University of British Columbia Single System Design Paper

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Choosing and Using Single-System Design

Many people receive their first introduction to
the scientific method in their early school years. The first experiments
which students undertake typically involve plants, chemicals, or small
animals in a tightly controlled experimental environment. These
experiments enable students to establish a relatively clear
cause-and-effect relationship between the outcome of the experiment and
the manipulation of the variables.

As soon as
a researcher introduces a human element, proving a cause and effect
relationship becomes more difficult—as the researcher cannot enact total
control of another person even in an experimental environment. Social
workers serve clients in highly complex real-world environments. Clients
often implement recommended interventions outside of social workers’
direct observation. Yet, evidence-based research calls for social
workers to establish cause-and-effect relations between selected
interventions and client outcomes as much possible. To meet this
challenge, social workers must understand the study designs available to
them and all of the variations of that design that can increase the
rigor of the experiment and improve the likelihood of verifying a
cause-and-effect relationship.

In this week’s
case study, you decide whether the social worker in the case study has
appropriately chosen a single-system (subject) design and implemented it
in such a way that it can be considered an appropriate example of
evidence-based research.

To prepare for this
Discussion, read the case study Social Work Research: Single Subject and
criteria for using single-system (subject) designs as evidence of
effective practices in this week’s resources. Consider whether the study
design described in the case study will serve the purpose of evaluating
the program’s practice approach (case management with solution-focused
and task-centered approaches). Consider whether these approaches are
well suited to evaluation by the types of measurement used in the study.
Consider to what objective measurement the numerical scales used to
measure problem-change and task completion corresponds. Consider what
new knowledge and evidence for the efficacy of the treatment approaches
Chris has generated with her study.

By Day 3

Post an evaluation of the
proposed study design described in the case study file. Explain whether
the outcome of Chris’ study with her client George would lead you to
adopt the model of case management with solution-focused and
task-centered approaches, and substantiate your choice. Provide
recommendations for improvements should Chris and her colleagues wish to
submit the study to the evidence-based practice registry. Include a
rationale for your recommendations.

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