Case Study 3,000-5,000 words (excluding quotes) (see also Literature Review option)
The case study provides the student an opportunity to describe in depth an area of personal interest that was covered in the course. Students may use the case study to describe an individual and the influence or consequences of a particular psychological phenomenon. Students may also describe the phenomena in terms of a problem with specific underlying causes and effects and offer conclusions and recommendations.
Students are encouraged to use hypothetical subjects. Should a student wish to use an individual known to her/him, the student will not include any personally-identifiable information.
Using the case study format, students ‘Paint a picture’ of a psychological phenomenon. They may also hypothesize, explain, predict, discuss and evaluate the issue through the case study.
Important variables to consider when planning the case study include: (a) age and stage of development (child, adolescent, middle adulthood, geriatric) (b) normal/abnormal development, (c) trauma (including abuse and terror) (d) mental illness, (e) medical issues, (f) demographics (gender, culture, sibling order, life experience), and (g) the ‘system’.
Students use the case study to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological phenomena. The case study offers a ‘personalized’ construction and application of material new to the student
In essence, the case study is “painting the picture” and telling the story, perhaps painting two pictures: the picture of the subject and the picture of the phenomenon.
Sample case studies from previous classes are provided on Blackboard.
The case study must include the following
I. Introduction and topic (Phenomena) . Two to four paragraphs will provide the reader a summary of the topic that will be covered in the paper and the rationale for examining the subject in the case study. (What will be discussed theory, research and practice? Why expand upon this topic? What can the reader hope to gain by reading the study?)
II. Background (no more than three paragraphs), may include: profile of the individual, demographics, medical, developmental, psychological, learning trauma/abuse, family, school/work, social), and/or profile of the problem/phenomena (e.g., anxiety in the workplace, memory and rapidly changing technology)
III. Application (paint the picture e.g., Susan and Anxiety’ ‘James and his brain tumor’, Carl: migraines, learning problems and substance abuse)”; Anna, interrupted attachment and personality, Mack: seizures, Asperger’s and motivation’.” My dog Fred: anxiety and operant conditioning). This is where the student shares the meaning, relevance, conceptualization and conclusions he or she may have. Most importantly the student shows depth, attention to details and an appreciation for being somewhat thorough and scientific. Please be sure to maintain the majority of the focus on the psychological phenomenon as opposed to the hypothetical subject used to illustrate the phenomena. Many students think of case studies as ‘painting two pictures”: the story or picture of the hypothetical person and the story or picture of the phenomena. The main story or picture must be the phenomenon.
IV. Conclusions, Implications, Reaction