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What Is a Case Study?

When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.

Deep Dive into a Topic

At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.

As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.

Study a Pattern

One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.

Gather Evidence

During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.

Present Findings

As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.

Draw Conclusions

Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.


how to remember geography case studies

Life More Extraordinary with Lucy Parsons

How to revise geography case studies

How to revise geography case studies

Molly, one of my readers, wrote to me to ask:

I was just wondering if you had any tips for revising and remembering geography case studies?

When I've asked around some of the things that students find most difficult about revising geography case studies are:

  • Condensing all the information
  • Remembering all the statistics
  • Knowing what you need to know, and what you can afford to forget

Having been a bit of an ace at this kind of thing myself (I got an A* at GCSE, A at A-Level and a degree in the subject) I thought I'd share some of my top tips on how to revise geography case studies today.

1. Make sure you understand the case study

The first step in remembering anything is understanding it. You need to have a clear model in your mind of how the case study works. This includes how it's laid out in space (a mental map), who the people were who were involved and the context of the case study (historical, political, social, economic and environmental. These tips will help you with this:

  • Make sure you've seen a map of the place. In this day and age this is easy with google maps, google earth and google streetview. All of these things can help you understand both the 2-D and 3-D landscape of the case study.
  • Find newspaper articles and pictures to give you some background and also help you to visual the place
  • Watch videos if they exist. For some case studies there are amazing clips of films (Kibera, the Nairobi shanty town at the beginning of The Constant Gardner springs to mind). For others there will be great video clips on YouTube to help you.
  • If you can, visit the place. Nothing is as powerful as this in fully understanding a place.

2. Condense your notes

Once you've thoroughly understood the case study it's time to condense your notes. There are various ways you can do this.

  • Create an A3 annotated map of the area. Colour code things like causes and effects or social, economic, environmental and political factors. Have a key. You can even have flaps. Stick the map up on the wall and look at it frequently. The great thing about this is that the finite size of the page forces you to condense the information.
  • Create a table. You could put things like the social, economic, political and environmental factors along one side and background, causes and effects along the other.  Inside The Extraordinaries Club I have some grids and guidelines for you to download and use. These are exclusively for members. Find out more about the club here .
  • Create index cards. This was one of my favourites as it was quite a kinaesthetic way of separating the information into bite-sized chunks. It was a great format to give other people to test me so that I could learn all those facts and figures. You can even have different coloured index cards for different topics.
  • Traditional revision notes . In my opinion this is a bit boring, and can also be a bit intimidating when you see reams of notes that you have to memorise. I'd go with one of the other options if I was you.

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3. Memorise

Now you've condensed your class notes you need to memorise them. Good memorisation, in my experience comes down to two things:

  • Using the information in different formats.

I'd advise you to do a combination of the following:

  • Read index cards out loud, cover and test yourself.
  • Get other people to test you.
  • Act it out.
  • Make up songs or rhymes
  • Whatever else works for you…

4. Teach someone else about the case study

Teaching someone else is one of the best ways there is to a) check your understanding (because they'll never understand it if you don't) and b) practice putting what you know into words so that someone else understands it.

5. Do Past Papers

The final step is to do past papers. I strongly recommend that you do this in the format of Revision Power Hours.

If you do power hours, and make a point of marking your work, you'll not only do lots of repetition of the case study you've been learning, you'll start to learn to think like an examiner and also get a brilliant insight into exactly what they expect you to know in terms of facts and statistics.

I will say this. I used to remember literally hundreds of stats for my case studies. When I became a teacher it surprised me how few students actually needed to know in order to get good marks. However, this comes with a word of warning. You need to have a good insight into what your exam board expects you to know.

Over to you

That's pretty much a masterclass in how to revise geography case studies. Now it's up to you to put it into practice

In the comments below I'd love to know:

  • What you're finding difficult about revising geography case studies
  • What other subjects you need revision help with

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The latest news and views on education from oxford university press., 5 ways to help students remember those case studies.

Durdle Door

When I ask my students what they particularly struggle with when it comes to exam preparation I frequently hear the exasperated reply: “case studies!”

Some of the geographers I teach, especially in years 10 and 11, feel overwhelmed when they reach the end of a topic (or an entire course) with the realisation that they have detailed notes on a plethora of case studies.

