Case Study Psychology Writing Tips
Writing a case study psychology is not as easy as it may seem at once. Any student studying psychology faces this assignment sooner or later, and here is where difficulties may arise. If you are good at doing your lab research, you may still fail to craft a good case study. It requires specific knowledge and skills.
The format of case studies also varies. You can write about a real or imagined individual as well as a book/movie character. There are different requirements for case studies in psychology. Sometimes, you are expected to cite information or research on the topic.
To define a case study in psychology, check out the following guide that will help with that assignment, and facilitate the process significantly.
Case Study Definition Psychology
When you need to study a person, group of people, or event, you need to write a case study. A lot of psychological works, including Z. Freud’s theories, were created based on individual case studies.
Psychologists use multiple investigation methods that differ from each other. In order to find patterns of behavior, it’s necessary to conduct an analysis of the life and history of the subject under investigation.
They hope that when studying one case, it’s possible to apply the obtained knowledge to many other ones. Case studies are often too judgmental, and it is difficult to use their results to solve more cases.
Such studies have one huge benefit, though — they allow researchers to investigate things impossible to research in labs.
It is crucial to know the study definition of psychology before starting to work on your own research.
How to Write a Case Study Psychology
As a future psychologist, you must be able to research and analyze the behavior. Doing it is possible through such sources as observation or an interview. The researcher’s task is to interpret the information gathered through observation and report of a client.
The case study method in psychology is a special approach, and the overall process may continue for quite a long time. Here are the sources of a psychological case study to research:
- observations of the individual’s routine;
- interviews with the person and people who are familiar with this him/her;
- personal notes such as diaries, photos, letters, etc.;
- official documents such as clinical notes, etc.
Interviewing your client is the most efficient way of collecting information about that person. You can find out much information from his or her friends or family members as well. This information is not quantitative while being just a verbal description. You can also gather a quantitative datum.
Psychological Case Study Constituents
If you wonder how to write case study psychology, you should know about eight sections to include in it.
All these steps will help you:
- define the problems;
- identify the core problems;
- offer your solution to core problems;
- suggest how to implement the solutions.
It is crucial to learn how to analyze real-life situations and solve existing issues. To do it, complete the following steps.
Executive summary or synopsis
Completing this step, you must:
- define the goal of your case study;
- present the research field;
- create an outline of the problems and observations without going deep into details;
- decide what theory to use.
When having assumptions, note them all. It will help you in the future.
Now you must define the issues found in your case by doing the following:
- analyze the issue and provide facts to support the results;
- find the underlying issues;
Divide that part into subsections.
Now complete such steps:
- sum up the core issues;
- define alternative solutions to them;
- describe each of the solutions briefly;
- define the pros and cons of each solution.
In this part, you should not mention coursework or theory.
Here you just summarize all the core points of your results and discussion. It is not the last part of your case study, though.
After conclusion, your research keeps going:
- pick one of the alternative solutions to apply;
- explain why you chose this method and how it can solve the core issues;
Be as convincing as possible in this section. Implement coursework and theory.
- tell what it is necessary to do, who must do it, and when;
- provide an estimation of your financial and time costs.
Cite all the sources properly and complete the last step of your case study in psychology.
This section is not a must and if you do not have any appendices, avoid this step. If you want to include them, then provide the original datum relating to your study.
Some Helpful Tips
When working on your psychology case study, try to stick to these rules:
- Do not call the subject “the client.” Use the person’s name or a pseudonym.
- To understand the format and style peculiarities, read a case study psychology example.
- When citing, stick to APA format.
- Use the psychoanalytic approach and provide relevant references.
- Explain how you will use the therapy to help the client;
- Explain why the chosen approach is effective.
The Bottom Line
A case study in psychology is not just an essay you can complete for one night. It is a very thorough and lengthy process requiring your specific knowledge, skills, patience, and time. Completing your research within a short period of time is impossible.
Such case studies require various approaches, such as psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, or humanistic approaches. You should master them all before starting to work on your project. Check the examples of similar studies, make sure to know how to reference properly, so your work is unique and supported by the necessary facts, sources, and data.
Case studies are great and helpful tools for a researcher. You should know how to use them wisely, though. When you need specific information about one person or a group of people, this method works very well. To write an outstanding case study in psychology, ask your tutor for specific guidelines, and follow them unconditionally.