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J Appl Behav Anal. 1979 Summer;12(2):199-210.

Alternating treatments design: one strategy for comparing the effects of two treatments in a single subject.


A little used and often confused design, capable of comparing two treatments within a single subject, has been termed, variously, a multielement baseline design, a multiple schedule design, and a randomization design. The background of these terms is reviewed, and a new, more descriptive term, Alternating Treatments Design, is proposed. Critical differences between this design and a Simultaneous Treatment Design are outlined, and experimental questions answerable by each design are noted. Potential problems with multiple treatment interference in this procedure are divided into sequential confounding, carryover effects, and alternation effects and the importance of these issues vis-a-vis other single-case experimental designs is considered. Methods of minimizing multiple treatment interference as well as methods of studying these effects are outlined. Finally, appropriate uses of Alternating Treatments Designs are described and discussed in the context of recent examples.

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