Agency Guide: How To Write a Client Case Study (With Examples)

Joe Kindness


A client case study highlights an agency's impact on a business, showcasing problem-solving skills and success. It serves as concrete evidence of expertise, building credibility and distinguishing an agency from competitors. Engaging case studies captivate potential clients, demonstrating value and encouraging further exploration. Learn to craft impactful case studies, enhancing your agency's appeal and client acquisition.

It’s an age-old question: if you want to get more clients , where should you put your content marketing focus?

Your first instinct might be to say blogging. This answer makes sense—for many years, blogging has been touted as one of the best ways to attract an audience and demonstrate your expertise. While blogging can highlight your agency's expertise, it isn’t necessarily going to be nearly as effective as showing real results to win future customers.

Instead of pouring all of your agency's time and creative energy into blog posts, another approach is to focus on client case studies that prove the effectiveness of your services.

Case studies are, in many ways, similar to blog posts. Writing them takes a similar skill set and, once finished, helps to bring in organic search traffic.

However, they have one major advantage over blog posts: they're a great way to show potential clients your agency's value proposition . They also help tell a customer story in a very different way than blog posts do.

If you haven’t written any in a while (or ever), you’re missing out on a great marketing opportunity. In this guide, we'll discuss how to write a case study to attract prospective customers.

Why Client Case Studies Are Worth the Effort

How to write a marketing case study that lands you more clients, real client case study examples.

If you’ve never written a case study, it can be challenging to figure out where to start and what to include. For example, how do you decide which clients to feature and what details to include?

While there is a slight learning curve to writing a compelling client case study, it’s not as difficult as you might think, and their benefits far outweigh the effort of creating them.

As highlighted by a study from the Content Marketing Institute , case studies are among the top three pieces of content that B2B marketers focus on in 2023:

2023 Content Marketing Institute Stat for B2B, highlighting case studies in the top three position

Image Source

Case Studies Speak Directly to Your Potential Clients.

Your blog posts are probably well-written and informative, but are they driving conversions? Readers are busy, and if your latest blog post doesn’t speak to their current needs, there’s a good chance they won’t read it and you're likely seeing a high bounce rate . Use marketing attribution models to determine where your conversions are coming from accurately.

However, case studies are more likely to grab readers’ attention than blog articles. People love reading about situations like their own. If you can tell a potential client a story about how you helped a business similar to theirs, they won’t just pay attention—they’ll remember you when they’re ready to hire an agency.

Case Studies Can Do Everything Blog Posts Can Do.

Your client case study doesn’t have to be a dry, boring wall of text. It can inform, entertain, and inspire readers. You can share useful findings or advice in a case study, just like you would in a blog post. They are also ideal for displaying your expertise and positioning you as a thought leader and your company as an authority.

Case Studies Build Credibility and Trust.

Your perceived trustworthiness is an essential part of whether people decide to hire you or not. Most people will hesitate to hire an agency that didn’t have any examples of their past work on display. They also give clients a way to evaluate your competence before they commit to working with you.

Case Studies Make You Stand Out From the Competition.

Case studies are a bit more specialized and challenging to write than blog posts, which means that not everyone writes them. If you want your agency to look more professional than your competitors, writing case studies give your brand's image a boost. Be sure to use competitor analysis tools after you've created a few case studies to see how you stack up in your customer's industry.

Case Studies Make a Great Lead Magnet.

They are also useful as part of a cold email marketing strategy. For example, you can let people read the beginning (make sure it’s strong!), and offer to send the full case study in PDF form in exchange for an email sign-up.

Case Studies Work.

In the CMI's survey mentioned above, case studies were ranked in the top 3 highest performing types of content for both nurturing and converting leads:

Marketing funnel activities

Report Smarter, Not Harder.

Better, faster & easier client reports are just a few clicks away, 1. define the type of clients you want to attract.

Before you email any former clients or start working on an outline of your first draft, take some time to figure out who your ideal client is. Write out your ideal customer profile and ask yourself questions such as:

Is there a type of business you especially like working with?

What kind of work do you want to do more of?

Case studies, like any other type of content marketing, work best when targeted towards a specific type of reader. If you design your case study to resonate with your ideal clients’ wishes, insecurities, and goals while including relevant theories, your agency will attract more of the kind of clients you enjoy working with. Use a client profile template to ensure you're team is aligned on who your ICP actually is.

2. Gather Information and Data Points

Once you know who you’re writing your case study for, decide which project you want to write about. Pick something that your ideal client will find relatable in some way.

Always reach out to any current or former clients before you write a case study about them. You don’t want to post any potentially-sensitive information about someone else’s business online without their permission.

Many of your clients will probably be happy to be featured in a case study, as long as you make them look good and avoid giving away anything they don’t want to be public knowledge.

If your client does not want to be featured under their brand, you can decide to write the case study and highlight the metrics without using their name and simply say “A Company in [blank] Industry”. That said, a more compelling case study features a brand with customer quotes, so try to find projects and clients that are happy to have their name on your site.

Once a client agrees to the case study, set up an interview with them so you can discuss the project. A testimonial is a great addition to a case study—for example, here's what one of our case studies had to say about us:

AgencyAnalytics automated the work of two to three full-time employees. It’s been a massive savings cost-wise and efficiency-wise. It’s also been a dramatic time-saver. I’m very happy with AgencyAnalytics and what the tool offers our clients.

Gather the information and data points prior to discussing it with your client, so they have a clear idea of what will be included in the study. A great marketing case study includes visual data points of the hard numbers. Take screenshots to highlight results from previous customers to add credibility.

Goal completion graph

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3. Outline Your Case Study

Once you have all the information you need, it’s time to make an outline. It may help to create a content brief before you get started.

Think of your case study like a story—it needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. Present your client’s problem at the beginning, and fill in the middle with the details of how you solved it.

Cap things off with a description of how your client benefited from working with you. For example, you can call out the long-term SEO benefits of a content marketing strategy, including leads that are still being generated months after the post was published. Don’t forget; the client is the protagonist of this story, not you.

4. Be Human

As you start writing your case study, remember to keep it relatable. Don’t just rattle off a list of stats your client wanted to improve. A compelling case study will also be entertaining and enjoyable to read.

Dig a little deeper and talk about the implications of their problem. For instance, was your client frustrated that none of their strategies were working to bring in more traffic? Were they disappointed about having to delay other projects because their conversions weren’t improving? Try to zero in on a specific pain point that your potential clients may be dealing with themselves.

5. Provide Actionable Advice

An effective case study doesn’t just make you and your client look good. It also provides information or advice that anybody can use, whether they decide to hire you or not. You don’t have to give away the key secrets of your trade, but don’t be stingy either—share some of your methods, your knowledge, and any lessons learned while helping your client. Give the reader something they can take away and apply to their own work.

This isn’t as counterproductive as it might sound. Being open about your work will help build valuable trust with potential clients. And even if you’re completely transparent about your methods, most people that aren’t marketing experts will still opt to hire you instead of doing the legwork of implementing your strategy themselves.

6. Write Clearly and Succinctly (Avoid Industry Jargon!)

A great case study is easy to read and digest. These pointers will help you keep your readers interested from beginning to end.

Write concisely. Don’t bog your piece down with unnecessary details.

Avoid jargon as much as possible. Someone outside your field should be able to read and understand your case study.

Break up the page with plenty of white space. Use short paragraphs, sub-headers, and bullet points to organize your content.

Include plenty of charts and graphs. Visual content breaks up the monotony of text and keeps readers engaged.

Include a call-to-action (CTA). After you've told a compelling story to your potential customer, tell them exactly how they can contact your sales team or where they can learn more about your services.

7. Publish and Promote

Before you publish your case study, show it to your client to make sure they’re happy with everything you’ve written. Once they give you the thumbs-up, you can post the piece on your site or start using it as a lead magnet. For best results, promote your case study just like you would a blog post. A few well-timed social media posts can bring your case study a lot of extra attention, and maybe even get you a few more leads.

Locally-targeted Facebook Ads can be really effective for agencies. Using your case study or a pdf expanded version of it can be a great lead magnet to gather the email addresses of potential clients. Don’t just publish the case study and forget it. Make the most of it! One case study can be a powerful lead generation tool.

Spend Less Time Creating Reports and More Time Growing Your Agency

Looking to find a bit of inspiration too? Sometimes the best way to learn is to follow a great example. See how some of these marketers have taken a customer's success story and crafted compelling content with tangible data points for their clients.

Bounteous has an overview section that gives a great overview of the goals, approach, and results.

Bounteous featured clients

KlientBoost includes marketing case studies on their website that are short and to the point. The one-page piece of content focuses on results that are delivered to the clients. You can find an example case study here .

Mention case study

AgencyAnalytics provides another example that includes details about the client, the challenge they were facing, the best solution they used, and the ultimate result. You can read find our case studies here .

AgencyAnalytics testimonial by Brian Dean

The Takeaway

Learning to write case studies is a smart investment in your agency’s future success. They help with your agency's reputation management , earn new clients’ trust, and highlight your agency’s skills in a way that most other types of content can’t. They're also a great piece to use in your client proposal arsenal. When it comes to conversions, a few targeted, high-quality case studies will go a long way, so don’t overlook this powerful marketing tool.

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Joe Kindness

Joe started his career as a developer and since has created many internet businesses. He has now moved on to the position of CEO and has enjoyed all the challenges it has brought.

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What to Include in a Case Study: Layout, Content & Visuals

Learn what info to include in a business case study and how to structure it for maximum conversion, and see real-life examples and templates.

essential elements of a client case study

Dominika Krukowska

9 minute read

What to include in a case study

Short answer

What to include in a case study?

A successful case study should include the following elements:

  • Introduction (what was the problem and how it was solved in 1-2 sentences)
  • Client overview
  • The problem or challenge
  • How they solved their problem (with your solution)
  • Customer quotes and testimonials

For a case study to work all critical components must be in place.

Case studies can be gold mines for conversions, but extracting that gold isn't as straightforward as it seems.

What goes into a case study that tells a compelling story and draws your prospects down the conversion funnel?

There are some critical elements that you must include in your case study if you hope to generate conversions.

Yes, you read that right— making a partial case study could very well mean leaving money on the table.

In this post, I’ll share with you the secrets to creating a case study that’ll turn it from ‘blah’ to ‘bingo’.

You’ll learn what you must include in your case study to convert readers into buyers.

Let’s go!

What to include in your case study structure?

Crafting your case study is like writing a gripping novel, filled with characters, conflicts, and resolutions. Each component of your case study serves a unique purpose in narrating the story of how your product or service helps your clients conquer their challenges.

Here are the main chapters of your case study structure:

1. Introduction

Think of the introduction as your story's opening scene. It's your first impression, your initial hook, the gateway to the world you're about to unfold. Here, you aim to spark curiosity and give your reader a taste of the journey ahead.

How to create an introduction slide:

Include a video —this will get 32% more people to interact with your case study .

Create an opening line that instantly hooks your reader —think surprising statistics, bold statements, or intriguing questions.

Introduce the central theme of your case study —what's the big challenge or opportunity at play?

Connect with the reader's pain points to foster engagement right from the start.

Here’s an example of an introduction slide that hooks attention:

Cover slide example

2. Company overview

Here, you introduce your main hero—your client. You want to provide a clear and relatable backdrop that helps your audience understand who your client is, what they do, and what stakes are at play for them.

How to create a company overview slide:

Offer key details about the client's business —what's their industry? What's their market position?

Highlight the client's aspirations and values —this helps to humanize the company and build emotional connection.

Make sure to relate the company's context back to your reader. How does this company's situation reflect the challenges or opportunities your reader might face?

Here’s an example of a company overview slide:

Company overview slide example

3. The problem or challenge

This is the conflict that propels your story. It's the mountain your client needs to climb, the dragon they must slay. Without a significant problem or challenge, there's no tension, and without tension, there's no story and no engagement.

How to create a problem slide:

Clearly articulate the problem or challenge. Make it tangible and relatable.

Explore the implications of this problem. What's at stake for the client if it goes unresolved?

Aim to evoke emotion here. The more your reader feels the weight of the problem, the more invested they'll be in the solution.

Here’s an example of a problem slide:

Problem slide example

4. Your solution

Enter the trusted guide and confidant—your product or service. This is the pivotal moment where your client's fortunes begin to turn. Show how your offering comes into play, lighting the way toward resolution.

How to create a solution slide:

Detail how your solution addresses the client's problem. Show how the features of your product or service connect to the challenges at hand.

Walk your reader through the implementation process. Offer insights into the collaborative efforts and innovative approaches that made the difference.

Don’t shy away from any obstacles or setbacks that occurred during the solution phase. Showing how you overcame these can actually make your story more credible and relatable.

Here’s an example of a solution slide:

Solution slide example

This is the climax of your story, where all the tension that's been built up finally gets released. You need to demonstrate the transformation that occurred as a result of your solution.

How to create a results slide:

Show, don't tell. Use numbers, stats, and graphs to make your results concrete and impactful.

Discuss not just quantitative, but also qualitative results. How did your solution affect the client's morale, their customer satisfaction, their market reputation? Give detailed examples set in short anecdotes as experienced by a person (not an organization).

A side-by-side comparison of the 'before' and 'after' can be a powerful visual aid to highlight your impact.

Here’s an example of a results slide:

Results slide example

6. Customer quotes/testimonials

Nothing reinforces a story better than having the hero vouch for its authenticity. Direct quotes from your client add depth, credibility, and emotional resonance to your case study.

How to create a testimonials slide:

Select quotes that reinforce the narrative of your case study.

The more genuine and heartfelt, the better. Authenticity speaks volumes.

Consider sprinkling testimonials throughout the case study rather than bunching them together to keep the reader engaged.

Here’s an example of a testimonials slide:

Quotes slide example

7. Next steps

Your story doesn’t end when the problem is solved. This is where you guide your reader toward the future, inspiring them to take action based on the journey they've just been through.

How to create a next steps slide:

Provide clear and compelling calls-to-action. What do you want the reader to do next? Download a whitepaper? Request a demo? Sign up and try your solution? Make it a small concession, not a big ask. The next reasonable action they can take to establish the relationship a tiny bit further.

Make it simple for readers to take the next step. Include links, contact information, or even embed your calendar into the case study.

Here’s an example of a next steps slide:

Next step slide example

What storytelling elements to include in a case study?

Compelling storytelling is an art, and when applied to business case studies, it can turn a rather dry piece of data into a riveting tale of success.

