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IES Grant

Title: Methods Training Using Single-Case Designs
Center: NCSER Year: 2016
Principal Investigator: Horner, Robert Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Methods Training for Special Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (7/1/2016-6/30/2019) Award Amount: $699,936
Award Number: R324B160034

Co-Principal Investigators: Thomas Kratochwill (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Joel Levin (University of Arizona), and Wendy Machalicek (University of Oregon)

The purpose of this project is to develop, implement, and evaluate an intensive professional development course in single-case design (SCD) research. Over the past decade, there have been a number of advances in SCD intervention research. These include new developments in research design, visual and statistical analysis, and methods for summarizing single-case intervention research in literature reviews. SCD methodology and data analysis strategies have grown in sophistication and will continue to play a central role in applied and clinical research in education, psychology, and related fields. While researchers can learn about SCD content from publications, conferences, and collegial interactions, there is currently no other training option available for education researchers and scholars to obtain the depth of information needed to use these approaches. This project attempts to fill this gap through the development, implementation, and evaluation of a hybrid intensive professional development course that uses both onsite and distance learning.

During this project, the SCD Institute team will engage in the following activities:

  1. develop an SCD Institute training curriculum covering such topics as visual and statistical analysis, randomization options, effect size measurement, and meta-analysis;
  2. recruit, select, and support over 100 SCD Institute trainees;
  3. hold three training institutes, each as a 4.5-day session, during the summers of 2017, 2018, and 2019;
  4. disseminate SCD methods material through a project website that will host 18 online course modules, archived Institute materials and resources, and access to visual analysis software (all to be developed during the project period);
  5. develop virtual personal learning communities (online spaces for researchers to connect and engage in meaningful conversation about SCD) for Institute trainees;
  6. evaluate the Institute, project website, and training materials annually; and
  7. provide information to IES and discuss with them how to improve the What Works Clearinghouse standards for evaluating evidence from SCDs.

Through this approach, the SCD Institute team intends to improve (1) the methodological rigor of SCD intervention research, (2) the teaching of SCD methods in higher education settings, and (3) the visual and statistical analysis of SCD data by special education and early intervention researchers.

The outcomes of the SCD Institute will be assessed through a process evaluation to inform continuous improvement. For the online modules, the team will gather data on frequency of module use and participant performance on module competency tests, as well as online participant feedback on the modules. For the Institute 4.5-day training sessions, trainees will be assessed for fluency and competency in visual analyses, logic models, and statistical analyses. Trainees will complete a post-training questionnaire and will receive follow-up questionnaires each year to assess longer term outcomes. Finally, process and trainee outcome data will be used toward assessing the relative costs and benefits of the SCD Institute.

Participation in the training Institute is expected to result in the following long-term outcomes: increased grant application submissions, peer-reviewed publications, and professional presentations involving single-case intervention research, as well as teaching more university courses in SCD methods.