Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-598jt Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-30T08:10:18.224Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Integrating routine clinical interventions with single-case methodology: Parallels, differences and bridging strategies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2019

Robyn L. Tate*
John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Australia
Michael Perdices
Department of Neurology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Donna Wakim
John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Australia
*Corresponding author. Email:


Clinical practice offers the opportunity for the clinician to be a scientist-practitioner in the workplace. This, in turn, facilitates building practice-based evidence. But this can only occur if the effects of the interventions are objectively and systematically evaluated. To this end, single-case methodology is a valuable tool to implement an intervention in a scientifically rigorous manner and gather data on treatment effectiveness. It is possible to incorporate single-case methods into routine clinical practice by using a few simple strategies. This paper examines the ways in which single-case methodology departs from (a) routine clinical practice and (b) the familiar between-groups research design, such as the randomised controlled trial. It presents five practical strategies that will bridge the gap between routine clinical practice and single-case methodology. The Model for Assessing Treatment Effect is described as providing context for and a framework to self-evaluate the scientific rigour in clinical practice and benchmark service delivery.

Clinical Practice: Current Opinion
© Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment 2019 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Agency for Clinical Innovation. (2013). Investigation of vocational programs and outcome for people with traumatic brain injury in New South Wales. Sydney, Australia: Brain Injury Rehabilitation Directorate, Agency for Clinical Innovation.Google Scholar
Barlow, D. H., Nock, M. K., & Hersen, M. (2009). Single case experimental designs: Strategies for studying behavior change (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.Google Scholar
Evans, J. J., & Krasny-Pacini, A. (2017). Goal setting in rehabilitation. In Wilson, B. A., Winegardener, J., van Heugten, C. M., &Ownsworth, T. (Eds.), Neuropsychological rehabilitation. The international handbook (pp. 4957), Abingdon, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
Kazdin, A. E. (2011). Single-case research designs. Methods for clinical and applied settings (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Kiresuk, T. J., Smith, A., & Cardillo, J. E. (Eds.). (2014). Goal attainment scaling: applications, theory, and measurement. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krasny-Pacini, A., Evans, J., Sohlberg, M., & Chevignard, M. (2016). Proposed criteria for appraising goal attainment scales used as outcome measures in rehabilitation research. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 97, 157170.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kratochwill, T. R., Hitchcock, J., Horner, R. H., Levin, J. R., Odom, S. L., Rindskopf, D. M., & Shadish, W. R. (2013). Single-case intervention research design standards. Remedial and Special Education, 34(1), 2638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lane, J. D., & Gast, D. L. (2014). Visual analysis in single case experimental design studies: Brief review and guidelines. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 24(3–4), 445463.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ledford, J.R., & Gast, D.L. (Eds.), (2018). Single case research methodology. Applications in special education and behavioral sciences. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Manolov, R., Moeyaert, M., & Evans, J. J. (2015). Resources and guidelines for analysing SCED data. Retrieved from Scholar
Tate, R. L. (2017). Planning and implementing a single-case design: Session 3. Presented at the 1-day workshop on single-case experimental designs, sponsored by the Flying Faculty of the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation, Kolkata, India, 19 February.Google Scholar
Tate, R. L., Aird, V., & Taylor, C. (2012). Bringing single-case methodology into the clinic to enhance evidence-based practices. Brain Impairment, 13(3), 347359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tate, R. L., & Perdices, M. (2019). Single-case experimental designs for clinical research and neurorehabilitation settings: Planning, conduct, analysis and reporting. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tate, R. L., Rosenkoetter, U., Wakim, D., Sigmundsdottir, L., Doubleday, J., Togher, L., … Perdices, M. (2015) The risk of bias in N-of-1 trials (RoBiNT) scale. An expanded manual for the critical appraisal of single-case reports. Sydney, Australia: Author.Google Scholar
Tate, R. L., Taylor, C., & Aird, V. (2013). Applying empirical methods in clinical practice: Introducing the Model for Assessing Treatment Effect (MATE). Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 28(2), 7788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tate, R. L., Wakim, D., Sigmundsdottir, L., & Longley, W. (2018). Evaluating an intervention to increase meaningful activity after severe traumatic brain injury: A single-case experimental design with direct inter-subject and systematic replication. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2018.1488746 CrossRefGoogle Scholar