It's a chance to illustrate your value proposition in the real world, giving prospective clients a peek at what they could experience when they choose to work with you.

Here are some storytelling elements to include in your case study:

1. A clear storyline

Start with the basics: Who is your customer? What was their challenge? How did your product or service solve their problem? And, what was the outcome?

This forms the narrative arc of your case study, providing a backbone for your story. Ensure it’s a seamless narrative, taking the reader along a journey of transformation.

Here’s our recommended presentation storyline:

How to write a case study storyline that creates interest

2. Concrete outcomes

Data provides the meat of your case study. Numbers, percentages, and concrete results serve as proof that your solution works.

It's one thing to claim that your product or service is effective, but showcasing the results achieved by a real customer through hard data adds credence to your assertions.

3. Visuals that support and expand on the text

Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, well-placed visuals in your case study can make the message clearer and more compelling.

Graphs, charts, and infographics can help break down complex data, making it easier for the audience to digest. Furthermore, they break up long blocks of text, making your case study more engaging.

4. Interactive elements

In a world where scrolling has become second nature, your case study needs to be more than a static document.

Incorporating interactive elements like tabs to click through benefits, live data calculators, or sliders with case studies and customer testimonials invites your audience to engage with your content actively.

Our research showed that decks with interactive elements got scrolled to the bottom 41% more often and had a 21% longer average reading time than non-interactive ones.

Making interactive case studies sounds complicated but it’s actually very easy if you do it with our AI case study creator . You can send it to prospects directly from Storydoc or embed it as part of your website.

By making your reader an active participant in the story, you boost their engagement and increase the chances of them reading your content through to the end.

Benefits of including interactive elements in your case study presentation

More decks read in full

Longer average reading time

5. Testimonials and quotes directly from customers

Customer testimonials and direct quotes inject a sense of authenticity and credibility into your case study.

They bring a human touch to your narrative and foster trust in potential clients.

It's no longer just your voice touting the effectiveness of your solution; it's the voice of a satisfied customer who has personally experienced the benefits of your product or service.

6. Clear call to action

Finally, after painting a vivid picture of your product or service in action, you need to tell your audience what to do next.

A clear CTA—whether it’s to learn more, book a demo, or sign up—makes the next step evident for your audience.

Our data reveals that decks with a clear next step had a conversion rate 27% higher than those that ended with a generic "thank you."

Make the next step simple, straightforward, and compelling, so your reader knows precisely what to do to start their own success story with you.

What not to include in your case study?

While we've covered the essentials to include in your case study, it's equally important to identify elements that could distract from your message, decrease trust, or even confuse your audience.

Here's what you should avoid including in your case study:

1. Unverified claims / data

Every claim you make and every piece of data you share in your case study must be true and easy to check.

Trust is crucial in a case study, and even one bit of wrong information can damage trust and hurt your image.

So, make sure all your facts, figures, and results are correct, and always get the right permissions to share them.

2. Confidential or sensitive information

When writing a case study, it's crucial to remember that privacy matters. Even though it's exciting to share all the details, you need to protect your client's private information.

Always get clear permission before using any client data and remember to hide any information that could identify specific individuals.

This careful approach shows your respect for privacy and builds trust with your audience, making your case study not just engaging, but also responsible and professional.

3. Technical jargon

A case study should be easy for everyone to understand, so avoid using industry-specific language. Even if you know the jargon, your audience might not.

Keeping your language simple and clear will help more people understand your case study. Too much technical language can confuse readers and distract from the story you're trying to tell.

4. Salesy language

While a case study is designed to show prospective clients how valuable your offer is, it's important not to sound too pushy.

A case study should tell a story, not sound like a sales pitch. Keep your language helpful and interesting. The success story should be enough to sell itself.

Create your best case study yet from ready-made templates

Now that you're equipped with all the essentials of crafting a compelling case study, it's time to bring your narrative to life.

Don’t work hard if you can work easy and get better results.

Interactive case study templates are your shortcut to creating engaging and informative case studies. They provide a clear path for your narrative, intuitive ways to present your data, and an engaging space for sharing customer testimonials.

Grab a template, and let your story do the talking!


Hi, I'm Dominika, Content Specialist at Storydoc. As a creative professional with experience in fashion, I'm here to show you how to amplify your brand message through the power of storytelling and eye-catching visuals.

essential elements of a client case study

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The 7 Essential Elements of a Great Case Study

Template: 23 Case Study Questions Every Marketer Should Ask

March 24, 2023

By Mike Wolfe

Research shows that 93 percent of consumers say online reviews will affect shopping choices . Online reviews certainly help tell a part of your organization’s story, but when you want to offer a bigger picture and really show off what you can do, there’s nothing like a case study. 

A great case study can help assure your audience that you’re more than capable of helping them with their problems because you’ve been there and done that for similar organizations. Ever looked at an organization’s website and checked out their case studies or testimonials before filling out a form or giving them a call?

These are great pieces of collateral that can have an immediate impact on the audience you connect with and can be used in a number of ways throughout the course of your marketing and sales efforts.

When you are looking to put together your next case study (or revamp some of your older ones), take these essential elements into consideration.

1. Common Problem or Challenge

Start with clearly defined issues..

When your audience takes the time to read your case study, they likely do so because they want to see that you resolved a problem or challenge they’re facing. Before writing a case study, consider some common problems or challenges your personas are experiencing and start there. 

2. Explanation of Resolution

Describe the problems, but really showcase your solutions..

Your customer came to you with a problem or need for you to solve—and you knocked it out of the park! Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to describing how you resolved the customer’s problems. Highlight the ways your product or service was the perfect fit for your customer so potential customers can start connecting the dots on how you can help them too.

3. Compelling Story

Tell the story of your customers’ experience..

Problems and solutions are important to cover, but don’t forget to make your case study relatable to your audience. Telling the story from the perspective of the customer and describing how they felt and what they experienced throughout the process helps your audience put themselves in your customer’s shoes. 

Template: 23 Case Study Questions Every Marketer Should Ask

4. Customer Quotes

Give your customer a voice..

Take your storytelling to the next level by using real customer quotes that support your case study. The best quotes will draw a clear connection between the customer’s good experience and your product or service, offering an intimate look at how your business helped them succeed. Be sure to choose quotes that perfectly illustrate the results you achieved for your customer, and make sure they accurately reflect the customer’s opinion.

5. Successful Outcome

Let’s see some results.

You’ve got the beginning of the story (why you and the customer met) and the middle of the story (how you worked to help them). Now, in order for this to have a happy ending for both your customers and your audience, you need the results to bring it home.

The key here is to be as specific as possible with your outcomes. Let those results shine and give your audience a glimpse into what they can potentially see from partnering with your organization.

6. Visual Aids

Engage readers visually..

Visual aids help bring a tangible element to the case study, making it more memorable and engaging for readers. Case studies that include visual elements such as photos, diagrams, infographics, or videos can often be more persuasive and effective than those that don’t. Visual aids can also help make complex topics more easily understandable, and they often create a stronger emotional connection with potential customers.

7. Descriptive Name

Cap it off with a great title..

When writing a marketing case study, it is important to include an effective title that accurately describes the content. A catchy and well-crafted title can help draw readers in and entice them to learn more about the journey your customer went through. Good titles are concise yet descriptive, so readers can quickly understand what the case study is about and why it is important. 

Ready to Write Your Amazing New Case Study? 

Here are a few quick tips to get you started:

  • Interview your customer about their experience. Ask questions that will help you tell the full story from their point of view, such as:
  • What was the customer looking to solve when partnering with you?
  • What did the customer need that you were able to provide?
  • What has their experience been with your product or service?
  • Show their results and give a brief overview of how your tools, strategies, and/or recommendations were impactful.
  • Use bullet points to emphasize key findings within the story and grab some quotes from your conversation with the customer to highlight.
  • Create some calls to action for the sidebars or footers of your related blog content.

Once created, there are many great places to showcase your next case study. Link to it from your sales collateral or event materials (including your booths and product sheets). Have the resources to use video in your customer conversations? Send these videos out through your social channels to help your audience put a face and a voice to the results you can bring them.

One final piece of advice: Look at metrics about how your audience is primarily viewing content, and capitalize on those options for your next great case study. Best of luck!

This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated since.


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About the author

Mike Wolfe is an Inbound Marketing Strategist at SmartBug Media helping clients find success through inbound marketing. Read more articles by Mike Wolfe .

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What you need to know to write a client case study that counts

by John McCartney | Jun 22, 2023 | Public Relations

Case study concept. Infographics. Chart with keywords and icons.

In public relations and marketing, client case studies are a powerful tool. They’re a critical way for PR agencies and brands to demonstrate their value in a specific way that readers can grasp.

Case studies are crucial in PR agencies’ efforts to showcase their expertise, build trust, educate clients and industry professionals, differentiate from competitors, inspire creativity, and foster internal learning and development. They are powerful tools for demonstrating the value and impact of PR activities and driving business growth.

I’ve spoken about the importance of storytelling in PR; at the most basic level, a case study is an extension of this idea. It’s a narrative, albeit one with a unique structure, format, and intended purpose. 

In this article, I’ll provide my perspective on effective case study structure, essential elements to include, and the many doors an excellent case study can open for your agency or brand. 

The structure

First, there’s no surer way to lose your audience than to make your case study too long. Your goal should be to hit on all the critical information in as few words as possible. A case study should fit onto a single PowerPoint slide. If you find yours extending to three or four slides or beyond, it’s time to get more compact.

While there is some room for variation, a case study should generally follow a three-part framework:

  • Challenge : This section outlines the client’s difficulties or obstacles, setting the stage for the rest of the narrative. It also provides context and helps the reader understand why a PR campaign was necessary for the goal the client aimed to carry out. It should include some brief background on the client and explore internal and external factors contributing to the problem they sought to solve.
  • Strategy : The Strategy section is the meat of the case study, providing you the space to outline the specific approaches and tactics you’ve taken to address the challenge you described in the previous section. It should accomplish two overarching goals: showcasing the thought process behind your PR campaign and demonstrating your agency’s expertise. It’s crucial to touch on the campaign’s key message and specific media relations strategies you used, including thought leadership and industry engagement. Finally, the Strategy section should briefly outline the plan for measuring the success of your campaign, setting the stage for the last area of your case study.
  • Results : To cap off your case study on a concrete note, the Results section should highlight the outcomes of your campaign. If possible, it should include quantifiable metrics that paint a picture of your campaign’s reach and impact on your case study subject—for example, growth in web traffic, social media engagement numbers, or sales figures. It should also delve into earned media coverage and include details such as the number of media mentions, the reach and circulation of the publications or outlets, and the overall visibility generated.

Remember that only some cases study will follow this structure down to the letter. You may use different terminology or break one of these sections into subsections. But your case study should hit on these three components in one way or another. Like many stories that benefit from a three-act structure, case studies draw their power from following this three-part framework.

The essential elements

With our three-part framework in mind, we have the template for our case study to tell a powerful story. But this is only the beginning. For our case study to pop, we need to include a few key elements.

  • Quantitative data : Hard numbers are a must-have for any case study if you can access them. With statistics and data points such as a sales uptick, growth in traffic, or a boost in online engagement, you can provide evidence of success and verifiably show the impact of your PR efforts. Quantitative data also allows for comparisons, benchmarking, and informed decision-making. It enables you to evaluate ROI and identify areas for improvement. When communicating with potential new clients, numbers act as a common language, making conveying the value and significance of your PR work easier. If you don’t have any quantitative data for your case study, include plenty of qualitative data (for instance, excerpts from media coverage or social listening analysis.)
  • Creative ideas : Hard data on your PR campaign’s execution is vital, but your case study should touch on ideation, too. The Strategy section is a perfect place to do so. What creative ideas did your team create to help your client achieve their goals? How does that creativity set you apart from other agencies? Potential clients will be very interested in the answers to these questions. Providing a window into a cutting-edge campaign goes a long way toward building trust.
  • Client touchpoints : Your case study should amplify the client-focused nature of your PR work and reinforce your ability to deliver exceptional results. Calling out client communications throughout your campaign is a great way to do that. By explicitly mentioning meetings, consultations, and communications, you emphasize your PR services’ personalized attention and collaborative nature. You also add credibility by illustrating hands-on involvement and a willingness to adopt tailored strategies employed throughout the engagement.
  • Client testimonials : At Jmac, we’ve touched on the importance of using testimonials in your marketing strategy, and that goes for case studies, too. No matter how well you articulate the positive impact of your PR services, there’s no substitute for a firsthand account. Testimonials offer insights into the client’s experience, showcasing the direct effects of your expertise, professionalism, and results. They also humanize your PR work, allowing potential clients to relate to actual people from whom you’ve benefited. Even a one-sentence quote can make a strong case for the value of your services.

The benefits

A robust case study is a powerful tool to showcase your company’s narrative and mission. You can effectively communicate your brand story and the values that drive your organization by highlighting the strategic thinking, creative ideas, and impactful results achieved through your PR campaigns. Case studies also help attract new clients by showcasing your past work and demonstrating your value. Prospective clients can see tangible evidence of your expertise, success stories, and your positive impact on previous clients. Finally, PR case studies are crucial in pitching campaigns for PR awards. They provide needed evidence to support your entries, increasing your chances of recognition and industry accolades. 

As you create your next case study, remember all the elements we’ve discussed here, but remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to PR services. Finding a method that works for you and reflects what makes your services unique is critical. But once you master the art of the case study, however it may look for you, you’ll be well on your way to new clients and new horizons for your business.

John McCartney


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How to write a case study — examples, templates, and tools

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It’s a marketer’s job to communicate the effectiveness of a product or service to potential and current customers to convince them to buy and keep business moving. One of the best methods for doing this is to share success stories that are relatable to prospects and customers based on their pain points, experiences, and overall needs.

That’s where case studies come in. Case studies are an essential part of a content marketing plan. These in-depth stories of customer experiences are some of the most effective at demonstrating the value of a product or service. Yet many marketers don’t use them, whether because of their regimented formats or the process of customer involvement and approval.

A case study is a powerful tool for showcasing your hard work and the success your customer achieved. But writing a great case study can be difficult if you’ve never done it before or if it’s been a while. This guide will show you how to write an effective case study and provide real-world examples and templates that will keep readers engaged and support your business.

In this article, you’ll learn:

What is a case study?

How to write a case study, case study templates, case study examples, case study tools.

A case study is the detailed story of a customer’s experience with a product or service that demonstrates their success and often includes measurable outcomes. Case studies are used in a range of fields and for various reasons, from business to academic research. They’re especially impactful in marketing as brands work to convince and convert consumers with relatable, real-world stories of actual customer experiences.

