EDP 6223: Research in Single Case Design (Neely)

This research guide was created to help students in Dr. Neely's EDP 6223 course.

Step One

  •     Select a topic of current interest
  •     Select a well-researched area with multiple studies
  •     Plan on spending half of your time selecting a topic and reading articles and the other half writing

Step Two

Do a preliminary search in either of the following databases:

  • Further narrow or expand your topic if necessary
  • Find your pivotal article –what article do all the other articles cite or an article that matches exactly what you are wanting
  • Use that article's search terms to refine your search terms and search procedures

Step Three

Inclusion/Exclusion of data

You will likely get 300+ articles when you enter your search terms into the electronic databases
In order to narrow this down, you will need to develop inclusion criteria:

  • Date published
  • Participant characteristics
  • Independent variables
  • Assessment v. intervention
  • Dependent variables

Here is an example from this article:

"To be included in this review, the article had to describe a research study that included the provision of a communication intervention to at least one person with a diagnosis of a traumatic or ABI. Communication intervention was defined as attempting to increase or improve the person’s communication skills or abilities. Communication skills were defined as: (a) functional communication acts, such as commenting, requesting, greeting, and answering questions. Studies that targeted speech related skills, such as articulation or prosody, or writing and grammatical skills were not included. Finally, studies that focused only on assessment or description of communication were not included. Of the 356 studies initially found, 21 met criteria for inclusion in this review."

Step Four

Conduct a title/abstract review using the operationalized inclusion criteria. At this point you will not need to read the entire article but can skim the title and abstract to exclude articles that are clearly not a fit for your topic. For example, if the inclusion criteria indicates that you should only include articles with educational interventions and you have an article that you can clearly tell has a medical intervention, you can safely exclude at this point.

Step Five

Detailed Inclusion Review

At this point, you will read each of the articles and rate the article against each criteria.

Step Six

Dependent on your topic, you will need to conduct some sort of extended search. It can mean hand searching a certain journal for recent articles, reviewing references of included articles, searching all of the first author surnames of included articles.