Sample Chapter




Test Bank For Research Methods, Design, and Analysis,11th Edition by Larry B. Christensen , R. Burke Johnson, Lisa A. Turner






Chapter 3

Problem Identification and Hypothesis Formation


Learning objectives


To be able to


  • Discuss the sources of research ideas and research problems
  • Explain what it means to state that a proposed study is feasible
  • Explain how to conduct a literature search on a given topic.
  • Explain how to specify a research problem.
  • Explain how to formulate a hypothesis relating to the research question.



Multiple choice questions


1) Practical issues, like everyday experiences, can be a good source of research ideas. However practical issues differ from everyday experiences in that practical problems represent problems that are relevant to a specific set of behaviors in a specific context.

Which of the following would not be considered a practical issue?

  1. a) Drivers regularly fail to stop at the stop sign on the corner of 8th and Main Street.
  2. b) DUI (drunk driving) rates are on the rise despite stiffer penalties in Washington State.
  3. c) Employee moral is consistently low and absenteeism is high at Joe’s Donut Shop.

*          d) None of the above.


2) One source of ideas for research is past research. Why would someone do a research project based on research someone else has already done?

  1. a) often, the technology has changed so rapidly that older studies are no longer valid

b)too many published articles used qualitative research methods when experiments were

really required

  1. c) journals like to publish replication studies

*          d) often, the results of a study creates more questions than it answers


3) Why are psychological theories often a good source for research ideas?

  1. a) because theories are basically everyday guesses about reality that need empirical


*          b) because theories often make specific predictions about relationships among variables that must then be tested empirically

  1. c) because theories are usually about esoteric issues with no practical application, and research makes theory more practical
  2. d) because theories are often proposed in different forms by rival scientists, and science needs to know which one is correct


4) A “theory” is best defined as

  1. a) a researchers best guess about the reality of the phenomenon he is studying.
  2. b) a series of hypotheses not yet supported by empirical evidence.

*          c)  a group of logically organized and deductively related laws.

  1. d) the best tentative solution to a specific problem, open to change.


5) The “goal” function of a theory is to

*          a)  summarize existing knowledge.

  1. b) summarize existing hypotheses.
  2. c) suggest new hypotheses.
  3. d) suggest new theories.


6) The “tool” function of a theory is to

  1. a) summarize existing knowledge.
  2. b) summarize existing hypotheses.

*          c)  suggest new hypotheses.

  1. d) suggest new theories.


7) We can not use the scientific method to determine some questions like “Is there a God?” But an interest in religious belief can lead to ideas that can be translated into researchable questions. Which of the following is NOT a researchable question related to religion?

  1. a) Does daily social prayer influence recovery rate among surgery patients?
  2. b) Does meditation reduce stress better than prayer?

*          c) Can prayer alone heal you?

  1. d) Do couples with a serious commitment to their religion have less marital conflict


8) Which of the following would be the least capable of scientific investigation and thus would represent the worst potential research idea?

*          a)  Which art form is the more valuable to society, paintings or music?

  1. b) Which is better to increase alertness, caffeine or nicotine?
  2. c) Which species can learn a particular maze better, rat or mouse?
  3. d) Which produces better learning, studying with or without music?


9) After you have developed a research idea, the next step is to

  1. a) determine if the study is feasible.

*          b) review the literature.

  1. c) write a scientific hypothesis..
  2. d) write a null hypothesis.


10) The primary reason for doing a literature review is to

  1. a) determine which statistical test to use.
  2. b) find the proper phrasing of the scientific hypothesis.

*          c)  determine the current state of knowledge in the area.

  1. d) determine who should be in the participant pool.


11) When planning a research project, scientists usually review the literature (published papers, books, etc.) on their topic of interest. Which of the following is NOT a standard reason to do so?

  1. a) to understand the current state of knowledge about your topic
  2. b) to see whether the study you plan to do has already been done
  3. c) to learn about methodological approaches to and problems with studying your topic

*          d) to find out about funding sources for your study


12) In order to do a comprehensive review of psychological literature, you should use

  1. a)

*          b) PsycINFO or PsycLIT.

  1. c) a good introductory psychology textbook.
  2. d) the library’s computerized card catalog.


13) In order to make his search particularly fast and efficient, Carl should use a computerized database such as

*          a)  PsycLIT or PsycINFO.

  1. b)
  2. c) Google scholar.
  3. d) Lexis Nexis.


14) Which of the following might you find in the Annual Review of Psychology?

  1. a) a report on a recent research project examining the relationship between poverty and

4th grade reading ability

  1. b) the abstracts of journal articles on concept formation published in the past 12 months

*          c)  an in-depth discussion of last year’s major journal articles on the relationship between dreams and psychopathology

  1. d) a list of all articles on psychology published in the last year, arranged by topic


15) Which of the following is true regarding the online database PsycINFO?

  1. a) it allows electronic access to full-text psychological journal articles published since


  1. b) it can be accessed through Google scholar

*          c) similar to Psychological Abstracts, it publishes summaries of psychologically relevant


  1. d) because of its technical nature its use is really beyond the ability of most

undergraduate students


16) Jimmy is using PsycINFO to search for articles on bullying behavior. He wonders if there are other psychological terms (similar to bullying) he should be using in his search. What advice would you give Jimmy?
a) he should also search in PsycARTICLES and PsycBOOKS

*          b) he should use the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms to identify similar terms

used by other psychologists

  1. c) a quick Google search would be the most efficient way to obtain additional search


  1. d) he should not search for other terms because he would risk accessing articles that

aren’t relevant for his research


17) Which of the following pieces of information would NOT be included in a typical PsycINFO record?

  1. a) author(s)
  2. b) abstract
  3. c) source

*          d) references


18) What part of a scholarly journal article should you read to get an overview of the research to determine if you want to read the entire article?

