Single-Subject Designs and Developmental Psychology
This chapter discusses a brief historical introduction to single-subject designs and an exposition of the major characteristics of these designs. It also discusses some applications in developmental research. Reviews of the historical development of research methods in psychology have shown that single-subject designs have been used since the very beginning of scientific psychology. The chapter shows that emphasis has been placed on the functions and importance of experimental control. Single-subject designs are well suited for the experimental analysis of behavior. The chapter focuses on the characteristics by providing a more detailed account of single-subject research as it is practiced within experimental areas of psychology. While the validity of single-subject designs is decidedly imperfect, many of the criticisms that have been directed toward such designs also apply to group designs. The requirement for comparisons between subjects—for example, between younger and older men—would appear to be at odds with a purely single-subject design.