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J Med Internet Res. 2013 Feb 8;15(2):e22. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2227.

Single-case experimental designs to evaluate novel technology-based health interventions.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA. dallery@ufl.edu

Abstract

Technology-based interventions to promote health are expanding rapidly. Assessing the preliminary efficacy of these interventions can be achieved by employing single-case experiments (sometimes referred to as n-of-1 studies). Although single-case experiments are often misunderstood, they offer excellent solutions to address the challenges associated with testing new technology-based interventions. This paper provides an introduction to single-case techniques and highlights advances in developing and evaluating single-case experiments, which help ensure that treatment outcomes are reliable, replicable, and generalizable. These advances include quality control standards, heuristics to guide visual analysis of time-series data, effect size calculations, and statistical analyses. They also include experimental designs to isolate the active elements in a treatment package and to assess the mechanisms of behavior change. The paper concludes with a discussion of issues related to the generality of findings derived from single-case research and how generality can be established through replication and through analysis of behavioral mechanisms.

PMID:
23399668
PMCID:
PMC3636286
DOI:
10.2196/jmir.2227
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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