Single-Case Intervention Research Design Standards
In an effort to responsibly incorporate evidence based on single-case designs (SCDs) into the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence base, the WWC assembled a panel of individuals with expertise in quantitative methods and SCD methodology to draft SCD standards. In this article, the panel provides an overview of the SCD standards recommended by the panel (henceforth referred to as the Standards) and adopted in Version 1.0 of the WWC’s official pilot standards. The Standards are sequentially applied to research studies that incorporate SCDs. The design standards focus on the methodological soundness of SCDs, whereby reviewers assign the categories of Meets Standards, Meets Standards With Reservations, and Does Not Meet Standards to each study. Evidence criteria focus on the credibility of the reported evidence, whereby the outcome measures that meet the design standards (with or without reservations) are examined by reviewers trained in visual analysis and categorized as demonstrating Strong Evidence, Moderate Evidence, or No Evidence. An illustration of an actual research application of the Standards is provided. Issues that the panel did not address are presented as priorities for future consideration. Implications for research and the evidence-based practice movement in psychology and education are discussed. The WWC’s Version 1.0 SCD standards are currently being piloted in systematic reviews conducted by the WWC. This document reflects the initial standards recommended by the authors as well as the underlying rationale for those standards. It should be noted that the WWC may revise the Version 1.0 standards based on the results of the pilot; future versions of the WWC standards can be found at http://www.whatworks.ed.gov .