No, this article will not begin with the words that it is very difficult to write a case study on family and consumer science. Because in fact, it is very easy. This is an ideal science for research that knows no boundaries and welcomes your personal life experience in addition to academic materials. This is a science that teaches us to live correctly and consciously, and perhaps it should be one of the fundamental disciplines for study not only by students but by all other representatives of society. So, in this article, we prove that family and consumer science with a case study project equals an engaging writing process with a lot of real-life discoveries.
In fact, family and consumer science and a case study are just a perfect combination. The thing is that this is the science of real-life and its diversity. The initial goal of this discipline is to help students evolve into the status of a conscious consumer, a conscious worker, and a conscious family man (woman) in the future. This is the science of consciousness first of all, and only then about real life.
And moreover, each of you already has a certain life experience that you can apply when studying this science in general and writing case studies in particular. This is not an abstract science when you can get research data only from academic sources. This is the science of real life, where research data is life itself, and you can get it anywhere choosing this or that topic for your case study. Therefore, let’s get started.
The case study is very different from the usual essay of five paragraphs. Although partly, this type of work preserves the traditional academic structure, the main purpose of the case study is to study a specific case or phenomenon. Ideally, you should be able to observe and analyze this phenomenon in reality – and family and consumer science issues are just perfect for this task.
Preparation for writing a case study begins traditionally – either with an independent choice of a topic or with an analysis of the topic that your professor gave you. Both of these options are good in their own way, and as a whole do not affect the further sequence of your actions.
So, if your professor made an independent decision about what topic you should work on, make sure that you understand the essence of your topic correctly and ask clarifying questions.
If you had to choose a theme yourself, here are some ideas:
Further, if your professor did not give you more precise instructions, you need to determine the type of your case study. You can use the classical approach, which we explain later in our article, or you can also add elements of comparison and juxtaposition. In this case, you need to remember the rules for writing a compare and contrast essay and apply them to the case study, observing all other requirements.
The best way to understand what to write and how is to look at the finished work results. Therefore, start by looking at the case studies already written on your topic. Pay attention to the author’s style, the way to develop the thesis statement, the approach to the actual case research, and a description of the main conclusions.
The main difference between the case study and the essay is that you need a real object for research – a specific event, situation, phenomenon, person or group of people who are in certain circumstances within the framework of family and consumer science. Let’s get back to our examples of work topics and you will understand what we are talking about.
Here, the object of the study is children under three years of age.
Everything is obvious here – the group of students will be the object of research.
And so on by analogy – as a rule, the case study topic itself directly points to an object that you need to explore and study in a specific situation.
Important note! The objects that you will explore should be as similar to each other as possible. That is, if these are students, then it will be better if they are students of the same age from one country (and if this is not your native country, then when writing a case, you will also have to take into account the peculiarities of culture and mentality)
We already realized that writing a case study does not make sense without real research. In most cases, interviews are the most effective way to obtain raw data. And by the way, this is also one of the easiest ways to implement – all you need is communication skills and a bit of preparation.
Therefore, at the preparation stage, you need to make a list of questions that you will ask the research objects. For a student case study, this will be enough to ask up to the five most important questions. If you ask fewer questions, your picture will be incomplete, and if you have more questions, it will be more difficult for you to systematize your primary data and find common patterns.
For example, if we take the topic of the average millennial representative and his attitude to the family, then you can ask the following questions.
After you have formulated a list of questions, it’s time to ask them to your research objects and get the result. Before you begin, read the basic rules of the interview. In short, the people with whom you will speak should give you their voluntary consent to conduct an interview, and in return, you must promise that the information received from them will be used exclusively for your student case study, and moreover, the names and other personal data of the interviewees will be changed or hidden.
Now we begin the most interesting part of our work. You need to organize the data that you received. Start with the first question in your interview and compare the answer options. Find common and different traits. Think about what behavioral, cultural, consumer, and family patterns they can talk about. Move from question to question sequentially and you will begin to get a fairly unambiguous picture.
However, it is not enough to conduct one interview to get a full-fledged case study. You also need to use additional sources of information to make your research as deep as possible.
Suppose you find a certain pattern — for example, millennials don’t want to have a family before 30 years old. Now imagine yourself as a researcher and find the root causes of this phenomenon.
Perhaps it is a matter of upbringing by the previous generation, perhaps the reason is different. Your task is to find these underlying causes and to reinforce your personal research result with their help.
The method of searching for supporting scientific materials is standard in this case – open scientific online magazines, look for other independent publications, look through them and make important notes for yourself so that you can quickly return to the source of knowledge.
After you have done the research, you already clearly understand a certain problem. And we have already voiced this example above. Now your task is to turn your problem into a strong thesis statement, and it is possible to do this only after a thorough study of additional sources. For example, if we return to our topic of millennials, then your thesis statement may sound like this.
‘The study showed that the average representative of the millennial generation does not want to have a family before 30 years because he is inclined to pursue new emotions and impressions, believes that it is right to live for yourself only up to a certain point, and this is due to the fact that this generation grew up in an era of free manners and is simply not ready to give up their habits for the sake of family and children.’
Now it’s time to write everything down on paper. The case study begins with the introduction, but we recommend writing this part last. After your work is ready, imagine that you need to write a short summary of this – this will be your introduction. Address the problem that you investigated, briefly describe the process of work and say a few words about your findings – without revealing all the most interesting right now.
The background is the circumstances in which your study was conducted. If we continue the millennial example, then the background will be the modern reality and modern views on the life of modern youth. Here you can say why you decided to investigate this particular situation, what is its controversial and interesting point, worthy of detailed research.
Everything is simple here. You need to write down your research step by step. It is possible to include here the questions that you asked during the interview, and show some of the most significant answers.
In this part, you need to describe the underlying patterns that we talked about and explain them based on your primary data. Here you can quote from answers to your questions, compare and contrast them, give answers that will be maximally different and maximally match in meaning and outlook on life.
This is the final part of our case study, and now you need to draw conclusions. Most importantly, you need to draw conclusions using not only your primary data but also additional research. Each of your conclusions should follow directly from your primary data, but be supported by scientific literature.
Now you just have to take one small step to get the final and excellent result. After your text is ready, allow yourself to take a short pause and only after that start checking. Make sure that your case study is as logical as possible, you haven’t missed anything, you haven’t said anything for several times in a row, and you haven’t made any grammatical, lexical or stylistic mistakes.
Well, at this stage, all that remains for us is to congratulate you on the successful completion of your project. Do you remember we promised that it would be easy and interesting? Start writing your case study now and see it for yourself!