*          a) abstract

  1. b) introduction
  2. c) methods
  3. d) discussion


19) In a scholarly journal article where would you be most likely to find the purpose of the study or the researcher’s hypothesis?

  1. a) the first paragraph of the introduction

*          b) toward the end of the introduction

  1. c) the methods section
  2. d) there is no standard location for this information


20) In addition to PsycINFO, what other data bases are mentioned in your text as being helpful in psychological research?

*          a) MEDLINE and SocINDEX

  1. b) BioMed and PhilosophyINDEX
  2. c) INASP and JSTOR
  3. d) LexisNexis and PubMed


21) E-mail can be used in the research process by

  1. a) using it to get on-line references from the Internet.

*          b)                     allowing you to communicate with other scientists and authors.

  1. c) allowing you to send phone messages.
  2. d) none of the above.


22) _________ are e-mail discussion groups that are organized around a specific topic. Messages are distributed to all members of the group.

  1. a) Academic chatrooms
  2. b) Metacrawlers

*          c) Listservs

  1. d) Electronic meeting rooms


23) In addition to accessing PsycINFO through your school’s computer system, the textbook authors suggest using ___________ to find published research on the web.

  1. a) Ask Jeeves

*          b) Google scholar

  1. c) Yahoo news
  2. d) Bing


24) A metacrawler or meta search engine works by

  1. a) remembering your search history to allow more efficient searches in the future.

*          b) submitting your search query to several different search engines and including all of

the results on one page.

  1. c) allowing you to research multiple topics in a single search.
  2. d) finding and storing new information related to your topic for days after your original



25) If you find an article that you would like to use for your research but are unable to locate it in your library, your next step should be to

  1. a) drive to the nearest “research” library where you will likely find the article.
  2. b) search through your library’s microfiche files.

*          c) use inter-library loan.

  1. d) search again using broader search terms.


26) Which of the following is probably the major concern about internet resources in exploring your research idea?

*          a)  the accuracy of information at some Web sites

  1. b) the accuracy information posted on Listserv’s
  2. c) the theft of your research idea by hackers
  3. d) the quality of information received by e-mail from other researchers in the field


27) When establishing the validity of a web page how should you evaluate its currency?

  1. a) the general rule of thumb is that pages more than 10 years old should not be used in

scientific research

  1. b) because scientific advances occur so quickly, web pages more than one year old

should not be considered valid

  1. c) it is inappropriate to include information about when the page was produced because

they may be misleading

*          d) the date of publication and frequency of updating should be posted on the page as a

clue to its currency


28) Suppose you want the most up-to-date information on a particular topic of psychological research. What is your best option? You should

  1. a) read the Annual Review of Psychology.

*          b) attend a conference of a psychological association.

  1. c) peruse the journals in that topic’s general area.
  2. d) talk to your professors.


29) Why do scientists hold and attend annual or semi-annual professional conferences?

*          a)  to catch up on very recent and/or on-going research

  1. b) to meet each other personally, in order to better judge each other’s work
  2. c) to get away from teaching commitments
  3. d) to bypass having to read all the literature


30) Once you have reviewed the literature on a topic, you are in a position to

  1. a) begin collecting data.

*          b) determine the feasibility of your study.

  1. c) formulate a research problem.
  2. d) write a review article for the Annual Review of Psychology.


31) Feasibility of a study refers to

  1. a) how well you have defined the research problem.
  2. b) the specificity of the question.
  3. c) whether the hypothesis is testable.

*          d) whether or not the study can actually be conducted.


32) After you have determined it is feasible to conduct your study, the next step is to

*          a)  prepare a clear and exact statement of the research problem.

  1. b) determine what the null hypothesis will be.
  2. c) conduct a literature review.
  3. d) collect data.


33) Below are four examples of research problems. Which one conforms to your textbook author’s definition of a good research problem?

  1. a) Why do women take psychology courses?

*          b) Does increasing the amount of food delivered per bar press increase a rat’s bar press


  1. c) Are people better off believing in an afterlife, or should they just be concerned about their behavior in this life?
  2. d) Can music improve learning?


34) It is useful for a research problem to be stated as precisely as possible because

  1. a) specific questions are more likely to be proved correct.
  2. b) the more specific the question is, the easier it is to analyze the data.
  3. c) a specific question allows the researcher to focus on only one variable at a time.

*          d) specific questions help the researcher decide what techniques, participants, and

measures to use.


35) A research problem states the issue to be studied in question form. A scientific hypothesis

*          a)  states the predicted relationship between/among variables.

  1. b) specifies the procedure that the experimenter will use to answer the question.
  2. c) is another name for the research problem.
  3. d) states what statistics will be used to answer the research problem.


36) According to Kerlinger (1973) and as presented in your text, a good research problem must meet several criteria. Which of the following is NOT among them?

  1. a) It should be open to empirical investigation.
  2. b) It should be stated in the form of a question.
  3. c) It should suggest some relationship between/among variables.

*          d) It should extend past research.


37) “Why do we sneeze?” is not a good research problem because

  1. a) it cannot be studied empirically.
  2. b) it is not stated as a interrogative sentence.

*          c)  it does not state a relationship between two variables.

  1. d) all of the above.


38) Why is the statement “What are the effects of parenting on cognitive development?” not a good research problem?

  1. a) parenting is a very personal issue and should not be open to research
  2. b) research on children is unethical
  3. c) it does not specify the methods to be used to answer the question

*          d) it is not sufficiently specific


39) An experimental psychology lab student is having difficulty making a number of decisions such as identifying the variables to use in the experiment and the type of research participants to use. This difficulty could be because the student

  1. a) did not have sufficient background in psychology.

*          b) did not have a research problem that was specific enough.

