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This is an excellent summary of Single-subject research designs (SSRDs) to aid both researchers and clinicians; especially those working with heterogeneous populations and complex interventions.

Single-subject research designs in pediatric rehabilitation: a valuable step towards knowledge translation

Knowledge Hub

This is an excellent summary of Single-subject research designs (SSRDs) to aid both researchers and clinicians; especially those working with heterogeneous populations and complex interventions.

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Synopsis of resource:

Single Subject Research Design [SSRD] (also known as N-of-1 study) is a research design which seems to be well suited to study childhood disabilities where research evidence is limited due to underpowered studies and inconsistent results. The inevitable gap between evidence based recommendations and implementation in clinical practice is best addressed by SSRD which is a form of patient oriented research and hence more generalizable. Its validity is controlled by use of rigorous methodological application. 

This review article aims to provide useful information about SSRD for researchers, for choosing the right SSRD design to answer their research questions, especially in resource limited settings, and for clinicians to interpret findings of such studies and apply them in their own clinical settings. This study design preserves variability of individual responses to care and may be used to decide the best treatment protocol for an individual patient without bias. 

Key learning outcomes

  • SSRD is considered to be the highest level of evidence for clinical decision-making
  • This design is patient oriented and especially useful in a heterogeneous population like those with cerebral palsy 
  • Distinct time based phases and rigorous methodology distinguish it from case reports 
  • SSRD has been organised into levels of evidence which reflect the credibility of the study to establish causality

Authors

Lynne Romeiser-Logan is a Research Physical Therapist at SUNY Upstate Medical University. She is a PhD from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Her areas of expertise are Evidence Based Medicine, Physiotherapy and Movement Therapy and she has 16 research papers to her credit.

Article Free Access

More readings

For more information go to:

  •  the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (OCEBM) (https://www.cebm.net/
  • GRADE – click here  and 
  • Tate, R. L. (2015). The risk-of-bias in N-of-1 trials (RoBiNT) scale : an expanded manual for the critical appraisal of single-case reports: St Leonards NSW : John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research.