Writing the Case Focus – Decision Focus or Descriptive Focus: Excellence in Case Studies: Part 5

Britt M. Shirley, Bradley W. Brooks
July 11, 2023
North America
Strategy & General Management
9 pages
Case Studies, case focus
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In this edition of our series on Excellence in Case Writing, we discuss arguably the single most critical element of writing an excellent case study: the focal construct. The focal construct is like the middle piece of a jigsaw puzzle. It doesn’t tell the full story, but everything is connected to it, and without it, the big picture is impossible to see. The best case studies include a distinctly identifiable focus. One of the most vital factors distinguishing a case study that gets published from one that does not is how clearly defined the focus is. Why is this important? A focused case study guides the reader to helpful outcomes and has a better chance of gaining the reader’s interest than one that is unfocused and leaves the reader confused about what action to take. In this letter, we discuss two approaches to crafting a focal construct.