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Frequently Asked Questions

The CASE Mentor Program

What is CASE?
Are you affiliated with other organizations?
What is the definition of a "teaching case"?
What are the case norms?
How are the cases I publish in The CASE Journal distributed?
What is the purpose of an Instructors' Manual?
What is the definition of an Instructors' Manual?
What are Critical Incidents and Case Exercises?
How will the Instructors' Manual help me?
What are the case formatting guidelines for submission to the journal?

What is CASE?
The CASE Association is a developmental organization. Our mission is to foster case research, writing and instruction; an approach that is "inclusive" rather than "exclusive." We strive to help case writers (particularly beginners and potential beginners) understand more about improving their initial efforts at case research, writing, and instruction.

Are you affiliated with other organizations?
Yes. CASE is an affiliate of the Eastern Academy of Management ( and holds its annual conference in conjunction with EAM's conference. CASE is also the Eastern affiliate of NACRA, the North American Case Research Association (

What is the definition of a "teaching case"?
A teaching case is a factual description of a real situation. It is intended to provide the basis for discussion in a particular course or discipline (see discussion of "Instructors' Manuals"), and should contain sufficient information for students to be able to carry out the desired discussion. While a decision focus (a specific decision to be made by the student on behalf of the case protagonist) is preferred, The CASE Journal also accepts cases whose purpose is for students to develop their analytical and evaluative skills.

Field researched cases require a release from the protagonists; please obtain the release before submitting the case for review. Secondary source cases do not require a release, but they do require extensive citations and must comply with fair use standards.

What are the case norms?
The norms are as follows:

  • Use the past tense throughout, except in direct quotes (the events in the case have already happened)
  • Provide appropriate references to sources
  • Write in an objective tone (avoid including analysis or taking a position on the events or actions within the case)
  • Include introductory and concluding paragraphs (or vignettes) that set the scene for the case
  • Avoid including an abstract or synopsis at the beginning of the case; reserve it for the Instructors' Manual
  • One of the benefits of publishing in an online journal is that length is rarely an issue. This means that you can include as many RELEVANT appendices as you wish; however, be mindful that instructors may be less likely to use a case that is unnecessarily lengthy. Generally speaking, cases tend to be between six and 20 pages, plus attachments.

How are the cases I publish in The CASE Journal distributed?
As of Fall 2006, all cases published in The CASE Journal will be distributed through The Case Centre ( and PRIMIS ( For more information, contact the journal editor.

What is the purpose of an Instructors' Manual?
An instructors' manual serves two primary purposes:

  • It enables an instructor to determine whether a case is suitable for her/his course, in terms of level of students, recommended course, industry and subject, and/or types of analysis that can be used;
  • It gives the instructor sufficient grounding in pedagogy that he/she can teach the case effectively, including discussion questions, typical responses from different qualities of student preparation, and discussion of the applications of theory/course models. Additionally, the instructors' manual demonstrates the research aspect of case writing by including research methodology as well as the relationship of case data to current theory.

What is the definition of an Instructors' Manual?
All cases must be accompanied by an instructor's manual which identifies the intended course, relevant theoretical concepts or models that can be applied, and the research methodology for the case. The instructor's manual should also contain discussion questions and suggested responses, and a teaching plan if not inherent in the Q&A. The instructors' manual is considered by AACSB to be the scholarly contribution of the case, so its importance cannot be overstated.

What are The Case Journal Guidelines for Industry Notes and Technical Notes?
Frequently, instructors look for brief industry notes or technical notes to assist them in using specific cases in the classroom. For that reason, The CASE Journal has established a new section to house these articles. Each article must have a related instructors' manual that explains how to use the article with cases and identifies some specific cases published by TCJ with which to use the note. These notes are meant for students, to assist them in performing high quality case analyses, especially for cases in areas in which the students have limited context knowledge.

Industry Notes
An industry note provides an in-depth look at an industry (energy, banking, automobiles) or a country or region (Russia, the Pacific Rim, Wyoming). The note should include sufficient historical background to contextualize the industry information, as well as related social, environmental, and economic data. The key to a successful note is to keep it short enough to remain interesting and long enough to provide real value (between 5 and 10 pages.)

Technical Notes
A technical note provides an in-depth description of a process or technique (manufacturing, robotics, calculating net present value, administering an HR program). If there are multiple methods for performing the technique, be sure to acknowledge that the method you are using is only one of many or, preferably, describe more than one method. Clarity is critical here - you will be most successful if you incorporate diagrams, charts, bullet-pointed lists, and similar devices.

Instructors' Manual for Industry/Technical Notes
The purpose of the IM for industry/technical notes is to clarify their use by instructors; that is, why is the note valuable? If the IM is for a technical note, provide some exercises or sample questions to which the process can be applied. If the IM is for an industry note, provide some questions for analysis for which students will require the note itself. In both cases, be sure to identify one or more TCJ cases which would be enhanced by the use of the note. Provide 3-5 keyword content identifiers, as well as a list of additional readings and/or websites for instructor use. General guidelines for both kinds of notes are as follows:
  • Use language that is accessible to students, as these notes are designed for student use.
  • Keep the note itself to 20 pages maximum, double spaced.
  • Follow the same formatting instructions as for cases and instructors' manuals.
  • Be sure to use citations of articles that are readily available for instructor or student download.
  • Provide 3-5 keyword identifiers for instructors.

What are Critical Incidents and Case Exercises?
A critical incident is a short description of an even that may be representative of a specific set of behaviors or actions generally undertaken in a specific environment or with an identified group of individuals. Often, a critical incident provides the theme for a broad discussion of similar behaviors/actions and offers an opportunity to apply theories to situations. It can be especially helpful to instructors to have a series of critical incidents on one topic; i.e. interviewing, process flow, corporate social responsibility.

Critical incidents serve as the foundation for the brief cases that we find in our textbooks. Like full-length cases, they are factual and use real people, real places, and real events. Like full-length cases, they may be disguised, and they require a release from the protagonist. Critical incidents differ from full cases in more than length, however. Critical incidents do not require a decision; instead, they require an analysis or a discussion. They may require a solution, but that is not a requirement of the format.

A case exercise also resembles a case, but is shorter (not as short as a critical incident) and focuses heavily upon an exercise designed to assist students in accessing topical- or process-learning. Instead of appearing in the instructors' manual, the exercise appears following the case itself, as part of the case.

How will the Instructors' Manual help me?
The IM helps the instructor determine how to use the critical incident or exercise within the context of their classroom. Therefore, the IM needs to contain the same kind of material included in the IM for a full-length case - a synopsis, indication of relevant classes/courses/levels of student, topics, learning outcomes, discussion questions and their answers, related theory, teaching strategy, and epilogue (if known). It is likely that the IM will be significantly larger than the critical incident or case exercise, as that is where the scholarly value resides.

What are the case formatting guidelines for submission to the journal?
Please click here for initial submission formatting guidelines.

Please click here for final submission formatting guidelines.

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