Writing Case Studies: Science of Delivery

This course introduces you to the main elements of a good science of delivery case study and teaches you how to plan your research, conduct interviews, and organize your writing. The science of delivery begins with a simple observation. We often have a vision of the right policies or strategies for improving health, safety, and economic well-being, but the real problem is getting things done. Even a simple policy intervention such as child vaccination requires much more than nurses and a stock of vaccine to be effective.

Case studies are a vital tool for sharing insight about the 'how’ of policy implementation and institutional reform. They trace the steps taken to produce results. They show solutions people have devised to address anticipated challenges and overcome unanticipated obstacles. They help us think about how to adapt approaches so that they work in different contexts.

The course is most suitable for practitioners who want to document and analyze their efforts to implement a program or build a new institution, researchers who want to trace how programs achieved results, and graduate students who want an introduction to one type of case study method.


Jennifer Widner
Jennifer Widner
Professor of Politics and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School

Jennifer Widner directs Innovations for Successful Societies, a research program on institution building and institutional reform. She has taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan. She is author of Building the Rule of Law (W. W. Norton), and she has published articles on a variety of topics. She is completing work on a book about making government work in challenging settings, drawing on experiences in Africa, Asia, and parts of Latin America. 

Pallavi Nuka
Associate Director of Innovations for Successful Societies

Prior to joining Innovations for Successful Societies, Pallavi Nuka was a Visiting Lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School and a Research Coordinator in the Department of Politics. She has a background in impact evaluation and has conducted research on governance, environment and development. She worked with the World Bank-Global Environment Facility's Evaluation Office for six years, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangolo, Cote d'Ivoire (1999-2001).