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Chapter 11

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Connie Boudens

Chapter 11: Single-case, Quasi-experimental, Developmental research  Single-case designs and reasons to use it.  5 types of evaluations in program evaluation research: needs assessment, program assessment, process evaluation, outcome evaluation, efficiency assessment.  One-group posttest only.  One-group pretest-posttest design, threats to internal validity: history, maturation, testing, instrument decay, regression toward mean.  Nonequivalent control group design and nonequivalent control group pretest-protest design, advantages of having control.  Interrupted time series design vs. control series design.  Cross-sectional, longitudinal, sequential research designs, advantages + disadvantages.  Cohort effect-defined. Internal validity: independent variable truly is the cause of observed responses on dependent variable. -Often true in the classical design used in behavioral sciences, however, can use other designs for special research problems. -3 types of special research situations: a) effect of independent variable is inferred from an experiment with only one participant: single-case. b) Pre-experimental and quasi-experimental designs. c) research designs for studying changes occurring with age. Single-case experimental designs (single-subject designs)  Early interest came from research on operant conditioning by Skinner.  Today, often seen in clinical, counseling, educational, applied settings.  Used to determine if an experimental manipulation had an effect on a single participant.  Measure behavior over time during baseline control periodthen introduce manipulation during treatment period. Change in behavior from baseline treatment period is evidence for effectiveness of the manipulation.  Issue: many possible alternative explanations, ex: other events coincided with intro of treatment. Reversal designs: demonstrate reversibility of the manipulation. (ABA design—ABAB, ABABAB..)  A (baseline)B (treatment)  A (baseline). Observe behavior again after treatment back in baseline, withdraw the treatment, aka withdrawal design.  Ex: child’s learning behavior. Baseline treatment (reinforcing program) withdraw treatment (2 baseline). Found, behavior changed when treatment was introduced and reversed when treatment was withdrawn is evidence for its effectiveness.  But, some variables may require longer time to show an impact.  2 issues with ABA design: a) a single reversal is not extremely powerful evidence for effectiveness of treatment, may merely be random fluctuation. b) Ethic. Unethical to end the design with the withdrawal of treatment that may be beneficial. ABAB ends with treatment rather than withdrawal seems better. Multiple baseline designs  May be unethical or not possible to reverse the manipulation. Ex: dangerous or illegal behaviors, treatment produce long-lasting change in behavior. Take multiple measures over time before and after manipulation.  If the manipulation is effective, a change in behavior will be observed, and continue to reflected in further measures of behavior.  Effectiveness of treatment is shown when behavior changes only after manipulation is introduced & change must be observed under multiple circumstances to rule out chance.  Variations of the multiple baseline design: a) Across subject: behavior of several subjects is measured over time. For each subject, introduce manipulation at different point in time. Ex: smoking reduction. Shown a change in behavior after introduction of manipulation for each subject, and because the change occurred across all individuals and manipulation introduced at a different time for them, can rule out chance, historical events etc.. alternative explanation. b) Across behaviors: different behaviors of single subject are measured over time. At different time, apply the same manipulation to each behaviors. Ex: reward system to increase socializing, grooming, reading behavior. c) Across situations: same behavior measured in different settings. Ex: home and at work. Again, manipulation introduced at different time in each setting. Replications in single-case designs  Replicated with other subjects, enhancing generalizability (often in several settings too).  Better to present results from each subject individually rather than as group mean.  Group mean can give misleading picture of individual responses, manipulation may be effective in changing behavior of some subjects but not other.  Single-case designs are useful to study many problems, valuable for people applying some change technique in natural environment: teacher trying new technique in classroom.  Also, complex statistical analyses are not required. Program evaluation  Program evaluation: research on programs that are implemented to achieve some positive effect.  Can be implemented in schools, work, communities. Ex: DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) to reduce drug use.  At first, initial focus of evaluation research was outcome evaluation—did the program result in positive outcome that it was designed for? But now it is much more.  Five types of evaluations: each attempts to answer a different question about the program.  Five phases of program evaluation research:  Needs assessment  Program theory assessment  Process Evaluation  Outcome evaluation  Efficiency Assessment  Needs assessment: whether there are in fact, problems that need to be addressed. Data gathered from surveys interviews, stat data maintained by public health, criminal justice, other agencies.  Program theory assessment: collaboration of researchers, service providers, prospective clients of programs to determine that the proposed program does in fact address the needs of target population in appropriate ways. Ex: homeless program. Men’s need: living, job, job skills, drinking + drug problems. Women: health. So the program should take these specific needs in to consideration.  Process evaluation/program monitoring: assuring the implementation of the program is correct. Ex: reaching target, enough clients, planned services, staffs trained. Done with questionnaires and interviews, observational studies, analysis of records kept by staff.  Outcome evaluation/impact assessment: are the intended outcomes realized? Goals achieved. Want to know what the participants are like, what they would be if not completed the program.  Efficiency assessment: worth the resources it consumes. Cost of program weighed against its benefits. Determine if the resources used to implement the program might be put to better use. Quasi-experimental designs  Study effect of independent variable in settings which the control features of true experimental designs cannot be achieved. Causal inference is difficult because lack features like random assignment. (a plan B for a true experiment). Out-group posttest-only design: one-shot case study  Lacks control or comparison group. Deficit in internal validity.   Ex above: how many seconds does it take for a stranger to move away when you sit beside them.  Suppose the mean is 9.6s, this finding is not interpretable, perhaps they wanted to leave, perhaps they would’ve left faster if it hadn’t been you there.  This design is sometimes used as evidence for program effectiveness. Ex: after 4 hour session of seminar, do a test, average score = 90%. Concluded the program is successful. But really, lack internal validity. Don’t know if the score have been equal, lower, or higher without the program.  The reason why they are sometimes accepted is because we may have an implicit idea of how a control group would perform. But we need that comparison data. One-group pretest-posttest design  Measure participants before the manipulation
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