Single-system chart


Single-system research designs are useful to social workers who want to know whether an intervention has been effective with a client, whether the client be an individual, a family, a group, an organization, or community. While there are many different models of single-subject designs, for the purposes of this assignment you are to use the ABA design(see Ch. 6 in Royse et al), also known as the “Interrupted Time-Series Design with Follow-up”. In some instances, depending on the nature of the target problem and whether it is a client, you may have to use an AB design because it may be unethical to withdraw the intervention once it has started. 

In this design, you must observe and record during three different periods:

  1. baseline (before any intervention has occurred)
  2. intervention
  3. follow-up (after intervention has ceased)
    The Instructor must approve all projects for this assignment before you begin. 

For this assignment you should ask a family member, friend, colleague, or classmate to participate under condition of confidentiality. Clients may be used with your supervisor’s permission. No children can participate. Also, no participant should be used who is currently in therapy, on medication or has a medical condition, nor should you attempt to change or measure activities or dosages related to the medication.
    After the person agrees to participate, you are then to contract with the subject regarding a target problem that the client and/or significant others have indicated is undesirable and that the subject will commit to work on. Have the subject signed an Informed Consent Form, even if it is a relative or spouse. If a client, you must also have the signed consent of your agency supervisor.
  4. Choose the measurable problem (behavior, cognition, affect) that is targeted for change.

  5. Record your baseline data on a tally sheet for at least five days, that is, how many times a day during this period was the problem observed?

  6. Transfer the data from the tally sheet to a chart that specifies the exact time intervals (days) and exact frequency of the target problem (number of times observed that day).

  7. After baselining the problem, begin your intervention. Describe in detail what is entailed in the intervention, what did you do? What was the subject expected to do? What were incentives for performing the expected behaviors, e.g., penalties for undesirable behaviors, rewarding desired behavior, etc?

  8. Observe and record the frequency (or duration or intensity) of the target problem during the intervention period. The intervention should last the same number of days as the baseline period, but no less than five days.

  9. Terminate the intervention and record the frequency of the target problem for at least as long as the baseline period on the tally sheet and your chart.

  10. Write up your results in memo form and include the components listed below. The paper should no more than 4-5 pages and include 4-5 references, including Royce et al. Please use the following subheadings:

    a. Introduction: Brief description of the subject, the target problem, the intervention used, and the time frame.

    b. Intervention and rationale: Describe in detail the intervention and why it was chosen. Include a brief literature review that suggests, or seems to support, your intervention as an appropriate strategy to deal with the target problem. Indicate whether similar approaches have been tried and whether or not they were successful. Do the results vary by population, e.g., males, females, ethnic minorities?

    c. Results: Describe the results of the follow-up and refer the reader to your single-system chart. Point out any changes from baseline to intervention to follow-up.

    d. Discussion and Conclusion: Assess whether the intervention used was appropriate and effective. If so, would you use it again? If not, why was it not effective? What other approaches might be tried? With what client groups might it be effective? You will not be graded on whether the intervention was effective, rather on whether you are able to provide a sound rationale for the intervention based on empirical literature and whether you are able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the approach.
  11. Memo
  12. A reference list (following APA style)
  13. Single-system chart
  14. A copy of the signed Informed Consent Form. There is no need to scan the signed Informed Consent Form, just type in “Signature on file” or “Electronic signature” to indicate that you actually have the necessary signed form and can produce it if asked.
  15. Please submit all of the above in one Word document.