Case Report


Topic should be on something about DEPRESSION


Case studies are a common method of conducting qualitative research, especially in clinical medicine and the health services. Crowe and colleagues (2011, p. 1) have described a case study as, “a research approach that is used to generate an in-depth, multi-faceted understanding of a complex issue in its real-life context.” Case studies can be useful in a variety of biobehavioral health contexts, especially related to understanding patient perspectives and experiences, developing or refining patient-reported outcome measures, gaining insight into health beliefs and behaviors, examining perceptions of care, aiding in the understanding of the use and delivery of health services, and even guiding how new policies and guidelines are developed and implemented.

There is no one way to conduct a case study and in fact, researchers often use a variety of data collection methods, such as interviewing, observations, medical chart review, and more to complete a case study. In some instances, the study is a report of one case with unique features that make it noteworthy. In other instances, the case is chosen because it exemplifies features or characteristics common to the condition and can be instructive for others. Stake (1995) describes case studies as being intrinsicinstrumental or collective. Intrinsic cases explore unique phenomenon, whereas instrumental cases seek to gain a better general understanding of a condition or phenomenon. As the name implies, a collective case study includes more than one case related to the research question.

Some scholars (Alpi & Evans, 2019) make a distinction between a case study and a case report, suggesting that term ‘case study’ should be applied to full-scale qualitative research, such as the research by Dr. Mohammed in the Case Study Research video (viewed earlier in this lesson), and that the term  ‘case report’ is more accurate for findings that summarize a specific patient’s condition, disease progression, treatment and prognosis. However, the terms are often used interchangeably and you are likely to find the term case study applied to both types of work. Ultimately, both case studies and case reports can provide valuable perspectives for professionals in biobehavioral health.

Examples: If you are interested, you may refer to the following examples of case report-style studies prior to starting the assignment.  Confirmed viral meningitis with normal CSF findings (Links to an external site.), reported by Dawood and colleagues (2014) and this case of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (Links to an external site.) described by McCartney and Marshall (2016).


This assignment consists of two parts and provides an opportunity to:

  1. Part 1: Case Report: Practice writing a paper in the style of a case report on a biobehavioral health issue or condition.
  2. Part 2: Reflection: Reflect on the value of a case study approach to learn about health issues.

You are encouraged to choose a topic that is related to your final project topic.

The assignment begins with an introduction to the health condition based on current scientific knowledge and continues with your description of the condition in one individual, the “case.” You can create the details of case based on existing scholarly literature, one or more real people with the condition (maintain the anonymity of the person/s), cases of the condition that have been covered in the news media or films, or even some combination of these sources. The specific details of the case can be “made-up” but should still accurately reflect what is currently known about how the condition might develop in and be experienced by an individual. In addition, consider how the case report might be used to add to what is known about some aspect of the condition or patient experience or to highlight what is not well known. You may decide to write about a case that is primarily intrinsic, (a case that is unique or rare) or primarily instrumental a case that is generally informative and instructive about some aspect of the condition, patient, and/or treatment. Overall, remember to write the case with a focus on what can be learned from the case.


Part 1: Case Report

The writing style should be professional, as would be found in a published case report, and geared toward an audience of clinicians and/or researchers. Strive to be clear, precise, and accurate. Appropriate references to factual information are needed.

Although the specific format and content requirements for published case studies vary by journal, most include these typical sections: abstract, introduction, the case description, a discussion, references, and relevant figures or tables (Sun, 2013).

Your paper should include the following required sections: abstract, introduction, case description, discussion, and references.  Tables/figures are optional.

Section 1: Abstract

This is a summary of the entire report that presents the highlights. It should be no longer than one (1) paragraph. Complete this section after the other sections of the paper are done.

Section 2: Introduction

This should be a brief literature review, a minimum of three (3) paragraphs in length, that addresses the following items listed for this section. This section requires at least three (3) references to scholarly sources, one of which must address treatment or intervention benefit.

