2 Big Benefits of the Honors Case Study Challenge

When Tina Seifer decided to participate in the 2017 Honors Case Study Challenge, she simply sat down, chose a topic that related to a problem she saw within her own world, and thought about how she could impact it.

For her, that problem was “The War on Heroin, and Peace for the Addict,” a play on Theme 4 of the Honors Study Topic, Peace and War. Seifer will graduate from Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio in December with a degree in Human Services. She plans to become a chemical dependency counselor, and she wrote about harm reduction programs for opiate addicts.

“The case study challenged me to push myself out of what was comfortable and my typical research and writing style,” she said.

A case study is an in-depth, detailed analysis of a particular topic and its development over time. For Phi Theta Kappa, it’s an examination of an aspect of the Honors Study Topic, How the World Works: Global Perspectives. The challenge is open to both individual members and chapters, and winners receive a $500 scholarship.

“The Honors Case Study Challenge is a great companion to an Honors in Action Project,” said PTK’s Associate Vice President of Honors Programming and Undergraduate Research Susan Edwards. “An added bonus for chapters that work on both Honors in Action AND the Honors Case Study Challenge is that submitting the case study counts as collaborating with people in or beyond your region — one of the collaboration requirements for Honors in Action.”

Boost Your Resume

Conducting an Honors Case Study goes beyond Honors in Action; it leaves participants with real-world skills they’ll be able to use in their classes and on the job, which is one reason a case study is a required part of Competitive Edge, PTK’s professional development program.

(Yes, you can submit your case study from Competitive Edge to the Honors Case Study Challenge, if it ties in to the Honors Study Topic, and if it uses newspaper sources.)

Case studies reinforce soft skills Competitive Edge aims to build — skills employers look for on a resume:

  • Teamwork and collaborative learning
  • Academic investigation:
    • Showing intellectual curiosity
    • Researching a current topic and determining appropriate sources
    • Searching for and considering varying viewpoints
    • Analyzing research
    • Critical thinking
  • Writing:
    • Organizing and synthesizing research materials and information
    • Composing concise executive summaries of gathered information
    • Writing open-ended questions that guide others to consider the topic of the case study
  • Using technology to complete and submit an application

Be a More Valuable Employee

The detailed analysis in the Honors Case Study Challenge is done through reading newspaper articles. Developing the habit of staying current with trends and events makes you a more valuable employee and a more interesting person.

“Participants have the potential to learn the importance of not only keeping up with current news but also digging deeper into a topic, rather than just reading the headline of a story,” said Tria Cohen, PTK’s Student Engagement Programs Manager.

The challenge requires that the newspaper articles present a variety of viewpoints on your chosen topic. Understanding varying viewpoints helps you make stronger, more informed decisions that take into account how those decisions will impact others whose worldviews are different.

“This is a lesson on staying neutral in evaluating a topic from all sides,” Cohen said. “Even though you may have your own personal viewpoint, you may be in a future profession that demands you stay neutral when researching, analyzing, reporting, or making predictions on information.”

The deadline to submit an entry for the Honors Case Study Challenge is 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, November 1. Submit yours now.

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