Ieee Case Study Paper Sample

Because they facilitate reading and retaining information from articles, many peer-reviewed journals are adopting structured abstracts as their preferred format for abstracts—including the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. 

This article:

  1. Explains what structured abstracts are and how they benefit readers
  2. Provides a sample structured abstract
  3. Concludes with a template that authors of Transactions articles should follow when preparing their structured abstracts

About Structured Abstracts

Structured abstracts summarize the key findings reported in an article, as well as the means of reaching them.  Authors write structured abstracts so that readers do not have to read an article in its entirety to learn conclusions or how those conclusions were reached.
Certain types of readers find structured abstracts particularly beneficial:

  • Those who will not read an article in its entirety but need to know the key facts, such as executives, primary investigators on large scale projects, and people trying to keep abreast of the field.
  • Those who have previously read the article in its entirety and need to recall key findings without having to re-read the article, such as researchers conducting a systematic review of the literature.
  • Those who are trying to determine whether or not to read a particular article.

Structured abstracts are similar in format and style to Executive Summaries provided with in-depth engineering and recommendation reports.

Structured abstracts contrast with topic abstracts, which tend to be brief (100 to 150 words, about 100 words shorter than a typical structured abstract) and merely identify the themes addressed by an article, but do not report how the article addresses the themes much less the conclusions reached.

Samples and Guidelines

Sample Structured Abstract—Research Article  and Integrative Literature Review

The following structured abstract summarizes Chen, I. & Chang, C. (2009). Cognitive load theory: an empirical study of anxiety and task performance in language learning. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 7(2), 729-746.

Research Problem: The purpose of the study was to explore the assumption that anxiety inhibits performance because working memory is used for worry instead of task-focused thoughts.Research questions:
  1. Does listening comprehension performance correlate with foreign language anxiety and cognitive load?
  2. Does foreign language anxiety correlate with cognitive load during listening comprehension?
  3. Do cognitive load, foreign language anxiety and performance differ due to linguistic ability and perceived difficulty in listening comprehension?

Literature Review:  The purpose of the literature review was to use a two-part framework to examine learning as relying on a limited capacity of memory, and anxiety making unproductive use of such capacity. The researchers reviewed literature in two main areas: cognitive load theory and foreign language anxiety. For education, cognitive load theory focuses on reducing the extraneous workload on limited working memory to increase effectiveness in learning.

Methodology: The researchers conducted a quantitative experiment with 88 students in a northern Taiwanese university at lower-intermediate and higher-elementary English group levels. Researchers administered the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale survey, an intermediate listening comprehension test designed to challenge participants and induce cognitive load, then the Cognitive Load Subjective Rating Scale to rate mental effort used for the test. The researchers compiled the survey scores and test scores and conducted a statistical analysis to look for correlations among the scores.

Results and Conclusions: The researchers found a negative correlation between foreign language anxiety and performance, and between cognitive load and performance. They found a positive correlation between foreign language anxiety and cognitive load. They found a negative correlation between linguistic ability and foreign language anxiety. They found a positive correlation between perceived difficulty and foreign language anxiety and cognitive load.  They found no significant difference in cognitive load between the higher elementary and the lower intermediate participants, however higher elementary had higher anxiety and lower intermediate had higher performance. Based on an analysis of variance and a Scheffe post hoc test, participants who perceived English listening comprehension as medium or difficult had significantly higher anxiety and higher cognitive load than those who perceived it as easy.

The implication of the study is that reducing learner’s perceived difficulty of listening comprehension can reduce their foreign language anxiety which reduces their cognitive load and provides increased working memory to improve performance.

The limitations of the study were a limited sample size, a limited range of participants, and limited types of listening comprehension tasks.

Future research would examine differences caused by longer listening passages or picture descriptions, and could use structural equation modelling to allow for the inference of causal relationships among the variables.