  1. Define the medical condition or health state by:
    1. Explaining how it is usually recognized in people, such as key signs, symptoms, and diagnostic tests.
    2. Describing the key biological mechanisms underlying the condition. In the case of a psychological illness with no known neurobiological basis, discuss the cognitive or behavioral symptoms that are essential characteristics.
  2. Describe the Etiology: The etiology of a disease is the set of factors that caused the disease to emerge. These can include demographics, genetics, environmental exposures, behaviors, and related traits that either make an individual vulnerable to the disease or directly cause the disease to occur in a particular individual. Review the major known etiological factors of the disease or health condition of interest. If there are few known factors, go into more detail describing them; if there are many factors, list them and explain which determinants are known to be most important and which play a lesser role.
  3. Present the Typical Prognosis: This is the likely outcome over the long run for the condition. Address each of these points:
    1. Duration: Is the medical condition permanent, and if not, what is the typical time scale (seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, decades)?
    2. Treatable: Is it treatable or curable? Provide relevant statistics about the proportion of people who fully recover.
    3. Treatment and Modifiable Factors Impacting Prognosis: What is the current best treatment and/or recommended lifestyle changes and how much benefit can be expected? This section should be supported with at least one reference to a research study describing the expected benefit of a treatment or intervention.
    4. Impact: What is the typical impact on the quality of life?
    5. Co-morbidities: Are there other conditions that develop related to this condition? If so, provide relevant statistics about the proportion of people who suffer from major comorbidities and problems related to this disease.

Section 3: Case Description

This section should present all of the relevant details about the case, including the following items listed for this section. It should be a minimum of three (3) paragraphs in length. No scholarly citations are required but should be used if appropriate.

  1. The Patient History: Details that are relevant to the etiology of the medical condition of interest, such as demographics, family history or specific genetic mutations, environmental exposures, behaviors, and other factors that may have caused or raised the risk for the condition occurring in this individual.
  2. Symptoms, Clinical Exam(s), Diagnostic Testing and Results, Diagnosis: The initial presentation of the illness in this individual, with particular emphasis on any unusual characteristics or test/exam results at the time of diagnosis.
  3. Management, Treatment, and Outcome: Progress of the illness so far, including whether any treatments have already been delivered and how the patient has responded to those.

Section 4: Discussion

This section should summarize the case, highlight any questions it raised, include a discussion of important lessons learned from the case, and indicate how this case advances understanding of the condition and/or patient experience. This section should be a minimum of two (2) paragraphs in length and requires discussion of at least two (2) credible scholarly sources, as would be found in a published case study.

Section 5: References

Place the reference list at the end of the complete assignment.

Section 6: Tables/Figures

These are not required. If you choose to include them, be sure they are necessary to illustrate a specific point. Include a label and title for each figure and table.

Part 2: Reflection

When you finish the case report, add your Part 2: Reflection after the report. Then include your References section after the Part 2: Reflection.

Reflect on what you learned in this lesson and how it applies to your personal life and career aspirations. You do not need to write the reflection portion in a professional style, although the tone should still be appropriate for an academic assignment and you should include citations, as appropriate. Your reflection should be between 2 – 3 paragraphs and address the following questions:

  1. What was the most interesting or surprising thing that you learned in the lesson on qualitative research?
  2. What skills do you think a good qualitative researcher needs and why?
  3. How is qualitative research relevant to clinical settings?
  4. In what ways do you think you might use the information from this lesson in your career? Your personal life?
  5. What else would you like to learn about this topic?

Written Response and Paper Format Directions

  • Prepare your response in a word-processing document.
  • Your complete essay should be a minimum of around 3 single-spaced pages (1-inch page margins and 12-point font), excluding your reference list, name, and title; there is no maximum page requirement.
  • Cite ALL references as appropriate using in-text citations as appropriate and include a reference list at the end of your written summary. This includes any of the instructional material included in this lesson or the course. All answers and conclusions must be supported, as appropriate, with evidence and resources/citations using APA. Reference the Writing and Citation Resources for assistance.

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