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Educational Research. Chapter 10 Single-Subject Experimental Research Gay, Mills, and Airasian. Single-Subject Research. Topics discussed in this chapter The unique characteristics of single-subject designs External and internal validity Designing single-subject research

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educational research

Educational Research

Chapter 10

Single-Subject Experimental Research

Gay, Mills, and Airasian

single subject research
Single-Subject Research
  • Topics discussed in this chapter
    • The unique characteristics of single-subject designs
    • External and internal validity
    • Designing single-subject research
    • Three types of single subject designs
    • Analyzing data
    • Replication
single subject research1
Single-Subject Research
  • Two unique characteristics
    • The sample size is one subject
    • Each subject serves as his or her own control
  • Notation
    • ‘A’ indicates a non-treatment phase usually referred to as a “baseline”
    • ‘B’ indicates a treatment phase
    • Examples
      • A-B-A indicates a non-treatment baseline phase followed by a treatment phase which is followed by a return to a non-treatment baseline phase
      • A-B-A-B indicates four phases of treatment (baseline, treatment, baseline, and treatment)

Objectives 1.1, 1.2, 1.5

single subject research2
Single-Subject Research
  • Why use a single-subject design?
    • In some situations it is unethical to deny a control group treatment, so a single-subject design is the alternative
      • Denying Title I resources to children who qualify for them
    • In other situations there are low incidences of subjects available to participate
      • Children with specific special needs

Objective 1.3

single subject research3
Single-Subject Research
  • External validity
    • The lack of external validity is the major concern with single-subject designs
    • Generalizability is addressed through multiple replications of the same treatment and design that produce similar results for a number of different participants

Objective 1.4

single subject research4
Single-Subject Research
  • Internal validity
    • Internal validity is always a concern with single-subject research
    • Two major threats
      • Instrumentation
      • Specificity of variables
    • Controlling threats
      • Baselines are multiple measures of pretest performance
      • By repeating baseline measures over a period of time threats to internal validity can be controlled
        • History
        • Maturation

Objectives 1.6 & 1.7

single subject research5
Single-Subject Research
  • Number of manipulated variables
    • Only a single variable should be manipulated in single-subject designs
    • Adding and withdrawing more than one variable becomes problematic in terms of analyzing the individual effect of either variable

Objective 1.8

single subject designs
Single-Subject Designs
  • Three major categories
    • A-B-A withdraw
      • Alternating phases of baseline (A) and treatment (B)
      • Alternatives include the A-B-A-B design
    • Multiple baselines
      • The systematic addition of behaviors, subjects, or settings for intervention
      • Used when baselines cannot be recovered after treatment has been received

Objective 1.9

single subject designs1
Single-Subject Designs
  • Three major categories (cont.)
    • Alternating treatments
      • Rapid alternation of treatments to a single subject to assess the effectiveness of two or more treatments

Objective 1.9

a b withdraw design
A-B Withdraw Design
  • The A-B design
    • O O O O O O O X O X O X O X O

Baseline Treatment

    • Internal validity threats are of concern
    • Use of designs with additional baseline and/or treatment phases helps to control threats to internal validity

Objective 1.10

a b a withdraw design
A-B-A Withdraw Design
  • The A-B-A design
    • O O O O X O X O X O O O O O

Baseline Treatment Baseline

    • If the outcome is better during treatment than either baseline, the treatment is likely effective
    • Internal validity threats can be controlled
    • The major concern
      • The experiment ends with the subject not receiving the treatment
      • If the treatment has been shown to be effective this is an ethical concern

Objective 1.10

a b a b withdraw design
A-B-A-B Withdraw Design
  • The A-B-A-B design
    • O O O O X O X O X O O O O O X O X O X O

Baseline Treatment Baseline Treatment

    • Internal validity threats can be controlled
      • The effects of the treatment can be demonstrated twice
      • If the results are the same, it is likely the influence of extraneous variables has been controlled
    • Ethical concerns related to the A-B-A design are eliminated
    • The right pattern of results provides convincing evidence of the effectiveness of the treatment

Objective 1.10

multiple baseline designs
Multiple Baseline Designs
  • Three basic multiple baseline designs
    • Across behaviors
      • Data are collected on several behaviors for a single subject
      • Treatment is applied to each behavior one at a time until all behaviors have been treated
    • Across subjects
      • Data are collected on several subjects for one behavior
      • Treatment is applied to each subject one at a time until all subjects have been treated

Objective 2.1

multiple baseline designs1
Multiple Baseline Designs
  • Three basic multiple baseline designs (cont.)
    • Across settings
      • Data are collected on one behavior for one subject across several settings
      • Treatment is applied to each behavior one at a time in each setting until all settings have been treated

Objective 2.1

multiple baseline designs2
Multiple Baseline Designs
  • Three basic multiple baseline designs (cont.)
    • An example across behaviors
      • Behavior 1 O O X O X O X O X O X O

Behavior 2 O O O O X O X O X O X O

Behavior 3 O O O O O O X O X O X O

  • Design concerns
    • If behaviors are treated the behaviors must be independent of one another
    • If subjects are treated the subjects must be similar
    • If settings are treated the settings must be as natural as possible

Objective 2.1

multiple baseline designs3
Multiple Baseline Designs
  • Advantages
    • Can be used when baseline data are not recoverable after treatment
      • The effects of reinforcement are designed to be maintained after the reinforcement is removed
    • Can be combined with A-B-A designs to establish a very convincing case for cause and effect
      • An A-B-A design is applied across three behaviors

Objective 2.2

alternating treatments design
Alternating Treatments Design
  • Involves the relatively rapid alternation of treatments for a single subject
    • Treatment does not occur at fixed time periods
    • Treatments are changed sporadically
  • Advantages
    • Useful in assessing the relative effectiveness of two or more treatments
    • No withdraw of treatment is necessary
    • No baseline is needed
    • The effects of treatment can be studied quickly and efficiently

Objectives 3.1 & 3.2

data analysis and interpretation
Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Two phases
    • An evaluation of the adequacy of the design
    • An assessment of the treatment effectiveness
  • Two techniques
    • Visual inspection of the data
    • Graphical presentation of the results

Objective 4.1

data analysis and interpretation1
Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Significance
    • Clinical significance
      • Effects related to the behaviors being treated
      • Meaningful in a “real” sense
      • Parallels the importance of practical significance
    • Statistical significance
      • Statistical tests are available but often result in statistical significance that has little if any clinical significance
      • Use is currently debated in the field

Objective 4.2

replication
Replication
  • Replication is an important aspect of single-subject research
    • The more one’s results are replicated the more confidence one has in the procedures that produced the results
  • Three stages of replication
    • Direct replication
      • Same researcher, same subjects, specific setting
      • Simultaneous replication refers to the use of different subjects and increases the generalizability of the study

Objectives 5.1 & 5.2

replication1
Replication
  • Three stages of replication (cont.)
    • Systematic replication
      • Follows direct replication efforts
      • Involves different researchers, behaviors, or settings
      • Over time techniques are identified that consistently produce effective results
    • Clinical replication
      • Follows systematic replication
      • Involves the development of treatment packages composed of two or more effective treatments

Objective 5.2