Topics for a Psychology Case Study

JGI/Tom Grill / Getty Images

At some point in one of your psychology classes, you might be asked to write a case study of an individual. What exactly is a case study? It is essentially an in-depth psychological investigation of a single person or group of people. The format of your case study might vary depending upon the requirements of the assignment and your instructor's expectations, but most include a detailed background of the individual, a description of the problem the person is facing, a diagnosis, and a description of an intervention using one or more therapeutic approaches.

Of course, the first step in writing a case study is to select a subject. In some cases, you might be allowed to conduct a case study on an actual volunteer or on someone you know such as a friend or family member. In other cases, your instructor might prefer that you select a less personal subject such as an individual from history or a famous literary figure.

Looking for a good subject for your cases study? Here are just a few ideas that might inspire you:

Write About a Famous Psychologist

There are plenty of fascinating figures in the history of psychology who would make for an interesting case study. Sigmund Freud, Harry Harlow, Erik Erikson, B. F. Skinner, and many other famous thinkers led interesting lives that offer plenty of material for a great case study.

Focus on a Famous Patient in Psychology

Some of the most famous people in psychology sometimes aren't psychologists at all. Instead, the patients, clients, and cases studied by psychologists might prove even more interesting.

Think of people like Anna O., Phineas Gage, and Genie.

Write About a Famous Historical Figure

Eleanor Roosevelt, Napoleon, Adolph Hilter, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and many other famous (and infamous) people could potentially serve as a subject for your case study. Obviously, this will involve some reading and research on your chosen subject's life and accomplishments, but it could certainly make for an interesting paper.

Focus on a Fictional Character or a Famous Literary Figure

Another fun and interesting approach is to conduct a case study of one of your favorite fictional characters. You might opt to tackle a classic character such as Shakespeare's Macbeth or Romeo or Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennet or Fitzwilliam Darcy.  Or instead you might opt to focus on a more contemporary literary character such as Suzanne Collins's Katniss Everdeen or J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of great options out there when selecting a subject for your case study. First and foremost, always start by paying attention to the directions given by your instructor. In many cases, there will be specific guidelines about whom and what you are allowed to write about.

Continue Reading