Case Studies How We Love Thee

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This post goes into the category of “If it was a snake, it would have bit me.”

That’s what happens when something is so close to us, to who we are, that we have a hard time seeing it. That’s how it is with me and case studies (AKA stories). I love telling stories about buildings and how they were designed and built. What happened? Who said what? What were the challenges? What were the solutions? What happened next?

I have been writing stories about buildings for decades. I did it for 13 years for the Los Angeles Times in my series title “Pardon Our Dust.” I did it for 7 years, once a week, for the Santa Barbara News-Press, which was then owned by the New York Times. Telling stories is my favorite type of writing.

So what does it mean? I recall some advice by Deepak Chopra, who suggests that we ask three questions when deciding how to spend our precious work hours:

1) What do I like to do?

2) What am I good at?

3) What does the world need?

The third question has been in my mind lately as I’ve been using my journalism skills to develop continuing education units for architects, builders, and others. When I create a CEU, the topic is typically about solving a problem using advanced building materials or systems. In order to bring the topic alive, I want to feature several case studies. I want to say to the learners: Here’s how these principles work in a real-life scenario.

So when a company or the sponsor of a CEU has a wealth of case studies, I’m overjoyed. Yes! Likely any journalist who writes about buildings will have the same reaction. As we try to wrap our minds around the topic, reading stories of problems and solutions in the real world is a shortcut to a deeper comprehension.

But when a company or sponsor of a CEU does not have many or any case studies available, I really feel the lack, the emptiness, to void. Sometimes a client of mine may suggest that they come up with some case studies. But I know how hard it is. Because I wrote stories for a couple of decades, I know that it requires a certain skill set to identify a potential good story, to figure out the main message it contains, to reach out to the principals, to interview them, to get them excited enough to speak about it, to earn their trust so they will open up, to write down the powerful quotes, to ask for and get images, and to put it all together in a compelling story.

Yes, it takes a lot of skill. I’m not bragging. I just know how it is. And that is exactly why so many companies do not have case studies available on their websites. And that is why so many journalists and trade magazine writes are disappointed when looking for case studies to liven up their articles. Case studies are not easy to create.

So lately I was pondering how to bring in more assignments that are in my wheelhouse. And it occurred to me that case studies are:

1) What I like to do.

2) What I am good at.

3) What the world needs.

If anyone reading this needs and wants case studies for their website, please keep me in mind. Shoot me an email at kathyprice at aol.com and I’ll quote you a price and we can set up a quick timeline. I like to get things DONE.

The precious time we devote to earning money and serving clients must be very carefully allotted. Time is short. I’d love to help you reach your goals as they relate to case studies.

In the meantime, here are some of my L.A. Times articles. What incredible joy I received from producing these.

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