Real-time monitoring technology in single-case experimental design research: Opportunities and challenges

Kate H. Bentley, Evan M. Kleiman, Grace Elliott, Jeffery C. Huffman, Matthew K. Nock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Single-case experimental design (SCED) is a rigorous method of studying behavior and behavior change. A key characteristic of SCED is repeated, systematic assessment of outcome variables, which is critical to achieving high internal validity, collecting a sufficient number of observations to conduct adequately powered statistical analyses, capturing dynamic and fine-grained changes in outcomes, and tailoring interventions at the individual level. Recent advances in real-time monitoring technology, such as digital ecological momentary assessment, passive smartphone-based behavioral tracking, and physiological assessment with wearable biosensors, are extremely well-suited to conducting these repeated, systematic measurements. Here, we discuss the rationale for incorporating real-time data collection technologies within SCED and highlight how recent studies have paired SCED with real-time monitoring. We also present original data illustrating how real-time digital monitoring can provide an idiographic and granular view of behavior (in this case, suicidal ideation). Last, we discuss the challenges of, and offer our recommendations for, using real-time monitoring technologies in SCED research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
StatePublished - Jun 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Passive sensing
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Single-case experimental design
  • Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Real-time monitoring technology in single-case experimental design research: Opportunities and challenges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this