  1. c) did not state the research problem as a question.
  2. d) forgot to write a scientific hypothesis.


40) “ESP cannot be demonstrated if a non-believer is present.” This hypothesis is inadequate because

*          a) it is not testable.

  1. b) it is not specific.
  2. c) it is not an interrogative statement.
  3. d) it does not specify a relationship between variables.


41) Some aspects of Sigmund Freud’s theories are said to be unscientific. For example, in some instances Freud believed that current behavioral problems are the result of past unconscious conflicts. From a scientific point of view this is problematic because

  1. a) no relationship between variables has been specified.
  2. b) the hypothesis is not derived from a theory.

*          c) this idea is not testable.

  1. d) there is no research hypothesis.


42) A scientific hypothesis is

  1. a) a predicted relation that exists among the variables.
  2. b) a tentative solution to the research problem.
  3. c) sometimes derived from theories.

*          d) all of the above.


43) The null hypothesis is

  1. a) a tentative solution to the research problem.

*          b) the hypothesis that is actually tested.

  1. c) the prediction that a negative correlation exists among the variables.
  2. d) all of the above.


44) “Students who use mental imagery to study for an exam will do better than those who do not.” This sentence is an example of

  1. a) a research idea.
  2. b) a research problem.

*          c)  a scientific hypothesis.

  1. d) a null hypothesis.


45) “Students who use mental imagery to study for an exam will do the same as those who do not.” This sentence is an example of

  1. a) a research idea.
  2. b) a research problem.
  3. c) a scientific hypothesis.

*          d) a null hypothesis.


46) Which of the following about hypotheses is correct?

  1. a) The scientific hypothesis is tested because it specifies the exact relationship that is expected among the variables.

*          b) The null hypothesis is tested because it specifies the exact relationship that is expected among variables.

  1. c) The scientific and null hypotheses are tested simultaneously.
  2. d) All of the above are correct.


47) Failing to support the scientific hypothesis could result for numerous reasons. Which of the following is NOT among those reasons?

  1. a) the scientific hypothesis was conceived properly, but was actually false
  2. b) the literature review was misinterpreted, leading to a misconceived scientific


  1. c) one or more prior studies may have been wrong, leading to a misconceived scientific


*          d) the null hypothesis was conceived properly, but was actually false


48) In general, psychological experiments result in data that

  1. a) cannot be clearly interpreted without further investigation.
  2. b) can only suggest future experiments.

*          c) either refute or fail to refute the null hypothesis.

  1. d) fail to support both the null and scientific hypothesis.


49) Which of the following sequences is the one suggested by the text?

*          a)  get research idea, review the literature, determine feasibility of study, formulate the research problem, formulate the hypothesis, collect the data

  1. b) get research idea, formulate the hypothesis, review the literature, determine feasibility of study, formulate the research problem, collect the data
  2. c) get research idea, review the literature, formulate the research problem, formulate the hypothesis, determine feasibility of study, collect the data
  3. d) get research idea, review the literature, determine feasibility of study, formulate the hypothesis, formulate the research problem, collect the data


50) Assume that you are evaluating a Web site listed on the World Wide Web and find that the information listed on the site can be traced back to a series of research studies that are published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  Also, the person providing the information on this Web site seems to make a concerted effort to avoid stating his or her own opinion.  This means that the Web site has met the criterion of

  1. a) authority
  2. b) accuracy

*          c) objectivity

  1. d) currency





Define the following in psychological terms:


Hypothesis                                 Research Problem

Null hypothesis                          Search engine

PsycINFO                                  Specificity of the research question

Research hypothesis                   Theory



Essay questions


1) Name three good sources for research ideas, and briefly describe how to use each.


2) Explain why some questions are unanswerable using the scientific method and provide an example of such an example. Restate the question so that it (or something related) could be tested scientifically.


3) Why should you conduct a literature review? That is, what specific, useful, pieces of information might you obtain from your research?


4) What kind of information would you expect to get from the Annual Review of Psychology? From PsycINFO?


5) Name 4 library sources which will assist you in the researching the literature before you begin your experiment. List them in order of their usefulness to you as a psychologist.


6) Explain how PsycINFO is used by psychologists in the search process. Include in your discussion an explanation of how a PsycINFO search is conducted as well as the important information that is contained in a search record.


7) Summarize the best way to use the World Wide Web for research purposes. Include a summary of techniques that should be used when evaluating the validity of web pages.


8) Kerlinger (1973) proposed three criteria for “good” research problems. Identify each and provide an example to illustrate.


9) What is the difference between a research problem and a hypothesis? Between a research and a null hypothesis?


10) Experiments are designed to test the null hypothesis. What is the null hypothesis, and why do we test it instead of the research hypothesis?



Classroom exercise suggestions


1) If your course requires students to carry out an independent or team research project, this would be an ideal time for a trip to the library. Most reference librarians will prepare presentations geared to the needs of your class. They can help students learn how to use PsycINFO and other electronic databases your library may hold.


2) The best way to learn how to use PsycINFO is to use it. Even if you or a librarian demonstrates PsycINFO to your students it is highly recommended that your students be given an opportunity to gain some hands-on experience. You can provide students with very broad topics to explore (e.g., intelligence, conformity, psychotherapy etc.), have them research topics from a previous class discussion, or simply have them choose a psychological topic of personal interest.