The best case studies tell the story of a customer’s success, including the steps they took, the results they achieved, and the support they received from a brand along the way. To write a great case study, you need to:

  • Celebrate the customer and make them — not a product or service — the star of the story.
  • Craft the story with specific audiences or target segments in mind so that the story of one customer will be viewed as relatable and actionable for another customer.
  • Write copy that is easy to read and engaging so that readers will gain the insights and messages intended.
  • Follow a standardized format that includes all of the essentials a potential customer would find interesting and useful.
  • Support all of the claims for success made in the story with data in the forms of hard numbers and customer statements.

Case studies are a type of review but more in depth, aiming to show — rather than just tell — the positive experiences that customers have with a brand. Notably, 89% of consumers read reviews before deciding to buy, and 79% view case study content as part of their purchasing process. When it comes to B2B sales, 52% of buyers rank case studies as an important part of their evaluation process.

Telling a brand story through the experience of a tried-and-true customer matters. The story is relatable to potential new customers as they imagine themselves in the shoes of the company or individual featured in the case study. Showcasing previous customers can help new ones see themselves engaging with your brand in the ways that are most meaningful to them.

Besides sharing the perspective of another customer, case studies stand out from other content marketing forms because they are based on evidence. Whether pulling from client testimonials or data-driven results, case studies tend to have more impact on new business because the story contains information that is both objective (data) and subjective (customer experience) — and the brand doesn’t sound too self-promotional.

89% of consumers read reviews before buying, 79% view case studies, and 52% of B2B buyers prioritize case studies in the evaluation process.

Case studies are unique in that there’s a fairly standardized format for telling a customer’s story. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for creativity. It’s all about making sure that teams are clear on the goals for the case study — along with strategies for supporting content and channels — and understanding how the story fits within the framework of the company’s overall marketing goals.

Here are the basic steps to writing a good case study.

1. Identify your goal

Start by defining exactly who your case study will be designed to help. Case studies are about specific instances where a company works with a customer to achieve a goal. Identify which customers are likely to have these goals, as well as other needs the story should cover to appeal to them.

The answer is often found in one of the buyer personas that have been constructed as part of your larger marketing strategy. This can include anything from new leads generated by the marketing team to long-term customers that are being pressed for cross-sell opportunities. In all of these cases, demonstrating value through a relatable customer success story can be part of the solution to conversion.

2. Choose your client or subject

Who you highlight matters. Case studies tie brands together that might otherwise not cross paths. A writer will want to ensure that the highlighted customer aligns with their own company’s brand identity and offerings. Look for a customer with positive name recognition who has had great success with a product or service and is willing to be an advocate.

The client should also match up with the identified target audience. Whichever company or individual is selected should be a reflection of other potential customers who can see themselves in similar circumstances, having the same problems and possible solutions.

Some of the most compelling case studies feature customers who:

  • Switch from one product or service to another while naming competitors that missed the mark.
  • Experience measurable results that are relatable to others in a specific industry.
  • Represent well-known brands and recognizable names that are likely to compel action.
  • Advocate for a product or service as a champion and are well-versed in its advantages.

Whoever or whatever customer is selected, marketers must ensure they have the permission of the company involved before getting started. Some brands have strict review and approval procedures for any official marketing or promotional materials that include their name. Acquiring those approvals in advance will prevent any miscommunication or wasted effort if there is an issue with their legal or compliance teams.

3. Conduct research and compile data

Substantiating the claims made in a case study — either by the marketing team or customers themselves — adds validity to the story. To do this, include data and feedback from the client that defines what success looks like. This can be anything from demonstrating return on investment (ROI) to a specific metric the customer was striving to improve. Case studies should prove how an outcome was achieved and show tangible results that indicate to the customer that your solution is the right one.

This step could also include customer interviews. Make sure that the people being interviewed are key stakeholders in the purchase decision or deployment and use of the product or service that is being highlighted. Content writers should work off a set list of questions prepared in advance. It can be helpful to share these with the interviewees beforehand so they have time to consider and craft their responses. One of the best interview tactics to keep in mind is to ask questions where yes and no are not natural answers. This way, your subject will provide more open-ended responses that produce more meaningful content.

4. Choose the right format

There are a number of different ways to format a case study. Depending on what you hope to achieve, one style will be better than another. However, there are some common elements to include, such as:

  • An engaging headline
  • A subject and customer introduction
  • The unique challenge or challenges the customer faced
  • The solution the customer used to solve the problem
  • The results achieved
  • Data and statistics to back up claims of success
  • A strong call to action (CTA) to engage with the vendor

It’s also important to note that while case studies are traditionally written as stories, they don’t have to be in a written format. Some companies choose to get more creative with their case studies and produce multimedia content, depending on their audience and objectives. Case study formats can include traditional print stories, interactive web or social content, data-heavy infographics, professionally shot videos, podcasts, and more.

5. Write your case study

We’ll go into more detail later about how exactly to write a case study, including templates and examples. Generally speaking, though, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing your case study.

  • Be clear and concise. Readers want to get to the point of the story quickly and easily, and they’ll be looking to see themselves reflected in the story right from the start.
  • Provide a big picture. Always make sure to explain who the client is, their goals, and how they achieved success in a short introduction to engage the reader.
  • Construct a clear narrative. Stick to the story from the perspective of the customer and what they needed to solve instead of just listing product features or benefits.
  • Leverage graphics. Incorporating infographics, charts, and sidebars can be a more engaging and eye-catching way to share key statistics and data in readable ways.
  • Offer the right amount of detail. Most case studies are one or two pages with clear sections that a reader can skim to find the information most important to them.
  • Include data to support claims. Show real results — both facts and figures and customer quotes — to demonstrate credibility and prove the solution works.

6. Promote your story

Marketers have a number of options for distribution of a freshly minted case study. Many brands choose to publish case studies on their website and post them on social media. This can help support SEO and organic content strategies while also boosting company credibility and trust as visitors see that other businesses have used the product or service.

Marketers are always looking for quality content they can use for lead generation. Consider offering a case study as gated content behind a form on a landing page or as an offer in an email message. One great way to do this is to summarize the content and tease the full story available for download after the user takes an action.

Sales teams can also leverage case studies, so be sure they are aware that the assets exist once they’re published. Especially when it comes to larger B2B sales, companies often ask for examples of similar customer challenges that have been solved.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about case studies and what they should include, you may be wondering how to start creating great customer story content. Here are a couple of templates you can use to structure your case study.

Template 1 — Challenge-solution-result format

  • Start with an engaging title. This should be fewer than 70 characters long for SEO best practices. One of the best ways to approach the title is to include the customer’s name and a hint at the challenge they overcame in the end.
  • Create an introduction. Lead with an explanation as to who the customer is, the need they had, and the opportunity they found with a specific product or solution. Writers can also suggest the success the customer experienced with the solution they chose.
  • Present the challenge. This should be several paragraphs long and explain the problem the customer faced and the issues they were trying to solve. Details should tie into the company’s products and services naturally. This section needs to be the most relatable to the reader so they can picture themselves in a similar situation.
  • Share the solution. Explain which product or service offered was the ideal fit for the customer and why. Feel free to delve into their experience setting up, purchasing, and onboarding the solution.
  • Explain the results. Demonstrate the impact of the solution they chose by backing up their positive experience with data. Fill in with customer quotes and tangible, measurable results that show the effect of their choice.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that invites readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to nurture them further in the marketing pipeline. What you ask of the reader should tie directly into the goals that were established for the case study in the first place.

Template 2 — Data-driven format

  • Start with an engaging title. Be sure to include a statistic or data point in the first 70 characters. Again, it’s best to include the customer’s name as part of the title.
  • Create an overview. Share the customer’s background and a short version of the challenge they faced. Present the reason a particular product or service was chosen, and feel free to include quotes from the customer about their selection process.
  • Present data point 1. Isolate the first metric that the customer used to define success and explain how the product or solution helped to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 2. Isolate the second metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 3. Isolate the final metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Summarize the results. Reiterate the fact that the customer was able to achieve success thanks to a specific product or service. Include quotes and statements that reflect customer satisfaction and suggest they plan to continue using the solution.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that asks readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to further nurture them in the marketing pipeline. Again, remember that this is where marketers can look to convert their content into action with the customer.

While templates are helpful, seeing a case study in action can also be a great way to learn. Here are some examples of how Adobe customers have experienced success.

Juniper Networks

One example is the Adobe and Juniper Networks case study , which puts the reader in the customer’s shoes. The beginning of the story quickly orients the reader so that they know exactly who the article is about and what they were trying to achieve. Solutions are outlined in a way that shows Adobe Experience Manager is the best choice and a natural fit for the customer. Along the way, quotes from the client are incorporated to help add validity to the statements. The results in the case study are conveyed with clear evidence of scale and volume using tangible data.

A Lenovo case study showing statistics, a pull quote and featured headshot, the headline "The customer is king.," and Adobe product links.

The story of Lenovo’s journey with Adobe is one that spans years of planning, implementation, and rollout. The Lenovo case study does a great job of consolidating all of this into a relatable journey that other enterprise organizations can see themselves taking, despite the project size. This case study also features descriptive headers and compelling visual elements that engage the reader and strengthen the content.

Tata Consulting

When it comes to using data to show customer results, this case study does an excellent job of conveying details and numbers in an easy-to-digest manner. Bullet points at the start break up the content while also helping the reader understand exactly what the case study will be about. Tata Consulting used Adobe to deliver elevated, engaging content experiences for a large telecommunications client of its own — an objective that’s relatable for a lot of companies.

Case studies are a vital tool for any marketing team as they enable you to demonstrate the value of your company’s products and services to others. They help marketers do their job and add credibility to a brand trying to promote its solutions by using the experiences and stories of real customers.

When you’re ready to get started with a case study:

  • Think about a few goals you’d like to accomplish with your content.
  • Make a list of successful clients that would be strong candidates for a case study.
  • Reach out to the client to get their approval and conduct an interview.
  • Gather the data to present an engaging and effective customer story.

Adobe can help

There are several Adobe products that can help you craft compelling case studies. Adobe Experience Platform helps you collect data and deliver great customer experiences across every channel. Once you’ve created your case studies, Experience Platform will help you deliver the right information to the right customer at the right time for maximum impact.

To learn more, watch the Adobe Experience Platform story .

Keep in mind that the best case studies are backed by data. That’s where Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform and Adobe Analytics come into play. With Real-Time CDP, you can gather the data you need to build a great case study and target specific customers to deliver the content to the right audience at the perfect moment.

Watch the Real-Time CDP overview video to learn more.

Finally, Adobe Analytics turns real-time data into real-time insights. It helps your business collect and synthesize data from multiple platforms to make more informed decisions and create the best case study possible.

Request a demo to learn more about Adobe Analytics.

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How To Write A Consulting Case Study: Guide, Template, & Examples

When you deliver a successful project, do you publish a consulting case study about it?

A consulting case study is a short story about a successful project that explains…

  • The problem your client was dealing with before hiring you;
  • your expertise and process for solving that problem;
  • and the results your expertise and process created for the client and their business.

In my experience, our consulting case studies are among the most powerful pieces of content we publish. They’re a big reason why people are comfortable signing up for our Clarity Coaching Program .

Because our case studies prove our program helps our clients get results.

I can say that our coaching program is the best on the market until I’m blue in the face.

But it’s much more powerful for consultants to see the results others have experienced for themselves: through our case studies and testimonials.

If you don’t have something of value on your website like a case study — something that actually shows you can achieve results for your clients — then your website will only serve as “confirmational marketing.”

It will confirm what people hear about you. But it won’t help you generate interest and leads.

So, if you want to shift your website beyond mere confirmational marketing to an asset that helps you generate leads and conversions, consider writing consulting case studies using the method below.

In this article, you’ll learn how to write compelling case studies that help you win more consulting clients.

Ready? Let’s dive in…

Your case study is proof that not only can you talk the talk, but you can also walk the walk.

What Is A Consulting Case Study?

When a potential client is deciding on whether they will hire you or not, a big question in their mind is…

“Can this person or company really do what they say they can for my business?”

There are many forms of thought leadership you can use to prove you can deliver results.

The consulting case study is one of them.

A case study, in the context of consulting, is typically a written document that describes…

  • the problem a client was facing,
  • the actions you took to solve that problem,
  • and the outcomes it created for your client.

You write case studies to demonstrate the results and value you created for a past or current client.

What makes them so effective as marketing material?

  • They are relatively easy to put together (especially when you use our template below).
  • Your potential clients enjoy reading them.
  • And they are a highly effective way to demonstrate your authority and expertise in your field.

Next, I’ll walk you through how to write a consulting case study.

In our program, one of the things we teach consultants is how to better understand their clients’ problems and articulate their ability to solve those problems in a way that will attract new clients.

How To Write A Consulting Case Study

Here are the steps to writing your consulting case study. You can follow along with our consulting case study template .

1. Get Permission From The Client

You shouldn’t write a case study that names your client without their permission.

So, before you start writing it, ask them if they’d be OK with you publishing a case study about the project.

Now, I’m not a lawyer, and nothing in this article or anything I write is legal or financial advice. But here’s what we’ve found, through running consulting businesses for over two decades, often works best:

A question we often receive from consultants is “What if I can’t use the name of my client or the company I worked with?” Generally, this isn’t an issue. If your contract says you can’t use the client’s company name, or the client says “No” to your request, all is not lost.

What tends to work extremely well is still writing the case study, but without using the client’s name. Instead, describe the client.

For example, let’s say your client is the automaker Mazda. If you can’t use their name, consider “Working with a top 20 global automaker…”

This gives prospective buyers a good idea of the caliber and type of company you worked with.

When you ask your client for their permission to create a case study that features them, you’ll generally find that 9 times out of 10 they won’t have a problem with you doing so, but make sure you ask before publishing.

2. Introduce The Client’s Business

Once you’ve gotten permission from the client, you’ll begin writing your case study. Follow along using our template .

The first section is the introduction. Set the stage here by introducing your client, their business, and their industry.

This section gives context to the case study. Ideally, your ideal client is intrigued by being in a similar industry or situation as the client in your case study.

3. Describe The Problem Or Challenge

In this section, you outline the problem your client was facing.

Be as specific as you can be.

Simply saying they had marketing issues or a problem with their PR is not enough.

The more detail you include the clearer the picture will become and the more effective your case study copywriting will be.