 

Template for Writing a Structured Abstract—Research Article and Integrative Literature Review

Research problemSummarize your purpose and rationale (1 to 2 sentences)
Research questions:Explicitly state the research questions
Literature review
  • Identify the bodies of literature you consulted
  • Summarize the key points of the review
Methodology
  • Identify your study as qualitative, quantitative, critical, or mixed
  • Identify your study as case study, experiment, survey or other
  • Describe how you chose participants and how many you used
  • Describe how you chose your location and its type
  • Identify your method of data collection
  • Name your analysis techniques
Results and Conclusions
  • Summarize your answers to the research questions
  • Summarize the implications of your results (1 sentence)
  • Summarize the limitations of your study (1 sentence)

Summarize your suggested future research (1 sentence)

Sample Structured Abstract—Case Study

The following structured abstract summarizes Raju, R. (2012). Intercultural communication training in IT outsourcing in India: A Case Study. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication55(3).

Background: This study examines the nature, manifestations and causes of communication problems in international outsourcing engagements. Specifically, it explores a case of business process outsourcing (BPO), which is the transfer of a number of business processes, such as payroll, supply chain management, and customer relations to an external supplier. In this case, a company based in the US outsourced its business processes to a company in India.Research questions: (1) If widespread proficiency in English is the reason for India’s predominant position in outsourcing, then why do we hear about communication problems? (2) What are the causes of such problems? (3) In what forms and situations do they manifest? (4) How could technical communication offer solutions to ameliorate or minimize some of these communication problems?Situating the case: Similar cases studied include Previous studies of call centers in the Philippines and outsourcing relationships in software companies have challenges in those relationships to problems of intercultural communications, such as language use and differences in culture. Three areas of inquiry informed this study. Intercultural communication theories provide frameworks and touch points for assessing the role of culture in communication. Previous studies of outsourcing and offshoring provided definitions of the broad range of arrangements that comprise outsourcing. Although these studies all concluded that communication is a crucial factor in the success of outsourced projects, they offered few details of communication problems, their causes, manifestations, and possible solutions. Accounts of India represent India as a rapidly-growing, dynamic economy with certain typical communication problems. Methodology: The study was designed as a mixed-methods, single-case study with a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative data were gathered through surveys that helped develop a picture of patterns in areas such as communication problems, preferred methods of communication, and patterns of escalation while qualitative data from 45 personal interviews and one group interview provided insights into the nature and resolution of communication dissonances.About the case: The case studied ABC Corporation, a captive Indian company that performed BPO for a major American corporation. Communication problems that arise in the outsourcing relationship include differences in corporate culture and differences in linguistic and rhetorical choices. Issues causing these problems include differences in education and training.

Results:  Not applicable.

Conclusions: Ongoing training in cross-cultural communication is needed at all stages of the outsourcing cycle, with an emphasis on communication skills in the early stages of the process, especially the hiring stage. Technical communication can offer solutions to these problems because our field can help structure suitable training applying theories such as Cross’ Theory of centripetal and centrifugal forces, which provide frameworks for assessing and addressing communication problems.

 

Template for Writing a Structured Abstract—Case Study

BackgroundSummarizes the nature and purpose of the case (1 to 2 sentences)
Research question(s)Repeat your research questions
Situating the Case
  • State the purpose of your review
  • Names similar cases in the literature.
  • Identifies key themes from the literature that guided development of the case.

(Approximately 2- 4 sentences total)

Methodology
  • Indicate whether the case was formally studied as an empirical research project or an experience report
  • Identify your study as qualitative, quantitative, critical, or mixed
  • Describe how you chose participants and how many you used
  • Describe how you chose your location and its type
  • Identify your method of data collection
    • Name the  analysis techniques
About the Case
  • Describes the problem faced (1 sentence).
  • Describes the solution (1-2 sentences).
  • Names the key resources used in the solution (from the Facts about this Case format) (1 sentence)
  • Describes the process for producing the solution and key challenges faced along the way (1-3 sentences)
  • Report the results of the solution (1 sentence)
ConclusionsSummarizes the implications of the completed project (1 sentence)

Sample Structured Abstract—Tutorial

The following structured abstract summarizes

Tuleja, E.A.;   Beamer, L.;   Shum, C.;   & Chan, E.K.Y. (2011.) Designing and Developing Questionnaires for Translation—Tutorial. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 54(4), 392-405.