The number of case studies pupils are expected to learn will vary from board to board and topic to topic but there is no denying that they form an integral part of geography courses. So how do we, as teachers, help them learn and remember not only the general information but the all-important detail? Below are five very simple, tried and tested ideas.

  • Choose case studies that are applicable to more than one theme in the specification

Before your students even embark on revision, you can help them remember case study information by carefully selecting those you teach. If a single case study can be used for at least two themes then that can make a real difference to pupil understanding, as well as making the overall number more manageable.

For example, the stretch of the Hampshire/Dorset coastline (from Portland Bill to Milford on Sea) can be used not only to exemplify landforms of erosion (Swanage Bay, Old Harry Rocks etc.) but also those of deposition (Hurst Castle Spit) as well as themes of ecology (salt marsh creation at Keyhaven Marshes) and coastal management (Christchurch Bay and Barton on Sea). Similarly for human geography, the Thai population policy can be used as an example of an anti-natalist approach to bring down birth rates (useful for population change themes) as well as a how the government is tackling the spread of HIV/AIDS (central to topics of health issues and development ).

  • A case study on one side

Condensing information onto one side of A4 or A3 is a really useful way of streamlining the case study and making it easier for a student to memorise. Writing out the notes forces the student to read (and hopefully process) the material which reinforces learning. Furthermore by writing out the case study they can see if there are any gaps in their notes or areas they don’t understand – both of which are vital when they are preparing for examinations.

Constructing mind maps on a sheet has the added advantage of encouraging students to see links between parts of the topic or indeed between topics (thereby identifying synoptic links which is particularly important at A2). Finally, a case study on one sheet is portable (ideal for revision on bus journeys) and is easily stuck on a bedroom wall.

  • Be realistic

Some people are lucky enough to have photographic memories but most of us, unfortunately, do not. Whilst we always encourage students to learn detail (this is crucial to access the higher mark tier for most specifications) it is important to keep things in perspective. A student who tries to cram in too many facts and figures runs the risk of having a meltdown come exam time. I would say to most of my students to choose three to five key dates or figures to memorise for each case study. Obviously this will depend on the topic and level they’re working towards but when faced with panicking pupils I say some is better than none.

Whether or not a particular student is a “visual learner” (a number of academics now think we should move on from the notion of learning styles ), there is a lot to be said for linking visual stimuli with case studies. Whether it’s a geological map of the Dorset coastline to help remember the theory of bay and headland formation or a propaganda poster to reinforce the mechanisms of the Chinese One Child Policy, images can prompt memory and therefore be a strong tool in learning case study material. Some students may find drawing out a story-board helpful, while others may want to write notes around a central photograph or sketch.

  • Mark up the specification

This is one of the most useful things I feel I can do as a teacher to help my students prepare for their exams and it is so simple. Take a copy of the specification and mark on exactly where each case study fits in. You can do this by hand or word process it as a table, but however you do it, your students will thank you for it: putting case studies into context is so helpful and their geographical knowledge will be enhanced by it.

You may want to give them a blank copy of the specification to do it for themselves but you should make sure that each student has a correct copy at the front of their notes when it comes to exam preparation. Choosing the right case study for the right question is absolutely crucial to success; if they don’t they can waste valuable time and marks by barking up the wrong (or less fruitful) tree.

Image: By Saffron Blaze (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Rebecca Veals

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  • Published by: Tutor City
  • December 09, 2020

8 Tips to Revise A-level Geography Case Studies

Geography is a fascinating subject as it gives you an opportunity to see how a particular place was formed and how it has changed throughout the years.

However, as enjoyable as it may be to study geography, the prospect of the upcoming A-level geography exam is still daunting to the vast majority of students.

Geography is included in Singapore's A-level exams so if you are uncertain about your capabilities and do not have the confidence to study by yourself the best course of action may be to seek help from a geography tutor . The tutor's insight and guidance may be especially beneficial when you are asked to do a case study.

Alternatively, you can try the steps listed below to revise your A-level geography case studies .

  • Fully understanding the case study is the key to success.

The first and crucial step to acing your geography exam is fully understanding the case study. You need to have a crystal clear model in your mind of how it works. This model includes a mental map i.e. how it is laid out in space, the people who were involved, and the context (whether it is political, historical, social, environmental, or economic).