If your ideal client reads this and has a similar problem as the client in the case study, you can guarantee that their eyes will be glued to the screen, salivating to learn how you solved it.

4. Summarize Your Action Steps

Now that you’ve described the problem your client was up against, you’ll explain what you did to help solve the problem.

In this section, break down each part of the process you used or the steps you took to solve it.

The reader should get the sense that you have a process or system capable of solving the problem and getting results.

This is where you get to demonstrate your know-how and expertise. Get as technical as you can. Show your reader “Hey, this is how I can get YOU results too.”

5. Share The Results

It’s time to demonstrate results.

Write the results that were achieved and how they impacted the business/organization/person.

In many cases, the outcome isn’t just dollars and cents — it can also be less tangible value.

Are they less stressed? Do they have more free time? Are they finding more meaning and enjoyment in their work?

Mention if you’re continuing to work with this client through a retainer . If you’re not, describe how the results will impact their business in the future.

This is also a great place to include a quote or testimonial from your client.

The “Results” section is key because it shows prospective clients that you’ve solved the problems they are facing and have delivered the actual results that they likely desire.

6. Write A Call To Action

At the end of the case study, you should always include a sentence or two inviting the ideal client to reach out.

They’ve just read about the problems you can solve, how you solve them, and the results you can create.

They are primed and ready to reach out to inquire about how you can do it for them.

But if you don’t have a direct call to action for them to do that, many of them will leave without taking action.

So, write a direct, clear call to action that takes them to a page where it’s easy to book a consultation with you or where you provide your contact information.

7. Share It

Marketing for consultants is all about providing value to your ideal clients, being known for something specific, and positioning yourself as an expert and authority that your ideal clients want to work with. So, whenever you publish a piece of valuable content like a case study, your mission is to get as many eyes on the case study as possible.

The best place to publish your case study is on your website or blog.

You can also submit case studies to industry publications. These are a great way to spread the word about you and your client’s business.

Make sure to also share your case study on all social media platforms where your ideal clients hang out online. For consultants, that means LinkedIn.

Work your “marketing muscle” by actively promoting your case study, and you’ll reap the rewards of this powerful piece of authority-building content.

Writing case studies for your consulting business not only helps you land new clients, but it’s also a great way for you to review past projects.

Doing this helps you to find what worked and what didn’t.

And you’ll continue to learn from your experiences and implement your best practices into your next consulting project.

Consulting Case Study Template

Click here to access our Consulting Case Study Template .

consulting case study template

This template is designed using a “fill in the blank” style to make it easy for you to put together your case studies.

Save this template for yourself. Use it to follow along with the examples below.

Consulting Case Study Examples

Here are some example case studies from our Clarity Coaching Program clients.

1. Larissa Stoddart

Larissa Stoddart teaches charities and nonprofits how to raise money.

To do that, she provides her clients with a training and coaching program that walks them through twelve modules of content on raising money for their organization, creating a fundraising plan, putting an information management system into place, finding prospects, and asking those prospects for money.

how to write a consulting case study example

Through her case studies, Larissa provides a comprehensive overview of how she helps her clients build robust fundraising plans and achieve and win more donations.

2. Dan Burgos

Danila “Dan” Burgos is the president and CEO of Alphanova Consulting, which works with US manufacturers to help them increase their profitability through operational improvements.

The goal of Alphanova is to increase their clients’ quality and on-time delivery by 99 percent and help them increase their net profits by over 25 percent.

manufacturing consultant case study example

Through his case studies, Dan lays out the problem, his solution, and the results in a clear simple way.

He makes it very easy for his prospects to envision working with his firm — and then schedule a consultation to make it happen.

3. Vanessa Bennet

Through her company Next Evolution Performance, Vanessa Bennett and her business partner Alex Davides, use neuroscience to help driven business leaders improve their productivity, energy, profitability, and staff retention, while avoiding burnout.

consultant client work webpage

Through her “Clients” page, she provides a list of the specific industries she works with as well as specific case studies from clients within those industries.

She then displays in-depth testimonials that detail the results that her consulting services create for her clients.

These are powerful stories that help Vanessa’s clients see their desired future state — and how her firm is the right choice to help them get there.

As you see, our clients have taken our template and made them work for their unique style, clients, and services.

I encourage you to do the same.

And if you’d benefit from personal, 1-on-1 coaching and support from like-minded consultants, check out our Clarity Coaching Program .

Get Help & Feedback Writing Consulting Case Studies

If writing and demonstrating your authority were easy, then every consultant would be publishing case studies.

But that’s not the case.

Sometimes it helps to have a consulting coach to walk you through each step — and a community of like-minded consultants with whom you can share your work and get feedback from.

That’s why we’ve built the Clarity Coaching Program.

Inside the program, we teach you how to write case studies (among dozens of other critical subjects for consulting business founders).

And we’ve also created a network of coaches and other consultants who are in the trenches — and who are willing to share their hard-fought knowledge with you.

Inside the Clarity Coaching program , we’ve helped over 850 consultants to build a more strategic, profitable, and scalable, consulting business.

Learn More About Clarity Coaching

We’ll work hands-on with you to develop a strategic plan and then dive deep and work through your ideal client clarity, strategic messaging, consulting offers, use an effective and proven consulting pricing strategy, help you to increase your fees, business model optimization, and help you to set up your marketing engine and lead generation system to consistently attract ideal clients.

15 thoughts on “ How To Write A Consulting Case Study: Guide, Template, & Examples ”

This is a great outline and I found it quite helpful. Thanks.

Shana – glad you found this post helpful!

I have used case studies to get new clients and you're right, They work.

Jay – thanks for sharing. I've worked with many clients to implement case studies and have used them in several businesses and have always found them to be great at supporting proof and establishing authority and credibility.

Dumb question: guess you can't charge if you're doing a case study, huh?

Terri – No such thing as a dumb question where I come from. Always good to ask.

You definitely can charge for case studies. Michael Stelzner has a lot more information on writing white papers (and case studies) as projects.

This post was really aimed at using case studies to win more business and attract clients. But you can definitely offer this service to companies and they'll pay handsomely for it.

That was a great question!

Hello,I am really glad I stumbled upon your consulting site. This outline is very helpful and I love the e-mails I recieve as well Thanks!

Happy to hear that

This is a great site for consultants – great information for the team to share with consultants that reach out to us. Thank you!

Thanks Deborah

It is a good steps if we know how we start and control our working.

All I wanted to know about putting together a case study I have got. Thanks so much.

to put together your consulting case study: to put together your consulting case study:

I have used your outline today to write one case. Thank you for sharing.

Hi – This is a great piece, and covers all the core elements of a case study with impact.

Couple of extra points…

1. it’s really powerful to provide a mix of qualitative and quantitative results where possible e.g. ‘we saved the client $500 per month and feedback tells us morale improved’

2. We are seeing more and more consultancies include images and video in their case studies. This obviously depends on the context, so while it’s not necessarily appropriate within the confines of a bid, it is definitely something to think about for those case studies that you want to publish online or in a marketing brochure.

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Blog Business How to Present a Case Study like a Pro (With Examples)

How to Present a Case Study like a Pro (With Examples)

Written by: Danesh Ramuthi Sep 07, 2023

How Present a Case Study like a Pro

Okay, let’s get real: case studies can be kinda snooze-worthy. But guess what? They don’t have to be!

In this article, I will cover every element that transforms a mere report into a compelling case study, from selecting the right metrics to using persuasive narrative techniques.

And if you’re feeling a little lost, don’t worry! There are cool tools like Venngage’s Case Study Creator to help you whip up something awesome, even if you’re short on time. Plus, the pre-designed case study templates are like instant polish because let’s be honest, everyone loves a shortcut.

Click to jump ahead: 

What is a case study presentation?

What is the purpose of presenting a case study, how to structure a case study presentation, how long should a case study presentation be, 5 case study presentation examples with templates, 6 tips for delivering an effective case study presentation, 5 common mistakes to avoid in a case study presentation, how to present a case study faqs.

A case study presentation involves a comprehensive examination of a specific subject, which could range from an individual, group, location, event, organization or phenomenon.

They’re like puzzles you get to solve with the audience, all while making you think outside the box.

Unlike a basic report or whitepaper, the purpose of a case study presentation is to stimulate critical thinking among the viewers. 

The primary objective of a case study is to provide an extensive and profound comprehension of the chosen topic. You don’t just throw numbers at your audience. You use examples and real-life cases to make you think and see things from different angles.

essential elements of a client case study

The primary purpose of presenting a case study is to offer a comprehensive, evidence-based argument that informs, persuades and engages your audience.

Here’s the juicy part: presenting that case study can be your secret weapon. Whether you’re pitching a groundbreaking idea to a room full of suits or trying to impress your professor with your A-game, a well-crafted case study can be the magic dust that sprinkles brilliance over your words.

Think of it like digging into a puzzle you can’t quite crack . A case study lets you explore every piece, turn it over and see how it fits together. This close-up look helps you understand the whole picture, not just a blurry snapshot.

It’s also your chance to showcase how you analyze things, step by step, until you reach a conclusion. It’s all about being open and honest about how you got there.

Besides, presenting a case study gives you an opportunity to connect data and real-world scenarios in a compelling narrative. It helps to make your argument more relatable and accessible, increasing its impact on your audience.

One of the contexts where case studies can be very helpful is during the job interview. In some job interviews, you as candidates may be asked to present a case study as part of the selection process.

Having a case study presentation prepared allows the candidate to demonstrate their ability to understand complex issues, formulate strategies and communicate their ideas effectively.

Case Study Example Psychology

The way you present a case study can make all the difference in how it’s received. A well-structured presentation not only holds the attention of your audience but also ensures that your key points are communicated clearly and effectively.

In this section, let’s go through the key steps that’ll help you structure your case study presentation for maximum impact.

Let’s get into it. 

Open with an introductory overview 

Start by introducing the subject of your case study and its relevance. Explain why this case study is important and who would benefit from the insights gained. This is your opportunity to grab your audience’s attention.

essential elements of a client case study

Explain the problem in question

Dive into the problem or challenge that the case study focuses on. Provide enough background information for the audience to understand the issue. If possible, quantify the problem using data or metrics to show the magnitude or severity.

essential elements of a client case study

Detail the solutions to solve the problem

After outlining the problem, describe the steps taken to find a solution. This could include the methodology, any experiments or tests performed and the options that were considered. Make sure to elaborate on why the final solution was chosen over the others.

essential elements of a client case study

Key stakeholders Involved

Talk about the individuals, groups or organizations that were directly impacted by or involved in the problem and its solution. 

Stakeholders may experience a range of outcomes—some may benefit, while others could face setbacks.

For example, in a business transformation case study, employees could face job relocations or changes in work culture, while shareholders might be looking at potential gains or losses.

Discuss the key results & outcomes

Discuss the results of implementing the solution. Use data and metrics to back up your statements. Did the solution meet its objectives? What impact did it have on the stakeholders? Be honest about any setbacks or areas for improvement as well.

essential elements of a client case study

Include visuals to support your analysis

Visual aids can be incredibly effective in helping your audience grasp complex issues. Utilize charts, graphs, images or video clips to supplement your points. Make sure to explain each visual and how it contributes to your overall argument.

Pie charts illustrate the proportion of different components within a whole, useful for visualizing market share, budget allocation or user demographics.

This is particularly useful especially if you’re displaying survey results in your case study presentation.

essential elements of a client case study

Stacked charts on the other hand are perfect for visualizing composition and trends. This is great for analyzing things like customer demographics, product breakdowns or budget allocation in your case study.

Consider this example of a stacked bar chart template. It provides a straightforward summary of the top-selling cake flavors across various locations, offering a quick and comprehensive view of the data.

essential elements of a client case study

Not the chart you’re looking for? Browse Venngage’s gallery of chart templates to find the perfect one that’ll captivate your audience and level up your data storytelling.

Recommendations and next steps

Wrap up by providing recommendations based on the case study findings. Outline the next steps that stakeholders should take to either expand on the success of the project or address any remaining challenges.

Acknowledgments and references

Thank the people who contributed to the case study and helped in the problem-solving process. Cite any external resources, reports or data sets that contributed to your analysis.

Feedback & Q&A session

Open the floor for questions and feedback from your audience. This allows for further discussion and can provide additional insights that may not have been considered previously.

Closing remarks

Conclude the presentation by summarizing the key points and emphasizing the takeaways. Thank your audience for their time and participation and express your willingness to engage in further discussions or collaborations on the subject.

essential elements of a client case study

Well, the length of a case study presentation can vary depending on the complexity of the topic and the needs of your audience. However, a typical business or academic presentation often lasts between 15 to 30 minutes. 

This time frame usually allows for a thorough explanation of the case while maintaining audience engagement. However, always consider leaving a few minutes at the end for a Q&A session to address any questions or clarify points made during the presentation.

When it comes to presenting a compelling case study, having a well-structured template can be a game-changer. 

It helps you organize your thoughts, data and findings in a coherent and visually pleasing manner. 

Not all case studies are created equal and different scenarios require distinct approaches for maximum impact. 

To save you time and effort, I have curated a list of 5 versatile case study presentation templates, each designed for specific needs and audiences. 

Here are some best case study presentation examples that showcase effective strategies for engaging your audience and conveying complex information clearly.

1 . Lab report case study template

Ever feel like your research gets lost in a world of endless numbers and jargon? Lab case studies are your way out!

Think of it as building a bridge between your cool experiment and everyone else. It’s more than just reporting results – it’s explaining the “why” and “how” in a way that grabs attention and makes sense.

This lap report template acts as a blueprint for your report, guiding you through each essential section (introduction, methods, results, etc.) in a logical order.

College Lab Report Template - Introduction

Want to present your research like a pro? Browse our research presentation template gallery for creative inspiration!

2. Product case study template

It’s time you ditch those boring slideshows and bullet points because I’ve got a better way to win over clients: product case study templates.

Instead of just listing features and benefits, you get to create a clear and concise story that shows potential clients exactly what your product can do for them. It’s like painting a picture they can easily visualize, helping them understand the value your product brings to the table.

Grab the template below, fill in the details, and watch as your product’s impact comes to life!

essential elements of a client case study

3. Content marketing case study template

In digital marketing, showcasing your accomplishments is as vital as achieving them. 

A well-crafted case study not only acts as a testament to your successes but can also serve as an instructional tool for others. 

With this coral content marketing case study template—a perfect blend of vibrant design and structured documentation, you can narrate your marketing triumphs effectively.

essential elements of a client case study

4. Case study psychology template

Understanding how people tick is one of psychology’s biggest quests and case studies are like magnifying glasses for the mind. They offer in-depth looks at real-life behaviors, emotions and thought processes, revealing fascinating insights into what makes us human.

