Everything You Need to Know About the Honors Case Study Challenge

One of Phi Theta Kappa’s more unique programs is the Honors Case Study Challenge. It’s an opportunity to put your research skills to use outside the classroom but on a smaller scale compared to an Honors in Action Project. It’s also an opportunity to win one of four $500 scholarship awards.

A case study is an in-depth, detailed analysis of a particular topic and its development over time. For Phi Theta Kappa, it is an examination of an aspect of the current Honors Study Topic. The challenge is open to both individual members and chapters, and it can benefit both transfer and workforce students.

“The case study challenged me to push myself out of what was comfortable and my typical research and writing style,” said Tina Seifer, a member from Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio who successfully completed the challenge and received $500.

The deadline to submit to the Honors Case Study Challenge is 5 p.m. CT on Monday, November 11. Explore what you can gain from the challenge and the details of what’s required.

Boost Your Soft Skills

Conducting an Honors Case Study goes beyond Honors in Action and leaves you with real-world skills you’ll be able to use in your classes and on the job, which is one reason a case study is a required part of Competitive Edge, PTK’s online professional development course. (Yes, you can submit your case study from Competitive Edge to the Honors Case Study Challenge as long as you use print or online 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


Get Ready for the Workforce

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 is important for all students, but especially those who will soon be transitioning into the workforce. As you participate in the program, your advisor will likely discuss articles with you, helping you develop critical thinking skills and broadening your outlook on the world.

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

Through the challenge, you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of sources, allowing you to build your research skills and teaching you the importance of considering viewpoints other than your own. Whether you’re transferring to a university or entering the workforce, this is something everyone should learn.

What’s Required

To get started, read newspaper articles of varying viewpoints between January 1 and November 1, 2019. Select five articles with varying viewpoints on a single topic related to the Honors Study Topic. For each article, record the newspaper’s

• Name
• Headline
• Byline (reporter’s name)
• Section name
• Publication date
• Page number

Your submission for the Honors Case Study Challenge will consist of four elements:

  1. A case study summary of a chosen topic
  2. An essay on the topic’s future implications
  3. Three to five open-ended discussion questions
  4. Academic resources for additional study

1. Write a one-page (500-word limit) case study summary of your chosen topic. It should include

• Major points related to the Honors Study Topic
• Why you chose that particular topic
• Issues or controversies related to the topic
• An explanation about how your case study examines these issues/controversies

2. Write an essay (200-word limit) on the future implications of the case study topic. It should include either predictions on how the topic will influence society in the future or what results are anticipated regarding the topic in the future.

3. Pose three to five discussion questions related to the topic. There is a 75-word limit total for all questions. The questions should:

• Be thought-provoking
• Be open-ended
• Encourage critical thinking skills
• Help readers consider the topic from different perspectives

4. Suggest up to six academic sources for additional study. Provide full, formal APA citations for each additional source. Sources can include books, documentaries, journal articles, and website with academic/expert content.

Submit your Honors Case Study today! The deadline is November 11 at 5 p.m. CT.

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