Follow these steps to comprehend your case study better. First and foremost, you need to have seen the map of the place. Nowadays with the existence of Google maps , this has never been easier to accomplish. Pay attention to both the 2D and 3D landscape of the case study.

In order to gain some background information try to find some newspaper articles containing pictures of the place. There may also be some videos that can help you. YouTube is your friend in this case so don’t shy away from it and use it to your advantage.

Alternatively, if the place is accessible to you then you can visit it and see it with your own two eyes.

  • Condense the notes.

After you have thoroughly understood what you are dealing with the next step is condensing your notes. Follow these tips to learn how to do this.

Firstly, you can create the A3 annotated map of the area. Color coding various social, economic, political, and environmental factors is another great idea. Display your map on the wall in the place in your house where you can glance at it frequently.

Another great idea is to create a table of contents. Divide your table into several sections with the environmental, political, economic, and other factors on one side and causes and effects on the other.

Also, you can create index cards . The index cards will help you separate the given information into smaller, much more manageable chunks and the kinesthetic nature of the cards will help you memorize the information better. Color coding your index cards will also bring you one step closer to your goal.

And, last but not least, you cannot go wrong with traditional revision notes. The main thing here is to not be intimidated by the large collection of notes you will have to memorize.

  • The best memorization techniques.

Now that you have all your notes condensed and ready to go there’s nothing left to do but memorizing them. Some of the best memorization techniques are: repetition and using the information in various formats.

Here’s how you can do that. Read an index card out loud, immediately cover it and try to repeat the information you have just read.

Get your friends involved! Give them your index cards and allow them to test you . Get up and walk around the room while you do this, use your body language, act it out. You can also make up songs or rhymes, or come up with other unique techniques that work best for you.

  • Teaching somebody else about the case study.

If you teach somebody else something about the topic this is the sign that you have understood this topic fully. So in order to check whether you have understood the information try to teach one of your friends something about the case study. And encourage them to ask you additional questions at the end of your teaching session.

  • Do past papers; practice makes perfect!

I cannot emphasize enough how beneficial it is to do past papers in any scenario where you’re trying to prepare for an exam. After you have done a past paper make sure to mark your work and pay attention to any mistakes you may have made.

This will help you get into the mind of your potential examiner and see the things from their point of view which will, in turn, help you understand why you have made that mistake and hopefully avoid it in the future. Doing past papers and marking yourself gives you insight into what exactly is expected of you at the exam.

  • Exchange tips with other students.

Hundreds of thousands of students take their A-level exams each year all over the world. So there are many people who are in the same boat as you (or who have been there before) and now thanks to the Internet you can exchange tips on how to prepare better for the exams.

Just a brief Google search will land you on a student forum where students who are facing the same problem as you are discussing the best ways to prepare for their A-level geography case studies.

You may learn about the revision techniques that you have never heard of before and pick up some other useful tips and tricks.

For instance, some students write that they cover their bedroom walls in plain paper and scribble across it. This is just like making notes in the notebook but the difference is that every time you walk into your bedroom you have to look at that wall and thus you look at the figures you wrote (which helps you memorize them).

  • Broaden your knowledge of geography with magazines and newspapers.

I know that in the age of the Internet getting information from old-fashioned paper magazines and newspapers seems a bit... well old-fashioned, but some of them may contain information that is not available on the Internet and, in general, the words and pictures printed on paper tend to be more trustworthy than the ones you look up on the Internet. Academic books might add rigor to your A-level geography studies.

If you wish to expand your knowledge even further you may try reading books that weren’t specifically designed for your geography course. School subjects do not exhaust all of the information that exists about a particular topic. So in order to fill in the gaps, you might need to venture outside of your predetermined school curriculum and try to find additional information from credible sources, such as

  • You can find detailed case studies online.

Modern technology is truly a great facilitator of the learning process. If you go online you can find detailed case studies for the A-level geography exam done up by other people. By having a close look at these case studies you can see the examples of how it needs to be done. Now, of course, you will not be able to copy these particular case studies word for word but, hopefully, if you pay close attention you will be able to learn important lessons which you can then apply to your own case study.

Whilst revising do not forget to take care of yourself.

