Guide To Writing Teaching Notes

Submitted By Steve-Adams
Words: 2002
Pages: 9

Centre for Case Studies

7 99 2011 002

Guide to Writing Teaching Notes – May 2011, September 2014
Produced by Professor Anne MESNY and marginally revised by professor Alix MANDRON 1

As a “public” document intended for the management teaching community (particularly at the university level), the teaching notes that accompany a case study serve three complementary objectives: •

To allow instructors who are considering using a case to quickly decide whether it is suitable for their own teaching objectives and for their specific teaching or training context; •

To document, in a detailed manner, the case teaching strategy and concrete ways in which the case can be used in the classroom as recommended by the case authors;

To explain the authors’ analysis of the case, by offering their own “reading” or interpretation of the case.

Teaching notes that meet these three objectives facilitate reflection and the sharing of knowledge and practices between instructors at two levels:

Teaching knowledge/practices, particularly with regard to the different ways of using cases in class and of promoting use of the case method in the management field;


Management knowledge/practices, including management’s subfields (leadership, innovation, human resources management, ethics, strategy, IT management, etc.).

One of the advantages of a “good case” is that its teaching potential usually extends beyond the authors’ intended and stated uses of the case. As such, the aim of teaching notes is not to document every possible way in which a case can be used (an impossible task in itself), but rather to explain the teaching strategies adopted by the authors of the case along with their own interpretation or reading of the case. Based on this “foundation,” instructors can then invent their own uses and formulate their own analysis with full academic freedom.


Anne Mesny is a Professor in the Department of Management at HEC Montréal. She was Director of the Case Centre when she wrote the first version of this guide.
Alix Mandron is a Professor in the Department of Finance at HEC Montréal. She was Director of the Case Centre at the time of this revision.

© HEC Montréal 2011, rev. 2014
All rights reserved for all countries. Any translation or alteration in any form whatsoever is prohibited.
Deposited with the HEC Montréal Case Centre, 3000, chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montréal (Québec) Canada
H3T 2A7.

Guide to Writing Teaching Notes – May 2011, September 2014

Mandatory teaching note topics
In order to meet the three main objectives mentioned above, teaching notes should address the four topics described below. The number of pages is intended as a guideline only. A teaching note that is 6 pages long can be just as good as one that is 25 pages long. Under 6 pages, there is a good chance that one or more of the four mandatory topics will be missing or inadequately covered. On the other hand, in cases over 25 pages in length, the authors are likely either bogged down in unnecessary theoretical issues or in details that are of little use to instructors who may wish to use the case, or, even worse, they are providing information on the situations described in the case that should probably be included in the case itself.
Note: the mandatory topics are described separately below, but there is obviously room for flexibility. For example, the proposed teaching strategy can be integrated into the case analysis if this facilitates both the writing and understanding of the notes.
1. Nature of the case, summary, main themes

1 to 2 pages


Specify whether it is a real or fictional case. If it is an actual case, indicate whether it has been “disguised” for reasons of confidentiality and, if so, indicate the extent to which it has been disguised (have only the names been changed, or has other information such as the organization’s activities or sector been modified as well?).


Specify whether it is a “decision-making” case (a case that