How to Write a Case Study
At some point in your study of psychology, you may be required to write a case study. These are often used in clinical cases or in situations when lab research is not possible or practical. In undergraduate courses, these are often based on a real individual, an imagined individual, or a character from a television show, film, or book.
What Is a Case Study?
A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. Much of Freud’s (Links to an external site.) work and theories were developed through the use of individual case studies. Some great examples of case studies in psychology include Anna O (Links to an external site.), Phineas Gage (Links to an external site.), and Genie (Links to an external site.).In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject’s life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior.
The hope is that learning gained from studying one case can be generalized to many others.
The case study that you will be writing:
Explanatory case studies are often used to do causal investigations. In other words, researchers are interested in looking at factors that may have actually caused certain things to occur.
Sources of Information Used
There are a number of different sources and methods that researchers can use to gather information about an individual or group. The six major sources that have been identified by researchers are:
Direct observation: This strategy involves observing the subject, often in a natural setting.
Interviews: One of the most important methods for gathering information in case studies. An interview can involve structured survey-type questions or more open-ended questions (you could watch/read an interview that your celebrity gave previously)
Documents: Letters, newspaper articles, administrative records, etc.
Archival records:Census records, survey records, name lists, etc.
Physical artifacts:Tools, objects, instruments and other artifacts often observed during a direct observation of the subject..
Section 1: A Case History
This section will have the following structure and content:
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.
Provide your diagnosis and give the appropriateDiagnostic and Statistical Manual (Links to an external site.) Explain how you reached your diagnosis, how the clients symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s), or any possible difficulties in reaching a diagnosis.
Section 2: The Intervention
The second section of your paper will focus on the intervention used to help the client. Your instructor might require you to choose from a particular theoretical approach or ask you to summarize two or more possible treatment approaches.
Some of the possible treatment approaches you might choose to explore include:
Describe how a psychoanalytic therapist would view the client’s problem. Provide some backgroundon the psychoanalytic approach (Links to an external site.)and cite relevant references. Explain how psychoanalytic therapy (Links to an external site.) would be used to treat the client, how the client would respond to therapy, and the effectiveness of this treatment approach.
Explain how a cognitive-behavioral therapist would approach treatment. Offer background information on cognitive-behavioral therapy (Links to an external site.)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.
Describe a humanistic (Links to an external site.)approach that could be used to treat your client, such as client-centered therapy (Links to an external site.).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.
Drug Therapy -what types of drugs are usually prescribed? How effective are these drugs? What are some of the side effects?
1) Do not refer to the subject of your case study as “the client.” Instead, use his or her name or a pseudonym.
2) Remember to use APA format (Links to an external site.) when citing references (Links to an external site.).
3) Don’t copy word for word from a source – unless you have proper citation (quotes, author, year, page number)
4) you need to paraphrase from sources – not more than 4 quotes
5) The paper will probably be around 3 to 4 pages (not counting reference and title page)
6) The paper is due October 30, 2019 at class time.
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