The Analysis Map: A Tool for Case Writers
Posted: 29 Jun 2000
Date Written: June 2000
In many finance cases, quantitative analysis is a critical part of the classroom experience. A veteran casewriter suggested that a finance case should be written in a precise manner to ensure that it is successful: First, write the exhibits to the teaching note, which lay out out the analysis. Then write--or at least sketch--the teaching note. Next, put together the exhibits for the case. Finally, write the text of the case. In this way, you can ensure that the case contains the critical information it needs to succeed as a teaching vehicle.
Not everyone is this disciplined, but one device may help you keep focused on keeping a new case "teachable." This device can be called an "Analysis Map." Along the left-hand side of a sheet of paper, list the three to five questions you want the students to address in the class. These are tied closely to the pedagogical objectives of the case. In the middle column, for each question, list the analyses that I would like students to perform in order to address these questions. This analysis might be a quantitative technique like a DCF valuation or more qualitative analysis, such as a discussion of the key risk factors facing the company. On the right-hand column, list the information the student will need to perform each analysis: the numbers that need to be in exhibits, critical facts that the case must contain, background readings (from this or prior classes), and sometimes references to other sessions in the course. With arrows connecting the questions to the analysis to the information, the sheet of paper can begin to look like a messy tree, as sometimes the same information is used for more than one analysis.
The first column reminds you what you want to happen IN THE CLASSROOM, the second column reminds you what you want to happen WHEN THE STUDENT IS PREPARING BEFORE CLASS, and the third column is a checklist of what must be IN THE CASE for these other experiences to work. The final column is not a case outline, nor a list of exhibits, but rather a teacher-focused map of the case and the class. It is a skeleton of the information needed to deliver the teaching content.
JEL Classification: G30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation