On the History of Single-Case Methodology: A Data-Based Analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To provide context surrounding the history of single-case research and to act as a benchmark for which future changes across the fields and disciplines that use single-case methods may be compared, we conducted this study to serve as an update and extension on the trends and prevalence of single-case research in the peer-reviewed literature. Our analytical sample was derived from 20 peer-reviewed journals over a 40-year timespan. Results indicate that since 1978, approximately one in six publications within our examined body of research employed a single-case research design. Exploratory moderator analyses revealed that a journal’s focus on behavior analytic research, and a journal’s impact factor moderated the prevalence of single-case publications within a journal. We discuss our findings in relation to prior studies examining the prevalence and trends of single-case research and future directions for single-case researchers to improve the quality, value, and understanding of single-case methodology (https://osf.io/fns3m/).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-183
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Behavioral Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2022.


  • Impact factors
  • Publication trends
  • Research methods
  • Single-case design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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