Case Study
4-5 Pages/1000-1250 Words (word count does not include title or reference page)
Case study topics will be selected by the student and should focus on a media organization, event, technology, or controversy that corresponds to a theme from the textbook.
1) Keep in mind as you prepare your case study that you want to focus on a particular case related to the topic of a chapter from your text (e.g., Communication Policy, Radio, etc.).
2) For your case study, you can choose a media organization (e.g., Wikileaks, Apple); media event (e.g., AT&T’s merger with DirecTV); media controversy (e.g., DNC hacking scandal, Facebook redlining) media product; media policy (e.g., digital piracy, NSA surveillance, etc.)
Case studies are prepared in a variety of fields (communication, business, medicine, etc.), and they deal with issues that are remarkable or controversial in some manner. In other words, they need to have a “so what” factor.
3) Case studies are meant to provide information based on research and not mere opinion. Your goal is to give relevant information that provides context for the issue addressed, presents various angles or pros and cons on the case, and provokes discussion.
The layout for the case study is typically as follows:
A) Introductory paragraph including your topic (statement of purpose) and your thesis statement.
B) Paragraph discussing larger concept (i.e., if you’re writing about Instagram, you’ll want to give an overview of social media in general.)
C) Description of the actual case.
D) Link the case back to the larger idea (you’ve talked about Instagram and given an overview of social media; now it’s time to talk about how Instagram reflects larger trends in social media).
E) Conclude
Remember that you MUST tie your case back into the “bigger picture.” The techno-ecosystem model is the preferred way for you to do this. You’re not just writing a description of the case – you’re trying to explain a larger theme (like communication policy, society’s adoption of comm tech, or how infrastructure effects comm tech) by using your case as an example.
If I were writing a case study on the Hulk Hogan/Peter Thiel shutdown of Gawker, the format may look like this:
Introduction: Open with the importance of policy in shaping the online media. Mention that there are challenges to up-and-coming media companies. THEN, note that in this paper, I’m doing a case study on Gawker in order to explain how comm tech makes the difference. I’d state my main idea, which is that policy shapes online media; my thesis, which is that Gawker’s closure exemplifies the challenges; and then I’d briefly preview every main point I’m making in the paper.
Body: I do a bit of background on online news sites, such as how they’re not beholden to traditional media norms. Perhaps I mention their successes in the forms of Buzzfeed and Gawker. THEN, I discuss how this can make them vulnerable. At this point, I break down the Gawker case and how they were shut down by Thiel’s secret funding of Hogan’s case, and why he did it. Lastly, I might mention how the Hogan/Thiel model has put the entirety of online media in jeopardy, and mention how TechDirt is the latest victim of this model of lawsuit.
Conclusion: Concisely summarize what I’ve said, and close with a definitive statement. Note that you do NOT put any new information into the conclusion, but rather summarize and restate your thesis.
The response paper should be in APA style. Do NOT write an abstract, though. Avoid “we”, “us”, “you”.
Purdue Owl (for APA)
Writing and Reading Center
UHD Communication Databases (For peer reviewed articles)

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