The words ‘case study’ sounds intimidating, to say the least. It’s one of those assignments that need thorough research and groundwork before you can get down to writing the paper.
You’ve been asked to write a case study paper in APA format, and you’re wondering where to begin. You are filled with all sorts of questions ranging from what a case study paper consists of, what is the APA format and how you can get started.
Well, brace yourselves because that’s exactly what this article is about.
10 Elements of a Case Study in APA Format
Most colleges follow MLA or APA citation guidelines. Not following these guidelines would result in getting a low grade. You can also get involved in plagiarism complications, which can cause you to fail your class.
So, let's first begin by learning what is a case study in APA format.
A case study paper is assigned to students to examine a person, place, event, phenomenon, or any other type of analysis to identify, define and showcase key themes and possible solutions that can help in predicting future trends, bring out previously hidden issues that can be analyzed, and understand important research problems with better clarity.
APA is an acronym for American Psychological Association and is an in-text or reference citation format that is used mostly in case studies, literature reviews, method articles, and other advanced academic assignments. The APA format is mostly used for science subjects and niches.
Here are the 10 components of a case study paper in APA format:
1. Abstract paragraph
It's where your hypothesis, predictions, methods, and results come forward. An effective abstract paragraph helps the reader determine if they want to continue reading your paper or not.
Here’s a useful video by Bright Side on writing an abstract.
2. Annotated bibliography
Sources and references that are used in your paper are cited and annotated in the bibliography. Keep in mind to format it in the APA style.
This is a long direct quote that is separated from the regular text. You can use quotes that are 40 words or longer and should be cited accurately.
4. Citation examples
Write an easy-to-read and thorough guide of citation examples and various sources, which will help the reader learn HOW your citations are structured.
5. Et al. usage
It is an abbreviated term for ‘and others' in Latin. This is used to cite multiple authors for one source. These are in-text citations and include the name of only the first author, followed by et al.
A way for authors to provide additional information or more insight into an idea that you’ve highlighted in the paper, without distracting the readers from the text. Formatted footnotes should be placed at the bottom of the page.
7. In-text citations
APA in-text citations are supposed to be placed in the content of your paper. The purpose of this is to show the reader who is reading your paper that a specific piece of information found in the content is sourced from somewhere else. These in-text citations are then listed as references in the bibliography or reference page.
8. Page numbers
In an APA formatted paper, page numbers are usually found in 3 places: on every page in the upper right corner, on reference lists, and in-text citations page.
9. Title page
The title page is a very important page and is used in all APA assignments.
The primary role of this page is to present the ‘Title’ or the ‘Topic’ of the paper, which should include elements such as the author’s byline, the name and number of the course, the name of the professor, the institution, or organization that the text was written for, the due date and the page number.
10. Reference page
A reference page and a bibliography can be interchangeable but are preferred to be two separate pages. The reference page includes the list of references and outside sources that were used to craft the information present in the case study paper, whereas a bibliography includes annotations and credited citations.
A 5-Step Process to Write a Case Study in APA Format
Now that we know all the components of a case study paper, it is also important to know how to write a case study paper in APA format using these components.
Here’s how to write a case study in APA format in five steps.
1. Pick your case study topic
Make sure to pick a topic that you’re interested in. This will make your paper more relatable and an interesting read for your audience.
It is also good practice to pick a topic that has enough information and research material available online, so avoid picking a broad or a general topic that has a multitude of information. This can get overwhelming and confusing for you as well as your professors. So instead, narrow down the case study’s topic.
You should have enough ideas about the direction of your case study paper, based on your findings.
2. Study the case
A quality case study is an in-depth, comprehensive project that will require you to put in all your efforts and available researched information. It is not just finding information and discussing it with your peers.
In your case study paper, you need to conduct your own research and share your point of view and other findings and offer possible solutions. You require accurate statistics, relevant examples, and other cited references to be included in your paper to strengthen your case.
From referring to secondary sources of data such as articles and published papers to conducting interviews and gathering primary data, it’s important to include credible sources of information.
3. Write the title page and abstract
Prepare your case study’s title page as well as the abstract paragraph. The title page should include the following:
- Name of the institution;
- Main idea of the investigation.
This page should be in APA format, which means that all the pages used should be numbered accurately, and the title page should be centered in the upper half of the page.
Being a brief summary of the paper, the abstract paragraph is a crucial portion of your case study paper. You need to specify the purpose of the paper, the problems addressed, all the chosen methods to bring results, and possible questions that were raised.
This should be placed on the second page of your case study paper, should not be more than 150-200 words, and needs to be written in a one-block paragraph.
4. Follow the right format
The body of the case study paper should be thorough and should detail the research and findings in an engaging manner.
Since a case study is supposed to provide solutions to an already existing problem, use formal sentences that are structured in a way that your readers can conclude the case study with you.
Formatting your case study paper according to the APA guidelines is a must, as most credible institutions follow this formatting style for their academic write-ups.
The APA guideline recommends:
- Double-space your paper, keeping 1-inch margins on all sides;
- Use 12 pt Times New Roman font;
- Use one-half-inch indentation when starting a new paragraph;
- Should have a running header on each page, as well as section headers.
5. Organize your reference page
Your case study paper requires a reference page that includes all the sources and research material that you’ve used for getting information. These sources should be cited accurately and written in APA style.
Reference page should consist:
- Author’s last name, first name;
- Year of publication (in parenthesis);
- Type the title in italics.
If you use credible sources and neglect to cite them on your reference page, your case study paper might be considered to be plagiarised.
This article on how to write a case study in APA format gives a thorough process of delivering a quality case study paper with the appropriate format. It also aims to provide guidance, important tips, and necessary methods that will help you sail through this writing assignment with ease.
Browse through, learn how to write a case study paper, and get the grades you desire.
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Last edit at Jul 27 2023