ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Academia & Education Community

Case Study Template

Author: Dr Susan Smith, Associate Dean (Education and Students), University of Sussex Business School

Published: 23 Mar 2021

Guidance on case structure and length.

General guidance

Before you start

Reflect on what you are trying to teach.

Who is the audience?

Many case writers start with the teaching note.

Practical guidance

The submission should include three Word files: A title page, the case and a related teaching note. The title page should include the case title, authors, author affiliation and contact details. There should not be any identifying information in the case or teaching note files.

Detailed guidance on the recommended structure of the case and teaching note is outlined below:

  • The case comprises the scenario and brings to life the complexities of audit through engaging students with the context.
  • The teaching note comprises the learning objectives of the case, suggested questions and outline answers, as well as detail of when the case has been taught.

Case length should normally be:

  • No longer than 12 pages of text...
  • ...or 5 pages of text for a compact case.

Cases should be written in the past tense and the third person.

The Case


Short summary of the case and the main decision point(s).

Identify the key protagonists and the context (e.g. company).


Outline the background to the case company or problem.

Provide sufficient information on the context.

Timelines can help (present as an exhibit).

Main case issues

Use clear sub-headings.

If you are writing a field-based case, use compelling quotes.

What is the issue? Did something go wrong?

Closing section

End with key decisions or tensions.


Reference numbered exhibits in the text rather than including figures and diagrams in the case.

The Teaching Note


Short summary of case and decision point(s).

Case background

Think of an instructor skimming the facts – what do they need to know?


Who is the case intended for? Be specific, e.g., final year students undertaking a course in audit.

Learning outcomes

Following the session, what should a student be able to do?

Ensure the outcomes are set at the appropriate level for the intended audience.

Suggested questions

Typically 4-5 questions aligned to the learning outcomes of the case.

How long should the teaching session be? Can it be broken up into smaller sessions? If possible, show a teaching plan with timings for each question.

Suggested answers

Outline answers should be provided with points for discussion.

Suggestions of how to set up whiteboards are helpful.

If you use a framework, provide the details in the teaching note.


When have you taught it? Be specific and include details of course type e.g. accounting students or non-specialist, level of study and academic year. The case must be taught at least once prior to publication to ensure that it works as intended.

How many students were there each time it was taught? 

How have you refined the case as a result?

Do you have suggestions for online delivery modes?

Authors should also provide evidence of efficacy of the case by including students feedback or similar indicators of the case’s effectiveness in the classroom.


Use APA referencing style.

*The views expressed are the author’s and not ICAEW’s.
Category header