Writing Cases

What We Do

One of the most important goals of the Enduring Legacies Native Cases Initiative is to address the void in academic literature about important issues in Indian Country. We do this by producing and disseminating original Native teaching cases. Most of our cases focus on contemporary issues. Our cases are used in college classrooms and for staff development. A number of the cases are also appropriate for high schools.

All published cases and teaching notes are open source and available on our website. The author(s) and the Enduring Legacies Native Cases Initiative at The Evergreen State College have a joint copyright on the cases.

Download our Writers Guideline (PDF) for more detailed information on writing cases.

The Publication Process

All of our cases are peer reviewed by experts in the field. We are committed to educate and support budding writers so we offer a two step peer review process that is more labor intensive and supportive than is usually available in journals. One of the unique aspects of the Native Cases Initiative is that the Institute leaders work closely with authors as they develop their cases. This close collaboration often gives the writers the kind of feedback needed to produce a publishable case. Prospective case writers can contact us at any time to discuss their ideas. It is not unusual for a case to go through multiple revisions before finalized.

The second step of the process is to have subject area experts who are knowledgeable about tribal issues and operations review the case. Authors are expected to follow tribal protocols for research when working on the reservation and to exhibit sensitivity to tribal concerns.

The final reviewers ask the following questions:  Is the case well written? Is the information correct? Is the presented information likely interest readers and be useful in the classroom? Does the case consider the relevant facts and literature? Does the reviewer have any suggestions to improve the case? Should the case be published in the Enduring Legacies collection?

Types of Cases Accepted

We accept both field-research cases and cases based on substantial research from secondary sources. Field-research cases require permissions from the persons and/or organizations interviewed. 

Types of Teaching Cases

The term “case studies” varies widely. Legal cases, for example, differ considerably from our definition of teaching cases. We define a teaching case as a “significant story of a real, often unresolved, issue that can trigger curiosity, debate and further research. “Effective cases involve controversy, conflicts or puzzling situations with enough tension to invite discussion and problem solving. Some of the different types of teaching cases in our collection are summarized below.

  • Decision/dilemma cases – Ask what should be done?
  • Analysis or description cases – Ask what happened? Alternatives?
  • Historical or contemporary issues
  • Open ended vs closed case
  • Mini cases
  • Research cases
  • Online cases
  • Interrupted cases
  • Clicker cases
  • Video cases
  • Trigger or capstone cases

A number of our cases form a collection on a theme over time. See, for example, our series of cases on Indian education reform or salmon in the Pacific Northwest. The salmon cases begin with the settlement of Seattle and go up to the issues in the most recent Supreme Court decisions.  

Our Format

The format of our cases can be best seen by reading some of the cases in our collection. All cases must include a brief abstract, the case itself and teaching notes. The teaching notes must include learning outcomes, audience (level of education aimed at), relevant academic disciplines, themes, related cases, and suggested implementation approaches (role, play, small groups discussion, research etc.) Often several alternative teaching approaches are spelled out and include discussion questions aimed at different levels of student background (variously  described as Tier 1-3, or as basic vs advanced or, using Bloom’s Taxonomy, descriptive, analytic or evaluative). Suggested assessment and evaluation approaches should also be included. Many teaching notes also include suggestions for further research and/or additional resources. Cases are sometimes later update with an “Additional Information” section in the teaching notes.

Case Editors:  Barbara Leigh Smith (first contact) and Linda Moon Stumpff.