After students have learned the basics of PsycINFO and are reminded of the importance of performing background research they should be ready to begin the literature review for their topic. Generally, students have one of two problems when they use PsycINFO for the first time – they either search too broadly (e.g., “depression”) or too specifically (e.g., “pet therapy and depression”). The general rule of thumb I use with my students is that their search yield between 25 and 100 records. It may take quite a bit of practice for students to broaden or narrow their search appropriately. If they are searching too broadly you might suggest they try some of the following:

  • adding a second search term (e.g., adding “alcohol use” and “depression”)
  • limiting their search to peer-reviewed journals
  • limiting the population or age group (e.g., age 65 and up)
  • limiting the year of publication (e.g., the last ten years)


If their search yields very few sources then they try reversing some of the previous suggestions (e.g., removing “depression” from previous example). Obtaining very few results may also indicate that the student has chosen a topic that is not easily testable in which case you may need to work with them to rework their research idea.


A good resource with additional PsycINFO search tips can be found here:


Mitchell, M.L., Jolley, J.M., O’Shea, R.P. (2010). Finding, reading, citing, and referencing

sources. In Writing for Psychology (3rd ed., pp. 119-175). Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth.


3) Have students search a research topic using Google or some other internet search engine (you might have them search the same topic that was used in exercise #2 above). Next they should evaluate one or more of the resulting sites using the criteria found in table 3.5 of their text. Alternatively you could point them to the site below, maintained by Johns Hopkins University, which provides similar criteria but is slightly more extensive.


4) As discussed in the text, there are many interesting ideas that cannot be tested scientifically. Provide the students with the nonempirical questions below and ask them to think of related topics that could be tested empirically.


  1. Is there a heaven?
  2. What is the meaning of life?
  3. What is love?
  4. Do humans have free will?


5) Have students as a class or in small groups develop a testable hypothesis from a theory or question of interest. If the students are going to do independent projects, have each student derive his or her hypothesis for the project. If not, present theories or questions for them to work from (suggestions below). Tell students that their hypotheses should

  1. make a statement about the relation between variables;
  2. be clearly and easily testable;
  3. be feasibly researched in the time allotted, with the facilities at hand (particularly if these are hypotheses that actually will be tested)


If the students are doing independent, term-long projects, this assignment can be incorporated into a required research proposal along with a literature review and a statement of proposed methods.


6) Present students with the following statements below and ask them to create an appropriate research and null hypothesis for each.


  1. There is a gender difference in learning abilities and academic interests, with men favoring mathematics and women favoring verbal skills.
  2. Memories of severe childhood trauma are often repressed. They can be retrieved through hypnosis.
  3. One’s personality consists of the id (unconscious desires), ego (conscious self), and superego (conscience). [This theory in fact yields no testable hypotheses. See if the students can discover this.]
  4. A regular program of exercise improves school performance.
  5. Owning pets increases well being.
  6. Frustration produces aggression. [This is a time-tested hypothesis-generating theory that yields many good ideas and discussions regarding how to be specific.]
  7. Men alone, women alone, and mixed gender groups will sit in different patterns when there are extra chairs around a table.
  8. In college-age romantic relationships, “opposites attract” is the rule, not the exception.



Chapter 11

Single-Case Research Designs


Learning objectives


To be able to


  • Describe the different types of single-case designs.
  • Explain the strategies used in the single-case designs to rule out the influence of rival
  • Identify the situations in which each of the single-case designs would be appropriate.
  • Describe the methodological issues that must be considered in using the single-case
  • Describe the criteria used for evaluating treatment effects with single-case designs.


Multiple choice questions


1) Single-case designs, by definition, do not incorporate control groups. What is the standard for comparison purposes to evaluate the treatment effects?

  1. a) there is no comparison standard when using a single-case design
  2. b) post-treatment observations
  3. c) observations of a single control participant

*          d) the pre-treatment observations


2) Single-case research is most closely associated, historically, with what area of psychology?

  1. a) social psychology
  2. b) cognitive science
  3. c) personality psychology

*          b) behavioral psychology


3) Single-case designs are closely related to which type of quasi-experimental design?

  1. a) the non-equivalent comparison group design
  2. b) the cross-over design

*          c) the time series design

  1. d) the multivariate design


4) In a single-case experiment that is essentially an interrupted time series, the ability to determine that the treatment has an effect

  1. a) requires that the participant understand that his or her behavior must change.

*          b) requires that the experimenter must be able to predict what the behavior would have been without the treatment.

  1. c) requires that the mean of all pretreatment sessions be significantly lower than the mean of all of the posttreatment sessions.
  2. d) requires that the mean of all pretreatment sessions be significantly higher than the mean of all of the posttreatment sessions.


5) In using an interrupted time series for single-case experiments, you must assume

*          a) that the pattern of pretreatment behavior would have continued if the treatment had not occurred.

  1. b) that the treatment is effective and look for the evidence in the patterns until you find it.
  2. c) that the participant will be cooperative.
  3. d) that the principles of learning are correct.


6) In single-case research, the word “baseline” refers to

  1. a) the lowest observed rate of the target behavior.
  2. b) the target behavior in the control participant, who will not experience treatment.
  3. c) the participant’s initial response to treatment.

*          d) the participant’s target behavior prior to any treatment.


7) By including a withdrawal phase after the basic time-series design (i.e., making it an A-B-A design),

  1. a) we can return the participant to the original desired behavior under baseline.
  2. b) we can fulfill our ethical responsibilities to the participant.

*          c) we may rule out history effects as a plausible rival hypothesis.

  1. d) we will show that the behavior changes are permanent.


8) If in the withdrawal phase of an A-B-A experiment the behavior reverts to the original baseline levels, then

  1. a) the treatment did not work since its effects were not permanent.
  2. b) the treatment has only a transient effect.
  3. c) the behavioral changes were the result of history or maturation.

*          d) history can be ruled out as rival hypotheses.


9) What aspect of the A-B-A design helps us determine whether the treatment, as opposed to some other variable, was responsible for any observed changes in behavior?

