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IES Grant

Title: Improving the Accessibility of Effect Size and Synthesis Methods for Single-Case Research
Center: NCSER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Machalicek, Wendy Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Unsolicited and Other Awards: Special Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (01/01/2020-12/31/2022) Award Amount: $600,000
Type: Other Goal Award Number: R324U190002

This project is jointly funded by the National Center for Special Education Research and the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

Co-Principal Investigators: Ferron, John; Pustejovsky, James

In this project, researchers will develop, refine, and disseminate guidance about the appropriate use of single-case design (SCD) effect size and synthesis (including meta-analysis) methods and best practices for summarizing results of individual studies and synthesizing findings across studies. This guidance is important given the following developments in the field of education: (1) the expanded use of SCD research methods, (2) the emergence of SCD effect size measures and synthesis methods, and (3) the use of synthesis methods to identify and confirm evidence-based practices in education.

The specific objectives are to (1) conduct a literature review of effect size and synthesis methods for SCD research, (2) develop and disseminate a methods guidewith detailed illustrations of appropriate SCD effect size and synthesis methods for commonly encountered research synthesis contexts, and (3) develop and support a suite of software tools(R package, desktop and web apps) that any SCD researcher or meta-analyst could use to calculate various effect sizes for SCD studies. To accomplish these objectives, the research team will conduct a 3-year project. During Year 1, the research team will conduct a literature review of SCD effect size and synthesis methods, obtain feedback on the review from an advisory board of SCD experts, and make suggested revisions. Across Years 1-3, the research team will develop, refine, and finalize a methods guide with input from their advisory panel. The methods guide will summarize technical developments in the use of effect size measures and synthesis methods for SCD and provide guidance on the underlying assumptions, advantages and disadvantages, and strategies for selecting and using each approach. During this same time period, the team will develop, refine, and finalize a suite of software tools to calculate SCD effect sizes. Specifically, they will build on and refine existing software tools (the scdhlm and SingleCaseES packages and accompanying web applications) to develop a reliable and easy-to-use suite of software toolsfor calculating within-case, between-case/design-comparable, and other effect size measures for commonly used SCDs. Refinement of the tools will be informed by field tests with researchers with varying levels of SCD expertise and feedback from the advisory panel. Each component of their project will be interconnected. The literature review will guide the initial development of both the methods guide and the suite of software tools and the methods guide will incorporate documentation and examples from the suite of software tools. Throughout the project, the research team will disseminate resources through a project website, fact sheets, webinars, publications, and conference presentations.