A case study is unique within the social sciences for its focus of study on a single entity, which can be a person, group or organization, event, action, or situation. It is also unique in that, as a focus of research, a case is chosen for specific reasons, rather than randomly , as is usually done when conducting empirical research. Often, when researchers use the case study method, they focus on a case that is exceptional in some way because it is possible to learn a lot about social relationships and social forces when studying those things that deviate from norms. In doing so, a researcher is often able, through their study, to test the validity of social theory, or to create new theories using the grounded theory method .
The Arthur W. Page Society, in alliance with the Institute for Public Relations , conducts an annual competition for the writing of original case studies by students enrolled in an accredited school of business, communication or journalism and who are pursuing a degree that is focused on corporate communications and the practice of public relations. The objectives of the competition are to introduce the practical applications of the core principles that define public relations as a critical function of management to scholars, teachers, and students, and encourage research that contributes to the profession's body of knowledge and provides practical suggestions on how to improve the corporate public relations function.