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Single-case experimental designs
In Choosing Methods in Mental Health Research: Mental Health Research from Theory to Practice, 9-23
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This chapter is concerned with single-case experimental designs for the evaluation of an individual's response to treatment. Following an account of the historical origins and development of single-case experimental designs, the chapter continues with a brief description of the methodology of such designs and assumptions about the theoretical framework involved. A comparison of single-case and group studies is outlined together with the limitations of group studies for evaluating individual patients. We then consider the nature of the evidence produced by single-case studies, the types of questions that can be answered by an N of 1 and the key strengths and weaknesses of such designs. A case study follows to illustrate the use of a single-case experimental design in rehabilitation. The chapter concludes with an overview of single-case designs in the mental health services.