Problem: Questionnaires are a popular method used by global companies to gain understanding or assess various aspects of their businesses. However, using a questionnaire across cultures requires extra effort in translating it into the target language(s) and culture(s) because a good questionnaire developed in one language/culture may not necessarily “travel well” across cultures due to differences in meaning and interpretation.Research question What is the extant research on cross-cultural communication and surveys, and how can it be applied when preparing cross-cultural questionnaires?Key concepts: Translation affects the design and development of questionnaires to be used across cultures in these ways: (1) It affects the theoretical concepts to be studied: indicators—questions about concrete elements that can be measured and constructs—a series of questions about abstract elements that cannot be measured directly and essentially represent an underlying concept. Constructs must be adapted into a specific cultural context to achieve accuracy in measurements. (2) Differences in the contexts—the overall cross-cultural research context (the setting and the purpose) and the cultural context (the participants and their cultural background) of the study—affect translation because concepts in the source culture might be applied differently or not exist in the target cultures. (3) Translation might unintentionally introduce bias by inadvertently changing the perceived meanings of terms and questions—creating bias in constructs, on individual items on the questionnaire, and in its administration. (4) Translation might affect equivalence of terms in the source and translated versions, including linguistic equivalence (that is, wording of items), semantics (meaning of a phrase or concept), and grammar and syntax.Key lessons: Given these concepts, consider the following items when- – translating questionnaires: (1) accurately adapt or adopt questions from existing instruments, (2) make sure that you adapt the language to suit the situation, (3) hire translators who understand research processes, (4) use the decentering approach (a process in which translators move back and forth amongst the languages, checking for cultural and linguistic accuracy) when preparing the actual translation, and (5) assess your overall translated questionnaire. The questionnaire assessment model is a resource for guiding the assessment.

Implications to practice:  When conducting the same survey in several languages, plan for more than translation—make sure that the translated surveys truly capture equivalent data to the original.

 

Template for Writing a Structured Abstract—Tutorial

ProblemSummarize your purpose and rationale (1 to 2 sentences)
Research questionRestate the research questions or the problem statement
Key Concepts
  • Name the key themes named in the Key Concepts section
  • For each, provide a 1- to 2-sentence summary of the key point
Key lessons
  • Name the key heuristics named in the Key Lessons section
  • For each, provide a 1- to 2-sentence summary that provides the reader with guidance on how to apply this lesson
Implications to practiceSummarize the implications of this tutorial to practice in 1 to 3 sentences.

Sample Structured Abstract—Teaching Case

The following structured abstract summarizes Bednar, L. (2012). Using a Research in Technical and Scientific Communication Class to teach essential workplace skills. IEEE Transactions on Professional CommunicationEarly Access.

Teaching problem: Undergraduate research at the university level often focuses on the production of a traditional research paper, one with an academic orientation, often information heavy and analysis light, emphasizing the importance of secondary sources and documentation style over the process of inquiry.Research Questions: What approaches to undergraduate research would enable aspiring technical communicators to develop research skills that would better prepare them for success in a professional environment?Situating the case: The approaches described in this paper draw on the work of Mel Levine as presented in , in which he delineates several reasons why young people encounter problems when they enter professional environments: overly managed lives, no experience of delayed gratification, inability to think critically, limited knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses, and an expectation of stability in the so-called adult world. Levine claims that these problems can be addressed by helping students develop a sense of inner direction as opposed to direction from without, an understanding of how to think critically and apply knowledge, a willingness to build and refine skills over time, and competent writing and speaking skills. In addition, the approaches described in this paper draw on three well-established research traditions: mixed methods research, problem-based research, and action research.How this case was studied: This paper describes the experiences of using two approaches to teach Research in Technical and Scientific Communication at a mid-sized state university in Virginia. The material was collected informally over a period of six years of teaching the course—through observation, student feedback, and completed research reports.

About the case: Research in Technical and Scientific Communication required students to produce a research report within the context of real-world inquiry, appropriately focused for a specific audience and purpose, using both primary and secondary sources, and including analysis as well as information. Two approaches were used. The Real Client approach required students to investigate a small-scale, real-world problem or need, which became the focus of a research report that could be submitted to a specific audience for a specific purpose, both identified by the student early in the research process. The Impact of Technology approach required students to consider the impact of technology on modern life, investigate a narrower topic within this broad topic, and prepare a report that could be published in the university magazine or student newspaper. Examples of strong and weak research reports illustrate which features of each approach worked well and which posed challenges.

