Writing Case Studies: Science of Delivery

Pallavi Nuka

  • Associate Director of Innovations for Successful Societies

Jennifer Widner

  • Professor of Politics and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School

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.

You will learn: 

  • Key elements of a science of delivery case study
  • How to develop a research strategy
  • How to plan and carry out an interview
  • Strategies for handling common research challenges
  • Ways to plan the writing process
  • Stylistic conventions and standards that improve communication
  • How to manage some common writing challenges
  • Systems for complying with important ethical and legal standards


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What Learners Say

"Thank you so much for providing this rich learning experience for us." -Miranda