Assignment for personal case analysis


Final Paper: Personal Case Analysis


The final paper asks you to do a four-frame analysis of your personal case situation. The purposes of the paper are to: (1) provide opportunities to work with and integrate the four frames as a useful tool for diagnosis and action, (2) integrate your learnings from the course and apply them to a real-life situation from your work experiences, and (3) reflect on your own professional practice.


First, use the structural, human resource, political, and symbolic frames to analyze (1) what happened in your personal case and (2) what alternative courses of action were suggested for you by each of the four frames. Devote equal attention to each of the four frames.

Second, rethink your role in the case in light of the four-frame analysis. In other words, what would you now do differently if you could relive your personal case? Why? How useful were the four frames in helping you to clarify alternative courses of action for yourself in this case situation?

Criteria for Grading

Papers will be graded on the following:

1. Quality and thoroughness of analysis

2. Clear focus, organization, writing, and presentation

3. Internal consistency of the arguments

4. Accurate and effective use of theory to reflect on and provide new insights into personal case experiences


Common weaknesses in student papers have included the following:

1. Providing description of case events (what happened) but no analysis. Good analysis tells how or why things happened.

2. Lack of selectivity – it is better to write thoroughly about a few well-defined topics than superficially about many.

3. Making inferences and generalizations without providing data from the case to support the generalizations, or without making any references to theory and ideas in the readings. Good papers use both examples and theory to support the analysis.

4. Ignoring theory and simply offering opinions. Good papers take a set of theoretical ideas and show how those ideas can be applied to specific aspects of the case.

5. Restating material from the readings without linking it to one’s own analysis. Good papers use theory to support insights and to cast a new light on personal experiences and observations.