Results: Overall, students responded well to both approaches, but found the Impact of Technology approach more congenial because it was more familiar to them than the Real Client approach. Nonetheless, with both approaches, but especially with the Real Client approach, students seemed reluctant to make necessary contacts, conduct in-depth interviews, and include well-developed analysis. They were more comfortable gathering information anonymously through secondary source material or online surveys, and presenting that information with a limited amount of analysis.

Conclusions: Both approaches served to move students toward a more realistic understanding of the kind of research needed in professional environments. These approaches also address the concerns raised by Levine. The study was limited by its informal nature, with observations and conclusions resulting from a six-year period of informal experimentation and refinement, during which the requirements for the research report were continually redesigned to better address what students would need to be successful in a workplace.

 

Template for Writing a Structured Abstract—Teaching Case

BackgroundSummarizes the nature and purpose of the case (1 to 2 sentences)
Research question(s)Repeat your research questions
Situating the Case
  • State the purpose of your review
  • Names similar cases in the literature.
  • Identifies key themes from the literature that guided development of the case.

(Approximately 2- 4 sentences total)

How the Case Was Studied
  • Indicate whether the case was formally studied as an empirical research project or an experience report
  • If the case is empirical, identify your study as qualitative, quantitative, critical, or mixed
  • Describe how you chose participants and how many you used
  • Describe how you chose your location and its type
  • Identify your method of data collection
  • Name your data analysis techniques
About the Case
  • Describes the problem faced (1 sentence).
  • Describes the solution (1-2 sentences).
  • Names the key resources used in the solution (from the Facts about this Case format) (1 sentence)
  • Describes the process for producing the solution and key challenges faced along the way (1-3 sentences)
ResultsReport the results of the solution (1 sentence)
ConclusionsSummarizes the implications of the completed project (1 sentence)

 

Guidelines for Case Studies | Samples of Case Studies Published in the Transactions | Reviewers’ Expectations

About Case Studies:

At the top of the list of preferred formats by readers, case studies report on a specific real-world communication project from start to finish, including results of the project.  Examples of projects include the use of content strategy techniques to redesign a major website, a complex engineering document that can be tailored to different audiences, a novel approach to customer documentation, and  user- or Subject-Matter-Expert-generated documentation.

The case can emerge from empirical research or experience; we only ask that authors clearly indicate the nature of the data. The project must be a real-world project.

Guidelines for Case Studies

Note: We recognize that, in our effort to focus on readers and be clear with authors, our guidelines are extensive and directive. We hope, however, this detailed guidance provides authors with the strongest possible guidance and ensures the most positive outcome possible from the peer-review process.

Formatting ReferencesFollow the IEEE style for formatting references, which differs from the APA and MLA styles that are more widely used among professional communicators.For instructions on formatting references, see Guidelines for Formatting References.
Formatting TextNote specific guidelines regarding:
  • File formats
  • Formatting of text (margins, spacing, type face)
  • Formatting of tables, charts, figures, and illustrations

See the Guidelines for Formatting Manuscriptsfor details.

