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Research Design

Single-Subject Research Design Content
The goal of this assignment is to gain practice in conducting a SSRD. You’ll practice
targeting a behavior to change in an identified ‘subject’ (participant), implement an
intervention, analyze it and interpret it. It will give you an idea of how to evaluate individual
treatment with your clients.
Part I: Design Your Research
Create a research question.
Select two or three behaviors to change (dependent variables), either in yourself or
someone (or an animal) close to you (not a client) and define that behavior carefully
in clearly measurable terms. Determine how you can best measure your dependent
variables. In most cases, the simplest measurements like rate, duration, speed, or
latency will work best. Intensity is difficult to quantify and should be avoided.
Decide upon a “treatment” or intervention (independent variable) that you believe will
be sufficiently appetitive or aversive to be effective in changing the behavior. Don’t
forget to consider:
anything that might impact the effectiveness of your treatment.
whether or not the treatment you have selected will be effective in changing the
behavior of the particular subject (person or animal) participating in your experiment.
any ethical issues that could arise in your experiment.
Select the research design that is best suited to your intervention. Most students find
the Reversal ABAB Design to be best, but you can use any of the designs from
Chapter 4. You will need instructor permission to use the Simple Comparison AB
Part II: Conduct Your Research
Conduct your research. For example, if you are using the Reversal ABAB Design:
After ensuring that you are prepared to begin recording your data and that you have
a method planned that will work, begin taking a baseline measure (A phase) and
recording your dependent variables measurements. You should continue doing so
until the behavior has stabilized (you may see an initial change just because you are
measuring the behavior). This usually takes at least 3 days.
Then, begin the treatment phase (B) in which you introduce your independent
variable. Continue to measure your dependent variables and record your data for 3
days or the length of time you have determined from your baseline phase.
Following the treatment phase, go back to the non-treatment mode and withdraw
your independent variable, continuing to measure the dependent variable.
Finally, in your final phase, re-introduce your independent variable and complete your

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