Using case studies in accounting : a case study of the challenges confronting lecturers
- Publisher: Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT), London Metropolitan University
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There is no universally accepted definition of a "case study". Percival and Ellington (1980) define it succinctly as "an in-depth examination of a real life or simulated situation carried out to illustrate special and/or general characteristics". Smith (1987) explains the role of the case study in business education as follows: "The case study in this context refers to a description of situation which exists or existed within an organisation. It is a learning method which, by depicting or attempting to approximate real situations, allows for analytical skills to be practised. It is widely accepted as a means of improving the skills of problem solving and decision making. Moreover, learning from mistakes using case studies is less costly than learning from mistakes in a real business situation". The author of this paper leads an accounting option unit at London Metropolitan University (city campus) titled "Integrative Case Analysis", offered to students studying accounting in single or joint honours programmes. The module is delivered entirely through a series of case studies. The assessment is based on two case studies, one used for coursework, the other for the examination. This paper examines how the various definitions of "case study" pertain to the collection of cases used on this course.