What should the Case Studies look like: a style guide

We need to figure out a good standard format for the case studies. Not in detail, but how we want the stories to be told.

Right now we have finished case studies (as @Hegazy did) or plain transcripts (as @Inge’s done so far).

Matthias suggested we look at the Nepal case studies as well.

All your input  is greatly valued.

Take a look at this designforthelivingworld.com for inspiration.

From wikipedia: “A style guide is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization, or field. A style guide establishes and enforces style to improve communication. To do that, it ensures consistency (within a document and across multiple documents) and enforces best practice in usage and in language composition, visual composition, orthography (including spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, and other punctuation), and typography…”

I think what we should focus on mainly, though, is a consistent structure.

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I suggest 2 styles, where each contributor can make his particular choice.

Choice 1 (New Yorker Style)

The written article. I orient myself heavily on the style of the New Yorker magazine. This Style Guide (New Yorker) was written in 1937 and is originally meant for fiction, but you will find it works pretty well. I would also recommend a look at a Profile of your interest for inspiration, nobody does it better.

  • A good read

  • Can choose a point of interest/angle and focus on it

  • A lot of work

  • The case study is subjective to the authors views to a certain degree

Choice 2 (Interview Style)

The Interview Transcript. I would suggest a second editor to edit interview transcripts, where the article would take on a Q&A format. This style guide (The Economist) is brief and slightly dry, but works for an efficient and objective piece.

  • An informative format

  • Less editorial choices/omissions from the editor, makes a more objective read.

  • Still a lot of work

  • Could sound promotional


Either way, I think it is important for final case studies to be edited and revised by editors who are not the original authors. Maybe this should be part of the communication plan for the book? @Nadia

Add editing as a contribution/reward combination in rewards wik

Here: https://edgeryders.eu/en/node-4554/draft-campaign-rewards

About the format: Remember the New Yorker is passive media, people are expected to just consume. We have other objectives: getting people to do x, y and z as result of reading case studies and interviews… So what do we change/add to the New Yorker style guide?

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Good

Allowing others to edit (as long as they keep the original authors’ intentions) is a great idea. It’s included in the great interaction design done by StackExchange (on their sites, an edit gets you 3 points after being peer-reviewed). So it kind of must  be a good idea :slight_smile: For the edgeryders.eu platform, it is esp. good because it can solve the language and grammar problems of non-native speakers silently. If people can rely on things being edited for improvement over time, they might become more comfortable posting in English.

If you want to include this, remember that people will have to post their case studies as wikis then, to allow others to edit.

I don’t think that this contradicts having the “New Yorker Style” for case studies. It’s a good style for well-readable texts to appear in a book, which is what you are shooting for. @Dipti_Sherchan and @anubhutipoudyal developed a quite similar style for the interviews they conducted for Future Makers Nepal, and we’re very happy with that one here :slight_smile:

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editing

I agree editing should be possible, so they indeed should be posted in wikis. As long as they interviewee and the submitter are able to see whether the wording changes their intentions.

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See “Revisions”

Wikis have “Revisions” where edits are recorded, so yes, edits can be tracked there, as the current version can be compared to other versions there. May need a settings tweak though to make sure every edit creates a revision, without the opportunity to disable this (which is usually meant and useful for very small edits, but also means that untracked edits would become possible). Remind me to look into this once you guys need it.

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Formatting guide for Future Makers Nepal

We followed a pretty simple formatting guide:

  • Italics – Interview questions, comments by the interviewer, closing remarks, and everything else coming from the interviewer / post author. Also used within direct speech to show actions of the person speaking, like (laughs).
  • Bold – Sub-headings, if used on its own line.
  • “Normal font in typographic quotation marks.” – Literal quotations from the interviewee. Every paragraph would be wrapped separately in these to remind the reader who's talking. If more than one person is interviewed in the same post, the paragraph would be followed by an en dash between spaces, and the name of the person speaking (for example " – Srijan").

For some good examples how this looks like, see:

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interview style

btw, re your first comment, @hegazy, I personally really dislike option 2: interview style. It doesnt read interestingly at all, it is very static. And also, often I do not ask all the questions, some are often answered without asking. So, it does not give room for creativity. I do like inserting the interviewer. Ways I have done it previously you can read here and here. What do you guys think? @Iriedawta, @nataliegryvnyak, @Driss, @Hegazy, @SamarAli, @Mikhail_Volchak, @Nadia, @Noemi?

Hey @Inge! I do like the interview style as it lets us have same kind of format for the case studies and it will be helpful when designing the book. However I do agree that we need to be flexible with the questions as they do not apply for all the cases and besides some answers already include questions that come next. So maybe we just need to adapt the interview framework depending on the project and add more questions where necessary.

@Matthias Thanks again for editing my case study. I guess I’ll adhere to your style as it is easy and comprehensive.

@Inge, I agree with you completely, I might even re-write my ezelabs case study to a story.

@Iriedawta Perhaps the best way is for every contributor to decide on which format suits her best and just use it. I am sure that some stories will be better with the interview framework and should be published in the book as that, and there is no need for the book to be based on a single style. I also agree on @Matthias’s formatting style from Nepal.