Selecting a CASE STUDY that is relevant to your topic and helps to develop your THESIS STATEMENT.
A case study is a specific, topic driven example of an individual or a group who illustrates a real-life representation of your thesis statement. This individual or group may have succeeded or failed in achieving the American Dream, but they prove your argument. This individual(s) had a first hand experience with the American Dream, and they can therefore offer an insider perspective of a particular event.
Case studies can come in different forms. You can use a:
- Research study
- Biography or Autobiography
- Personal Narrative
- Court Case Brief
When reading sources about your “Case Study”:
- Consider how your definition of the American Dream compares to the definition embedded in the scenario.
- Pay attention to obstacles that your individual or individuals faced and perhaps overcame to achieve the American Dream.
- Does this individual or group of people or the author who writes about them have a bias as it relates to your issue? Identify places where you may notice this.
- KEY QUESTION: Is the situation in this case study an example of a conventional/common experience or a unique/exceptional experience? Does it represent the exception or the rule?
Examples of case studies include:
- On the topic of the influence of socio-economic status - Chris Gardner, who went from being evicted in his apartment to forming his own multimillion dollar firm.
- On the topic of race - Rosa Parks, who fought for the ability for all Americans--regardless of the color of their skin-- to achieve the American Dream, died poor and destitute.
- On the topic of gender - Gavin Grimm, a transgender male, who filed a widely supported court case to be able to use the restroom of his gender identity, faces setbacks in current political climate.
If you are struggling, check in with me for a brief conference, and we will look for a case study together.