases in the Harvard Business Review.

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.

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 Case Centre (mentioned above).

Richard Ivey School of Business - Cases
Faculty can register to preview cases. Note that we have several books in the Ivey Casebook Series.

Sample cases

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. 

Note that only a very small subset of all Harvard Business School (HBS) cases are published in the HBR. There are also over 2200 cases in our Harvard Business Publishing Student Success database (details). The majority of Harvard's business cases are sold only to individuals and classes, not to libraries for use by the entire institution.

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. Permission is granted for educational use. Note that the AICS site appears to be currently inaccessible, so we've linked to the Web Archive version of their site as of late 2019.
  • 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.
  • Open Case Studies: An interdisciplinary collection of cases from UBC that are licensed to allow others to revise and reuse them. Very few of the cases are explicitly categorized as "business," but many of the cases on topics such as Conservation may be useful in a business context.

Developing and analysing cases

Also, try the subject heading "Case method" in the SFU Library 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)

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.