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Assessing functional relations in single-case designs: Quantitative proposals in the context of the evidence-based movement
Manolov, Rumen; Sierra, V.; Solanas Pérez, Antonio; Botella, Juan (Botella Ausina)
Universitat de Barcelona
In the context of the evidence-based practices movement, the emphasis on computing effect sizes and combining them via meta-analysis does not preclude the demonstration of functional relations. For the latter aim, we propose to augment the visual analysis to add consistency to the decisions made on the existence of a functional relation without losing sight of the need for a methodological evaluation of what stimuli and reinforcement or punishment are used to control the behavior. Four options for quantification are reviewed, illustrated, and tested with simulated data. These quantifications include comparing the projected baseline with the actual treatment measurements, on the basis of either parametric or nonparametric statistics. The simulated data used to test the quantifications include nine data patterns in terms of the presence and type of effect and comprising ABAB and multiple baseline designs. Although none of the techniques is completely flawless in terms of detecting a functional relation only when it is present but not when it is absent, an option based on projecting split-middle trend and considering data variability as in exploratory data analysis proves to be the best performer for most data patterns. We suggest that the information on whether a functional relation has been demonstrated should be included in meta-analyses. It is also possible to use as a weight the inverse of the data variability measure used in the quantification for assessing the functional relation. We offer an easy to use code for open-source software for implementing some of the quantifications.
Investigació de cas únic
Single subject research
(c) Manolov, Rumen et al., 2014
Sage Publications

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