*          a) seeing whether the target behavior returns to original levels when treatment is removed

  1. b) observation of both a treated and yoked control participant
  2. c) starting with the observation of behavior in the absence of treatment
  3. d) returning to observe behavior under treatment several weeks after the experiment is



10) The “B” in “A-B-A design” represents the        condition.

  1. a) baseline
  2. b) behavioral

*          c) treatment

  1. d) withdrawal


11) The first “A” in “A-B-A design” represents the       phase while the second “A” represents the


*          a) baseline; withdrawal

  1. b) baseline; treatment
  2. c) antecedent; aftereffect
  3. d) treatment; baseline


12) What important assumption is required of the A-B-A withdrawal design in order to rule out rival hypotheses?

  1. a) that single participants will cooperate with long-term observations
  2. b) that the participant actually believes that the treatment will have an effect

*          c) that the effects of the treatment are reversible upon withdrawal

  1. d) that the observation of the behavior is valid


13) A potential ethical problem with using the A-B-A design in a therapeutic context is that it

  1. a) does not seem to be useful for certain kinds of disorders.

*          b) entails ending in a non-treatment condition.

  1. c) often aggravates the problem the treatment is meant to treat.
  2. d) does not involve enough time in treatment to address all types of disorders.


14) The “A-B-A-B” design is a slight variation on the A-B-A design, in which treatment is returned at the end of the experiment. Under what conditions would this be most desirable?

  1. a) if the researcher is still not sure whether the treatment was effective

*          b) if the treatment has some beneficial therapeutic effect

  1. c) if the treatment did not produce the desired effect the first time it was presented
  2. d) if the participant enjoyed the treatment


15) In many applications of the A-B-A design, treatment is completely withdrawn in the appropriate phase. In some other applications, a “reversal design” is used. In these cases,

*          a) the treatment is applied to a behavior that is incompatible with the target behavior.

  1. b) the treatment’s opposite is applied.
  2. c) the treatment is applied to someone other than the target participant.
  3. d) one starts with the treatment already in place, then withdraws it and then returns it.


16) One disadvantage of the interaction design for single-case research is that it cannot be used if

  1. a) you are testing more than one participant.
  2. b) you do not randomly select participants from the population.
  3. c) you are investigating the effectiveness of psychotherapy techniques.

*          d) one of the treatments by itself causes a maximum change in behavior.


17) A sequence of conditions in an interaction design might be A-B-A-B-BC-B-BC. This design

*          a) follows the important rule of changing only one variable at a time in single-case


  1. b) allows for determining if C has an effect.
  2. c) allows for determining an interaction effect for B and C, even if B is maximally

effective alone.

  1. d) allows for determining if there are interactions for A and B as well as B and C.


18) A properly designed single-case interaction design will evaluate the effects of each treatment (B and C) alone and in combination. Which of the following will allow this?

*          a) Participant 1: A-B-A-B-BC

Participant 2: A-C-A-C-BC

  1. b) Participant 1: A-B-A-BC

Participant 2: A-C-A-BC

  1. c) Participant 1: A-B-A-B-BC
  2. d) Participant 1: A-C-A-C-BC


19) In a single-case interaction design, an interaction is said to exist if

  1. a) the participant engages in more social interactions than under baseline.
  2. b) each treatment has an effect.

*          c) the effect of the two treatments together is greater than either alone.

  1. d) one treatment works with or without the other treatment which does not work.


20) If the A-B-A design cannot be used because of problems such as the behavior not returning to baseline upon withdrawal of treatment, you can probably use the _____________ design.

  1. a) A-B-A-B
  2. b) A-B-A-B-BC-B-BC

*          c) multiple-baseline

  1. d) changing-criterion


21) A major advantage of the multiple-baseline design over the A-B-A design is that

  1. a) participants do not know that they are being observed.
  2. b) the treatment doesn’t have to be effective in order to be studied.
  3. c) it increases generalization of because it uses more than one participant.

*          d) it can be used when the effects of treatment are not reversible.


22) In a multiple-baseline design the “multiple” part refers to

  1. a) different behaviors of same participant in same context.
  2. b) different participants with same behavior in same context.
  3. c) different contexts with the same behavior of the same participant.

*          d) all of the above.


23) For a multiple-baseline design to demonstrate treatment effectiveness,

*          a) all target behaviors should change, but only after the treatment is imposed for each


  1. b) all target behaviors should change when the first treatment is imposed.
  2. c) some target behaviors should increase in frequency with the treatment and others

should decrease.

  1. d) treated behaviors should change from baseline immediately while untreated behaviors should change more slowly.


24) If one were using the multiple-baseline design to examine the effect of treatment across a number of different behaviors, one must take care to insure that the behaviors examined are

  1. a) really problem behaviors.
  2. b) unique or rarely reported in the literature.
  3. c) common to the majority of members of the population.

*          d) independent of each other.


25) If a multiple-baseline design were used with three interdependent behaviors, then when treatment is imposed on the first behavior,

  1. a) the second will also change, but the third will not change until the second is treated.

*          b) both the second and third behaviors will change simultaneously.

  1. c) the second and third behaviors will not be influenced.
  2. d) the behaviors will meet the requirements of the design.


26) In a multiple-baseline study of the effects of reinforcement on social behaviors Dr. Stern studies three behaviors in one child: talking to other children, frequency of playing with others, initiating contact with children her own age. What is wrong with these choices of target behavior?

*          a) reinforcing one behavior could easily influence the occurrence of the others

  1. b) children are naturally sociable; such behavior cannot be reinforced
  2. c) the playground is not a suitable site for controlled research
  3. d) it is not possible to operationally define these behaviors


27) In a changing-criterion design, to demonstrate treatment effectiveness the target behavior must do which of the following?