Preparing for the exams can be particularly taxing for your physical as well as mental health so it is crucial to practice self-care while you are revising for your geography A-level exam (or any exam for that matter). Do not forget to eat well, sleep an appropriate number of hours, and occasionally do things that you enjoy to take your mind off the stressful topic of exams.

If you keep pushing yourself beyond your limits you run the risk of burning out and this type of extreme regime may actually be detrimental to your goal. It is important to strike the right balance between rigorous revision and occasionally having a break. After all your health is the most important thing.

In conclusion, there are many different ways to revise your level geography case studies. If you are unsure where to start follow the tips given above; once you gain a bit of confidence and figure out which method works the best for you then you can formulate a combination of specific methods that are most beneficial to you.

Alternatively, you can hire a tutor in Singapore who will guide you through the entire process.

They will give you some valuable insight and it is always beneficial to have another person in the room who can objectively assess you. Your geography tutor will show you the bits you may have missed and tell you if there is anything you need to pay particular attention to. They will also be able to provide you with all important historical perspectives and show you how geography changed throughout the years.  

how to remember geography case studies

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  • How to approach Case Studies

There is no set way in which you should approach case studies, however using the rule of the ‘five Ws’ is always a good place to start.

The ‘five Ws’ are:

  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?
  • Who was affected by it happening?

When you revise a case study or meet new content for the first time you should be thinking about the five Ws:

  • What happened? – Can you recall some background on what actually happened, with some facts and figures?
  • When did it happen? – Have you some idea of the date that the case study happened and if possible the time of day?
  • Where did it happen? – The geographical setting is very important, so can you name the location, the country, could you draw a sketch map to show the location?
  • Why did it happen? – What causes the case study incident to occur? What natural systems were interacting with human activity?
  • Who was affected by it happening? – Which people were affected? How many were affected? Can you say something about the wealth of the people affected? Students aiming for the higher grades will also be able to discuss what the affected people did about the situation. They would be able to discuss the management strategies put in place to reduce the impacts of the case study incident while it was happening and should be able to discuss what could be done to reduce the impacts of any future incident.

how to remember geography case studies

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Getting the best case studies for Geography

It can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to case studies and it’s all too easy to bury your head in the sand and go with the ones in the textbook. This guide will help you develop quality case studies in no time at all.

Step 1: Check the syllabus

“Which topics do I need case studies for?” “How many do I need?” “What kind of information do I need?” Don’t panic! The syllabus/specification answers all of these questions. Make a list of what you need and move on to the next step.

Step 2: Use Key Materials

Before you start wildly Googling Colombian micro-climates, take a step back. Go on to the exam board website and have a browse through  practice exam papers, mark schemes, exemplar answers and examiners’ reports. Practice papers and mark schemes will show you which type of questions require case studies, and what type of information you should be looking for. They’ll also help you to identify those dreaded ‘curveball’ questions everyone talks about after the exam. The examiners’ reports for geography are brilliant. They explicitly tell you which case studies top students used and how they applied the information to answer each question.

Step 3: Brainstorm

This step will save you heaps of time in the long run. Although the syllabus lays out everything you need to know, it’s not all that detailed. For example, the AQA syllabus states: Two case studies of recent (ideally within the last 30 years) seismic events should be undertaken from contrasting areas of the world. In each case, the following should be examined:

  • the nature of the seismic hazard;
  • the impact of the event;
  • management of the hazard and responses to the event.

So what you’d do here is take those three bullet points and expand on them. Mark schemes will give you a rough idea of what the examiners are looking for. Break the bullet points down and create a mindmap (like the one below) or write a list. You now know, point by point, exactly what to search for.


Step 4: Use your Textbooks/Revision Guides

This is just a starting point. If you decide to go with a case study that’s in a textbook or revision guide, that’s ok. But be aware that even the 5-page-long case studies in textbooks won’t contain information on all those points you wrote down. Not only that, but pretty much every other student in the country is going to be using that exact case study. Boring! You need to make sure you can stand out from the crowd.

Step 5: Research

This is the big one. Where possible, find case studies so recent that they can’t be in the textbook. It takes the same amount of time to compile a recent and interesting case study as it does to copy one out of the textbook. It’s also a lot less boring and will get you a ton of marks!

