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NCCSTS Case Studies


Permitted Uses

The National Science Teaching Association holds the copyright for all of the cases and accompanying materials in its collection. Use of our case materials must conform to our policies and restrictions, which are detailed in this document.

Please Note

  • We do not allow re-posting of the cases in our collection on a publicly accessible website.

  • We expressly forbid copying, re-posting, re-publishing, or otherwise re-duplicating the answer keys and teaching notes to our cases. As part of that, website reproduction of our notes and answer keys is prohibited in all instances. Please refer to the section titled "Limitations and Restrictions" below for more information.

  • Violations of this policy will be investigated and vigorously pursued.




As the copyright holder, the National Science Teaching Association encourages educational, not-for-profit use of our cases by individual instructors. Instructors may use our cases in their classrooms according to “fair use” guidelines without contacting us for permission. This includes modifying a case to fit your course or to "personalize" a case for your students. Whenever using one of our cases, you must acknowledge the author(s) and cite the National Science Teaching Association as the source.

There are times, however, when formal written permission is necessary. The rest of this document is intended to clarify our distinction between “standard usage,” which does not require formal permission, and “non-standard usage,” which does.

Standard Usage

Standard usage of case study material means that you do not need to contact us for permission. In order to fall into this category, each of the following conditions is necessary. Usage must be:

  • Educational

  • Non-profit

  • In print format, or on a password-protected website on your school's intranet or on a course management system, which only the teacher and students can access

Failure to meet any of these conditions means that the usage is “non-standard.”

The following are typical examples of standard usage.

  • A high school teacher finds a suitable case. He changes the names of the characters and the location to make the case more interesting to his students. In a suitable place, he notes that the case has been modified from the original, and adds an acknowledgment to the original source and authors. He then prints out copies of the case for the 90 students in the four sections of his AP bio class.

  • A college instructor finds a case that will work quite well for her A&P course. She recognizes that the case has probably been used by other instructors and that it is possible that students might have posted answers to the questions on the Internet. Since students will be evaluated on the basis of the responses to the questions in this case, she goes to Google and does some quick searches for the questions that appear in the case. She then alters the questions somewhat to make it more difficult for students to plagiarize and to make it easier for her to catch any that do. After suitably acknowledging the source of the case and the fact that it has been modified, she then prints out copies, and her teaching assistants distribute and lead discussions of that material during their various labs or recitations.

Non-Standard Usage

If any of the four conditions above is not met, then your usage is considered to be “non-standard.” Non-standard usage requires our formal permission before you proceed with your plans. Generally speaking, any reproduction that is either electronic in format, commercially based, or involves bound material or more than 100 impressions, is considered non-standard and is not authorized without our express written permission. Common examples of non-standard usage include inclusion of material in a commercial textbook, or reproduction of cases in a course or lab manual prepared by a college bookstore.

To request permission, please supply the following information to

  • Your name, title, institution, and email address

  • Whether your intended use is commercial or not-for profit

  • Titles of cases in which you are interested

  • How you intend to use the material

We will contact you within five business days to let you know whether your request was approved or if additional information is needed.



Limitations and Restrictions

We strictly control access to the teaching notes and answer keys for our cases. Re-publication of any kind, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited. The only allowable use of our notes and answer keys is by individual teachers who may print or download a single copy of these materials to prepare for use of a case in their classrooms. Website reproduction of our notes and answer keys is prohibited in all instances. Any exception to these guidelines requires prior written approval.



Copyright for the case studies on our website is held by the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA). Images on our site that are not owned by NSTA are either licensed, used with direct permission from their sources, believed to be in the public domain, or incorporated into our material according to “fair use” guidelines. Proprietary third-party images that appear according to “editorial usage” generally have their sources acknowledged in a credit statement at the bottom of the page on which they appear. Licensed images that have been used strictly for design purposes may be acknowledged, depending on licensing requirements. If you wish to use such an image in addition to our textual content in a manner that goes beyond “fair use,” please visit the original source and contact the owner directly.

If you still have questions, contact our permissions manager at


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