The design, conduct and report of single-case research: resources to improve the quality of the neurorehabilitation literature

Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2014;24(3-4):315-31. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2013.875043. Epub 2014 Apr 7.


Published reports describing interventions featuring a single participant are common in neurorehabilitation. Yet, not all such reports use rigorous single-case methodology and there is mounting evidence to suggest that the design, conduct and report of single-case research in the behavioural sciences (including neurorehabilitation) needs improvement. The first part of this article describes resources that will guide the improved design, conduct and critical appraisal of single-case research, including recently published standards in the field of special education and the Risk of Bias in N-of-1 Trials (RoBiNT) Scale for evaluating internal and external validity of designs using a single participant. The second part of the article reports on work currently in progress in developing a reporting guideline in the CONSORT tradition specifically for single-case experimental designs in the behavioural sciences, entitled the Single-Case Reporting guideline In BEhavioural interventions (SCRIBE). It is anticipated that adoption and use of these resources by authors, reviewers and journal editors will improve the reporting and, potentially, the quality of the single-case literature.

Keywords: Internal validity; Methodology; N-of-1 trial; Reporting guidelines; Risk of bias; Single-case experimental design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychology / methods
  • Neuropsychology / standards*
  • Research Design / standards*