Because the format for a case study is different than for a term paper, the criteria for evaluation must also be different. Case studies used as problems in the course can be used as models for the format. Professor Clyde "Kipp" Herreid at SUNY Buffalo has a web site for Case Studies in Science that also can provide guidance. The following is a check list of questions that I use to evaluate the quality of a case study problem. Not all apply for particular cases and, depending on the audience and purpose intended, other questions would be important.
Is the title informative, appropriately creative, and/or provoke curiosity?
Has a significant topic in biochemical evolution been
selected or has a specific topic been given general
significance? (e.g. something worth learning and knowing)
Has the case study been presented in an interesting or
creative way? e. g. Does it tell a story? Involve a
controversy? Or present a dilemma?
Are the stages of the problem developed logically and clearly?
Does the first stage draw and build on general knowledge?
Are the questions and assignments realistic? Open-ended? And presented in a logical order?
Do the questions and assignments require group participation?
Involve thinking? And promote the use of
resources beyond the text and the classroom?
Does the problem represent an "original synthesis" in
its identification and presentation of important
subtopics represented by each stage?
Does the problem exhibit an appreciation of the experimental
evidence on which conclusions are based?
For example, are significant experimental data presented for student analysis in at least one stage?
Is the information presented accurate?
Is the problem well written?
Was the problem proofread?
Are the illustrations clear, instructive, and properly cited, if not original?
Are the pedagogical objectives described in the accompanying
Case Summary well defined and
Does the Case Summary provide support the problem structure and content?
Is the primary literature reviewed adequately in relation to available sources?
Are any important references missed?
Is the literature review up-to-date?
Is a standard scientific referencing system used?
Was the problem handed in on time?
Bottom Line: What is the pedagogical value of this problem?
Could it replace a problem used in the
course or be considered for publication.