Case study evaluations - World Bank

This guide, written by Linda G. Morra and Amy C. Friedlander for the World Bank, provides guidance and advice on the use of case studies.

The paper attempts to clarify what is and is not a case study, what is case study methodology, how they can be used, and how they should be written up for dissemination.  


"A case study is a method for learning about a complex instance, based on a comprehensive understanding of that instance obtained through extensive description and analysis of that instance taken as a whole and in its context.

Site visits are generally associated with case studies, but not all site visits are case studies. We may do site visits to villages in-country to observe or to utilize other data collection methods, such as interviews. These site visits, however, do not necessarily use case study methodology. The case study method involves the elements of the definition presented above. That is, it entails comprehensive understanding and extensive description and analysis of the instance as a whole and in its context." (Morra and Friedlander)


  • Definition of a Case Study
  • Types of Case Studies
  • Size of the Case Study
  • Methods of Obtaining and Analyzing Data in Case Studies
  • Selecting the Number of Cases or Instances
  • Case Study Types and Site Selection
  • Explanatory Case Studies
  • Descriptive Case Studies
  • Combined Methodology
  • Participative Evaluation and the Case Study
  • Reporting or Critiquing the Case Study
  • Case Studies and Teaching Case Studies: Critical Differences


Morra, L.G. and Friedlander, A.C., (n.d.). Case Study Evaluations, The World Bank Group. Retrieved from:

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