Single-case design standards: An update and proposed upgrades


In this paper, we provide a critique focused on the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Standards for Single-Case Research Design (Standards 4.1). Specifically, we (a) recommend the use of visual-analysis to verify a single-case intervention study’s design standards and to examine the study’s operational issues, (b) identify limitations of the design-comparable effect-size measure and discuss related statistical matters, (c) review the applicability and practicality of Standards 4.1 to single-case designs (SCDs), and (d) recommend inclusion of content pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion in future standards. Within the historical context of the WWC Pilot Standards for Single-Case Design (1.0), we suggest that Standards 4.1 may best serve as standards for meta-analyses of SCDs but will need to make clear distinctions among the various types of SCD studies that are included in any research synthesis. In this regard, we argue for transparency in SCD studies that meet design standards and those that do not meet design standards in any meta-analysis emanating from the WWC. The intent of these recommendations is to advance the science of SCD research both in research synthesis and in promoting evidence-based practices.

Journal of School Psychology