Case Studies / Case Reports

A case study / case report is an unusual or interesting patient case which you would like to write up.

Always obtain written patient consent to write up a case study / case report.

The British Medical Journal Confidentiality Position Statement and Consent Form (link to BMJ website) is useful for reference. Please contact the journal in which you wish to publish for their equivalent.

This also applies in respect of a case series, which is "a report on a series of cases with similarities." For example, you may have 2 unusual cases which are similar e.g. 2 patients who presented to the Emergency Department who ate a golf ball.

Always obtain written consent from the patients involved.

Research Ethics Committee approval is not required to write up a single case study or case report, or a case series, as described above, which involves less than five reports. Please refer to table below to ensure the 'case series' is not a research study.

Case Series Research (requires REC approval)
Less than 5 case reports 5 or more case reports
Not meant to be a representative sample (not drawing conclusions) Drawing conclusions about a broader population based on the reported cases (even if not statistically significant e.g. pilot studies can be 'research')
Reported / Published without attempting to draw broader conclusions Reported / Published in such a way that suggests broad findings or recommendations.
Write up of case only (report / publication may include photographs, images)

Table content adapted from
Emory University Institutional Review Board
link to Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia) website

Although it may necessary to review charts to write up a case series, a case series is not to be confused with a chart review or a a retrospective chart review study. These are submitted to the research ethics committee for review and approval in the usual manner.