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Editorial: Save Research—Abandon the Case Method of Teaching


  • Steven M. Shugan

    () (University of Florida, Warrington College of Business, 201B Bryan Hall, P.O. Box 117155, Gainesville, Florida 32611)


The case method of teaching and the corresponding Socratic Method predate the discovery of the scientific method for advancing knowledge and problem solving. The case method applies known principles (e.g., laws) to specific situations while the scientific method focuses on discovering principles. Although the case method might be effective at teaching leadership and persuasion skills, it can lack the spirit of inquiry and the worship of the truth associated with the scientific method. Moreover, unlike legal cases, business cases lack precedent (i.e., stare decisis), the foundation of written law, and rigorous adjudication. More importantly, the traditional case method of teaching often ignores important research findings. Consequently, it helps destroy the link between academic research and classroom learning. Students lose the benefit of important research findings while leaving the classroom with false confidence about what they know. Researchers lose an incentive to do research relevant to their students. Eventually, there is less research worth teaching, and fewer students value the knowledge learned through painstaking research. Although we might covet the skill of persuasion, time might gradually elevate previously less persuasive managers who have better skills with analysis and collecting relevant information. Great teaching requires great content, in addition to active learning.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven M. Shugan, 2006. "Editorial: Save Research—Abandon the Case Method of Teaching," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(2), pages 109-115, 03-04.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:25:y:2006:i:2:p:109-115

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Preyas S. Desai & David Bell & Gary Lilien & David Soberman, 2012. "Editorial --The Science-to-Practice Initiative: Getting New Marketing Science Thinking into the Real World," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(1), pages 1-3, January.
    2. Steven M. Shugan, 2007. "The Editor's Secrets," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(5), pages 589-595, 09-10.
    3. Steven M. Shugan, 2006. "Editorial: Fifty Years of," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(6), pages 551-555, 11-12.
    4. Anthony J. Evans, 2012. "Pedagogical Synergies Between Austrian Economics and the Case Method," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 28(Fall 2012), pages 91-103.
    5. repec:fgv:eaerae:v:57:y:2017:i:4:a:71358 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:taf:oaefxx:v:3:y:2015:i:1:p:1120977 is not listed on IDEAS


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