Please use these titles as major section headings

Address these issues in the section

IntroductionThis section is intended to situate the case study and explain its significance.
Open by explaining:
  • What this case is about (100 words max)
  • Why it’s relevant to readers of the Transactions on Professional Communication (100 words max)
Close this section by:
  • Stating the research questions underlying the case study
  • Providing a preview of the main sections in the article, using terminology that closely matches the headings.
Situating the CaseThis section is like a literature review but primarily focuses on showing how this particular case is representative of a larger class of cases, as well as briefly identifying the key research and theories that guided it. The literature cited in this section should include both peer-reviewed and popular sources.  Note that readers are more likely to be familiar with the popular sources; such sources and conference proceedings are likely to contain cases similar to this one.Make sure that the list of sources includes citations to literature in professional and technical communication, to situate the case within the larger conversation in the primary field of study for this journal. Note:  Keep this section to approximately 750 words.  The goal is to situate the case in the literature, not provide a comprehensive literature review.
Immediately following the Situating the Case heading, add a short paragraph that provides a preview of the section.  The paragraph should follow this format: SENTENCE 1: In 30 to 40 words, state the overall purpose of the section. SENTENCE 2: This section starts with list the sub-sections in the section, using words that match word-for-word the titles of the subsections.
Next, explain how you selected literature to include in the review. Explicitly state which topics were chosen (and, if they were not mentioned in the discussion of the theoretical framework, explain why you chose them):
  • Explain how you conducted the search for literature (such as keywords selected)
  • State the criteria used to select individual articles from the results returned by the general search.
Next, describe similar cases presented in the literature.  Include at least 3 cases.
Then, theme by theme, name and define relevant theories and research that apply to this case—and explain why they’re relevant
How this Case Was StudiedBecause case studies are intended to be based on real data, this is an important section.  Even if this article did not result from a formal research study, please disclose that information so that readers are aware of what data informed the case and how it was collected.  When doing so, however, indicate that data collection was laissez-faireNote:  Keep this section to approximately 500 words.  The goal is to explain how the case study was compiled and demonstrate that there was some rigor and critical thinking involved; it is not necessary to present the level of detail that another researcher would need to duplicate the case.
Immediately following the How this Case Was Studied heading, add a short paragraph that provides a preview of the section.  The paragraph should follow this format: SENTENCE 1: In 30 to 40 words, state the overall purpose of the section. SENTENCE 2: This section starts with list the sub-sections in the section, using words that match word-for-word the titles of the subsections.
Repeat the research questions.
Next explain how the study was conducted.Note that many authors often mix methods and results in this section. So please only explain how the data was collected, do not report what data was collected.  That will be reported in the Results section.
When describing how the data was collected, include information about each of the following though the order will vary depending on the nature of the study:
  • Participants:
    • Describe the characteristics sought in participants.
    • Explain how participants were recruited.
    • Explicitly state that the study received approval from a Research Ethics committee or that it was exempt.

Do not provide detailed, descriptive information about the actual participants.  Save that information for the Results section.

  • How data was collected:  State, step-by-step, how data from which you wrote this case was collected from participants.

Note: Only explain how the data was collected—do not report any of the data that was collected.  Hold that for the results section.

  • Data analysis:  Explain how data was analyzed.
    • If data is analyzed quantitatively, explain (a) which statistical tests were chosen, (b) in plain language—and with a minimum of technical terminology and without acronyms—how this test analyzes the data, and (c) why they are appropriate in this situation.
    • If the data is analyzed qualitatively, explain the types of qualitative analysis.

Note: The use of software is not a data analysis procedure.  It is merely a tool to assist with the process.  However, the tool should be named in the data analysis section as the tool used.

  • Close the Data Analysis section by explaining how you ensured the validity and generalizability (quantitative studies) or trustworthiness and credibility (qualitative and critical studies) of the data.
About the CasePresent the case in this section. Note:  This is the “meat” of the article.  It should be the longest section.
Start the section with a short paragraph that provides a preview of the About the Case section.  The paragraph should follow this format: SENTENCE 1: In 30 to 40 words, state the overall purpose of the section. SENTENCE 2: This section starts with list the sub-sections in the section, using words that match word-for-word the titles of the subsections.
1.   The Problem [Use this heading]
a.   Basic problem as originally presented
b.   Major constraints affecting the design and development of the project including (but not restricted to): limited budget, tight schedule, regulations stating how material should be presented, standard templates used within the organization that could not be altered, and similar types of constraints.
2. The Solution [Use this heading.  Do not place the number 2 in front of it.]
a.   Brief Description of the Project [Use this heading.  Do not place the letter a in front of it.]This content provides a point of reference for all later discussion in this section. Specifically, in this part, identify the following about the project:
i. Purpose
ii. Audience
(about 75-125 words)
b.   Brief Walk-Through of the Solution. [Do not use a heading—just present it.] From beginning to end, describe the final deliverable.  Be brief, but provide enough detail so that readers can follow the discussion that follows.  Include illustrations, if appropriate.
(about 200-300 words)
c.     Facts about the solution:

