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J Sch Psychol. 2014 Apr;52(2):109-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2013.11.009. Epub 2014 Jan 31.

Analysis and meta-analysis of single-case designs: an introduction.

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School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, University of California, Merced, 5200 North Lake Rd, Merced CA 95343, United States. Electronic address:


The last 10 years have seen great progress in the analysis and meta-analysis of single-case designs (SCDs). This special issue includes five articles that provide an overview of current work on that topic, including standardized mean difference statistics, multilevel models, Bayesian statistics, and generalized additive models. Each article analyzes a common example across articles and presents syntax or macros for how to do them. These articles are followed by commentaries from single-case design researchers and journal editors. This introduction briefly describes each article and then discusses several issues that must be addressed before we can know what analyses will eventually be best to use in SCD research. These issues include modeling trend, modeling error covariances, computing standardized effect size estimates, assessing statistical power, incorporating more accurate models of outcome distributions, exploring whether Bayesian statistics can improve estimation given the small samples common in SCDs, and the need for annotated syntax and graphical user interfaces that make complex statistics accessible to SCD researchers. The article then discusses reasons why SCD researchers are likely to incorporate statistical analyses into their research more often in the future, including changing expectations and contingencies regarding SCD research from outside SCD communities, changes and diversity within SCD communities, corrections of erroneous beliefs about the relationship between SCD research and statistics, and demonstrations of how statistics can help SCD researchers better meet their goals.


Meta-analysis; Single-case designs; Statistics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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