Writing a top-notch case study, though, can be a challenge. It requires careful organization, clear presentation and meticulous attention to detail. That’s where a good case study psychology template comes in handy.

Think of it as a helpful guide, taking care of formatting and structure while you focus on the juicy content. No more wrestling with layouts or margins – just pour your research magic into crafting a compelling narrative.

essential elements of a client case study

5. Lead generation case study template

Lead generation can be a real head-scratcher. But here’s a little help: a lead generation case study.

Think of it like a friendly handshake and a confident resume all rolled into one. It’s your chance to showcase your expertise, share real-world successes and offer valuable insights. Potential clients get to see your track record, understand your approach and decide if you’re the right fit.

No need to start from scratch, though. This lead generation case study template guides you step-by-step through crafting a clear, compelling narrative that highlights your wins and offers actionable tips for others. Fill in the gaps with your specific data and strategies, and voilà! You’ve got a powerful tool to attract new customers.

Modern Lead Generation Business Case Study Presentation Template

Related: 15+ Professional Case Study Examples [Design Tips + Templates]

So, you’ve spent hours crafting the perfect case study and are now tasked with presenting it. Crafting the case study is only half the battle; delivering it effectively is equally important. 

Whether you’re facing a room of executives, academics or potential clients, how you present your findings can make a significant difference in how your work is received. 

Forget boring reports and snooze-inducing presentations! Let’s make your case study sing. Here are some key pointers to turn information into an engaging and persuasive performance:

  • Know your audience : Tailor your presentation to the knowledge level and interests of your audience. Remember to use language and examples that resonate with them.
  • Rehearse : Rehearsing your case study presentation is the key to a smooth delivery and for ensuring that you stay within the allotted time. Practice helps you fine-tune your pacing, hone your speaking skills with good word pronunciations and become comfortable with the material, leading to a more confident, conversational and effective presentation.
  • Start strong : Open with a compelling introduction that grabs your audience’s attention. You might want to use an interesting statistic, a provocative question or a brief story that sets the stage for your case study.
  • Be clear and concise : Avoid jargon and overly complex sentences. Get to the point quickly and stay focused on your objectives.
  • Use visual aids : Incorporate slides with graphics, charts or videos to supplement your verbal presentation. Make sure they are easy to read and understand.
  • Tell a story : Use storytelling techniques to make the case study more engaging. A well-told narrative can help you make complex data more relatable and easier to digest.

essential elements of a client case study

Ditching the dry reports and slide decks? Venngage’s case study templates let you wow customers with your solutions and gain insights to improve your business plan. Pre-built templates, visual magic and customer captivation – all just a click away. Go tell your story and watch them say “wow!”

Nailed your case study, but want to make your presentation even stronger? Avoid these common mistakes to ensure your audience gets the most out of it:

Overloading with information

A case study is not an encyclopedia. Overloading your presentation with excessive data, text or jargon can make it cumbersome and difficult for the audience to digest the key points. Stick to what’s essential and impactful. Need help making your data clear and impactful? Our data presentation templates can help! Find clear and engaging visuals to showcase your findings.

Lack of structure

Jumping haphazardly between points or topics can confuse your audience. A well-structured presentation, with a logical flow from introduction to conclusion, is crucial for effective communication.

Ignoring the audience

Different audiences have different needs and levels of understanding. Failing to adapt your presentation to your audience can result in a disconnect and a less impactful presentation.

Poor visual elements

While content is king, poor design or lack of visual elements can make your case study dull or hard to follow. Make sure you use high-quality images, graphs and other visual aids to support your narrative.

Not focusing on results

A case study aims to showcase a problem and its solution, but what most people care about are the results. Failing to highlight or adequately explain the outcomes can make your presentation fall flat.

How to start a case study presentation?

Starting a case study presentation effectively involves a few key steps:

  • Grab attention : Open with a hook—an intriguing statistic, a provocative question or a compelling visual—to engage your audience from the get-go.
  • Set the stage : Briefly introduce the subject, context and relevance of the case study to give your audience an idea of what to expect.
  • Outline objectives : Clearly state what the case study aims to achieve. Are you solving a problem, proving a point or showcasing a success?
  • Agenda : Give a quick outline of the key sections or topics you’ll cover to help the audience follow along.
  • Set expectations : Let your audience know what you want them to take away from the presentation, whether it’s knowledge, inspiration or a call to action.

How to present a case study on PowerPoint and on Google Slides?

Presenting a case study on PowerPoint and Google Slides involves a structured approach for clarity and impact using presentation slides :

  • Title slide : Start with a title slide that includes the name of the case study, your name and any relevant institutional affiliations.
  • Introduction : Follow with a slide that outlines the problem or situation your case study addresses. Include a hook to engage the audience.
  • Objectives : Clearly state the goals of the case study in a dedicated slide.
  • Findings : Use charts, graphs and bullet points to present your findings succinctly.
  • Analysis : Discuss what the findings mean, drawing on supporting data or secondary research as necessary.
  • Conclusion : Summarize key takeaways and results.
  • Q&A : End with a slide inviting questions from the audience.

What’s the role of analysis in a case study presentation?

The role of analysis in a case study presentation is to interpret the data and findings, providing context and meaning to them. 

It helps your audience understand the implications of the case study, connects the dots between the problem and the solution and may offer recommendations for future action.

Is it important to include real data and results in the presentation?

Yes, including real data and results in a case study presentation is crucial to show experience,  credibility and impact. Authentic data lends weight to your findings and conclusions, enabling the audience to trust your analysis and take your recommendations more seriously

How do I conclude a case study presentation effectively?

To conclude a case study presentation effectively, summarize the key findings, insights and recommendations in a clear and concise manner. 

End with a strong call-to-action or a thought-provoking question to leave a lasting impression on your audience.

What’s the best way to showcase data in a case study presentation ?

The best way to showcase data in a case study presentation is through visual aids like charts, graphs and infographics which make complex information easily digestible, engaging and creative. 

Don’t just report results, visualize them! This template for example lets you transform your social media case study into a captivating infographic that sparks conversation.

essential elements of a client case study

Choose the type of visual that best represents the data you’re showing; for example, use bar charts for comparisons or pie charts for parts of a whole. 

Ensure that the visuals are high-quality and clearly labeled, so the audience can quickly grasp the key points. 

Keep the design consistent and simple, avoiding clutter or overly complex visuals that could distract from the message.

Choose a template that perfectly suits your case study where you can utilize different visual aids for maximum impact. 

Need more inspiration on how to turn numbers into impact with the help of infographics? Our ready-to-use infographic templates take the guesswork out of creating visual impact for your case studies with just a few clicks.

Related: 10+ Case Study Infographic Templates That Convert

Congrats on mastering the art of compelling case study presentations! This guide has equipped you with all the essentials, from structure and nuances to avoiding common pitfalls. You’re ready to impress any audience, whether in the boardroom, the classroom or beyond.

And remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Venngage’s Case Study Creator is your trusty companion, ready to elevate your presentations from ordinary to extraordinary. So, let your confidence shine, leverage your newly acquired skills and prepare to deliver presentations that truly resonate.

Go forth and make a lasting impact!

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The 5 Key Elements of a Successful Case Study

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Unlocking Success: The 5 Key Elements of a Powerful Case Study

In the dynamic business and marketing landscape, case studies have emerged as invaluable tools that showcase real-world success stories, providing a deep understanding of how products or services have made a tangible impact. A well-crafted case study can bridge trust between businesses and potential clients, making it an essential component of any marketing strategy. Let’s delve into the five key elements that contribute to creating a successful case study.

The 5 Key Elements of a Successful Case Study

At the heart of every successful case study lies a compelling narrative. It’s not just about presenting facts and figures; it’s about creating a story that resonates with the target audience. Start by introducing the client or company facing a challenge, a problem that many can relate to. Highlight their goals and aspirations, setting the stage for the journey towards a solution. The narrative should be relatable and engaging, drawing readers in and making them invested in the outcome.

Thorough Problem Definition: Setting the Stage

Before diving into the solution, it’s crucial to define the problem or challenge the client is facing. This section should clearly outline the pain points, obstacles, and issues that must be addressed. By articulating the problem in detail, you showcase your understanding of the client’s needs and create a sense of empathy with readers facing similar challenges.

Innovative Solution: The Turning Point

The heart of the case study lies in the innovative solution implemented to address the problem. This is where your product or service takes centre stage. Please describe how your offering was tailored to meet the client’s unique needs and how it stood out from alternatives. Data, metrics, and before-and-after scenarios illustrate the solution’s effectiveness. Highlight any creative strategies, methodologies, or features crucial to achieving success.

Real Results: Tangible Outcomes

Numbers speak louder than words. Presenting accurate, quantifiable results is pivotal to a successful case study. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to your target audience. Whether it’s increased revenue, improved efficiency, higher customer satisfaction, or any other relevant metric, provide concrete evidence of your solution’s positive impact. Visual aids like graphs, charts, and testimonials from the client can add credibility and resonance.

Client Testimonial: Authentic Validation

Incorporate a client testimonial that speaks to the transformative power of your solution. A genuine endorsement from the client adds authenticity and validation to your case study. It not only reinforces the positive outcomes but also humanizes the success story. A well-crafted testimonial should touch upon the initial scepticism, the experience of working with your team, and the ultimate satisfaction with the results.

Conclusion: Crafting Your Success Story

Case studies are about showcasing achievements and storytelling that inspires trust and confidence. By incorporating these five essential elements – compelling narrative, problem definition, innovative solution, actual results, and client testimonial – you can create a case study that resonates with your audience and effectively demonstrates your business’s value. Remember, a successful case study is more than a collection of facts; it’s a journey that paints a vivid picture of success, making your offerings indispensable in the eyes of potential clients.

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How to write a client case study (Free Template)

Case studies can help your business attract new customers, showcase your work, give real examples of what your product or service can do, and provide people with a reason to trust you based on past performance. 

You may decide to highlight a particular issue or scenario, for example, a case study about buy-to-let or Help to Buy. Once the information is in place, we would recommend that you select a gripping title for each section to attract the reader’s attention and keep them reading, but our initial template headings give you something to go on.

Download your free template by clicking below:

essential elements of a client case study

Use an eye-catching title or heading about what the case study is about and how your service benefits the reader.    

This section is purely introductory information: who is the client? What is their situation? Why did they come to you? 

What are the clients’ ‘pain points?’ What negative consequences did they want you to avoid? What do they want you to solve? Any relevant factors in the current marketplace or in the news? 

What did you introduce or recommend? How did you implement your solution? What challenges did you and the client overcome? What did the process look like? How did you develop a strategic plan to meet the goals that had been defined?

The results 

If possible, use metrics and statistics - they always lend weight to a case study! What were the tangible and intangible results? How did the relationship with the client develop? How did you make a difference? What’s changed as a result of your involvement?

What the client said / what you thought of the project

What was the client’s reaction to the work you did? 

Do you have any quotes from the client which would provide credibility? Help them by asking specific questions: what were they particularly pleased with? What was the main problem they were struggling with? What did they like about working with you? What was the main benefit of working with you?  

And how did you think it went? What you were pleased with? What would you do again? 

Call to action...

This is the goal of the case study; it’s not an advert but you’re aiming to create a genuine connection with the person reading it. Hopefully, people with a similar issue will want to get in touch, so gently encourage them. Lead the reader to a landing page, a contact form, offer them something relevant and of value to download, or simply list your contact details. 

A final top tip: break it all up with some images! 

For more tips and advice on enhancing your business online, check out the Accord broker’s Growth Library .

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5 essential elements of effective case studies

case study red tag

It’s one thing telling your potential customers how great you are, but having real life examples of your success takes your pitch to the next level. That’s why having a pocket full of excellent case studies is essential when you are reeling in a hot lead.

What’s so special about case studies?

A case study brings your products and services to life by demonstrating how they work in the real world. You can also tell the story of how you worked with a customer, the problems you overcame and the brilliant results.

Who doesn’t love a story with a happy ending?

So what should you include in your case study?

This is the formula we use to create informative and engaging case studies to support our clients’ marketing strategies:

The problem

Way before you start talking about your services or the stock on your shelves, it’s important to highlight that irksome issue your customer had before they came to you.

This is the hook for new prospects who could be experiencing the same pet peeve.

Also, highlight the goal you set out to achieve. What did you want to improve and by how much?

Your solution or strategy

Next up is an explanation of how you offered to help or what your strategy was for making a difference in your customers’ lives.

Don’t skimp on explaining the process, what research was involved or how you carefully planned each step of the project.

Also include any examples of things your customer might have tried before that didn’t hit the mark, or why your solution was so timely.

A testimonial

A large proportion of people seek out peer reviews before making a buying decision. So offering referenced testimonials in your case study makes this research easier for your prospects.

Ask your happy customers to give you a few positive words to include in your case study to highlight how great it is to work with you.

If you can demonstrate your results in numbers, do so.

Bold stats about sales increases, people reached and behavioural change can be presented in infographics to make your success even easier to digest.

A call to action

By now your hot lead is bound to be convinced of your credentials and desperate to get a piece of the action. Leave them in no doubt about what to do next.

A clear call to action, pointing them in the direction of more information and your sales team will help close the deal.

If you need effective case studies written for your business Amplify PR is here to help. We’re a Southampton-based PR and marketing agency that specialises in copywriting for businesses .

Get in touch to chat about your needs.

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6 Essential Case Study Elements: Turning That Client Love Into Social Proof (Examples Included)

Case studies serve as social proof for B2B companies. But they’re also time-consuming and challenging to create. If you’re going to write case studies (and you should), here are six essential elements.

Case studies don’t get the credit they’re due. In fact, they just might be the most important piece of content for B2B marketers.

Survey results from Demand Gen Report have shown that 78% of companies use case studies to research B2B purchasing decisions, which was more than any other type of content.   

And when compared with other sales content, DocSend found that case studies showed an 83% completion rate, an average that left all other content in the dust. (Completion rate = number of people who read to the end.)

Okay, yes, they’re mission critical. So let’s dive into six key elements each case study must include.

Element #1. Use a headline that highlights a qualitative or quantitative goal you helped a client achieve

There’s no time to waste in a case study – and no reason to hold out for a dramatic finish. That’s why a compelling headline, one that’s specific and powerful enough to motivate people to read on, is so critical. Consider the following ways that can be accomplished.

