Use of Single-Subject Research Designs in Therapeutic Recreation


  • John Dattilo
  • David L. Gast
  • David P. Loy
  • Sharon Malley


Single-Subject Design, Therapeutic Recreation, Methods, Disability, Leisure


Single-subject research designs can be used to examine effects of therapeutic recreation (TR). Use of these research designs can allow practitioners to contribute to the knowledge base of TR. Single-subject research designs can enhance program evaluation while examining individuals in applied settings. With single-subject research designs, only a few cases are examined, with repeated measures of interventions systematically applied to each individual. Results are graphically displayed and inferences about relationships between variables are determined by visual examination. Each individual, who serves as his or her control, is exposed to each experimental condition. A rationale for using single-subject research designs is presented followed by a description of the method. The way single-subject research designs address the positivistic research requirements of validity and reliability is also described. The method of data analysis is presented followed by graphic presentations and examples of single-subject research designs used to answer questions concerning TR.