The theme for Sitaram Rao Livelihoods India Case Study Competition 2019 is 'Technology Solutions for Agricultural Advancement'
Case authors need to keep the following points in mind. However, these are just broad guidelines and need to be adapted according to the case study.
The cases could pertain to experiences that are harnessing technologies which enable farmers in one or more of the following areas:
- Access tech-enabled advisory
- Promote efficiency in resource use
- Create an efficient and inclusive supply chain
- Provide access to market including e-commerce models
- Provide access to real-time information on weather and market
- Combat challenges put forth by climate change; among others
The author(s) need to also submit, in writing, the permission/ clearance from the organization/ individuals covered in the case to disclose their identity
SUGGESTED GUIDELINES FOR CASE WRITING
What is a Case?
A case is a story / snapshot taken at a particular point in time, written to serve a particular discussion or teaching objective. A good case has the following attributes:
- It clearly presents the case problem / issue (s) and calls for resolution and action.
- It puts the reader into the protagonist's (community or the implementing organisation) shoes to enhance involvement in the learning process.
- Importantly, it is to the point and presents only essential and relevant facts to analyze the discussion problem. However, some amount of additional information can also be given within the case or in the annexure.
A case normally consists of three broad parts and the case authors can create section headings as per the requirements of the case:
I. The Opening Paragraph
This is considered the most important portion of the case. In this paragraph, the case author presents the general picture and tone of the case. Please note that it is neither a summary of the case nor the abstract of a research article. The opening paragraph should:
- Present a concise and interesting picture of the main issue(s) in the case;
- Describe the context within which the case occurs;
- Introduce the principal protagonist(s);
- Set the timeline;
- You can also finish the opening paragraph with one or two overriding questions facing the target population/ implementing agency in the case.
Thus, the opening paragraph should essentially provide a summary of these five questions:
- WHAT is the nature of the problem/issue (s)?
- WHO are the key decision makers? /who were involved or affected?
- WHY did the problem occur /arise?
- WHERE did the case take place (specify the organisation)?
- WHEN did the case take place (specify thetimeline)?
II. Body of the Case
The body of the case is where you can discuss the whole story of the case. It is usually written in a chronological order. It can contain a general background of the organisation, its business environment, and the details of the specific issue(s) faced by the organisation. Preferably, adopt the following guidelines for the main body of the case:
1. To ensure a logical flow you can:
- Start with antecedents on the issue, starting with environmental, geographical and situational information
- Describe the situation/ problem in its complexity
- What are the available alternatives and their constraints to address the problem
- Provide rich data related to alternatives, in exhibits
- What interventions were made and what 'considerations' (criteria) compelled the particular interventions
- Identify the key challenges faced in implementation
- Highlight the impact of the interventions
- Analyse the key causes of the success / failure of the interventions
2. Preferably have data for analysis
3. Tables, figures or graphs related to case should be in the main body while background tables/figures/data in annexure
4. In general, the case should be information rich.
You can also include more than one side of the story to enable readers to think about other compelling alternatives. You can use quotations from interviewees or stakeholders of the case. Quotations can also be cited from published news articles with full references.
III. Concluding Portion of the Case
In the last portion of the case, you can provide a summary of the case reiterating the main issues. Going forward, the future scenario can also be presented and suggestions can be made in relation to improving the scenario. In addition, you can raise new questions.
GENERAL WRITING PRINCIPLES
- Use simple and clear English
- Use neutral language
- Present factual information/ data
- As a case writer, you should play the role of an honest reporter without "taking sides" and avoid presenting your own viewpoints as this might lead to author bias
- Write in past tense