Metrics integrated into the headline. If the case study has impressive quantified results, they should be put front and center, not buried at the end. Sure, you can share them in the “results” section of your case study, too. Just don’t assume everyone will read that far. 

Example: Thysse used the “3X” number to showcase increased productivity from a client.

Headline with metrics

A relevant detail when metrics aren’t possible. Satisfied clients don’t always have metrics available to share. If that’s the case, a specific detail can deliver impact in the headline.  

Just make sure it really is specific. That means going beyond saying your company helped a client “be successful” or “be more effective.” 

Example: Delta ModTech used this case study headline to convey a specific – and industry-relevant – detail of how the company helps their client.

Specific details in title

Pro tip: Use formulas to help create an effective headline. It can be tricky to articulate the headline details succinctly. If you need help, you may want to set up basic phrase structures, plug in the details, and see what works. Here are four formats courtesy of case study guru Joel Klettke . 

  • How [service/company] helped [client] [result]
  • [Result] for [client]
  • [Client] gets [result] with [service]
  • How [client] eliminated [pain] with [service]

Element #2. Include charts and graphics to tell a more convincing story

Effective case studies leverage the power of images, especially the type of graphics you’d see in a PowerPoint presentation to a CEO or to a group of potential investors.

Example: Check out how the SEO company BrightEdge uses the following two charts to vividly illustrate a manufacturing client’s increases in organic rankings and keywords. Even without accompanying text, the graphics deliver an immediate message of improvement. 

Include charts

Next, here’s how HubSpot presents impressive data textually in a simple but bold visual format:

Textual data

And if you have a physical product to show that can illustrate your point, by all means include it. Rocket Industrial shows the plastic corrugated container they designed to improve a client’s packaging.

Images of physical product

Element #3. Capture your client’s voice

Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media has said it best (and I’m paraphrasing): If you say it, it’s marketing. If your customer says it, it’s social proof.

That’s why the hallmark of effective case studies is enabling the client’s own words to tell the story as much as possible. 

Example: Note how Robots and Pencils (R&P) lets the client’s quotes do the heavy lifting in this case study.

Use quotes to move the story along

And check out this quote from a manufacturing client about us. It’s real dialogue, not a polished piece of prose. That’s why it works.

It also illustrates how you can take select client quotes a step further. Here we used a block quote plus a photo to add authenticity. 

Consulting introduces a different point of view

Element #4. Keep it short and sweet for the skimmers

This holds true for any type of content, but particularly for case studies. Sure, they’re interesting reads — but only if it doesn’t take long to read them. So write for the skimmers.

We like the Challenge, Solution, Results format because it’s predictable and you get what you came for — quickly. Beyond that, keep paragraphs one to three lines in length, and use pull quotes and bullet points to help tell your story.

Example: In the following from Looop , you not only see how the client’s quotes move the story along effectively (addressed above), you also see how short paragraphs (often one line!) and bullets keep the case study reader-friendly.

Use quotes to move the story along

Element #5. Leverage the power of video and audio

There’s just something about that play button. When tweets have video, they’re six times more likely to get retweeted. 

And with case study videos, viewers can get a powerful glimpse of a satisfied customer’s insights. These videos can also create an emotional appeal through music and deliver informative B-roll that shows the product or result in action. 

Example: The high-speed demands of a Carlsberg beer canning factory – and the laser coding solution that Domino Printing provided – are on dramatic display in this video case study. You can watch the full video or get a strong sense of the story from the video stills further below. 

90,000 cans per hour

Element #6. Craft a story-specific call to action

The best case studies culminate with a CTA that actually relates to the story just told – rather than a generic and unconvincing “contact us for more information” kind of message.

Example: Here’s a CTA that’s specific and powerful from .

Use a specific call to action

Get excited about creating your next case study

To the right audience, a well-crafted case study – with compelling components like the ones above – serves as strong evidence for a company to make the next move and contact you. 

Hopefully, the above tips and examples have you excited to do your next case study.

And you really should be excited. Case studies are possibly the most overlooked yet most valuable type of content you can produce! 

For more information on case studies, check out How to Write a Marketing Case Study: A Guide for Creating the Ultimate B2B Social Proof .

Greg Mischio

Author: Greg Mischio

Greg Mischio is the founder and chief strategist for Winbound, a manufacturing marketing firm specializing in content marketing. He has over 25 years experience as a writer and digital marketing strategist. He lives in Madison, WI with his wife and assortment of pets. Learn more about his company at

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What Is a Case Study?

Weighing the pros and cons of this method of research

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

essential elements of a client case study

Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.

essential elements of a client case study

Verywell / Colleen Tighe

  • Pros and Cons

What Types of Case Studies Are Out There?

Where do you find data for a case study, how do i write a psychology case study.

A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in many different fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

The point of a case study is to learn as much as possible about an individual or group so that the information can be generalized to many others. Unfortunately, case studies tend to be highly subjective, and it is sometimes difficult to generalize results to a larger population.

While case studies focus on a single individual or group, they follow a format similar to other types of psychology writing. If you are writing a case study, we got you—here are some rules of APA format to reference.  

At a Glance

A case study, or an in-depth study of a person, group, or event, can be a useful research tool when used wisely. In many cases, case studies are best used in situations where it would be difficult or impossible for you to conduct an experiment. They are helpful for looking at unique situations and allow researchers to gather a lot of˜ information about a specific individual or group of people. However, it's important to be cautious of any bias we draw from them as they are highly subjective.

What Are the Benefits and Limitations of Case Studies?

A case study can have its strengths and weaknesses. Researchers must consider these pros and cons before deciding if this type of study is appropriate for their needs.

One of the greatest advantages of a case study is that it allows researchers to investigate things that are often difficult or impossible to replicate in a lab. Some other benefits of a case study:

  • Allows researchers to capture information on the 'how,' 'what,' and 'why,' of something that's implemented
  • Gives researchers the chance to collect information on why one strategy might be chosen over another
  • Permits researchers to develop hypotheses that can be explored in experimental research

On the other hand, a case study can have some drawbacks:

  • It cannot necessarily be generalized to the larger population
  • Cannot demonstrate cause and effect
  • It may not be scientifically rigorous
  • It can lead to bias

Researchers may choose to perform a case study if they want to explore a unique or recently discovered phenomenon. Through their insights, researchers develop additional ideas and study questions that might be explored in future studies.

It's important to remember that the insights from case studies cannot be used to determine cause-and-effect relationships between variables. However, case studies may be used to develop hypotheses that can then be addressed in experimental research.

Case Study Examples

There have been a number of notable case studies in the history of psychology. Much of  Freud's work and theories were developed through individual case studies. Some great examples of case studies in psychology include:

  • Anna O : Anna O. was a pseudonym of a woman named Bertha Pappenheim, a patient of a physician named Josef Breuer. While she was never a patient of Freud's, Freud and Breuer discussed her case extensively. The woman was experiencing symptoms of a condition that was then known as hysteria and found that talking about her problems helped relieve her symptoms. Her case played an important part in the development of talk therapy as an approach to mental health treatment.
  • Phineas Gage : Phineas Gage was a railroad employee who experienced a terrible accident in which an explosion sent a metal rod through his skull, damaging important portions of his brain. Gage recovered from his accident but was left with serious changes in both personality and behavior.
  • Genie : Genie was a young girl subjected to horrific abuse and isolation. The case study of Genie allowed researchers to study whether language learning was possible, even after missing critical periods for language development. Her case also served as an example of how scientific research may interfere with treatment and lead to further abuse of vulnerable individuals.

Such cases demonstrate how case research can be used to study things that researchers could not replicate in experimental settings. In Genie's case, her horrific abuse denied her the opportunity to learn a language at critical points in her development.

This is clearly not something researchers could ethically replicate, but conducting a case study on Genie allowed researchers to study phenomena that are otherwise impossible to reproduce.

There are a few different types of case studies that psychologists and other researchers might use:

  • Collective case studies : These involve studying a group of individuals. Researchers might study a group of people in a certain setting or look at an entire community. For example, psychologists might explore how access to resources in a community has affected the collective mental well-being of those who live there.
  • Descriptive case studies : These involve starting with a descriptive theory. The subjects are then observed, and the information gathered is compared to the pre-existing theory.
  • Explanatory case studies : These   are often used to do causal investigations. In other words, researchers are interested in looking at factors that may have caused certain things to occur.
  • Exploratory case studies : These are sometimes used as a prelude to further, more in-depth research. This allows researchers to gather more information before developing their research questions and hypotheses .
  • Instrumental case studies : These occur when the individual or group allows researchers to understand more than what is initially obvious to observers.
  • Intrinsic case studies : This type of case study is when the researcher has a personal interest in the case. Jean Piaget's observations of his own children are good examples of how an intrinsic case study can contribute to the development of a psychological theory.

The three main case study types often used are intrinsic, instrumental, and collective. Intrinsic case studies are useful for learning about unique cases. Instrumental case studies help look at an individual to learn more about a broader issue. A collective case study can be useful for looking at several cases simultaneously.

The type of case study that psychology researchers use depends on the unique characteristics of the situation and the case itself.

There are a number of different sources and methods that researchers can use to gather information about an individual or group. Six major sources that have been identified by researchers are:

  • Archival records : Census records, survey records, and name lists are examples of archival records.
  • Direct observation : This strategy involves observing the subject, often in a natural setting . While an individual observer is sometimes used, it is more common to utilize a group of observers.
  • Documents : Letters, newspaper articles, administrative records, etc., are the types of documents often used as sources.
  • Interviews : Interviews are one of the most important methods for gathering information in case studies. An interview can involve structured survey questions or more open-ended questions.
  • Participant observation : When the researcher serves as a participant in events and observes the actions and outcomes, it is called participant observation.
  • Physical artifacts : Tools, objects, instruments, and other artifacts are often observed during a direct observation of the subject.

If you have been directed to write a case study for a psychology course, be sure to check with your instructor for any specific guidelines you need to follow. If you are writing your case study for a professional publication, check with the publisher for their specific guidelines for submitting a case study.

Here is a general outline of what should be included in a case study.

Section 1: A Case History

This section will have the following structure and content:

Background information : The first section of your paper will present your client's background. Include factors such as age, gender, work, health status, family mental health history, family and social relationships, drug and alcohol history, life difficulties, goals, and coping skills and weaknesses.

Description of the presenting problem : In the next section of your case study, you will describe the problem or symptoms that the client presented with.

Describe any physical, emotional, or sensory symptoms reported by the client. Thoughts, feelings, and perceptions related to the symptoms should also be noted. Any screening or diagnostic assessments that are used should also be described in detail and all scores reported.

Your diagnosis : Provide your diagnosis and give the appropriate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual code. Explain how you reached your diagnosis, how the client's symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s), or any possible difficulties in reaching a diagnosis.

Section 2: Treatment Plan

This portion of the paper will address the chosen treatment for the condition. This might also include the theoretical basis for the chosen treatment or any other evidence that might exist to support why this approach was chosen.

  • Cognitive behavioral approach : Explain how a cognitive behavioral therapist would approach treatment. Offer background information on cognitive behavioral therapy and describe the treatment sessions, client response, and outcome of this type of treatment. Make note of any difficulties or successes encountered by your client during treatment.
  • Humanistic approach : Describe a humanistic approach that could be used to treat your client, such as client-centered therapy . Provide information on the type of treatment you chose, the client's reaction to the treatment, and the end result of this approach. Explain why the treatment was successful or unsuccessful.
  • Psychoanalytic approach : Describe how a psychoanalytic therapist would view the client's problem. Provide some background on the psychoanalytic approach and cite relevant references. Explain how psychoanalytic therapy would be used to treat the client, how the client would respond to therapy, and the effectiveness of this treatment approach.
  • Pharmacological approach : If treatment primarily involves the use of medications, explain which medications were used and why. Provide background on the effectiveness of these medications and how monotherapy may compare with an approach that combines medications with therapy or other treatments.

This section of a case study should also include information about the treatment goals, process, and outcomes.

When you are writing a case study, you should also include a section where you discuss the case study itself, including the strengths and limitiations of the study. You should note how the findings of your case study might support previous research. 

In your discussion section, you should also describe some of the implications of your case study. What ideas or findings might require further exploration? How might researchers go about exploring some of these questions in additional studies?

Need More Tips?

Here are a few additional pointers to keep in mind when formatting your case study:

  • Never refer to the subject of your case study as "the client." Instead, use their name or a pseudonym.
  • Read examples of case studies to gain an idea about the style and format.
  • Remember to use APA format when citing references .

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach .  BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011;11:100.

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach . BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011 Jun 27;11:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-100

Gagnon, Yves-Chantal.  The Case Study as Research Method: A Practical Handbook . Canada, Chicago Review Press Incorporated DBA Independent Pub Group, 2010.

Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . United States, SAGE Publications, 2017.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

Newfangled Marketing Empowerment for Experts

If you are going to create a case study, this is how it should work.

The most important thing you can offer a prospect is proof that your expertise delivers results.

Prospects need this because, more than anything else they may need to know before hiring you, they need assurance that you can provide the outcome they desire. In fact, if you can demonstrate the effectiveness of your expertise — if you can move the needle for your client — they will care little for how you did it. That’s not an invitation to be reckless. That is just an indication of how your prospect (and future client) will evaluate you. Though these things will matter, it won’t be on the clarity and consistency of your communication, your craft, or your persuasion. It will be on what happened for them because of what you did.

If you can prove your results, then all you have to do is share them.

I have written many articles on how to think about, write, structure, and design good case studies. This one focuses on the elements of a good case study, and how to structure them for the best prospect experience.

Focus on Measured Results First

First, it’s critical to understand the purpose of a case study. A case study’s job is not to describe an engagement in detail so that a prospect will know and understand every step you might take to get them from Point A to Point B. That kind of case study might give away too much. It also might be too much work to produce.

A case study’s job is to describe an outcome you made possible for your client. It should do this in a way that will appeal to prospects who need what your client needed.

Keep it Short and Focused

At one time, I was enamored with the truly long-form case study. Inspired by the stories of the now-defunct Teehan+Lax , I regularly recommended writing 1,500-3,000-word case studies . And I regularly counseled clients who said they couldn’t write that much that, yes, they could…if they just tried hard enough. There is a place for the long-form case study. But for the vast majority of experts, this type of case study is not the easiest or most productive form to produce.

So, a few years later, I revised my opinion . I cut down the word-count and placed a greater emphasis on format that prioritized results and brevity.

I still believe in this approach.

I also believe in the value of micro-results , which you can read about here .

