makes a good case study?
Case studies allow other involvement practitioners from across
the public and voluntary sector to benefit from your experience.
The following information should be used as a guide to completing
The focus of the case studies should be on the practical
application of a participation tool. How did you use patient
stories to improve your service? How did you use a user panel to
inform the development of a new leaflet? How did you make sure that
your comments cards are accessible to all?
Each case study should illustrate one method in action. If you
used several approaches in the course of a complex or lengthy piece
of work, these should be described in separate case studies.
You should ask yourself the following questions when completing
Your case study should be a good example of participation or
supporting person-centred care. How did you involve people in
planning or delivering the service? How did you ensure their needs
were met? Can you describe how their involvement influenced the
development or provision of services, care or resources?
What level of involvement did the participants enjoy:
Your case study describes a specific piece of work, in a
specific location – but your readers will want to be able to apply
the general principles or lessons to their own situation.
Is there enough detail included to ensure someone could learn
from your experience? Would your case study and the additional
information you have attached help a colleague to replicate the
approach you used? What advice would you give someone who was
considering a similar piece of work?
When a piece of work is done, it is very helpful to reflect on
what approaches have worked well, and which have not. It is
especially important to consider “What have I learned?"
Your case study should assess the methodology you used. Did it
work well, ensuring that your objectives were met? Did this method
of involving people meet their needs sufficiently? Could anything
have been done to improve the approach? On reflection, was this the
best approach to use, or would you do things differently if you had
to repeat this work in future?
The Scottish Health Council’s Participation Toolkit contains a list of
tried-and-tested techniques for involving people, as well as some
more innovative methods. Does your case study demonstrate the
practical application of one of the approaches from the Toolkit?
Did you have to adapt the standard approach so that it met the
needs of a particular individual or group?
Did you use a different methodology that we might add to the
Toolkit in future? If so, please tell us
See also our quick guides to Top Tips for
Case Studies and The National Standards
for Community Engagement.