Google is your best friend here. Try and get information from reputable sources (in other words, Wikipedia’s a no go). Find news articles and government websites for facts and figures, and take a look at Google Scholar for opinions; Google Scholar is exactly what you’d think it is – Google for Scholars. Search for ‘scholar’ on Google, then tap in some key words and you’ll find some golden material for your case studies: Quotes from experts.

Work through your mindmap or list in order. When you find information on one of the points, take some notes and tick it off.

Step 6: Go A Little Bit Further

Make sure you have a few smaller case studies in addition to your main ones. I’m not saying you’ll need 20 case studies per topic. Just have a few little facts and examples in your arsenal that you could use to compare and contrast with your main case studies in an essay question. It shows the examiner that you’ve gone the extra mile and have a deeper understanding of the subject.

When you’ve finished, you’ll have a set of totally unique case studies and enough information to ensure that no question catches you off guard.

Step 7: Memorise

Remember that mindmap from earlier? That’s your structure. Add the facts, figures and quotes as new branches and you’re half way there. Give it to one of your mates and talk them through it whilst drawing your mindmap on a whiteboard. You’ll have it memorised in no time.

how to remember geography case studies

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  1. How to Revise Geography Case Studies

    how to remember geography case studies

  2. how to remember geography case studies

    how to remember geography case studies

  3. how to remember geography case studies

    how to remember geography case studies

  4. Advanced geography case studies by Hill, Michael (9780340711811

    how to remember geography case studies

  5. GCSE Geography Case studies

    how to remember geography case studies

  6. GCSE Geography Case Study Booklet OCR B

    how to remember geography case studies


  1. Revising CSEC Geography part 2- Volcanic eruption in Montserrat

  2. Plate boundaries (Constructive / Destructive / Conservative)

  3. #shortvideo #geography #general studies for competitive exams#

  4. Understanding the CSEC Geography broad Topics: Overview of the Broad topics

  5. RIO DE JANEIRO a case study of a city in a Newly Emerging Economy

  6. Geography with Concepts 👍👍


  1. What Is a Case Study?

    When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to lear...

  2. Why Are Case Studies Important?

    Case studies are important because they help make something being discussed more realistic for both teachers and learners. Case studies help students to see that what they have learned is not purely theoretical but instead can serve to crea...

  3. What Are Some Examples of Case Studies?

    Examples of a case study could be anything from researching why a single subject has nightmares when they sleep in their new apartment, to why a group of people feel uncomfortable in heavily populated areas. A case study is an in-depth anal...

  4. How to Revise Geography Case Studies

    3. Memorise · Read index cards out loud, cover and test yourself. · Get other people to test you. · Act it out. · Make up songs or rhymes · Whatever else works for

  5. 5 ways to help students remember those case studies

    Choose case studies that are applicable to more than one theme in the specification · A case study on one side · Be realistic · Use images · Mark up

  6. 5 Ways to help Students Remember Geography Case Studies

    5 Ways to help Students Remember Geography Case Studies · Use Images · Pick Case Studies That Covers Many Themes In The Specification · Condensing

  7. How do I learn and memorise case studies?

    Try to visualise the case study, or imagine youself in the situation, as this will aid your understanding and help you to memorise the scale and effect of the

  8. How to learn geography case studies?

    Highlight the key information from the source (your notes, book etc), such as the location,date, hazard type, cause, effect and response and condense the

  9. 8 Tips to Revise A-level Geography Case Studies

    Firstly, you can create the A3 annotated map of the area. Color coding various social, economic, political, and environmental factors is another

  10. Remembering large blocks of text (case studies or oral ...

    Remembering large blocks of text (case studies or oral presentations) Revision Techniques #20 · Comments18.

  11. How to approach Case Studies

    What happened? – Can you recall some background on what actually happened, with some facts and figures? · When did it happen? – Have you some idea of the date

  12. Getting the best case studies for Geography

    Getting the best case studies for Geography · Step 1: Check the syllabus · Step 2: Use Key Materials · Step 3: Brainstorm · Step 4: Use your Textbooks/Revision

  13. How on earth do you revise case studies (geography)

    I do AQA Geography, and there are a ton of case studies that we need to know. However, the CGP revision guide (my only source of revision)

  14. Geography Case Studies

    Geography Case Studies - A wide selection of geography case studies to support you with GCSE Geography revision, homework and research.