Case studies are a continually evolving form. They’re almost an art form, really. A case study must reflect the desired future state that our prospects dream of. That’s a real challenge to do. You need to know what prospects want, yes, but you really need to know what they need. What prospects need is constantly changing, which means how you frame a case study will change, too.

What a Prospect Needs from a Case Study

When your prospects become clients, they are not buying a process. They’re buying an outcome. Ask any of your best clients why they signed on with you. It’s because you described a future for them that they needed. And it’s because you made them believe you could get them there.

You may have also described a process. But it was probably not the process that compelled them. It may have reassured them, and that is important, no doubt. But your ability to diagnose their present state and illuminate a future that may not have even been fully crystalized in their mind was why they hired you. That is your sales reality. Since a case study’s job is to facilitate an easier sale, it should do this same thing.

Put simply, a case study should primarily describe results. Results can be measured qualitatively and/or quantitatively. If you can do both, even better. As for process, use information about how you deliver to support the results you describe when necessary. But be brief — you don’t want to give away the magic.

Now let’s get in to how to structure your case study layout.

A Simple Case Study Structure

A case study exists to frame the problem a prospect has, describe the form your solution takes, and, most importantly prove your worth by documenting the results. You must make clear the impact you’ve had on your client. These requirements represent the essential elements of a case study layout.

That may look like this:

That’s pretty straightforward. Most case studies, essentially, follow this outline (although I do have three rules for writing a good case study ). There are also three ways a prospect is likely to read a case study that should shape how you arrange its narrative.

But an effective case study needs a few other pieces of information to support this story and the right prospect action.

How a Case Study Will Move Prospects Through the Buy-Cycle

A case study is the end of the road in our positioning-focused content experience, which means that the primary action we want those who read it (and have also read the other pages about our capabilities and services ) to take is to get in touch with you directly.

For prospects that begin their sessions on your website on a case study, we want them to understand how the outcomes and impact you describe are connected to the services you offer.

We want to graduate them from researchers to evaluators and qualified buyers. So we design our case study to make the importance of both of those things obvious, and acting on them simple and easy.

The Four Essential Elements of a Case Study Layout

So let’s look at the structure of these pages. The most effective and convincing case study layout has 4 key attributes:

  • ~500+ words of indexable content with an editorial focus on the impact of your work
  • client testimonial
  • easily scannable list of related services. We don’t relate other case studies here. We want our prospects to transition from research mode to understanding how our business works, not get caught in a content cul de sac.
  • buyer-friendly call to action to set up a meeting, get in touch about a project, etc.

If you nail each of those four key qualifications, you won’t need to seduce readers with case studies that are thousands of words longer than anyone will read or elaborate slideshows of shiny pictures. By focusing on impact , you will attract the right kind of attention and efficiently make the best use of it.

This article is the seventh in a series that will guide you through applying the principles of Prospect Experience Design for yourself.

Next in the series is a guide to designing an effective content hub .

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  • Open access
  • Published: 14 May 2024

Developing a survey to measure nursing students’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, influences, and willingness to be involved in Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD): a mixed method modified e-Delphi study

  • Jocelyn Schroeder 1 ,
  • Barbara Pesut 1 , 2 ,
  • Lise Olsen 2 ,
  • Nelly D. Oelke 2 &
  • Helen Sharp 2  

BMC Nursing volume  23 , Article number:  326 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

31 Accesses

Metrics details

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) was legalized in Canada in 2016. Canada’s legislation is the first to permit Nurse Practitioners (NP) to serve as independent MAiD assessors and providers. Registered Nurses’ (RN) also have important roles in MAiD that include MAiD care coordination; client and family teaching and support, MAiD procedural quality; healthcare provider and public education; and bereavement care for family. Nurses have a right under the law to conscientious objection to participating in MAiD. Therefore, it is essential to prepare nurses in their entry-level education for the practice implications and moral complexities inherent in this practice. Knowing what nursing students think about MAiD is a critical first step. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop a survey to measure nursing students’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, influences, and willingness to be involved in MAiD in the Canadian context.

The design was a mixed-method, modified e-Delphi method that entailed item generation from the literature, item refinement through a 2 round survey of an expert faculty panel, and item validation through a cognitive focus group interview with nursing students. The settings were a University located in an urban area and a College located in a rural area in Western Canada.

During phase 1, a 56-item survey was developed from existing literature that included demographic items and items designed to measure experience with death and dying (including MAiD), education and preparation, attitudes and beliefs, influences on those beliefs, and anticipated future involvement. During phase 2, an expert faculty panel reviewed, modified, and prioritized the items yielding 51 items. During phase 3, a sample of nursing students further evaluated and modified the language in the survey to aid readability and comprehension. The final survey consists of 45 items including 4 case studies.

Systematic evaluation of knowledge-to-date coupled with stakeholder perspectives supports robust survey design. This study yielded a survey to assess nursing students’ attitudes toward MAiD in a Canadian context.

The survey is appropriate for use in education and research to measure knowledge and attitudes about MAiD among nurse trainees and can be a helpful step in preparing nursing students for entry-level practice.

Peer Review reports

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) is permitted under an amendment to Canada’s Criminal Code which was passed in 2016 [ 1 ]. MAiD is defined in the legislation as both self-administered and clinician-administered medication for the purpose of causing death. In the 2016 Bill C-14 legislation one of the eligibility criteria was that an applicant for MAiD must have a reasonably foreseeable natural death although this term was not defined. It was left to the clinical judgement of MAiD assessors and providers to determine the time frame that constitutes reasonably foreseeable [ 2 ]. However, in 2021 under Bill C-7, the eligibility criteria for MAiD were changed to allow individuals with irreversible medical conditions, declining health, and suffering, but whose natural death was not reasonably foreseeable, to receive MAiD [ 3 ]. This population of MAiD applicants are referred to as Track 2 MAiD (those whose natural death is foreseeable are referred to as Track 1). Track 2 applicants are subject to additional safeguards under the 2021 C-7 legislation.

Three additional proposed changes to the legislation have been extensively studied by Canadian Expert Panels (Council of Canadian Academics [CCA]) [ 4 , 5 , 6 ] First, under the legislation that defines Track 2, individuals with mental disease as their sole underlying medical condition may apply for MAiD, but implementation of this practice is embargoed until March 2027 [ 4 ]. Second, there is consideration of allowing MAiD to be implemented through advanced consent. This would make it possible for persons living with dementia to receive MAID after they have lost the capacity to consent to the procedure [ 5 ]. Third, there is consideration of extending MAiD to mature minors. A mature minor is defined as “a person under the age of majority…and who has the capacity to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of a decision” ([ 6 ] p. 5). In summary, since the legalization of MAiD in 2016 the eligibility criteria and safeguards have evolved significantly with consequent implications for nurses and nursing care. Further, the number of Canadians who access MAiD shows steady increases since 2016 [ 7 ] and it is expected that these increases will continue in the foreseeable future.

Nurses have been integral to MAiD care in the Canadian context. While other countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands also permit euthanasia, Canada is the first country to allow Nurse Practitioners (Registered Nurses with additional preparation typically achieved at the graduate level) to act independently as assessors and providers of MAiD [ 1 ]. Although the role of Registered Nurses (RNs) in MAiD is not defined in federal legislation, it has been addressed at the provincial/territorial-level with variability in scope of practice by region [ 8 , 9 ]. For example, there are differences with respect to the obligation of the nurse to provide information to patients about MAiD, and to the degree that nurses are expected to ensure that patient eligibility criteria and safeguards are met prior to their participation [ 10 ]. Studies conducted in the Canadian context indicate that RNs perform essential roles in MAiD care coordination; client and family teaching and support; MAiD procedural quality; healthcare provider and public education; and bereavement care for family [ 9 , 11 ]. Nurse practitioners and RNs are integral to a robust MAiD care system in Canada and hence need to be well-prepared for their role [ 12 ].

Previous studies have found that end of life care, and MAiD specifically, raise complex moral and ethical issues for nurses [ 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 ]. The knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of nurses are important across practice settings because nurses have consistent, ongoing, and direct contact with patients who experience chronic or life-limiting health conditions. Canadian studies exploring nurses’ moral and ethical decision-making in relation to MAiD reveal that although some nurses are clear in their support for, or opposition to, MAiD, others are unclear on what they believe to be good and right [ 14 ]. Empirical findings suggest that nurses go through a period of moral sense-making that is often informed by their family, peers, and initial experiences with MAID [ 17 , 18 ]. Canadian legislation and policy specifies that nurses are not required to participate in MAiD and may recuse themselves as conscientious objectors with appropriate steps to ensure ongoing and safe care of patients [ 1 , 19 ]. However, with so many nurses having to reflect on and make sense of their moral position, it is essential that they are given adequate time and preparation to make an informed and thoughtful decision before they participate in a MAID death [ 20 , 21 ].

It is well established that nursing students receive inconsistent exposure to end of life care issues [ 22 ] and little or no training related to MAiD [ 23 ]. Without such education and reflection time in pre-entry nursing preparation, nurses are at significant risk for moral harm. An important first step in providing this preparation is to be able to assess the knowledge, values, and beliefs of nursing students regarding MAID and end of life care. As demand for MAiD increases along with the complexities of MAiD, it is critical to understand the knowledge, attitudes, and likelihood of engagement with MAiD among nursing students as a baseline upon which to build curriculum and as a means to track these variables over time.

Aim, design, and setting

The aim of this study was to develop a survey to measure nursing students’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, influences, and willingness to be involved in MAiD in the Canadian context. We sought to explore both their willingness to be involved in the registered nursing role and in the nurse practitioner role should they chose to prepare themselves to that level of education. The design was a mixed-method, modified e-Delphi method that entailed item generation, item refinement through an expert faculty panel [ 24 , 25 , 26 ], and initial item validation through a cognitive focus group interview with nursing students [ 27 ]. The settings were a University located in an urban area and a College located in a rural area in Western Canada.


A panel of 10 faculty from the two nursing education programs were recruited for Phase 2 of the e-Delphi. To be included, faculty were required to have a minimum of three years of experience in nurse education, be employed as nursing faculty, and self-identify as having experience with MAiD. A convenience sample of 5 fourth-year nursing students were recruited to participate in Phase 3. Students had to be in good standing in the nursing program and be willing to share their experiences of the survey in an online group interview format.

The modified e-Delphi was conducted in 3 phases: Phase 1 entailed item generation through literature and existing survey review. Phase 2 entailed item refinement through a faculty expert panel review with focus on content validity, prioritization, and revision of item wording [ 25 ]. Phase 3 entailed an assessment of face validity through focus group-based cognitive interview with nursing students.

Phase I. Item generation through literature review

The goal of phase 1 was to develop a bank of survey items that would represent the variables of interest and which could be provided to expert faculty in Phase 2. Initial survey items were generated through a literature review of similar surveys designed to assess knowledge and attitudes toward MAiD/euthanasia in healthcare providers; Canadian empirical studies on nurses’ roles and/or experiences with MAiD; and legislative and expert panel documents that outlined proposed changes to the legislative eligibility criteria and safeguards. The literature review was conducted in three online databases: CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Medline. Key words for the search included nurses , nursing students , medical students , NPs, MAiD , euthanasia , assisted death , and end-of-life care . Only articles written in English were reviewed. The legalization and legislation of MAiD is new in many countries; therefore, studies that were greater than twenty years old were excluded, no further exclusion criteria set for country.

Items from surveys designed to measure similar variables in other health care providers and geographic contexts were placed in a table and similar items were collated and revised into a single item. Then key variables were identified from the empirical literature on nurses and MAiD in Canada and checked against the items derived from the surveys to ensure that each of the key variables were represented. For example, conscientious objection has figured prominently in the Canadian literature, but there were few items that assessed knowledge of conscientious objection in other surveys and so items were added [ 15 , 21 , 28 , 29 ]. Finally, four case studies were added to the survey to address the anticipated changes to the Canadian legislation. The case studies were based upon the inclusion of mature minors, advanced consent, and mental disorder as the sole underlying medical condition. The intention was to assess nurses’ beliefs and comfort with these potential legislative changes.

Phase 2. Item refinement through expert panel review

The goal of phase 2 was to refine and prioritize the proposed survey items identified in phase 1 using a modified e-Delphi approach to achieve consensus among an expert panel [ 26 ]. Items from phase 1 were presented to an expert faculty panel using a Qualtrics (Provo, UT) online survey. Panel members were asked to review each item to determine if it should be: included, excluded or adapted for the survey. When adapted was selected faculty experts were asked to provide rationale and suggestions for adaptation through the use of an open text box. Items that reached a level of 75% consensus for either inclusion or adaptation were retained [ 25 , 26 ]. New items were categorized and added, and a revised survey was presented to the panel of experts in round 2. Panel members were again asked to review items, including new items, to determine if it should be: included, excluded, or adapted for the survey. Round 2 of the modified e-Delphi approach also included an item prioritization activity, where participants were then asked to rate the importance of each item, based on a 5-point Likert scale (low to high importance), which De Vaus [ 30 ] states is helpful for increasing the reliability of responses. Items that reached a 75% consensus on inclusion were then considered in relation to the importance it was given by the expert panel. Quantitative data were managed using SPSS (IBM Corp).

Phase 3. Face validity through cognitive interviews with nursing students

The goal of phase 3 was to obtain initial face validity of the proposed survey using a sample of nursing student informants. More specifically, student participants were asked to discuss how items were interpreted, to identify confusing wording or other problematic construction of items, and to provide feedback about the survey as a whole including readability and organization [ 31 , 32 , 33 ]. The focus group was held online and audio recorded. A semi-structured interview guide was developed for this study that focused on clarity, meaning, order and wording of questions; emotions evoked by the questions; and overall survey cohesion and length was used to obtain data (see Supplementary Material 2  for the interview guide). A prompt to “think aloud” was used to limit interviewer-imposed bias and encourage participants to describe their thoughts and response to a given item as they reviewed survey items [ 27 ]. Where needed, verbal probes such as “could you expand on that” were used to encourage participants to expand on their responses [ 27 ]. Student participants’ feedback was collated verbatim and presented to the research team where potential survey modifications were negotiated and finalized among team members. Conventional content analysis [ 34 ] of focus group data was conducted to identify key themes that emerged through discussion with students. Themes were derived from the data by grouping common responses and then using those common responses to modify survey items.

Ten nursing faculty participated in the expert panel. Eight of the 10 faculty self-identified as female. No faculty panel members reported conscientious objector status and ninety percent reported general agreement with MAiD with one respondent who indicated their view as “unsure.” Six of the 10 faculty experts had 16 years of experience or more working as a nurse educator.