  1. a) attain statistical significance

*          b) show successive changes with changing criteria

  1. c) return to baseline within two weeks of the end of treatment
  2. d) remain constant through all treatment conditions


28) When using the changing-criterion single-case research design, what is a good rule of thumb for determining how much the criterion should change at each phase?

  1. a) in the new phase, the participant should be required to increase performance by 50% relative to the previous phase.
  2. b) the criterion change should be relatively large, to provide motivation.
  3. c) the criterion change should be relatively small, so as not to discourage the participant.

*          d) the criterion change should be large enough to detect differences in behavior from the previous phase, but not so large as to be unattainable.


29) For what kinds of situations is the changing-criterion design particularly useful?

  1. a) when evaluating psychotherapies for affective or anxiety disorders

*          b) when the participant’s behavior requires shaping to attain a goal

  1. c) when the target behavior often fluctuates wildly over time
  2. d) when other designs have proved to be useless, since the changing criterion design is



30) Two colleagues are debating over whether giving extrinsic, arbitrary rewards like candy or giving intrinsic rewards like gaining new skills and passing to new material are better ways of motivating children to study. They agree to the following study, using a 6th grader who, with his parent’s approval, has volunteered to help: First, no rewards are given for studying. Next an extrinsic reward (candy) is given, then no reward, then the extrinsic reward of candy is given again, then a combination of candy and pointing out how much the child has learned. Next a return to extrinsic reward only.  On another series of days the child is first given no reward, then a period of only pointing out how much has been learned. Next, no reward is given followed by again pointing out how much is learned.  The both rewards are presented together, and finally there is a return to just pointing out how much is learned. In each of these many phases, the child’s teacher keeps track of the speed of his progression through his required work. What single-case research design are these colleagues using?

  1. a) A-B-A design

*          b) interaction design

  1. c) multiple baseline design
  2. d) changing criterion design


31) A psychotherapist has three clients all of whom suffer from agoraphobia. He wants to see if his new behavioral therapy is effective in treating this fear. In the beginning of his experiment, he measures number of times each client goes out in public. The next week, he starts one client on the therapy while withholding it from the other two, and, for all three clients measures number of times each goes out in public that week. Then he keeps the first client on the therapy, starts it with the second client, and again measures number of times out in public for all three. Finally, in week four he starts the therapy with the third client, so now all three are experiencing the therapy. This is an example of which kind of single-case design?

  1. a) A-B-A design
  2. b) interaction design

*          c) multiple baseline design

  1. d) changing criterion design


32) Justin is going through his own personal program of endurance training. In the first two weeks, he rewards himself with a quarter every day he runs a complete mile. In the next two weeks, he gives himself a quarter for every two consecutive miles run. Next, he gives himself a quarter for every three consecutive miles, and so on, increasing every two weeks the number of miles he must run for each quarter. By the end of the fall semester, Justin can run 8 consecutive miles a day. This program is very much like which single-case research design?

  1. a) A-B-A design
  2. b) interaction design
  3. c) multiple baseline design

*          d) changing criterion design


33) A third grade teacher is having trouble with a student who wants only her attention, and will not interact with the other children. The school psychologist suggests ignoring the child’s attempts to get her attention and praising the child’s interactions with other children. Before doing this, the teacher takes a week’s worth of measures, each day, of how often the child interacts with other children. She then institutes the “ignore and praise” program for a week and measures interactions with others, then withdraws the program in the third week and again measures interactions. This is an example of which single-case design?

*          a) A-B-A design

  1. b) interaction design
  2. c) multiple baseline design
  3. d) changing criterion design


34) Most single-case designs involve comparing behavior during treatment to behavior during baseline. For this comparison to be meaningful, baseline behavior must be

  1. a) different from behavior under treatment.
  2. b) measured on a continuum.
  3. c) increasing or decreasing only gradually.

*          d) stable.


35) When have you collected enough baseline data so that you can move on to the treatment phase of the experiment?

  1. a) after about two weeks
  2. b) once you have at least a dozen baseline observations
  3. c) when there is a downward trend rather than an upward trend

*          d) there is no trend and little variability


36) What is the desired pattern to look for in baseline, before proceeding to the treatment phase?

  1. a) a gradual increase in performance
  2. b) a gradual decrease in performance

*          c) stable with no apparent trend in performance

  1. d) an appreciable amount of variability in performance


37) Studies of single-case research with humans have shown that

  1. a) behavior is typically quite invariant during baseline.
  2. b) single-case designs typically yield much less information than multiple-participant


  1. c) single-case experiments require fewer observations than do multiple-participant designs.

*          d) the simple act of collecting baseline data can influence the behavior under observation.


38) How long should one continue a given phase (baseline, treatment, return to baseline, etc.) of a single-case research project?

*          a) until behavioral stability is reached in each phase

  1. b) for about two weeks
  2. c) until it is clear that the treatment has had an effect
  3. d) until you have at least a dozen observations in each phase


39) While stability is a desirable characteristic in each condition of a single-case experiment,

  1. a) high variability is required in order to change behavior.

*          b) prolonging conditions to achieve it increases the chances of history and maturation


  1. c) it is more important to finish the experiment on schedule.
  2. d) it only really counts for baseline.


40) Sometimes in single-case research there are cyclical variations in response rates or frequencies. What is a good way to address this problem?

  1. a) target other behaviors that are not cyclic
  2. b) use a bicyclic or tricyclic treatment

*          c) extend the length of each phase of the study to include all phases of the cycle

  1. d) only use male participants


41) Most researchers using single-case designs use an “experimental criterion” to tell them whether behavior has changed significantly with treatment. This involves looking for/at

*          a) repeated demonstrations that behavior changes reliably each time treatment is


  1. b) a statistically significant difference between behavior during baseline and behavior during treatment.
  2. c) improved functioning after treatment.
  3. d) signs that the treated person functions significantly better than non-treated peers.


