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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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Telling stories and turning them into cases is a great professional development activity. Learn six steps you can use to reflect on your work with families and develop ideas about how to support their needs. 

A powerful way to help others learn from your experiences with families is by turning your stories into cases. Get started with the Create Your Own Case Toolkit by reading tips from others who have gone through the process.

Reflect on your experiences working with families. Read more about Step 1 and complete Exercise 1.1: Reflecting on FamiliesYou Have Worked With and Exercise 1.2: Using the Empathy Map which are designed to help you think about families with whom you have worked.

Identify a mismatch. Read more about Step 2 and complete Exercise 2: Identifying Mismatches which is designed to help you think about a mismatch for your case.

Choose people and information to include in your case. Read more about Step 3 and complete Exercise 3: Choosing People and Information for Your Case which is designed to help you elaborate on different people’s perspectives.

Develop your case structure. Read more about Step 4 and complete Exercise 4.1: Developing Your Case Structure and Exercise 4.2: Structuring Your Case Around the "Back Story" and the "Full Story" which are designed to help you develop a case outline.

Draft and revise. Read more about Step 5 and complete Exercise 5: Reviewing Your Case to help you edit your work either individually or with a group.

Share your case with others. Read more about this final step and complete Exercise 6: Creating Discussion Questions which is designed to help you develop discussion questions about your case.

  To download all eight Create Your Own Case Toolkit exercises in a single PDF, click here.


The Create Your Own Case Toolkit is part of Harvard Family Research Project’s professional development efforts to build capacity for partnerships between families, schools, and communities. The toolkit consists of three components: (1) six steps to follow, with related exercises,  (2) a collection of family engagement cases, and (3) a Facilitators Guide. To stay up-to-date on Harvard Family Research Project's latest resources, please visit our subscription center.

© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project