How to find business case studies

Updated: July 9, 2015

Case studies are often used in business education to illustrate management problems.  A case study is defined by May (1984, p.3) as “an account of problem situations and events in a real or an imagined organisation”, and they are usually written by academic institutions or professional bodies for use as teaching material. Many are based on real companies, but some are fictitious and designed to illustrate certain situations.

There are several avenues available for locating case studies:

  1. Many academic textbooks, written with the undergraduate in mind, include case studies, usually at the end of each chapter. Check through your reading list to see if you can find any suitable candidates.  Sometimes textbooks have companion websites, such as the 3rd edition of Corporate entrepreneurship by Paul Burns (2012), that offer case studies to download.
  2. Many other books contain case studies. To find these, add the phrase “case studies” to your keyword search on our Library Catalogue.  To illustrate, here is a list of over 2,000 “case studies” titles available in our libraries across all subject areas.
  3. Find journal articles containing case studies in a similar way.  Look for your keyword(s) as usual, but add “case studies” to your search, on databases such as Business Source Premier and Emerald Insight.  NB. Business Source Premier also gives you the option to limit your search by selecting ‘Case Study’ as a ‘Document Type’.
  4. Try a search on some of the free websites available.  I recommend Biz/ed Business Profiles and Business Case Studies (formerly known as The Times 100) as a starting point.
  5. There are also commercial sites available, but please be aware that it is likely you will have to pay to download anything you are interested in.  Some examples are Harvard Business Publishing | Cases (did you know cases were first introduced into business education by Harvard University  in the early 20th Century?), (a library of teaching resources created by The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education) and The Case Centre for Students who also provide guidance to help you to get the best out of learning with cases.

If you are connected with the Business School, and can recommend any other resources for finding business case studies, please drop me a line.


May, S. (1984) Case studies in business: a skills-based approach. London: Pitman.

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