42) Many single-case researchers also use a “therapeutic criterion” to evaluate the success of their treatment. They look at/for

  1. a) signs that behavior changes every time the treatment is presented.
  2. b) statistically significant changes in behavior when treatment is instituted.
  3. c) whether other psychologists have adopted their treatment.

*          d) indications that the treatment has improved daily functioning.


43) Dr. Buss is treating a verbally delayed 1st grader. After establishing baseline levels of correct verbal responses, Dr. Buss begins working with the child with his new therapy. Six weeks after treatment, a panel of first grade teachers and school psychologists cannot distinguish Dr. Buss’s client from other 1st grade peers. This is an example of the use of

  1. a) an experimental criterion.

*          b) the social validation method.

  1. c) reversal.
  2. d) withdrawal


44) There are arguments for and against the use of statistical data analysis with single-case designs. Which of the following statements summarizes the case against statistical analysis?

  1. a) Visual inspection of data has been shown to be sufficiently reliable, and is usually easier to perform than the complicated tests needed to analyze single-case data.

*          b) Statistical analysis does not reveal whether the treatment is of practical use, and may actually disguise the fact that the treatment works well for some people and for whom.

  1. c) Statistical analysis favor a conservative approach and therefore may not allow us to detect meaningful changes in behavior. This approach may lead us to reject treatments that may be useful to large groups of people.
  2. d) There are no statistical analyses suited to the time-series kind of behavior generated by single-case designs, nor are there valid means of interpreting what few statistical tests are available.


45) Which of the following statements summarizes the case in favor of the use of statistical analysis in single-case research.

  1. a) The statistics required for analyzing single-case data are simple to use, and can reveal whether the treatment will have real therapeutic value.

*          b) Statistical analysis is helpful in detecting behavioral changes when there is high variability in  baseline behavior, and reduces subjectivity of interpretation.

  1. c) Statistical analyses are useful in determining which of many participants are best affected by the treatment, and can help suggest future courses of action.
  2. d) Traditionally, psychological data are not accepted unless they are subjected to

statistical analysis.


46) In order to isolate the interactive effects of two variables from the effect that would be achieved by only one of the variables, it is necessary to

  1. a) test the two variables independently.
  2. b) test the two variables simultaneously.

*          c) both a & b

  1. d) none of the above


47) Which of the following is NOT typically considered one of the standard  multiple baseline designs

  1. a) multiple baselines across subjects.
  2. b) multiple baseline across settings.
  3. c) multiple baselines across behaviors.

*          d) multiple baselines across therapists.


48) Ms. Margo has been treating Joey for aggression at preschool, on the playground and on the bus.  She developed a special intervention that included consequences for aggressive behaviors, like losing privileges and being placed in time-out, combined with praise for cooperative and friendly behavior. She planned to do a multiple baseline study, however, after treating the aggression in the classroom, Joey’s aggression dropped in the other situations too. Why?

  1. a) Joey just realized the error of his ways.

*          b) Ms. Margo picked interdependent behaviors to study

  1. c) the behaviors weren’t related but the consequences were
  2. d) rewards are always stronger and more effective than the punishers


49) The success of the changing criterion design is based on three factors. Which of the following is NOT one of those factors?

  1. a) length of baseline and treatment phases
  2. b) magnitude of change in the criterion
  3. c) number of treatment phases used overall

*          d) consequences used at each phase


50) Sometimes a behavior (like language) will not return to baseline levels after your treatment has been successful. For example, a previously nonverbal child is unlikely to become nonverbal again after you successfully teach him to talk. So which design would be a bad choice, and which alternative design would be best?

  1. a) ABA; ABAB design
  2. b) changing criterion design; Interaction design

*          c) ABA; multiple baseline design across subjects

  1. d) interaction design, alternating treatments design




Define the following in psychological terms:


s<KT>single-case research design</KT>s                         <KT>ABA design

b<KT>baseline                                                                    reversal

ABAB design</KT>                                                          w<KT>withdrawal</KT>

r<KT>reversal design</KT>                                                         i<KT>interaction design</KT>

i<KT>interaction effect in single-case research</KT>                 m<KT>multiple-baseline design</KT>

i<KT>interdependence                                                       c<KT>changing-criterion design</KT>

s<KT>stable baseline</KT>                                                          e<KT>experimental criterion</KT>

t<KT>therapeutic criterion</KT>                                                 s<KT>social validation</KT>

s<KT>social comparison method</KT>                                        s<KT>subjective evaluation method



Essay questions


1) Using an example, describe the basic ABA design. How would the effectiveness of a treatment be demonstrated? What are the two fundamental problems with the ABA design?


2) What is the difference between an ABA design that uses “withdrawal” and an ABA design that uses “reversal?” When would an experimenter want to use a reversal design rather than a withdrawal design?


3) What is an “interaction” design? Explain how interactive effects can be investigated.


4) What are the three types of multiple-baseline designs? Describe and give an example (not from the text or lecture) of a multiple-baseline design. How is this type of study an improvement over an ABA design?


5) Describe and give an example (not from the text or lecture) of a changing-criterion design. In what kinds of situations is this design most useful?


6) Summarize the case for and against the use of statistical analyses in single-case research.


7) Discuss the two most commonly used criteria for evaluating treatment effectiveness in single-subject designs.


8) The issue of “stability” is important for single-participant designs. What are the important considerations for determining stability?


9) Below are three scenarios, each of which lends itself to a single-case research design. Choose and briefly describe a design for each scenario. State why you chose that particular design for that scenario. A graph of possible results would be very useful in your answer.


  1. a) A private therapist is seeing a new client twice a week for treatment of fear of heights.

