Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Defining a Field Case

(Naumes & Naumes, 1999, p. 2; Recite, 2015)
Storytelling appears to be a basic human behaviour. Gudmundsdottir (1991) proposes that humans tell stories to give our experiences meaning. That imposition of meaning leads us to use existing structures and knowledge in our telling.

Green notes that journal writers “are often advised to make their findings into ‘a good story’” (2004, p. 1). Naumes and Naumes (1999, p. 2) discuss the power of storytelling, and how important they are in transmitting inter-generational history, knowledge and culture. Good storytellers “weave spells with words” and the best use “message, details and style” to weave that spell. They also state that “case writing, like storytelling, has elements of art”, “drawing in the […] reader to make scenes vivid and the characters live”.

Case narratives “circumscribe and structure how cases tell stories” (Kenney, 2001, p. 347). Vega (2012, p. 1) considers cases to be stories with “a beginning, a middle, and an ending. It must involve narrative description, and often benefits from dialogue and human interaction. A case needs to be interesting to engage the reader on an emotional as well as an intellectual level”.

In undertaking my Master’s research, I defined field – or research – cases as stories with discrete and definable boundaries, are set in fact and contextualised. They are future-focused tools created to guide, teach, anchor theory and illuminate decisions. They are created from scholarly, triangulated, generalisable, logically-structured research which reflects society’s changing mores and the time they were written in (Young, 2014).


  • Green, M. C. (2004). Storytelling in Teaching: Observer. The Association for Psychological Science, April 2004, Volume 17, Number 4 (pp. 1-7).
  • Gudmundsdottir, S. (1991). The narrative nature of pedagogical content knowledge. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, Illinois, USA: 3-7 April 1991 (pp. 1-10).
  • Kenney, S. J. (2001). Using the master's tools to dismantle the master's house: can we harness the virtues of case teaching? . Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 20, issue 2, 2001 (pp. 346-350).
  • Naumes, W., & Naumes, M. J. (1999). The Art & Craft of Case Writing. USA: Sage Publications Ltd. 
  • Recite (2015). Recite: Enter your Quote. Retrieved 17 July 2015 from 
  • Vega, P. G. (2012). How important is a teaching note? What should be in a teaching note? USA: Bertolon School of Business, Salem State University & Case Centre (formerly ECCH). Retrieved 1 November 2012 from
  • Young, S. J. (2014). Making Cases Impactful: a comparison of teaching methods. New Zealand: University of Auckland Master Thesis.

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