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How to write a compelling case study

Case studies add human interest to a story and help to illustrate an issue. They can also determine whether a journalist will cover a story. They are vital to the work of colleges and the Association of Colleges (AoC) because supplying the media with a case study helps to secure coverage as well as a spokesperson’s comment.

We are always keen to receive case studies that you would then be happy for us to give to the media from members. Please send any case studies across to Press and PR Manager Kate Parker, on

Below you'll find some advice about what to include in the case study. For more information about media interviews, building a case study bank and pitching your case study, click here.

An interesting story

A case study is a way of illustrating an issue, and bringing real life experience which helps to paint a picture for the public. A case study can focus on one particular person or a team of people, or it may focus on a particular initiative within college or an area of work.

Whatever the story is, it needs to be interesting (and sometimes unusual) and should include:

  • Context: why does this matter? What was the aim? Who or what was the inspiration? Is there an interesting back story to touch upon?
  • Process or method: what happened? How did the person or team go about it and what did it involve? What challenges, if any, were faced?
  • Impact: what did the student or college learn or achieve? What were the benefits? Did it solve a problem?
  • Did this impact the student’s future career, on parents and the wider local community at all? How was the impact evaluated?
  • Next steps: other practitioners or students may be interested to know whether you plan to continue or extend your work, or what the next steps are for the individual, so it is worth including details on any further plans.

Illustrating your case study

Photographs bring your case study to life, so always ensure you have a few colourful and powerful photos of the case study or project. Publications and websites ideally require high-resolution jpeg files of 300dpi. Make sure you have the appropriate permissions to share the photography with the media.

For more information about media interviews, building a case study bank and pitching your case study, click here.

For advice and support, please contact Press and PR Manager, Kate Parker on