Creating a Case study
How to create a Case study to showcase an experience or activity of a person or group within the University.
When to create a Case study
Create a Case study to:
- write about a person’s experience of an aspect of the University (a student’s experience of Freshers’ Week, a researcher’s account of their involvement in a research project)
- write about a collaboration between the University and an industrial partner (the work of the University’s turbo centre in collaboration with Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Cummins Turbo Technologies)
Don't create a Case study if:
- your content is about a broader subject, rather than an individual experience - this would be better suited as another content type (Project, Event, Campaign)
- your content is about something that hasn’t happened yet
- there are existing Case Studies on the same story
Before you create a new piece of content, search the website to see if it already exists and talk to other people who could be responsible for it. We do not want to duplicate content on the website as this can be confusing for users.
Naming your Case study
The title for your Case study should:
- be easy to understand - use simple English and avoid using technical terms if possible
- use active language rather than passive ('The search for tomorrow's champions', not 'Tomorrow's champions discovered')
- be informative - include enough detail to give the user a sense of what the story is about ('Research to help blind people' is not as informative as 'Research helps blind people see photos')
- make sense when read out of context - this will help users find your content through search engines
- be limited to 65 characters if possible so users can read it in entirety on search results
Your title should not:
- include the phrase 'case study' (this is automatically displayed on the page)
- be a question
- contain commas or dashes as this will create confusing URLs - use a colon instead if you need to separate phrases ('Tuition fees and charges for all students: 2014 to 2015')
Writing a Case study summary
Use the summary to identify the person or group whose experience the case study is about, rather than just summarise the project or activity involved, for example:
Title: Climate change is talking - our researcher is listening
Summary: What happens to a glacier when no one is around? Dr Philippe Blondel is mapping the behaviour of icebergs using underwater acoustics.
The summary should be no more than 160 characters.
Writing Case study content
Things to keep in mind when writing your Case study
- write concisely and in plain English
- structure your content so that the most important information is at the top
- write first-person accounts or in the third-person with direct quotes from the person involved
- at first mention of the individual use the full name, after that, use the first name - ‘George Parr’ at first mention, then ‘George’ after that
- break content up into sections that are easy to read
- use headings to structure the content and help users to navigate
- consider breaking long sentences or paragraphs with a lot of information into bulleted lists
- create links to any projects, courses, interests, campaigns, activities and so on where relevant
- find and add a quality image to the page – see our image guide for information on picture size, quality, and style
- include technical terms in headings unless unavoidable - and then only if you’ve already explained them on the page
- use generic or needless headings ('Further information' or 'Introduction') - users don’t want an introduction, they want the most important information
- create multiple case studies for the same event, project or experience unless each case study explores a different aspect of the same research or traces how a researcher’s experience has developed
Resources to help you write your Case study
The University's style guide will help you make sure you're using the same terminology, style and tone as the rest of the website. This is important so that website users can understand us easily through the consistency of our content.
Our formatting guide will help you create appropriate headers, links, lists and other formatting for your page. This is important because it makes the information we provide clearer to website users.
Add a call to action
A call to action is the next thing you want the user to do after reading your content. The Content Publisher has special fields for entering a call to action.
Make sure your call to action:
- is active ('Find out more about...', 'Contact the...', not 'More information is available…')
- makes the destination of the link clear to the user
- does not end in a full stop
Your call to action can be a link to a web page, an email address or a phone number.
If your content doesn't have a call to action, choose 'No call to action' and enter a good reason for not having one in the 'Reason for no call to action' box below.
You should always try to think of the next step for the user.
Adding responsible Organisations and Groups
After you have added all your content - including any images, media and contact details - you will able to select an owner or associated group for your page. This allocates permissions for who in the organisation is able to maintain the content.
A guide for adding responsible Organisations and Groups is available to help you do this.