Five nursing students participated in the cognitive interview focus group. The duration of the focus group was 2.5 h. All participants identified that they were born in Canada, self-identified as female (one preferred not to say) and reported having received some instruction about MAiD as part of their nursing curriculum. See Tables  1 and 2 for the demographic descriptors of the study sample. Study results will be reported in accordance with the study phases. See Fig.  1 for an overview of the results from each phase.

figure 1

Fig. 1  Overview of survey development findings

Phase 1: survey item generation

Review of the literature identified that no existing survey was available for use with nursing students in the Canadian context. However, an analysis of themes across qualitative and quantitative studies of physicians, medical students, nurses, and nursing students provided sufficient data to develop a preliminary set of items suitable for adaptation to a population of nursing students.

Four major themes and factors that influence knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about MAiD were evident from the literature: (i) endogenous or individual factors such as age, gender, personally held values, religion, religiosity, and/or spirituality [ 35 , 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 , 42 ], (ii) experience with death and dying in personal and/or professional life [ 35 , 40 , 41 , 43 , 44 , 45 ], (iii) training including curricular instruction about clinical role, scope of practice, or the law [ 23 , 36 , 39 ], and (iv) exogenous or social factors such as the influence of key leaders, colleagues, friends and/or family, professional and licensure organizations, support within professional settings, and/or engagement in MAiD in an interdisciplinary team context [ 9 , 35 , 46 ].

Studies of nursing students also suggest overlap across these categories. For example, value for patient autonomy [ 23 ] and the moral complexity of decision-making [ 37 ] are important factors that contribute to attitudes about MAiD and may stem from a blend of personally held values coupled with curricular content, professional training and norms, and clinical exposure. For example, students report that participation in end of life care allows for personal growth, shifts in perception, and opportunities to build therapeutic relationships with their clients [ 44 , 47 , 48 ].

Preliminary items generated from the literature resulted in 56 questions from 11 published sources (See Table  3 ). These items were constructed across four main categories: (i) socio-demographic questions; (ii) end of life care questions; (iii) knowledge about MAiD; or (iv) comfort and willingness to participate in MAiD. Knowledge questions were refined to reflect current MAiD legislation, policies, and regulatory frameworks. Falconer [ 39 ] and Freeman [ 45 ] studies were foundational sources for item selection. Additionally, four case studies were written to reflect the most recent anticipated changes to MAiD legislation and all used the same open-ended core questions to address respondents’ perspectives about the patient’s right to make the decision, comfort in assisting a physician or NP to administer MAiD in that scenario, and hypothesized comfort about serving as a primary provider if qualified as an NP in future. Response options for the survey were also constructed during this stage and included: open text, categorical, yes/no , and Likert scales.

Phase 2: faculty expert panel review

Of the 56 items presented to the faculty panel, 54 questions reached 75% consensus. However, based upon the qualitative responses 9 items were removed largely because they were felt to be repetitive. Items that generated the most controversy were related to measuring religion and spirituality in the Canadian context, defining end of life care when there is no agreed upon time frames (e.g., last days, months, or years), and predicting willingness to be involved in a future events – thus predicting their future selves. Phase 2, round 1 resulted in an initial set of 47 items which were then presented back to the faculty panel in round 2.

Of the 47 initial questions presented to the panel in round 2, 45 reached a level of consensus of 75% or greater, and 34 of these questions reached a level of 100% consensus [ 27 ] of which all participants chose to include without any adaptations) For each question, level of importance was determined based on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = very unimportant, 2 = somewhat unimportant, 3 = neutral, 4 = somewhat important, and 5 = very important). Figure  2 provides an overview of the level of importance assigned to each item.

figure 2

Ranking level of importance for survey items

After round 2, a careful analysis of participant comments and level of importance was completed by the research team. While the main method of survey item development came from participants’ response to the first round of Delphi consensus ratings, level of importance was used to assist in the decision of whether to keep or modify questions that created controversy, or that rated lower in the include/exclude/adapt portion of the Delphi. Survey items that rated low in level of importance included questions about future roles, sex and gender, and religion/spirituality. After deliberation by the research committee, these questions were retained in the survey based upon the importance of these variables in the scientific literature.

Of the 47 questions remaining from Phase 2, round 2, four were revised. In addition, the two questions that did not meet the 75% cut off level for consensus were reviewed by the research team. The first question reviewed was What is your comfort level with providing a MAiD death in the future if you were a qualified NP ? Based on a review of participant comments, it was decided to retain this question for the cognitive interviews with students in the final phase of testing. The second question asked about impacts on respondents’ views of MAiD and was changed from one item with 4 subcategories into 4 separate items, resulting in a final total of 51 items for phase 3. The revised survey was then brought forward to the cognitive interviews with student participants in Phase 3. (see Supplementary Material 1 for a complete description of item modification during round 2).

Phase 3. Outcomes of cognitive interview focus group

Of the 51 items reviewed by student participants, 29 were identified as clear with little or no discussion. Participant comments for the remaining 22 questions were noted and verified against the audio recording. Following content analysis of the comments, four key themes emerged through the student discussion: unclear or ambiguous wording; difficult to answer questions; need for additional response options; and emotional response evoked by questions. An example of unclear or ambiguous wording was a request for clarity in the use of the word “sufficient” in the context of assessing an item that read “My nursing education has provided sufficient content about the nursing role in MAiD.” “Sufficient” was viewed as subjective and “laden with…complexity that distracted me from the question.” The group recommended rewording the item to read “My nursing education has provided enough content for me to care for a patient considering or requesting MAiD.”

An example of having difficulty answering questions related to limited knowledge related to terms used in the legislation such as such as safeguards , mature minor , eligibility criteria , and conscientious objection. Students were unclear about what these words meant relative to the legislation and indicated that this lack of clarity would hamper appropriate responses to the survey. To ensure that respondents are able to answer relevant questions, student participants recommended that the final survey include explanation of key terms such as mature minor and conscientious objection and an overview of current legislation.

Response options were also a point of discussion. Participants noted a lack of distinction between response options of unsure and unable to say . Additionally, scaling of attitudes was noted as important since perspectives about MAiD are dynamic and not dichotomous “agree or disagree” responses. Although the faculty expert panel recommended the integration of the demographic variables of religious and/or spiritual remain as a single item, the student group stated a preference to have religion and spirituality appear as separate items. The student focus group also took issue with separate items for the variables of sex and gender, specifically that non-binary respondents might feel othered or “outed” particularly when asked to identify their sex. These variables had been created based upon best practices in health research but students did not feel they were appropriate in this context [ 49 ]. Finally, students agreed with the faculty expert panel in terms of the complexity of projecting their future involvement as a Nurse Practitioner. One participant stated: “I certainly had to like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Now let me finish this degree first, please.” Another stated, “I'm still imagining myself, my future career as an RN.”

Finally, student participants acknowledged the array of emotions that some of the items produced for them. For example, one student described positive feelings when interacting with the survey. “Brought me a little bit of feeling of joy. Like it reminded me that this is the last piece of independence that people grab on to.” Another participant, described the freedom that the idea of an advance request gave her. “The advance request gives the most comfort for me, just with early onset Alzheimer’s and knowing what it can do.” But other participants described less positive feelings. For example, the mature minor case study yielded a comment: “This whole scenario just made my heart hurt with the idea of a child requesting that.”

Based on the data gathered from the cognitive interview focus group of nursing students, revisions were made to 11 closed-ended questions (see Table  4 ) and 3 items were excluded. In the four case studies, the open-ended question related to a respondents’ hypothesized actions in a future role as NP were removed. The final survey consists of 45 items including 4 case studies (see Supplementary Material 3 ).

The aim of this study was to develop and validate a survey that can be used to track the growth of knowledge about MAiD among nursing students over time, inform training programs about curricular needs, and evaluate attitudes and willingness to participate in MAiD at time-points during training or across nursing programs over time.

The faculty expert panel and student participants in the cognitive interview focus group identified a need to establish core knowledge of the terminology and legislative rules related to MAiD. For example, within the cognitive interview group of student participants, several acknowledged lack of clear understanding of specific terms such as “conscientious objector” and “safeguards.” Participants acknowledged discomfort with the uncertainty of not knowing and their inclination to look up these terms to assist with answering the questions. This survey can be administered to nursing or pre-nursing students at any phase of their training within a program or across training programs. However, in doing so it is important to acknowledge that their baseline knowledge of MAiD will vary. A response option of “not sure” is important and provides a means for respondents to convey uncertainty. If this survey is used to inform curricular needs, respondents should be given explicit instructions not to conduct online searches to inform their responses, but rather to provide an honest appraisal of their current knowledge and these instructions are included in the survey (see Supplementary Material 3 ).

Some provincial regulatory bodies have established core competencies for entry-level nurses that include MAiD. For example, the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) requires “knowledge about ethical, legal, and regulatory implications of medical assistance in dying (MAiD) when providing nursing care.” (10 p. 6) However, across Canada curricular content and coverage related to end of life care and MAiD is variable [ 23 ]. Given the dynamic nature of the legislation that includes portions of the law that are embargoed until 2024, it is important to ensure that respondents are guided by current and accurate information. As the law changes, nursing curricula, and public attitudes continue to evolve, inclusion of core knowledge and content is essential and relevant for investigators to be able to interpret the portions of the survey focused on attitudes and beliefs about MAiD. Content knowledge portions of the survey may need to be modified over time as legislation and training change and to meet the specific purposes of the investigator.

Given the sensitive nature of the topic, it is strongly recommended that surveys be conducted anonymously and that students be provided with an opportunity to discuss their responses to the survey. A majority of feedback from both the expert panel of faculty and from student participants related to the wording and inclusion of demographic variables, in particular religion, religiosity, gender identity, and sex assigned at birth. These and other demographic variables have the potential to be highly identifying in small samples. In any instance in which the survey could be expected to yield demographic group sizes less than 5, users should eliminate the demographic variables from the survey. For example, the profession of nursing is highly dominated by females with over 90% of nurses who identify as female [ 50 ]. Thus, a survey within a single class of students or even across classes in a single institution is likely to yield a small number of male respondents and/or respondents who report a difference between sex assigned at birth and gender identity. When variables that serve to identify respondents are included, respondents are less likely to complete or submit the survey, to obscure their responses so as not to be identifiable, or to be influenced by social desirability bias in their responses rather than to convey their attitudes accurately [ 51 ]. Further, small samples do not allow for conclusive analyses or interpretation of apparent group differences. Although these variables are often included in surveys, such demographics should be included only when anonymity can be sustained. In small and/or known samples, highly identifying variables should be omitted.

There are several limitations associated with the development of this survey. The expert panel was comprised of faculty who teach nursing students and are knowledgeable about MAiD and curricular content, however none identified as a conscientious objector to MAiD. Ideally, our expert panel would have included one or more conscientious objectors to MAiD to provide a broader perspective. Review by practitioners who participate in MAiD, those who are neutral or undecided, and practitioners who are conscientious objectors would ensure broad applicability of the survey. This study included one student cognitive interview focus group with 5 self-selected participants. All student participants had held discussions about end of life care with at least one patient, 4 of 5 participants had worked with a patient who requested MAiD, and one had been present for a MAiD death. It is not clear that these participants are representative of nursing students demographically or by experience with end of life care. It is possible that the students who elected to participate hold perspectives and reflections on patient care and MAiD that differ from students with little or no exposure to end of life care and/or MAiD. However, previous studies find that most nursing students have been involved with end of life care including meaningful discussions about patients’ preferences and care needs during their education [ 40 , 44 , 47 , 48 , 52 ]. Data collection with additional student focus groups with students early in their training and drawn from other training contexts would contribute to further validation of survey items.

Future studies should incorporate pilot testing with small sample of nursing students followed by a larger cross-program sample to allow evaluation of the psychometric properties of specific items and further refinement of the survey tool. Consistent with literature about the importance of leadership in the context of MAiD [ 12 , 53 , 54 ], a study of faculty knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes toward MAiD would provide context for understanding student perspectives within and across programs. Additional research is also needed to understand the timing and content coverage of MAiD across Canadian nurse training programs’ curricula.

The implementation of MAiD is complex and requires understanding of the perspectives of multiple stakeholders. Within the field of nursing this includes clinical providers, educators, and students who will deliver clinical care. A survey to assess nursing students’ attitudes toward and willingness to participate in MAiD in the Canadian context is timely, due to the legislation enacted in 2016 and subsequent modifications to the law in 2021 with portions of the law to be enacted in 2027. Further development of this survey could be undertaken to allow for use in settings with practicing nurses or to allow longitudinal follow up with students as they enter practice. As the Canadian landscape changes, ongoing assessment of the perspectives and needs of health professionals and students in the health professions is needed to inform policy makers, leaders in practice, curricular needs, and to monitor changes in attitudes and practice patterns over time.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due to small sample sizes, but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives

Medical assistance in dying

Nurse practitioner

Registered nurse

University of British Columbia Okanagan

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We would like to acknowledge the faculty and students who generously contributed their time to this work.

JS received a student traineeship through the Principal Research Chairs program at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

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Jocelyn Schroeder & Barbara Pesut

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JS made substantial contributions to the conception of the work; data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation; and drafting and substantively revising the work. JS has approved the submitted version and agreed to be personally accountable for the author's own contributions and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature. BP made substantial contributions to the conception of the work; data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation; and drafting and substantively revising the work. BP has approved the submitted version and agreed to be personally accountable for the author's own contributions and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature. LO made substantial contributions to the conception of the work; data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation; and substantively revising the work. LO has approved the submitted version and agreed to be personally accountable for the author's own contributions and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature. NDO made substantial contributions to the conception of the work; data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation; and substantively revising the work. NDO has approved the submitted version and agreed to be personally accountable for the author's own contributions and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature. HS made substantial contributions to drafting and substantively revising the work. HS has approved the submitted version and agreed to be personally accountable for the author's own contributions and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature.

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JS conducted this study as part of their graduate requirements in the School of Nursing, University of British Columbia Okanagan.

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Correspondence to Barbara Pesut .

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Schroeder, J., Pesut, B., Olsen, L. et al. Developing a survey to measure nursing students’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, influences, and willingness to be involved in Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD): a mixed method modified e-Delphi study. BMC Nurs 23 , 326 (2024).

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  • Medical assistance in dying (MAiD)
  • End of life care
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  • Nursing education

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