She’s trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy but would like to test the effectiveness of

her traditional therapy against a new, strictly behavioral therapy. She also wants to know

whether this individual might benefit from some unique combination of the two

approaches. How could she decide which therapy is best for her patient?

  1. b) Four teenage boys with aggression problems live in a group home, and have developed

varying degrees of abusive behavior towards staff and other teens in the home. The home

director believes his new treatment will decrease the incidence of abuse, and enlists the

staff to help him evaluate the treatment. How should he proceed?

  1. c) Shawna constantly fights with her siblings. She isn’t physically violent towards them,

but there are so many shouting matches that her parents are at their wit’s end. A family

counselor trains them in the behavior modification technique of imposing a time out for

undesired behavior. How should they evaluate whether this technique works with



10) Suppose you want to know if you can increase the amount of time our dog sleeps on her doggie bed and decrease the amount of time she sleeps on the sofa. You decide to use an A-B-A-B design to see if praise for sleeping in the doggie bed is effective. Explain step-by-step how you would proceed. Why might it be desirable to end with a “B” phase? Illustrate with a graph that would demonstrate a “successful” research outcome.



Classroom exercise suggestions


1) Perhaps the most foreign aspect of single-case designs (to students) is the idea of collecting several data points from one individual and not necessarily subjecting them to statistical analysis. A little real world exercise with this goes a long way. Instead of casting single-case research in a strictly experimental context, it is sometimes useful to point out that in everyday life we often make several intense observations of an individual, under more than one condition, and try to figure out whether the relevant behavior of that individual corresponds to changes in the environment. Assign students to observe and record a specific behavior of either a friend or themselves, under at least two conditions. Be sure to have them choose a behavior that is situation- or environment-specific, and that they can observe several times in the course of a week (e.g. a roommate’s mood in the morning versus the evening; their inclination to snack when alone or with friends). The objective is to determine how to decide whether the target behavior is substantially, meaningfully different from one condition to the other. Although this is not strictly an experience in single-case research, it does make the notion of drawing conclusions from multiple observations in different conditions more familiar.


2) For something a little less ambitious you might try this fun in-class activity suggested by Carr and Austin (1997). In this interactive exercise students collect and plot their own pulse rate data before, during, and after short bursts of exercise. Begin by having students take their pulse data every minute for five consecutive minutes (these five points will form the baseline). Next have students perform jumping jacks for 20 seconds and again record their pulse for one minute. Repeat the exercise/pulse recording four more times. Finally, have students repeat the baseline procedure. Next have students graph all 15 data points – your students should have a stable baseline with an increase during the exercise sessions followed by a return to baseline.


Carr, J., & Austin, J. (1997). A classroom demonstration of single-subject research

designs. Teaching of Psychology24(3), 188-190.


3) This chapter provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the work of B.F. Skinner who played an important role in the popularity of single subject designs. Skinner felt very strongly that studying individuals intensely should form the basis of the science of psychology. Skinner, of course, spent a lifetime studying changes in the behavior of pigeons and rats following small changes in their environment. If you have access to an operant chamber (Skinner box) you could bring it to class as you describe some of Skinner’s work – focusing on the very tight experimental controls he employed. This also connects to previous discussions of internal and external validity as well as basic vs. applied research (see chapter 6 classroom suggestions). The Delpato and Midgley (1992) article referenced below is a good place for your students to learn of the basics of Skinner’s work.


Delprato, D., & Midgley, B. (1992). Some fundamentals of B. F. Skinner’s             behaviorism. American Psychologist47(11), 1507-1520.


4) The text emphasizes that in single subject research it is crucial that one variable be studied in isolation. While this is true, there are situations in which we may be interested in testing the effectiveness of two or more treatments in producing behavior change. In these situations we might make use of an alternating-treatments design. In this type of design two or more treatments are alternated more rapidly than in a traditional reversal design. For example, Mozzoni and Hartnedy (2000) compared three different treatments to reduce behavioral problems in a brain injured client. The treatments of earned escape, praise, and graphic representation of progress were alternated in successive10-minute periods. Treatments were presented several different times, in random orders (note that this technique avoids sequencing effects and is conceptually similar to counterbalancing discussed in chapter 7). Each of the treatments was deemed successful in reducing the number of behavioral disruptions.


Mozzoni, M., & Hartnedy, S. (2000). Escape and avoidance hypothesis testing using an

alternative treatment design.Behavioral Interventions15(3), 269-277.


5) After previous discussions of external validity, your students will probably question the generalizability of single subject research designs. Indeed, the lack of external validity is a key criticism of this approach. How can we be sure that a treatment that is found to be effective with one individual will be effective with others? What if there is something unique about that one individual? You should discuss how replications and the use of multiple baseline designs can improve generalizability.


6) To give students a sense of how single subject research designs are used in current day research, have them complete the out-of-class activity below. During the following class meeting you can use their assignments to illustrate many of the topics discussed in the text.


Evaluating Single-subject Designs in Published Research


The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience in identifying and analyzing single subject designs.


Your assignment for this exercise is to find a journal article that utilizes a single subject design.  Two excellent and easily accessible journals are:


  • Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis



  • Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior



Typewritten answers to the following questions (along with a copy of the article) should be submitted for an article published between 2008 and 2010 (hint: click on “selected articles archive”):


  1. Give the complete reference to the study in APA style.


  1. What was the purpose of the study?


  1. What were the hypotheses?


  1. Describe the method in detail.
  2. Who was (were) the participant(s)? How was the participant chosen?
  3. Identify which kind of design was used. Describe it in detail.
  4. Identify the independent variable(s).
  5. Identify the dependent variable(s).


  1. Describe the major results.


  1. Describe the conclusions of the author(s). Are they warranted?


  1. Are there any rival interpretations of the results? If so, discuss them briefly.


  1. Include a copy of the article with your assignment.