Writing Case Studies Using Generative AI

Two articles providing easy-to-use, step-by-step instructions that novice GenAI users can try and that more advanced users can use as starting points for more elaborate case designs.

The first article (this one) will provide instructions for creating an intimate debate case study (a case study where students evaluate evidence for two sides of a controversy). Crucially, this method of writing a case will allow the educator to stay in charge at every step in the design, and it will use GenAI as a research and creative assistant. 

The second article will introduce a novel type of case study, an interactive role play.


In this first method, educators stay in control of the case during its design. They use the GenAI tool as a creative, research assistant. Educators guide it, repeatedly refining the tool’s output, and double-check everything it says for accuracy. Educators do not cede control of the design process to the GenAI. It’s like working with a student assistant, where the educator provides tasks to research or brainstorm. The assistant completes the tasks and comes back to the educator with their findings. The educator then reviews the work, chooses an option that most aligns with their vision, and progresses from there. 

Using this approach, GenAI can be used to create any type of case study, but as an example, we will create an intimate debate (Herreid & DeRei, 2007). An intimate debate is a short story about a real-world controversy—a complex situation where the course of action is unclear. There are two competing approaches to solving the situation, and each has its strengths and drawbacks. 

In teams of four, students read the background scenario. Then, they split into teams of two and each read a bullet point list of evidence that could be used to support one side of the controversy (i.e., each bullet point will either summarize the data, provide results of the study, or contain facts pertinent to the situation; we will call them the Pro handout and the Con handout). Students review this evidence and formulate arguments to support their side of the controversy. Students then reform their original group of four (and the data sheets are taken away, though students can keep their own notes containing the arguments they developed from the bullet point data) and take turns sharing what they learned. As a team, the four students examine the two sides and the evidence supporting them. They then decide on their preferred course of action about the controversy and articulate how they came to this decision. The following figure illustrates the steps of an intimate debate. 

What is an Intimate Debate Case Study

For the complete article see: Faculty Focus, April 2024