Notes:

  • Present as a chart.
  • Include a reference to the chart (figure) in the text.
  • Include a caption for the chart.
  • Do not use full sentences except when absolutely necessary.
  • Budget (a general cost range is sufficient: $-Less than $US 5,000; $$–$US 5001-$US 25,000, $$$–$US 25,001 – $US 100,000, $$$$–$US 100,001 – $US 250,000; $$$$$–Over $US 250,000).
  • Length of time needed to complete the project beginning to end.
  • Skills used in the project (such as writing, graphic design, project management.)
  • Software used.
  • Other resources used.
d.   Process for Developing the Solution [Use this heading.  Do not place the letter d in front of it.] Note: Although the solution technically was devised as a result of this process, as a practical measure, many process descriptions make reference to one or more aspects of the resulting solution, and that discussion is impossible to follow unless the solution is described first in the Solution section above. For each key milestone in the process, provide the following information (probably in this order):
  • Describe the deliverable produced during the phase
  • Describe the activities involved in creating the deliverable
  • Describe issues and decisions that arose when developing the deliverable
  • Describe reaction to the deliverable by stakeholders—as well as your response to the reaction (especially if that response required re-work).

Note: Ideally, would include multiple perspectives on the decisions that arose, as well as the documented response.

e.    Results: Describe the performance of the solution in addressing the initial problem after the material was published or otherwise became generally available. In some cases, it worked out well, in other instances, it did not work out well.When possible, include:
  • Feedback from users
  • User performance data (such as from usability tests or performance monitoring in the workplace)
  • Web metrics
  • Return on investment (ROI) and other financial evaluations (if performed).
Conclusions, Limitations and Suggestions for Future ResearchThis section closes the article by describing the broader implications of the study. This section has 3 separate sub-sections:
  1. Conclusions
  2. Limitations
  3. Suggestions for future research

The sub-sections should be presented in this order.

Conclusions.  Present the implications of the findings within the larger context of professional communication.
  • Describe the implications for practicing professionals.
  • Link the conclusions back to the literature cited earlier.  (In some research traditions, this is called the Discussion.)
Limitations should openly acknowledge all of the limitations of the article. Some typical issues that need to be addressed:
  • This is a project on which you worked, rather than reported as a third party.
  • Missing information because it was not available or could not be reported.
Close the article with suggestions for future research that would build on this one.
Note: Do not place an additional set of Conclusions at the end of the article.
AbstractPlease write the Abstract as a structured abstract.  Research has shown that these types of abstracts help readers better remember the article.The format for a structured abstract for a case study is.
BackgroundSummarizes the nature and purpose of the case (1 to 2 sentences)
Research question(s)Repeat your research questions
Situating the Case
  • State the purpose of your review.
  • Name similar cases in the literature.
  • Identify key themes from the literature that guided development of the case.

(Approximately 2- 4 sentences total)

How this Case Was Studied
  • Indicate whether the case was formally studied as an empirical research project or an experience report
  • Identify your study as qualitative, quantitative, critical, or mixed
  • Describe how you chose participants and how many you used
  • Describe how you chose your location and its type
  • Identify your method of data collection
    • Name the  analysis techniques
About the Case
  • Describe the problem faced (1 sentence).
  • Describe the solution (1-2 sentences).
  • Name the key resources used in the solution (from the Facts about this Case format) (1 sentence)
  • Describe the process for producing the solution and key challenges faced along the way (1-3 sentences)
  • Report the results of the solution (1 sentence)
ConclusionsSummarize the implications of the completed project (1 sentence)

For more information about structured abstracts, click here.


Samples of Case Studies Published in the Transactions

K. Siebenhandl, G. Schreder, M. Smuc, E. Mayr, & M. Nagl, “A user-centered design approach to self-service ticket vending machines,” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 56, no. 2, 138-159, 2013.

R. Raju, “Intercultural communication training in IT outsourcing companies in India: A case study,”IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 55, no. 3, 262-274, 2012.

[Note that a subscription is required to view the article.  If you do not already have a subscription, your library might.]

Reviewers’ Expectations

To learn about the criteria that reviewers consider when providing feedback on a case study, click here.

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